Birria at El Parian
Birria at El Parian
Anne Fishbein

5 Essential Mexican Restaurants in Los Angeles

Our 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants issue came out last week, and we're highlighting a few categories drawing from the list. Today: Mexican restaurants.

This isn't every single Mexican spot on the list (there are a ton!), so make sure you check out the whole thing, but here are five of our favorites to get you started.


Continue Reading

5. El Parian

The red potion here is the restaurant's much-lauded, Guadalajara-style birria: Long-simmered goat in a warm, slightly spicy consommé, served with freshly made tortillas and a plate of onions, cilantro and radishes reminiscent of the garnishes for that other soul-satisfying soup, pho.

Read El Parian's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Chichen Itza taco
Chichen Itza taco
Anne Fishbein

4. Chichen Itza

The DMV field office near USC on South Hope might be the best DMV in Los Angeles. But that's not because the lines are any shorter, or the lighting any less raw. Instead, it has the distinct advantage of being across the street from the Mercado la Paloma -- and there, in this garment factory-turned-community space, you'll find Gilberto Cetina's Chichen Itza, a stand with an impressive menu of Yucatecan specialties.

Read Chichen Itza's full 99 Essentials listing here.

3. Rocio's Mole De Los Dioses

There are so many things about Rocio's Moles de los Dioses that make it special -- yes, there are the moles, made by legendary mole queen Rocio Camacho, but there is also so, so much more. You might not expect, for instance, an amuse-bouche at a Mexican restaurant in a strip mall in Sun Valley, but you'll get one: a small taste of spicy shrimp broth topped with a fresh tortilla, brightness grounded with masa.

Read Rocio's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Tamal de Mole Negro at Guelaguetza
Tamal de Mole Negro at Guelaguetza
Elina Shatkin

2. Guelaguetza

Stop by Guelaguetza on a Friday night and you're greeted by quite the party. The restaurant, which has been at the forefront of L.A.'s Oaxacan food scene for the last 20 years, is a sprawling enterprise, and on weekends it's packed with families, mainly sharing the giant platters of memelas, chorizo, tasajo and cecina, fried pork ribs and more.

Read Guelaguetza's full 99 Essentials listing here.

Chile en nogada at La Casita Mexicana
Chile en nogada at La Casita Mexicana
Anne Fishbein

1. La Casita Mexicana

Chefs Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu deliver moles, chiles en nogada, fish cooked in banana leaves, chilaquiles for breakfast and emoladas for dinner, with a flair and precision befitting celebrity chefs. If you've never heard of them, it may be because you don't watch that much Spanish-language TV. But not to worry: The food will convert you to their fan base.

Read La Casita Mexicana's full 99 Essentials listing here.

See also:

5 Essential Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles

5 Essential Restaurants With Great Cocktails

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.



All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >