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Jan 13, 2007 04:01 PM

Favorite Mexican Food On Westside?

I love well done thick crispy chips and amazing food. Any suggestions?

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  1. Amazing Westside Mexican Food? How do you define that?

    What are you looking for?

    a) Street Tacos
    b) Fish entrees
    c) Oaxacan
    d) High-end creative
    e) Ambiance matters
    f) Bar to linger at & fancy drinks
    g) Beer enough
    h) Scene

    Example: If (a) is "all" that matters, then you should follow the advice below:

    BTW - Located in same mini-mall as Monte Alban (Oaxacan).

    1. Lares on Pico used to be my fave, but since they reopened after the fire over a year ago, the food has been inconsistent. Of late, I've found The Talpa on Pico w. of Barrington to be most enjoyable. They certainly have the thick crispy chips you're looking for, as well as hearty rustic fare. The table salsa is quite tasty and slightly smoky with a kick. Carnitas are fine, as is the pork in spicy tomatillo sauce burrito (I get mine wet)The only downside is it lacks ambience as it has a hole-in-the-wall kind of atmosphere and they only serve wine margaritas.

      If you want the whole deal, try Paco's in Culver City on Centinela just south of Washington. They have homemade tortillas, good but not great standard fare, margs, and their cochinta pibil is outstanding. Expect a wait during peak hours, though, as it's a very popular destination.

      If you want high end Mexican with an emphasis on fish, try La Serenata on 4th street between Broadway and Santa Monica. In addition to semi standard fare, they have daily fish specials you can get with your choice of sauces - the molcajete sauce is spicy & delish, as are the crispy chips and very hot chile based table salsa. Margs and atmosphere are very good, although it can get a bit loud.

      If you want the bottom end in terms of ambience but with great food, you are not likely to be disappointed with Tacos Por Favor on Olympic & 14th. Fine tacos & burritos, super mole, and outrageously delicious chorizo & cheese tacos. Great self serve salsa bar with an exceptional salsa roja you're not likely to soon forget, as well as the usual pico de gallo, green salsa, and pickled carrots & jalapenos. It's more of a fast food place in terms of service where they call out your number and is popular with the locals as a lunch spot. In fact, I have never been there for dinner as they close around 7pm.

      Hope this helps...


      1. Start with Lares on Pico. I have not noticed any measurable difference in the food post-fire. The chips will pass your test. I believe you need a permit to park on the side streets in the evening so be careful if you do not valet.

        1. i love don antonio's and the talpa next door is also really good (both near pico/barrington). i always go to DA's b/c talpa does not have a full bar and the ambience at DA's is 100X better.

          lares has really gone downhill since the fire. it used to be good - but it's so inconsistent (and more often bad than good) - that i don't go anymore.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dtud

            We also love DA's. It has become out Mexican food default dining option for all the reasons you list, plus the best version of albondigas we have found, (lovely soft and well flavored/spiced meatballs in a highly savory broth with veggies) and one of the better plain jane guacamoles that is very avocadoey (?) tasting, plus the full bar (killer mai tai's) and last, but not least, the cave room.

            1. re: tony michaels

              i know - the place is awesome! their salsa is one of my favorites ever (there used to be a place called panchos down the street - across from TB where Cecil's is now that had better salsa). their chips are so crispy and good! and they have the world's best beef nachos - i mean they are SO freakin' good. like nowhere else. i'm convinced that their nachos could lead to world peace: who would want to fight when they could eat DA's nachos?

          2. Casa Escobar Wilshire and 25th. It's our family's favorite for years. Pure Gringo Mexican however, but tasty.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PaliBruin

              I had not thought of mentioning Casa Escobar as after eating there nearly every week for well over ten years, I've finally burned out on the place. Neverthless the margaritas are some of the most potent around, and the food's not bad, particulalry the chorizo tostada & chile colorado burrito. Definitely better than Don Antonio.