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Awesome/affordable mexican food near LAX?

I am taking a friend out for dinner who is staying at the Los Angeles Airport Westin Hotel. Any good eats in that area?

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  1. Paco's on Centinela just south of Washington Blvd is pretty good. What makes this place great is that it's been there forever! Great atmosphere. Be prepared for a wait to sit.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jenuine cowgirl

      I second the recommendation for Paco's, but would just like to save the original poster a long drive by pointing out that there is another Paco's much closer to the airport. This location only opened a few years ago and is much larger, so it has a bit of a different atmosphere than the other location though the food is the same. I believe its just off of Sepulveda on Manchester, just North of the airport, near Staples.

      6212 W Manchester Ave
      Los Angeles, CA 90045
      (310) 645-8692

      1. re: Marvin

        Parking is much easier too--huge lot in back. Centinela is tight.

        1. re: Marvin

          The couple of times we went there I was not impressed. I thought it's worse than El Torito, Acapulco, Chevys and other TexMex joints if it's possible to believe.

          Had the Chili Rellenos which was completely yucky (I love them in authentic hole-in-wall joints).

      2. The best and closest Mexican food to LAX in a nice setting with good margaritas and food is probably Panchos in Manhattan beach at the western terminus of Rosecrans as it meets Highland Ave. at the Pacific Ocean.


        5 Replies
        1. re: tony michaels

          Panchos has a long menu; the setting is pleasant and the food is good but gringo.

          1. re: Lee by the Sea

            You're right, but it's an easy do... their margaritas are pretty gringo as well, but they go down nice and easy, and the food usually sits well with most people. I think if you're used to eating at taquerias, then it's a no-go, but if you're looking for a decent meal with comfortable surroundings, it will work?

            1. re: Lee by the Sea

              you were being kind.
              what campbell's canned soup is to soup, panchos is to mexican food.

            2. re: tony michaels

              I asked a similar question a while ago, and Panchos was one of the answers I got; can't say I really recommend it. Yes, pleasant setting, so/so food. It really isn't all that close to the airport either, especially if there is still construction going on on Rosecrans...


              1. re: susancinsf

                For the margaritas, go with something above the basic one. The Dirty Maggie is a top shelf cadillac version.
                Food there has a lot of combinations and special dishes above basic tacos and such.
                Construction on Rosecrans is east of Sepulveda. Should not affect coming from airport if you take Sepulveda from Century Blvd.

            3. How about Casablanca on Rose and Lincoln. Great Mexican food and they make their own flour tortillas which they serve with a wonderful avocado salsa. Their specialty is Calamari in many ways, besides the other Mexican regulars.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Mother Hubbard

                And now we're 15-20 minutes north of the airport...

                1. re: Lee by the Sea

                  probably much more than 20 min.
                  remember: there is horrible ongoing construction on lincoln blvd.

              2. Is your friend Mexican? If not then he would probably be content with any of the recommendations above. Hacienda del Rey on Lincoln Blvd, across the street from Bristol Farms serves good, strong margaritas and they keep a hot griddle going in the back with a little lady doing handmade tortillas that are delicious. My Mexican friends in the neighborhood prefer Hacienda over Pacos, but then, again, we have been known to storm the Hacienda and simply eat tortillas, queso fundido and drink margaritas. They offer a very reasonable California/Mex menu.
                If you drive further down Lincoln into Marina del Rey you can find Tlalapazola. Their menu is upscale Southern Mexican with fine fish entrees and a decent mole.
                But for awesome AND afforable I take afficionados to La Casita Mexicana in Bell where the entire menu is extraordinarily authentic, from Puebla and Oaxaca Mexico. They serve no liquor, but, the mole negro is to die for, as well as the chiles en nogadas. My friends loved the Queso Azteca appetizer. Its like a queso fundido with several kinds of Mexican cheeses, chilies and wrapped in a banana leaf, grilled and served with fresh home made corn tortillas. Something so simple as chilaquiles divorceadas, a dish drizzled with red and green mole sauce, runs maybe $6.95 and is probably the best in town. It's a 20 minute drive from LAX by taking the 105 to the 710.
                ....Hmmm think I need a Casita fix.

                Hacienda del Rey
                310) 670-8588
                8347 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles

                Tlapazola Grill http://www.tlapazolagrill.com
                4059 Lincoln Blvd. Marina del Rey, CA 90292

                La Casita Mexicana www.casitamex.com
                (323) 773 - 1898
                4030 East Gage Ave. Bell, CA 90201

                3 Replies
                1. re: sassille

                  Cozymel's is also really close to the airport on Rosecrans just east of Sepulveda. No need to take the freeway.
                  Manhattan Beach
                  2171 Rosecrans Ave.
                  El Segundo, CA 90245-4718
                  Phone: 310-606-5505

                  1. re: ToroTaku

                    It's not bad for upscale TexMex. Parking is easy.

                  2. re: sassille

                    imho tlapazola is so better than hacienda del rey that i don't even consider them to be in the same league.

                  3. Titos Tacos is an institution. Can't be beat for fast, cheap and good Mexican.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: ZEN

                      I must protest -- it can be beat by pretty much anything including crunchy tacos from Taco Bell. I don't understand the hype.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        Tito's: naguhyde tacos with neon cheese
                        Affordable - yes
                        Edible - a couple of items
                        Awesome - uh-uh, no-way

                        1. re: sassille

                          i think you are being way to kind to the place.
                          i can't even come up with the words to describe how gross the food is.
                          your description, however, is the closest i've seen to the indescribable truth.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            The "salsa" is pretty good - goes perfect with their chips... other than that, I can't stomach their food anymore...

                      2. re: ZEN

                        titos serves horrible, bland, grease bombs.
                        i understand that if you were brought up on them, they seem terrific.
                        (for years i felt the same way about canned campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup because that's what my mother 'cooked' for us)
                        nonetheless, it's awful food.

                        1. re: ZEN

                          titos serves the original bland-grease-bomb food that folks went for in the 60's.
                          many of us who were kids and teens in the 60's grew up on that stuff so we developed a liking to it and now it has nostagic value
                          that doesn't necessarily mean that the food is good enough to recommend it to anyone else., , , ,

                        2. El Tarasco on Washington Blvd at Ocean Drive is good and cheap.


                          1. PACO'S on Centinela [at Washington]!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: natincali

                              I went to Paco's.

                              I was served a plate of glop.

                              I know people love it, but I'm at a loss as to why.

                            2. I'd like to highly recommend Casa Gamino at 4937 W. Century Blvd in Inglewood. Its just north of the 405 at Century on the North side of the street. (Its a huge redish-colored building.) Their food is excellent and so is their service. They have everything from fresh seafood cocktails and seafood soups to your basic dishes such as enchiladas, burritos and even tacos. The Fajitas are terrific and more than enough for two! They have both Red Chile and a Green Chile plates and their Abondigas Soup is really god, with a great homemade taste. A bowl of that is a whole meal. They do not make their own tortillas but who cares! (And yes, I loved Paco's homemade tortillas!)

                              There's a full bar there that seems to get a little busy on the weekends. They have a banquet room in the back, as well. The ambiance of the place is very festive with lots of Mexican paintings and decorations, including cut-paper banners and pinatas. There are two separate dining rooms all with booth seating and no matter how big you are, you'll fit as the tables move! The Waiters are busy as the restaurant really fills up on the weekends with locals but they are attentive Waiters and I have to give them credit for paying attention to their Customers' needs.

                              Again, I higly recommend this restaurant. The prices are good, the service great and the food is freshly made. And yes, you get chips and salsa a second after you are seated and the staff never lets that chip basket empty! If you're still looking for a good Mexican restaurant near LAX, this is the place to try! This is truly a family-style restaurant and a great place to take a date!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: AnnieAmie

                                "Its just north of the 405 at Century on the North side of the street. (Its a huge redish-colored building.) "

                                It would have to be either east or west of the 405 which is running north/south.

                              2. i second the gamino's recommendation. we stumbled in one night when we were picking up someone whose flight was delayed a couple of hours. it's not super-rica by any means, but it's really good, cheesey mexican--the kind you'd be happy to have in your neighborhood. and it is very affordable.

                                1. Almost forgot about LAX Tacos on Arbor Vitae in Inglewood. Not in the best neighborhood, and the atmosphere is nil, but this taqueria makes some very respectable tacos.

                                  1. As long as the topic is reawakened, may I recommend Licha's. Quiet, tasty, DF style.

                                    4267 W El Segundo Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250

                                    Paco's Tacos Cantina
                                    6212 W Manchester Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                    Pancho's Restaurant
                                    3615 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                                    2171 Rosecrans Ave, El Segundo, CA 90245

                                    Hacienda Del Rey
                                    8347 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                    Tlapazola Grill
                                    4059 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

                                    Casa Gamino
                                    4937 W Century Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90304

                                    El Tarasco
                                    8620 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                                    LAX Tacos
                                    543 W Arbor Vitae St, Inglewood, CA 90301

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: DiveFan

                                      Does anyone know of any of these that are close to LAX and that are open on a Tuesday early in the morning like 7am?

                                      1. re: to_eat

                                        just so you know, el tarasco and tito's are more take-out stands than restaurants. both serve very cheap and awful stuff.

                                        cozymel's is a chain. it is to mexican food what olive garden is to italien food. they serve many different types of margaritas that are made with commercial bottled sweet and sour mix. lots of families with kids drinking sodas out of sippy cups.

                                        tlapazola is a real restaurant with tableclothes that serves excellent food. it is tiny, though, and the food is a oaxacan/californian fusion. be SURE that they will have a table ready for you before you go as there really is no place to wait if your table isn't ready.

                                        1. re: to_eat

                                          That early the only place I can think of for something in the "Mexican" food vein would be the huevos rancheros at The Kettle (not a Mexican place) in Manhattan Beach (open 24/7).


                                          1138 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                                      2. I live in Inglewood near LAX and I have to honestly say the best Mexican food I've had around this area is La Fonda. It's a small restaurant with a nice atmosphere. They have amazing food. Since I'm Mexican and grew up on home cooked meals I'm usually disappointed when it comes to Mexican food from most restaurants but this place really hits the spot. Good stuff.

                                        La Fonda of Inglewood
                                        4649 W Century Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90304

                                        1. Teresa's Mosaic Cafe
                                          150 S. Sepulveda El Segundo
                                          5 minutes from Airport. Fresh tortillas. Really good food.