Best fresh salsa and chips restaurant?
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?
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.
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
11222 Washington Place (not Boulevard)
Culver City, CA 90230
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...
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
Don Antonios in West LA has the best chips I've ever had. Very addicting. There food is just average, though.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.