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Informal poll: Best Mexican in the LA area

Okay everyone, I want to know your opinions on the best Mexican to be had in this town. There are no parameters on this, your choices could range from the local tiny burrito stand, to the super-authentic places on the Eastside, to the Americanized Cadillac margarita-serving joints that abound throughout the city. I'm new to the area so I've yet to form any opinion in any direction & would love the insight & expertise of my fellow 'Hounds to guide me in my journey. Thanks for your time & let the games begin!

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  1. A favorite of mine is Paco's Tacos. Their homemade tortillas are to die for.

    Pacos Tacos
    4141 S Centinela Ave (Cross Street: Washington Boulevard)
    Los Angeles, CA 90066-4908
    (310) 391-9616

    Also, you must try the chicken chili verde tamale from Gallego's Mexican Deli on Venice, a couple blocks east of Centinela.

    Gallegos Mexican Deli
    12470 Venice Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90066-3804
    (310) 391-2587

    1. My vote would go to La Cabinita on Verdugo Rd. in Glendale. The homemade chips (why don't more Mexian restaurants make their own chips?) and salsa are swoon-worthy and their mole is fantastic. If its good enough for Elizabeth Taylor (her photo is on the wall with Larry Fortensky), Its good enough for the unwashed masses like us!

      2 Replies
      1. re: kirstikay

        I cast a vote for La Cabanita as well. I especially love their Pozole, Caldo de Pollo, and the Tacos de Picadillo. They also serve handmade corn tortillas.

        1. re: way2cook

          Another vote! La Cabanita is definitely my favorite Mexican cuisine in LA, too.

      2. For me, it's all about Babitas... Hopefully we'll get a chance to go soon...

        But an honorable mention goes to Pepy's Galley in Marvista, if only for Chilaquilles which made this Mexico City Fan cry...

        --Dommy!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Dommy

          And where might this "Babita's" be?

          1. re: sunnygordy

            I'll cast another vote for Babita.

            1823 S San Gabriel Blvd (Cross Street: East Norwood Place)
            San Gabriel, CA 91776
            (626) 288-7265

          2. re: Dommy

            La Babita es muy bueno si', pero cuesta mucho tambien!

            Maybe this thread should be divided between high end and low end but Babs stands out in the former.

            1. re: Dommy

              Please...more about the chilaquilles at Pepy's Galley...and location too?

              1. re: TravelPath

                Location is inside the Mar Vista bowling alley on the north east corner of Venice Blvd. and Grandview (two short blocks east of Centinela).

                I have had them once and thought they were okay but Dommy sounds like more of an expert in this area. I think their fried polish sausage is a better bet. YMMV

                1. re: TravelPath

                  They are TRUE Chilaquilles, Tortillas fried and then sauteed with sauce so they retain that crisp edge. They are then dusted with Cojita cheese!!! Have them along side their KILLER Machaca (I loved it more than Jar's famed Pot Roast Hash!) and you are in Mexican Breakfast heaven...

                  Although a Polish Sausage is great too! :)

                  --Dommy!

                  1. re: Dommy

                    A digression about the properties of chialquilles has been split and moved here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45836...

              2. Sorry, I don't think Paco's or Gallego's belong anywhere in the Top 100... much less the BEST.

                I think if you are looking for the complete package...

                > Concept
                > "Interestingness"
                > Execution
                > Atmosphere

                Babita is the clear winner... with honorable mentions to Hound favorites like La Huasteca & La Casita in Bell.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Fair enough, but them please tell me where I can find a better homemade tortillas, or a better tamale than the chicken chili verde tamale from Gallego's. If you haven't tried the CCV tamale, you're not qualified to answer.

                  1. re: chowmominLA

                    5 Puntos in ELA, often has a Pork Sparerib Chile Verde tamale... that Gallego's can only begin to bow to.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      I really believe 5 Puntos is the best Mexican food in the city, if you're not taking into account convenience or any other factor beyond the food. Other than that, I really like La Parilla for huge plates of grilled meats, El Sazon Oaxaca (or something like that) for chicken in robust red mole, El Indio Bonita for warm, comfy food (pozole and barabcoa--I've never even had a chance to try their legendary albondigas), and La Cabanita for just a nice, clean sit-down meal with margaritas and good flavor.

                      Seriously, there's so much out there that picking the "Best Mexican Food in L.A." is like picking the best square inch of Salma Hayek. The essential L.A. Mexican food experience is pulling up to a random taco truck on a hunch and finding the best al pastor you've ever tasted.

                      1. re: Chris O

                        I just tried four different tamales (beef, pork, chili verde and sweet) from 5 Puntos and I have to say that I still like Gallego's chicken chili verde tamales much, much more.

                        Also, the homemade corn tortillas tasted a little bland without anything, but I'd bet they'd be delicious with butter.

                2. I have to second La Casita in Bell. I also recommend La Parilla in East Los Angeles. Badiraguato in South Gate is very good for authentic Sinaloa type food (especially their "white" menudo or their tacos of carne con papas). For particular dishes, I like Raphaels in Montebello for their delicious cocido (especially on these cold/rainy days) and also for their chile verde. For pozole, there's Mi India Bonita on Olympic in East L.A. (Saturdays only) or La Salsa Grill on Rosemead in Pico Rivera served daily.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Neta

                    When we are on the east side we try and make it to Teresitas Family restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The setting is clean and nondescript but the food is exceptional and the service is very friendly and good.

                    http://www.teresitasrestaurant.com/

                    1. re: tony michaels

                      Plus, very good chicken al bondigas. (Tuesdays only though, I think.)

                      1. re: David Kahn

                        I haven't been on the day Teresitas' serves it, but I love it at Mi India Bonita.

                    2. re: Neta

                      I used to like La Parilla back in the days when it was the happening place in ELA, and Los Lobos & Paul Rodriguez were regulars. I don't its even close to cracking East L.A. Top 10 IMHO.