looking for a trendy mexican restaurant with ambiance for a friend coming to town who loves mexican and cant find any in the midwest
Well, if you want a trendy Mexican restaurant, go to Mexicali in Studio City and sit amongst all the BPs. If you want a GOOD Mexican restaurant with ambiance, go to La Serenata de Garibaldi in Boyle Heights -- but trendy it's definitely not.
You might try Frida in Beverly Hills. The location alone would make it trendy, but I have heard that the food is decent. however, I must ask why your friend wants trendy mexican food in a city where there is so much wonderful, non-trendy mexican food. Instead, get some fish tacos at Tacos Baja Ensenada, some ceviche at La Playita, some Oaxacan food at Monte Alban, get a walnut ice (nieve) at El Mercadito, etc.
I get the whole trendy mexican thing and sorry, Mexicali is not it (yes, you'll see a lot of writers/producers there that your pal most likely wouldn't recognize but the food is eeck -- ).
Here are my selections:
Mexico City (Los Feliz, trendy actors)
Malo (Silverlake -- Brad Pitt sighting a few weeks back)
Casa Vega (great food -- I know I'm in the minority on the board, many celeb sightings here -- it's dark so celebs love to come here, esp mid week)
El Cholo, SM (kinda)
*** First two are really trendy, esp Malo
El Cholo in SM has the faux-Mexican ambience down, but the food is atrocious.
There, I said it.
Anyone out there remember the old Chi-Chi's chain out east from the late 70s/early 80s? The grub at El Cholo is like that. An abomination in a region blessed with incredible Mexican food of all stripes.
Having said that, Silverlaker's list does contain some trendy spots, no doubt.
For a hopping hot spot with wild décor and ear-splitting noise level, and food that really polarizes Chowhounds, why not Border Grill?
And when you want really great Mexican food and want to get as un-trendy as possible, hit Enrique's in Long Beach.
I second the Mexicali suggestion. I think the food is great and its usually busy with a lot of trendy people there.
They also take reservations which is great for groups.