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Best fresh salsa and chips restaurant?

pinkfoodie Apr 7, 2007 08:48 PM


I'm looking for a Mexican restaurant in L.A. (anywhere, really, but preferably the west side or SGV) that has good fresh salsa and homemade chips and generally good Mexican food. Babita's is a little too expensive, though. Any other suggestions?


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  1. travistarr RE: pinkfoodie Apr 7, 2007 09:18 PM

    If you happen to pass through Los Feliz on your way between the west side and SGV, a stop at Malo on Sunset might serve you well. They have a chips and salsa sampler on the menu (along with many other very good small plate al la carte mexican items) which you get a choice of a few of their house made salsas. Pick what sounds the best, I go for the creamy habenero, have a drink, and soak up the black on black on dark red on black color scheme. You can even snag a table in the back of the dark bar area if you get lucky.

    After than, this is a change up, but I happen to like the chips and salsa at Tito's Tacos on Washington and Sepulveda. The salsa is mild. The chips are thick. But on a late spring afternoon on one of the picnic tables outside, it can be just what I am looking for.

    1. b
      bulavinaka RE: pinkfoodie Apr 8, 2007 04:36 PM

      Seems salsa is a very personal taste issue, but when it comes to chips, do you like them salty? A bit on the oily side? Really crispy? If you prefer them really crisp, hearty with the flavor of toasted corn, I would try Gallego's Mexican Deli on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista. I am very impressed with alot of their foods - alot of our posters find their barbacoa to be excellent. They also have one deli case that is almost committed solely to tamales. This is one of the real deal places in the Westside.

      The chips are kind of an afterthought at alot of places, but Gallego's seems to take alot of pride in making everything the best that they can, including their chips. These are hearty chips that have a great toasted taste but only just a hint of oil. Not oversalted, the chips make a great accompaniment to their dishes, or just with their great salsas from the salsa bar - even alone.

      As travistarr also mentions, Tito's - the bane of so many Chowhounders - actually has very tasty chips - albeit they can be a bit on the oily side at times - are salted well, and for some reason, their standard red salsa which seems more like crushed tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper is a perfect match with their chips - maybe it's the saltiness of the chips making the flavor of the tomatoes bloom before you . I find their beef burrito is aceptable when ordered in combo with rice, cheese and guac, while others prefer their fried beef tacos. I think the meat inside their tacos is "hard to identify." Their chips and salsa are worth a shot though. But if anyone asks you who recommended Tito's to you, I wasn't here...

      Gallego's Mexican Deli
      12470 Venice Blvd
      Mar Vista, CA 90066
      310-391-2587 - call first - they tend to close early

      Tito's Tacos
      11222 Washington Place (not Boulevard)
      Culver City, CA 90230

      5 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka
        bulavinaka RE: bulavinaka Apr 8, 2007 04:54 PM

        PS- I must thank Dommy! and Tony Michaels for the Gallego's rec. These two veteran Chowhounders consistantly offer excellent recs to us all...

        1. re: bulavinaka
          Frank_Santa_Monica RE: bulavinaka Apr 9, 2007 04:39 PM

          Do you happen to know if Gallego's uses lard to fry up their chips?

          I like the chips and salsa at Border Grill.

          1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica
            bulavinaka RE: Frank_Santa_Monica Apr 9, 2007 11:09 PM

            To be honest, I don't know, but the amount of oil on the chips seems very low. As a guage, the brown bag holding the chips hardly has any oil spots on it. These chips are very thick and toasty. They will hold up to just about anything that you decide to pile on it or dip it into...

            1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica
              revets2 RE: Frank_Santa_Monica Apr 10, 2007 02:53 AM

              second BORDER GRILL

            2. re: bulavinaka
              pinkfoodie RE: bulavinaka Apr 10, 2007 01:42 AM

              Thanks so much! I love my chips salty and really crispy. I'll check out your suggestions. :)

            3. l
              Like go grinz RE: pinkfoodie Apr 8, 2007 05:10 PM

              Los Toros is a Meat Market and they also have a restaurant next door. I go to the meat market and buy fresh made chips, salsa and guacamole. You can also have that in the restaurant with bottled beer. However, I have not been happy with the other items on the menu recently. Nevertheless, the chips, salsa and guacamole is the best I have had this side of New Mexico. Next time you have a party or pot luck bring these chips and you will be remembered.

              There is another location in SGV but I do not know the address.

              Los Toros Meat Market (Bags of fresh made Chips and pints of fresh Salsa and Guacamole)
              5225 Peck Rd
              El Monte, CA 91732-1122
              (626) 444-5757

              3 Replies
              1. re: Like go grinz
                TastELA RE: Like go grinz Apr 8, 2007 05:23 PM

                likewise, not a restaurant, but the BEST chips IMHO are from Superior markets, homemade tortilla chips they make daily up by the fresh foods section. They have tons of salsas to try, too.

                1. re: TastELA
                  pinkfoodie RE: TastELA Apr 10, 2007 01:43 AM

                  I just tried the Superior chips...you are SO right, thanks! Absolutely delicious. I saw a lemon flavored bag. I wonder what other flavors they have on other days?

                2. re: Like go grinz
                  katkoupai RE: Like go grinz Apr 8, 2007 05:25 PM

                  Like go grinz, I wish I lived closer to El Monte-- these chips sound really good.

                3. ipsedixit RE: pinkfoodie Apr 8, 2007 09:27 PM

                  Try Chichen Itza.

                  Chichen Itza
                  2501 West 6th Street
                  Los Angeles
                  (213) 380-0051

                  1. a
                    assassin RE: pinkfoodie Apr 8, 2007 11:05 PM

                    Don Antonios in West LA has the best chips I've ever had. Very addicting. There food is just average, though.

                    1. w
                      wildgift RE: pinkfoodie Apr 8, 2007 11:22 PM

                      I'm not the pro here, but I like the salsa at:
                      Teresita's, 1st St, East LA,
                      7 Mares, Whittier Bl., Montebello,
                      Chevy's, Burbank (yeah, so what!)

                      I like the chips at these places, too, but my current fave chips are at Carl's Jr. on San Gabriel, in San Gabriel (near Babita's). I'm pretty sure these aren't homemade. The "Mexican" food there isn't good.

                      Teresita's has the best food of those listed.

                      Also, to add to what tasteELA wrote, the Superior in Boyle Heights is neat, because you can watch the chips being made. Tortillas go in one end of the machine, and chips come out the other end. Some of their salsas are really good, too. The quality of their food depends on how well you cook.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wildgift
                        Wolfgang RE: wildgift Apr 9, 2007 10:38 AM

                        I like the salsa at Don Antonios and Gilberts El Indio and the chips at Tere's.
                        The glistening of the oil on Don Antonios chips is slightly off-putting. They taste fine but I like a chip that at least appears less greasy.

                      2. OCAnn RE: pinkfoodie Apr 9, 2007 10:43 AM

                        I have 2 favourites. EL FAROLITO in Old Town Placentia for addicting, a bit oily, hearty, house-made corn-tortilla chips and their hot!, non-fresca salsa.

                        The other is from the small chain FRESCA'S (Birch Street Promenade). They have different salsas (firehouse, gringo, fresca, picante, etc) and light, crunchy corn tortilla chips.

                        Two different styles, each good nonetheless.

                        1. c
                          crystaw RE: pinkfoodie Apr 9, 2007 12:18 PM

                          Paco's in Arcadia has pretty good chips and salsa and their entrees are quite large so bring an appetite if you go there. I know it's a chain, but I tried the chips at Chipotle over the weekend and they were pretty great.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: crystaw
                            Dommy RE: crystaw Apr 9, 2007 12:25 PM

                            My favorite chip (I love hearty thick chips that you can just PILE on with 'stuff' is Gallegos Deli. YUM! :)


                          2. Professor Salt RE: pinkfoodie Apr 9, 2007 04:09 PM

                            I'm partial to the chips & mole negro at Guelaguetza (the Palms location). That mole kills. Not sure if you were asking specifically for salsa fresca, so sorry if I'm leading you astray.

                            In any other city, they can charge $8 for that little bowl and they'd sell the s*&% out of it all day long. Here, it's a humble little freebie they set on the table the moment you sit down.

                            1. g
                              glutton RE: pinkfoodie Apr 9, 2007 05:33 PM

                              And here comes Glutton with another Monte Alban recommendation... I think the chips at Monte Alban are first class. Fresh, crunchy, thick. The salsa is very good, though I would suggest getting some guacomole and some queso fundido to round out the package properly.

                              1. z
                                zack RE: pinkfoodie Apr 10, 2007 05:14 PM

                                i might get flamed for this but the best i've had is at acapulco! i know i know, it's a chain restaurant, blah blah. i'm sticking by it though because the salsa has just enough kick, the right amount of chunkiness from the blend of pico de gallo, and the chips are usually (ask for it) hot and fresh. oh and the chips are thin and made of flour tortilla, i just don't like thick corn ones.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: zack
                                  yogachik RE: zack Apr 10, 2007 05:17 PM

                                  Monte Alban has GREAT chips, guacamole and salsa.

                                  But my favorite chips and salsa: Tia Juana on Olympic near Bundy (across from BedBathBeyond) - home made tortillas make for fantastic tacos, too.

                                  1. re: zack
                                    crystaw RE: zack Apr 11, 2007 02:58 AM

                                    Haha...I forgot about the chips and salsa at Acapulco. They are pretty darn good. I usually end up eating only about half my food because of the chips and salsa

                                  2. WildSwede RE: pinkfoodie Apr 11, 2007 08:54 AM

                                    My favorite C & S - Mijares in Pasadena. Hands down. Really fresh and a nice kick to it. Also, Margarita's on Rosemead does a good one and La Fiesta Grande in Pas (ask them for other salsas - if they have them, they will bring them out) their regular table salsa is kinda peppery and a little different, not chunky, but good.

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