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Best Mexican in the SF Valley?

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  • myca Nov 17, 2006 10:10 PM
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Prefer Oaxacan but any region is fine just as long as it's homemade and pretty authentic.

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  1. Hands down, La Paz in Calabasas!

    4 Replies
    1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

      Have to disagree on La Paz. Based on a couple recs here I went last night since I was in the area. Very disappointing. Sort of the Olive Garden or Black Angus of Mexican food.

      Seafood is supposed to be their specialty, so I ordered the paella, the fish tasted like it had been cooked last week and kept under a warmer or zapped in the microwave. Ditto on the crab legs. A couple shriveled up shrimp and way overcooked clams, and the sausage in it was flavorless. A ton and a half of rice though.

      The paella I had at L'Affair Cafe in Mission Hills a couple weeks ago was 100 times better.

      And the margaritas were basically all mixer and no tequila. I drank 2 and felt nothing. Even though Casa de Carlos has pretty mediocre food, after a couple margaritas I'm buzzed enough where I don't care....

      1. re: markn

        La Paz is absolutely terrible... a complete disgrace that they should label themselves as Yucatecan specialty. Its as mediocre as Tex-Mex gets.

        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          the trick to La Paz is ordering a la carte. Their tacos are the best I've ever had, and big enough to feed an army.

          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

            Okay... but there is a little joint in Calabasas that serves excellent tacos coated with Parmesan cheese for about $2.

            La Paz's specialties are suppossedly the seafood & they suck... if they are going to be a great taqueria than they should stop pretending... until then its a very mediocre place that might have a few finds on the menu.

    2. I sure like the food I have had at Carrillo's Deli on Sherman Way just west of the Smart & Final store at Corbin, same center. Homemade tortillas, very fresh and tasty sauces, and one of the best guacs. Beer & wine, and very casual, and Spanish is heard all the time.
      I go there from Sherman Oaks, and have had them cater parties as well. Everyone seems to like their food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: carter

        I second the Carrillo's rec. I love the salsa verde, carnitas, and the luscious homemade tortillas.

        1. re: NeNePie

          Carillo's is good, also a block from there is Sabroso's (Vanowen & Corbin) which is very good too. Their charbroiled chicken tacos are killer. And I like Dos Arbolitos a lot (Woodley & Nordhoff). Their campestre (stewed pork) is really good, fork tender. Good seafood cocktails too.

        2. re: carter

          That place has ruined me for store-bought flour tortillas .. I go to their San Fernando location.

        3. La Paz in Calabasas is one of my favorites. Also good is Las Fuentes in Northridge.

          4 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            i second las fuentes, actually in reseda on vanowen. great carne asada burritos. also casita taco on magnolia and bakman in NoHo is tasty.
            rZA~

            1. re: anthonyrza

              Another vote for Las Fuentas. Had the "gringo style" shredded chicked burrito there last night. I hadn't been in a while, but it was still great.

            2. re: SauceSupreme

              Wow, we must have gone to Las Fuentes on a bad day. It was super busy and I guess our expectations were pretty high based on all the recs here. I think we got five or six different things and we weren't bowled over by any of it. Sorta La Fiesta circa 1975 if you're askin' me.

              1. re: NeNePie

                Went to Las Fuentes last night for the first time in a couple of years We were headed to El Jerazano but they close at 4PM on Sunday and GF liked the chow and especially the colorful chairs at Las Fuentes so it became Plan B. She had the Gringo Style Shredded Beef Burito and really enjoyed it - ALL OF IT! No room to even split a piece of flan! I had the Platano de Carne Asada. The carne was great, charred on the outside and still some rare and medium rare on the inside. Great flavor. Beans were tasty. Now the down side. Rice was awful, tasted like catsup flavored, fast food Mexican rice. The corn tortillas were also terrible. The same factory junk that you can get at Costco or Smart & Final. They should offer tortillas hecho a mano but if they won't then get some fresh ones from the nearby Vallarta Market! Horchata was just ok.

            3. There's a tasty Oaxacan place (I think it's called "Rick's Comida Oaxaquena") on Vanowen a few doors west of Van Nuys.

              1. There is a dearth of good Mexican in the Valley, which is just plain bizarre. I'm old school, so Casa Vega works for me, if I'm patient enough to brave the wait for a table.

                30 Replies
                1. re: jesstifer

                  What kind of Mexican do you mean? There's no dearth of excellent taquerias, taco tables, and marisquerias... there's no dearth of decent old-school gringo-fied sit-down combo-plate places. There's not a lot of Oaxacan, but there's not anywhere else either.

                  What kind of Mexican is missing to you? And have you looked north of Magnolia Blvd., where more Mexicans live than in Studio City?

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    You're right, I was being entirely unspecific. I'm afraid I conflated this post with the nearby one about Ernie's Taco House. While you say rightly there are "excellent" holes-in-the-wall of various sizes and shapes, you're also right that there are only "decent" old school gringo-fied places. I love both, mind you, but as an old school gringo I have a particular soft spot for old school gringo-fied. And IMHO, neither Ernie's Taco House nor La Fogata nor Las Fuentes nor Granada are a match for any of half a dozen places in the Basin.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      "What kind of Mexican do you mean? There's no dearth of excellent taquerias, taco tables, and marisquerias... "

                      Das Ubergreek, do you have a marisqueria you can recommend in the valley? Would love to check some out.

                      1. re: Sgee

                        Mmmmm... frankly, not really. The one I used to recommend, Mariscos Colima, has gone way way way downhill and the last time I ate there it all tasted vaguely muddy. It would frankly be worth the drive over to Chente for me, sadly.

                        I'm not the one to ask, though. streetgourmetla is your rey de los mariscos up there.

                        If you're willing to broaden past Mexican, incidentally, La Perla del Pacífico in the back of the La Fiesta Super Mall on Sherman Way and Bellaire (closes at 8, beware) is amazingly good Colombian Pacific seafood. Start with the empanadas de camarones and the arroz de mariscos and work your way up to the encocado de piangua (ark clams in coconut sauce) and the sancocho de pescado.

                        -----
                        La Fiesta Restaurant
                        403 S D St, Perris, CA 92570

                        Marisco's
                        718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                        1. re: Sgee

                          As Dasubergeek said, Mariscos Colima has hit rock bottom. It's gone from passable to awful.

                          There are a couple of places I've been looking at but haven't had time to get to know well enough to recommend. In the meantime, do go to La Perla Del Pacifico, a Colombian seafood gem.

                          -----
                          La Perla Del Pacifico
                          12727 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                          Marisco's
                          718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                        2. re: Das Ubergeek

                          Well, now south of Magnolia in Studio City comes the newish Loteria Grill which I finally got to last night, and I must say it was quite tasty, and definitely did not remind me of any restaurant on the boulevard from one end to the other.
                          Had a very good trio of ceviche, as well as two varieties of rellenos and a cactus salad, and a coconut flan for dessert.
                          It is upstairs in the center at Laurel Canyon and Ventura, in the former Gaucho Grill space adjacent to Louise's. Was nearly packed at 7pm.
                          Oaxacan influences, as well as the Yucatan, and other regions.

                          1. re: carter

                            Do they have their liquor license yet?

                            --Dommy!

                            1. re: Dommy

                              they've had it for a while now.

                              1. re: cdub

                                Great! When they first opened, it seemed to be a bit iffy as to when they'd get it.

                                --Dommy!

                                1. re: Dommy

                                  i went when it first opened and 2 weeks later and they already had it by then.

                        3. re: jesstifer

                          I've had decent Mexican food in the Valley... but you have to have updated expectations... after all it is the valley.

                          Valley Mexican Cuisine is to Mexican Cuisine in WLA or ELA

                          as

                          Valley Gourmet Cuisine is to WLA Gourmet Cuisine

                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                            i don't get it nopal.

                            who wants gourmet mexican anyway?!?!
                            rZA~

                            1. re: anthonyrza

                              What I meant is that the relationship between Valley & L.A. Mexican... is similar to the relationship between general Gourmet in the Valley & general Gourmet in L.A. that is, the Valley has decent places but its not exactly a chowhound paradise.

                              BTW... among gourmet cuisine... my favorite version is Mexican... so me, I want gourmet Mexican. Even French cuisine... I generally prefer the 19th Century Franco-Mexican cuisine you find in classic Mexico City joints than most of the Classic French cuisine I had in Paris.

                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                In terms of more "gourmet" Mexican, I prefer the food @ Senor Fred in Sherman Oaks to whatever its WLA equivalent would be (Border Grill perhaps?). And I've had some great Mexican seafood in the Valley, for example, enjoyed excellent grilled octapus taco @ a place on South Side of Oxnard, just east of Hazeltine (can't remember the name). WLA though is definitely the place for Oaxacan food

                                1. re: archer

                                  The standard for Gourmet Mexican in WLA would be Frida in Beverly Hills... Senor Fred doesn't even begin to compare at that level. Wait that is harsh... it does compare but its not as good.

                                  Like I said... there is good Mexican dishes in the Valley... no doubt... but you really can't compare to WLA or ELA in depth or breadth of regional cusines.... not just Oaxacan, but do you have any representation for the Yucatan or Mexico City?

                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                    I will have to try Frida, never been there. And I would love your recommendations for LA restaurants specializing in Yucatan or Mexican City cuisine (I don't think I even know how Mexican City food differs from other regions; love food fr: Yucatan though).

                                    1. re: archer

                                      Gardens of Taxco in West Hollywood has been representing the Mexico City Fonda's (neighborhood eateries) for almost 40 years with the traditional Comida Corridas... daily changing, Prix-Fixe, home cooking. Until the Babita & Frida's of the world showed up... this place was a lock for title of Best Mexican in L.A. http://thegardensoftaxco.com/

                                      Chichen Itza at Mercado La Paloma delivers Yucatecan specialtie s.
                                      http://www.mercadolapaloma.com/

                                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                        While I like Frida, I feel there are certain items on the Senor Fred menu that rival it any day, including their crab enchiladas, almost any of their specialties like lamb shank, cochinita pibil, salmon, and other non-traditional enchilada/taco/burrito fare.
                                        And you can keep Gardens of Taxco - never have gotten that place.

                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                          nopal,
                                          I'm interested in your opinion of Yuca's version of cochinita pibil. I think the pibil burrito is very tasty there but I don't know if it's authentic yucatan because I've never eaten pibil anywhere else. I also attempted to make my own pibil (with achiote and sour orange juice) and it tasted a lot different than Yuca's. So I guess what I'm searching for is a true cochinita pibil dish, can i find this at Itza? Have I already experience this at Yuca's
                                          rZA~

                              2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                Gourmet Mexican is an oxymoron. There's no such thing. Surprisingly, the best, authentic burritos come off the catering trucks and the hole-in-the-wall joint. The big chain outfits make gringo style food.

                                1. re: mucho gordo

                                  "Gourmet Mexican is an oxymoron..." Really? The folks at Red O might beg to differ. And streetgourmetla might want to weigh in on places just south of the border like Laja... supposedly the French Laundry of Baja.

                                  1. re: FranklinJefferson

                                    Don't misunderstand. I love Mexican food; just not the stuff you find at El Torito or Acapulco. The food you buy from the trucks is better and more authentic. There was a place in Van Nuys called El Gato that served true Mexican food. Unfortunately, they've been gone (but never forgotten) for about 30 years now. They made a dish I've never found in another Mexican restaurant:: Lomo Adobado.

                                  2. re: mucho gordo

                                    You're talking about authentic and you're talking about burritos, which of those two do you want? Mexicans don't eat burritos except as a curiosity imported from el Norte.

                                    As for no gourmet Mexican, exactly what do you think rich people in Mexico eat? Go to Mexico City, go to Veracruz, for God's sake you can go to Tijuana and eat high-end, thoroughly Mexican food.

                                    You can still get real Mexican food, and yes, you can even get it in the Valley. Head for the lower-rent districts; you aren't going to find anything resembling Mexican-as-Mexicans-know-it on Ventura Blvd. Yes, some of it will be trucks, yes, most of it will be holes-in-the-wall. However, you can't dismiss the likes of La Huasteca and La Casita. Laja they aren't but they're still quite good, reasonably authentic Mexican food.

                                    -----
                                    La Huasteca
                                    3150 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

                                    Mexico City
                                    2121 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      You're probably right; I'm not familiar with what constitutes 'high end' Mexican food. What could they possibly eat that is different from the delicious "low end" stuff they wrap a tortilla around? The best soft tacos in the world came from a street vendor in Mexicali. Wouldn't the high end restaurant serve the same chile verde, machaca, lengue, etc.?

                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                        No. Go look at the menu for Laja. Look at the menu for La Huasteca. See if you can find a menu online for Babita (I don't think they have a website). Look at Red O. Look at Frontera Grill. Look at Topolobampo.

                                        This is a range of things that are higher-end than street food. There are also whole categories of Mexican cuisine that are simply missing (for the most part) in LA. Where are the cenadurias? I guess La Casita is one. Where are the fondas, the "Pop's Places" of Mexico? There's hardly anywhere to get comida corrida (a set menu).

                                        -----
                                        La Huasteca
                                        3150 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

                                    2. re: mucho gordo

                                      I agree. So where are the best taco trucks in the valley? They are certainly the best tacos in NYC. I'll be in the valley next week BTW. Gotta get taco's and burritos! Any good machaca's since Carlo's on Van Nuys Bl. closed up?

                                      1. re: johnindabronx

                                        My favorite SFV truck, thanks to streetgourmetla, is the mariscos truck that parks on Lankershim Blvd. in Sun Valley. Can't remember the name at the moment but it parks on the E side of the street between I-5 and San Fernando Rd.

                                        1. re: sel

                                          Mariscos El Tetos. One block south of San Fernando Road on Lankershim.

                                          -----
                                          Marisco's
                                          718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            That's the one, thanks!

                                            1. re: sel

                                              I like the chorizo and al pastor tacos from the truck that parks on Friar just west of Van Nuys Blvd (north side of the street) at night. They have great beans, too. I may have some on Weds when I am out there for a meeting! Yum!

                                2. There's no shortage of good Mexican places in the Valley...best bet is to start at one end and eat your way to the other; you'll find a bunch of gems along the way.

                                  You may want to try La Coronita, a cozy little taco shop that does great, homey breakfasts like huevos rancheros, huevos con salchichas, etc. served with rich-tasting beans, surprisingly good rice and often handmade tortillas (the tortillas are always freshly made, but sometimes they use a tortilla press). They also have daily specials -- chipotle chicken, shrimp tacos, etc. -- that are usually quite good as well.

                                  La Coronita
                                  7011 Canoga Ave. (Vanowen), Canoga Park

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: yclops

                                    I've always wondered about La Coronita, it looks like a small grocery store, what else do they serve? Al Pastor Tacos? Please reply?

                                    1. re: Hypnotic23

                                      It's been a couple of years since I've been (moved out of state), but I recall they had a slightly standard taqueria menu, but with regular daily off-menu specials, so you never knew what was going to be available.

                                      I highly recommend the chile rojo burrito...kind of a saucy pastor-like pork with nopales. Very, very good. I also quite liked the huevos rancheros and the tamales as well.

                                    2. re: yclops

                                      Wasn't that called Sierra's at one time?

                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                        Sierra's was at a slightly different address (and it couldn't possibly be the same building and be described as "cozy little"). Maybe they tore the building down and made it into more than one business?

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          Yeah, I also wondered about that "cozy little" wording. Sierra's was cozy but far from little. The facade resembled a hacienda. I haven't been by there in a while and don't know if they're still around.

                                    3. Homemade, pretty authentic- El Jerezano, Hazeltine below Oxnard. Under new ownership, but the carnitas burrito (they weren't making any al pastor today) was as greasy and flavorful as the last time I went ages ago. Excellent salsa and don't forget the chile condiments on the counter.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Spoony Bard

                                        Is El Jerezano still there? I drove by a few weeks ago and it was completely dark and looked closed. I wound up driving to North Hollywood to Tacos La Fonda instead.

                                        1. re: Jwsel

                                          El Jerezano is still there, went about a week ago for the first time. I had their Birria which was offered in soup or dry with rice and beans. I had the later and it was a generous portion, very tasty, tender and flavorful with almost no bones. GF has a couple of Asada Tacos which she said were good. Their Horchata was very good but the highlight was their Corn Tortillas Hecho a Mano - best in LA!!!

                                          http://www.eljerezano.net/

                                      2. I'm a Carrillo's fan, too. The carnitas and chicarones are fabulous. If you have kids, they will love the giant quesadilla oozing with loads of good Mexican cheese.

                                        I know it's a dumpy place, and I know that bean dip isn't authentic Mexican, but I love the bean dip at Casa de Carlos in Woodland Hills. It's spiked with jalapenos and bacon.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: purplescout

                                          Second Carrillo's in San Fernando. Tortillas are homemade and carnitas are juicy and slightly crispy. The lines are out the door.

                                          1. re: granadafan

                                            Salsa and Beer , corner of Vanowen and White Oak
                                            With a new location coming to North Hollywood
                                            I put up there with thr best Mexician restaurant.

                                            1. re: magic man

                                              re: NoHo location

                                              Good enchiladas, terrible tamales, good shrimp. Addictive bean dip, a lot of food for cheap.

                                              Basically a legit Cholo's iMHO. Got any recs?

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                Also, when their carnitas tacos are on, they are my cat nip.

                                              2. re: magic man

                                                I could not agree more! I cannot eat mexican anywhere else now

                                          2. I would like to make the case for Amaranta Cocina Mexicana in the Westfield Topanga Mall in Canoga Park. The problem with Mexican food on this side of the border even in Los Angeles is restaurants have a hard time getting out of their comfort zone on their menu. They are afraid if they don't serve Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc that customers will not come. Even La Cacita in Bell, a chowhound favorite, their regular menu is not adventurous at all. I am not talking about the uber-feasts that are put together for the food bloggers which you can't get unless you pre set it up and bring a lot of people.

                                            Dommy found out about Amaranta in a thread about Cochinita Pibil, a Yucatecan staple which it is hard to find decent versions in LA. When we checked out the menu, we were surprised at some of the dishes we found available

                                            Coliflor Capeada (brilliant version)
                                            Cochinita Pibil (a Solid B+ version
                                            Chamorro de Cordero en Barbacoa (Not had)
                                            beso del tomate (drink) (Mexillent! )
                                            Crepas de Cajeta (Very Good)

                                            Plus their tortillas, both flour and corn, are wonderful.

                                            Now I noticed the menu since we were last there in October has seemingly become more safe though I cannot confirm. This may be a sign of patrons not ordering some wonderful but unfamiliar dishes. Chowhounds complain of a lack of great eats but restaurants can't justify putting things on the menu no one buys.

                                            The only way these places will survive is if we stop ordering tacos and order some of the other dishes here and it will allow Chefs who are excellent (I am looking at you Jamie and Romiro) to feel safe that they won’t have to toss most of a special like Coliflor Capeada since no one will go beyond Enchiladas.

                                            Rant mode off

                                            Take Care

                                            - P.

                                            -----
                                            La Casita Mexicana
                                            4030 Gage Ave, Bell, CA 90201

                                            Amaranta
                                            6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd Unit 1029, Canoga Park, CA 91303

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                              Hey Mattapoisett in LA. You don't have to set up any special tastings with bloggers. They usually have specials posted on a board out front, plus they are now doing comida corrida again, or the set 3 course menu of the day including a soup, a dry soup, and a main. On Saturday they had tortitas de camaron con romeritos. They also had a great ceviche, and a queso fundido with an imported Mexican herbed cheese, so delicious.

                                              You can also ask them to make something special in addition to many great menu items they have not available anywhere else in LA, like the famous pollo Valentina from Jalisco, simple but a great dish.

                                              I think it quite bold to be cooking these dishes in Bell, where the majority of the customers are locals brought up on beans, rice, and chile verde.

                                              I need to go to Amaranta some day.

                                              -----
                                              Amaranta
                                              6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd Unit 1029, Canoga Park, CA 91303

                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                Amaranta's gone. Went to the mall a month or so ago and it was closed up for good.

                                                -----
                                                Amaranta
                                                6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd Unit 1029, Canoga Park, CA 91303

                                                1. re: roundfigure

                                                  Really! What a shame... :( There seemed a good amount of people who went there... *SIGH!* Those flour tortillas were like gossamer... so delish...

                                                  --Dommy!

                                                  1. re: roundfigure

                                                    Oh well. It's a little hard to get me to tequila bar these days since I have such a stash at home. That's mostly what kept me from running over when it first opened.

                                              2. I say "Hie thee to Don Adrian's" and get a cemitas poblana and be happy: http://hiddenlosangeles.com/wp-conten...

                                                -----
                                                Taqueria Don Adrian
                                                14902 Victory Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91411

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  And if they have 'em, get the Chalupas with Cecina. Green salsa all the way.

                                                2. well.i of latin blood would refer you to my moms .but she would whoop my derriere into next pueblo..carillos..not bad. flour tortillas crumble next day...NOW el jerezano is only place i go...tortillas just right...good portions and reasonable...give it a shot....i love the fact its authentic...funny how some spots try to taco bell enhance it. when foodies love real thing...el jerezano rocks!

                                                  1. in reference to la paz...sunday provides a decent buffet and ambience outdoors..mariachi and decent food.fried salmon so good .succulent prime rib.turkey.call for details ..however on a scale of 1-10 re authenticity of mexican foods..give it a 7.0.....something for everybody

                                                    1. I moved to the Valley after living in Santa Monica for over 15 years. While there's a plethora of fine tacquerias here, there's not many options for finer sit down places, except perhaps Sol Y Luna on Ventura & Corbin in Tarzana.

                                                      -----
                                                      Sol Y Luna
                                                      19601 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA

                                                      1. As a professional chef, avid diner and growing up in kitchens having eaten a lot of great mexican food. I really think the last comment hit it on the head. Sol Y Luna is really great. I can't recall a better sit down mexican meal. I do love Rigos Tacos though for a burrito.

                                                        -----
                                                        Sol Y Luna
                                                        19601 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA

                                                        Rigos Taco
                                                        10750 Glenoaks Blvd, Pacoima, CA 91331

                                                        1. What's the opinion of Senor Fred? I think the owner/chef also has Max and Oinkster - which are both very different and very good. And he is Latino, so he should have a knowledeable take on Mexican food.

                                                          -----
                                                          Oinkster
                                                          2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                                                          Senor Fred
                                                          13730 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                            andre guerrero is no long affiliated with it. he's sold it. also, i believe he's actually filipino.

                                                            still, i have had some good meals in the past with a particularly good salmon dish and the churros/hot chocolate dessert.

                                                            1. re: cdub

                                                              Andre is Filipino/French and no longer a partner.
                                                              As to the Senor Fred menu, per my post back in November of 2006 above, the salmon, birria Jalisco (lamb shank), cochinita pibil and crab enchiladas are still very good, 5 years later. And their margaritas are quite tasty, yet not overly expensive.

                                                              -----
                                                              Senor Fred
                                                              13730 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                                          2. Funny, I didn't see any mention of Casa Vega . . . oh yeah, right. Never mind.

                                                            -----
                                                            Casa Vega Restaurant
                                                            13301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                                            1. Since this post is almost as old as I am, an addition to the list should include Rocio's Mole de los Dioses, either in Sun Valley or the new one in Tarzana.
                                                              they feature about 13 different moles, and while I have only eaten one, the Mexican friend who went with me agreed that the food was VERY good.
                                                              Had a chicken mole poblano.
                                                              good size portions. sun Valley location has alcohol, while Tarzana awaits its license, which is a way off.
                                                              www.rociosmoledelosdioses.com for more info.

                                                              11 Replies
                                                              1. re: carter

                                                                Carter, have you (or anyone on the board) been to Restaurante Mi Tierra in North Hollywood? I've heard it's chow worthy but wondered if anyone has any first hand experience?

                                                                Restaurante Mi Tierra
                                                                11746 Victory Blvd
                                                                North Hollywood, CA 91606
                                                                (818) 755-9192

                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                  4.5* on yelp, on my list of places to try...

                                                                2. re: carter

                                                                  I agree, carter, that Rocio's Tarzana mole is really, REALLY good!
                                                                  And I love their ceviche with lots of lime and cilantro.

                                                                  1. re: carter

                                                                    I find myself once again swimming against the chowhound tide, by saying that I find Rocio's mole etc vastly overpraised and overrated. I found the whole experience there strangely inept and amateurish, and the décor and food presentation were almost institutional. Didn't enjoy it at all.

                                                                    If you want really good Mexican food, you have to get your gringo heinie over to where the Mexicans live, and that is not Tarzana. For the best mole, certainly in the SFV, try La Ascuncion Family Restaurant in North Hills. This is a real Mexican restaurant. I had the red mole (coloradito) when I was there, and it was the best I'd ever tasted, including Rocio.

                                                                    By the way, here's a tip to know if a Mexican restaurant is going to be any good or not. If there's not at least one picture of the Virgin Mary on the wall, go somewhere else.

                                                                    La Asuncion Family Restaurant
                                                                    8712 Sepulveda Blvd
                                                                    North Hills

                                                                    1. re: MarkC

                                                                      Hello, MarkC!
                                                                      I'm glad you spoke up "against the chowhound tide;" it's all in the spirit of finding something delicious!

                                                                      I found the flavors at Rocio's to be quite complex; I tried two different moles and liked both for their richness. I also liked their ceviche; it was very refreshing!

                                                                      Although North Hills is not on my usual route, I have noted your suggestion, with much interest, and will give it a try.

                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                        It wasn't so much the sauce itself, the mole was OK, but it was everything surrounding it. The premises are dark and depressing, even for a "hole in the wall". Décor exists for a reason. The service was a bit strange. The meal starts with a shrimp broth with some kind of cracker on it - I would have preferred chips and salsa, which were absent. The sauce was served over a pork steak, with a small mound of rice and sautéed vegetables. The whole feeling was Spartan and WASP-ified and just plain weird. Nobody in the place looked like they were enjoying themselves. It reminded me of a scene from a David Lynch movie. And the same was true of their Sun Valley location.

                                                                        Apart from the great food, La Asuncion has colors and music and life. Not funereal like Rocio's.

                                                                        1. re: MarkC

                                                                          Hmmm...I don't remember such a somber scene as you describe, but I am familiar with such a vibe. (Aside: I often feel this contrast with some of our big, empty supermarkets with half their lights turned off vs. some of the more lively ethnic markets with delicious tasting activities and loads of shoppers. The contrast is extreme!)

                                                                          The feel of a restaurant is part of the entire experience, and if you feel something is "off," then it IS! The only negative that I remember is extremely slow service at Rocio's.

                                                                          Because I so understand what you are saying, I do look forward to trying your recommendation of La Asuncion.

                                                                          1. re: MarkC

                                                                            The cracker is a tostadita...and the majoritarian of the clientele at the Sun Valley location are Hispanic, so they must be doing something right. But I get what you are saying about the protein options for the mole, I would recommend Guelaguetza for the real deal.

                                                                            1. re: TruJavaLvr

                                                                              Rocio's first location in Huntington Park is great, and so is La Casita Mexicana in Bell.

                                                                              1. re: TripleAxel

                                                                                Hmm, I thought she closed the HP location

                                                                        2. re: MarkC

                                                                          MarkC, I've had La Ascuncion on my list to try for a bit based on your recommendations, because it is very close to my daughter's home. However, when daughter and her family are with me Mexican other than seafood are not usually at the top of the list: daughter follows a halal diet so meat dishes at a Mexican place, and anything with lard, are out, as least for her.

                                                                          Any seafood dishes there you can recommend?

                                                                          I read somewhere that the tortillas are house made: is that still the case?

                                                                          If the mole is the only thing to order, I might have to sneak off by myself some afternoon to check it out on my own...

                                                                      2. http://www.salsaandbeervannuys.com/

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: lsirlin

                                                                          Tacos el zorro on the corner of van nuys and Sherman way...nothing fancy..but solid food..and cheap. Might have to speak Spanish to order tho...

                                                                        2. Did anyone say Rocio's Moles de los Dios in Sylmar and Van Nuys?

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: TripleAxel

                                                                            Yes. 10 posts above yours, carter suggested them. There were a couple of naysayers after that however. (Naysayers on Chowhound? I've never heard of such a thing! - ha ha).

                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                              Best tacqueria I've found in the valley is El Vaquero in Sylmar. Close seconds are Tacos Charly and Tacos El Faro in San Fernando. These are probably too remotely located for most people.

                                                                          2. I am sticking with Salsa and Beer in North Hollywood.

                                                                            First of all, unlike the Van Nuys location, this one is a big restaurant with FULL bar. Great inexpensive margaritas.

                                                                            Ahhh, the meat.... there is an incredible charbroiled smokey taste I have yet to find anywhere. The steak and shrimp dishes are awesome, love the steak, carnitas, and adovada tacos.

                                                                            The bean dip is just great.

                                                                            2 Tacos, rice and beans for $7 and Steak and shrimp for about $13. Huge portions... I eat there 2-3 times per week!

                                                                            Yesterday I had shrimp enchiladas.