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Aug 17, 2007 04:01 PM

Mexican Food Tonight Studio City or North Hollywood

I will be in this area this evening heading down to the comedy store. This is my one chance for a great mexican restaurant, sit down please, before leaving town. Please Help!

Also will be near the Getty tommorrow for lunch for the very last meal in LA. LA and this board are way too vast for a quick search! Thanks so much for any help!

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  1. Senor Fred in sherman oaks, Mexicali Cantina in Studio City and Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks in that order. All 3 are very popular, all 3 have good fun and margs yet the Vega's food is the worst of the 3, and by quite a bit, as I see it, yet ymmv!
    All 3 on Ventura Blvd.

    4 Replies
    1. re: carter

      I strongly disagree that Casa Vega's food is in any way worse than Mexicali Cantina which is downright mediocre to bad.

      Casa Vega has a a largely traditional menu and has been around forever. It has a rollicking good vibe and some good dishes. The portions are obscenely large which, along with the choice of either soup or their tostada salad, helps explain the pricing.
      I like the pollo en mole quite a bit and their tostada and albondigas are probably my favorite things on the menu.

      I have had both good an bad meals at Senor Fred and don't go often as a result.

      Perhaps my favorite Mexican in the Valley is Tony's - a little hole in the wall, strip mall place on the southwest corner of Coldwater & Magnolia. It has great food but serves no alcohol, I often bring a couple of beers and they don't seem to mind. I've seen other diners bring wine.

      1. re: bodie

        Second Tony's, but it's probably too informal for your wants. They have incredible fish tacos. You might try Mariscos Colima on Vanowen.

        1. re: bodie

          Casa Vega is tradtional US mexican restaurant food. I really wouldn't call it traditional mexican food.

          But when I'm in the mood for Mexican american restaraunts, I go for CV over El Torito or some other chain.

          I've never been thrilled with Senir Fred, thoug, which is also not "traditional".

          Tradidtional real mexican food is not always easy to fin in the SFV, and i rarely at any "nice sit dwon" place.

          1. re: bodie

            I agree with you, bodie -- Mexicali is about the drinks and the eye candy at the bar. The food is so bad that even the waitstaff warn customers about it.

            I like Tony's a lot, but if you're looking for a "date" atmosphere, Tony's is not it.

            Mariscos Colima could very easily be a shack in Baja somewhere -- it's very tasty and a lot nicer than the neighbourhood would lead you to believe (mmmm, airport-adjacent).

            I used to recommend Tequilas but the ownership changed and it didn't roll downhill so much as plummet.

            I like La Fogata on Van Nuys Blvd. for combo-glop plates.

        2. I don't know great great -
          decent and a bit gringoish - but full service etc mexicali on ventura in studio city, senor fred (mexican hot chocolate is excellent) on ventura in sherman oaks.

          simpler - sit down but order at the counter, but excellent food, bronco in sherman oaks, s.e. corner of moorpark and woodman (mariscos as well as antojitos).

          If you drive along victory or burbank heading west from laurel canyon you will see tons of mexican places that are full service.
          I haven't been to thisone in ages - but just fwiw (and a bit more catering to an Hispanic clientele)
          14106 VICTORY BLVD
          VAN NUYS

          1. Casa Vega!

            And I've never been there, but lunch AT the Getty restaurant should be a good choice. Nearby, for high-end dining you've got West at the Angeleno Hotel or the restaurant at the Hotel Bel Air. Also Divino in Brentwood: great fresh Italian.

            9 Replies
            1. re: nick_r

              What about El Torito Grill in the Sherman Oaks Galleria? Really enjoyed the one in Beverly Hills. Kind of high end, not your usual yellow-cheese-red-sauce Tex-Mex cuisine. Gewd 'gritas too.

              1. re: Steve2 in LA

                Do not go to El Torito Grill EVER. I work nearby and Have NEVER had good service there. I have had edible food but not good either. I have sent letters to the chains customer service contact online 2x with no response. No one in our company of over 50 people go due to the bad service there.

                1. re: joea

                  The one across from Angel Stadium's OK, I wonder if it's a mgmt problem at the SO branch.

                  1. re: joea

                    I've been to El Torito Grill at SO several times and had no issues. What is the issue?

                    1. re: krez

                      excerpt from my last visit:

                      1st Waited over 15 minutes to have a drink order.
                      2nd. The chips were old/stale
                      3rd After drink order was taken, we waited another 15-20 minutes for our drinks without seeing our server for our food order.
                      4th Food came out and was completely luke warm.
                      5th A woman in our party asked for her leftovers to go, as her plate was taken by a runner/busboy. Later on, when our server returned we asked where they were. He went back to look for them, came back asked who took them, left, came back said “Sorry,” gave us our check and left. Did not offer to remake the dish for take-out or take off the bill. We had to get a manager involved and even he was very nonchalant.

                      1. re: joea

                        Yuck, I wouldn't go back there either if that happened to me.

                        1. re: krez

                          When the only branch in LA was Beverly Hills, it was really good. Guess it's all about location, location, location. Oh, and people who give a damn. Pity. Thanks for the input. (Note to self: Skip El Torito Grill in SO.)

                      2. re: krez

                        I went to the Beverly HIlls location awhile back and asked for some sour cream on the side... this is not a joke, they told me that they were out of sour cream.

                        1. re: jenngen

                          LOL. I did ask for jicama sticks instead of tortilla chips for the guacamole when I was on my low carb kick. The server asked me like three times, "jicama?" and then "that's a first..." lol.

                2. Don Cuco's in nearby Toluca Lake.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: klaatu

                    Yum!! Second Don Cuco's. Used to live down the street from it. Now I go there whenever I go back to L.A.

                    1. re: pisang goreng

                      Don Cuco's-YUK!!! YUK!!! YUK!!!
                      The filling they put in their tacos and enchilades resembles some wet canned dog food I've served to my pups.
                      It's the same type of stuff that I saw served in the midwest to people who have no Mexican roots or have never had good Mexican food....EeeWWW!
                      I guess some people don't notice how bad the food is since the margaritas are pretty good...easy to get pretty loaded while waiting for the food...I've luckily only been forced to go there 3x in my life-happy I didn't have to pay for it.
                      Go to TONY"S on the corner of Coldwater/Magnolia in Studio City....if you can handle the drive, La Cabanita in north Glendale.

                        1. re: tatertotsrock

                          Yeah, and the Glendale branch sucks too.

                          1. re: tatertotsrock

                            Perhaps you shouldn't eat with your eyes so much, and I have never when ordering the chicken mole enchilada been served anything resembling 'wet canned dog food'. You can't argue with huge lines every day of the week, it's not like everyone has a horrible taste.

                            1. re: roasted138

                              There are huge lines at the Olive Garden for their microwaved food... popularity is not a good gauge of quality. For proof of that, try getting a reservation at Crustacean.

                              1. re: roasted138

                                as per Das Ubergeek...consider the source.
                                The majority of people in the "long lines" are darling little transplants here to work in the industry who don't always have long lunch hours/don't want to drive too far after work to get a drink.
                                Also take a look at the people in the lines...I'll happily say that I'd prefer not to take their suggestions on where to eat.
                                Also, I've eaten some pretty unappetizing looking things in my life that have tasted darned good...I'm not squeemish, but the stuff at DC has also tasted pretty tragic.

                                1. re: tatertotsrock

                                  First, popularity IS a good guage of a quality restaurant if you know what to look for. Crustacean is an anecdote.

                                  BUT, I am quite enthralled by how you guys take so much effort in your negativity towards Don Cuco's, you both must have indeed had something 'pretty tragic'. Based on that I'll have to try Tony's since it has been recommended so.

                                  1. re: roasted138

                                    Honestly, my hostility toward it is magnified by the fact that I'm supposed to wait 90 minutes for the privilege of eating food that I can get at El Torito across the street, or at Acapulco across from NBC, or at Barragan's, or at Alfredo's Granada, or any of the other mediocre Mexican restaurants in Burbank.

                                    That said, it's well-known that popularity and quality don't go hand in hand in Los Angeles -- the hype factor is huge here.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      I've only eaten at Don Cuco's once -- the location in Acton, of all the silly places. I found it delightful, top-notch Mex-American cuisine. The tortillas were soooo buttery and flakey and just incredible; everything else was great, too, but, you know, it's standard "combo plate" faire. I loved it, and plan on hitting the Burbank Don Cuco's as soon as I find myself in the area with my sweet little Cinnamon Kitten.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        I can see your frustration for sure, makes sense it makes the expectations a little higher.

                          2. For locals as the OP is gone gone gone...
                            Just drive down Victory Blvd or Burbank between Vineland and Sepulveda and look around you.

                            There are tons of interesting and good places - for mexican food - not for gloppy antojitos while swilling delicious pain-deadening fruit-infused margaritas.

                            but places with birria and pozole and menudo and mariscos etc.

                            give them a try as well.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Jerome

                              Or Vanowen. Or Sherman Way. Or Roscoe. The Valley is full of fantastic Mexican food... but you have to get past the "EW NORTH OF MAGNOLIA" problem. I lived near Vanowen and Fulton for years, and lived to tell about it.

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                Well, tell us more! List a few spots! Ilive near burbank and Sepulveda, and refuse to go to La Fogata, only go to Casa Vega for fake mexican..and need a good valley mexican place so I don't always have to trek to SAM.

                                1. re: Diana

                                  Mariscos Colima, Vanowen near Tujunga.
                                  Pa' Comer, ditto.
                                  Rigos Tacos, ditto.
                                  Tacos Mexico, Sherman Way and Bellaire.
                                  The place I can never remember, next to Pho 999 on Sherman and Coldwater.
                                  Tacos La Fonda (truck) evenings in the carwash at Vineland and Vanowen
                                  Oaxacan place (forget name) on Vanowen 3 doors west of Van Nuys Blvd
                                  La Cabinita de Don Chepe, Vineland near Vanowen

                                  1. re: Diana

                                    While not having margaritas, I really like Carrillo's Deli in Winnetka, on sherman Way at Corbin, just west of the Smart & Final. Best guac, the usual selection of beers (had to get that comment in!), and nearly everything I have had is anything but gringoish, be it the rellenos or the more exotic items as in lengua, etc. Spanish is the native language, but English is an option!!!
                                    Others might include Las Fuentes on Vanowen in Reseda, its sister Melody's nearby or its upscale version Sol & Luna in Tarzana, yet I tried none of them, as once I get west of the 405, I immediately aim for Carrillo's!

                                    1. re: carter

                                      Carter, you really should try Las Fuentes. I'd recommend it way more than Melody's, as the L.F. menu is much, much larger and the "ambience," such as it is, is a lot more pleasant. The only thing that Melody's has over L.F. is a parking lot in back. M. and I were really disappointed in Carrillo's the one time we tried it.

                                    2. re: Diana

                                      el jerezano, hazeltine and burbank or so for tacos and excellent menudo.
                                      Here are some that might be worth a visit -
                                      LA MARISCADA
                                      14511 VICTORY BLVD
                                      VAN NUYS

                                      MARISCOS EL PULPO
                                      14851 VICTORY BLVD #H
                                      VAN NUYS

                                      MARISCOS VALLARTA
                                      13324 VICTORY BLVD
                                      VAN NUYS

                                      MARISCOS LOS ARCOS
                                      14038 1/2 VICTORY BLVD
                                      VAN NUYS

                                      RESTAURANTE LA PLAYITA
                                      14106 VICTORY BLVD
                                      VAN NUYS

                                      TAQUERIA DON ADRIAN
                                      14902 VICTORY BLVD
                                      VAN NUYS

                                      It's been a while but I think I liked la playita.

                                      1. re: Jerome

                                        I had a cemita poblana at Don Adrian today and it was really good

                                        1. re: nitaj

                                          I just had one today and it was off the charts good. I'd never had one before and was chastised by a dining companion who said, "Oh, these things [cemitas poblanas] are everywhere." But for the uninformed, Don Adrian has these perfect, super-fresh rolls that are crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside which they use to make a huge sandwich stacked with meat, queso fresca, avocado slices, onions and cilantro. I had the barbacoa, which is slow cooked lamb. It was spectacular. Super tender, moist, gamy and the veggies were fresh and refreshing. But if lamb isn't your thing, they've got shredded beef, head cheese, breaded pork loin, chicken, tongue, etc. I'm a convert.