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Dec 26, 2007 08:09 PM

Are there any Yucatecan Restaurants outside of CI & Flor de Yucatan?

I am hoping you guys can steer me to restaurants other than Chichen Itza and FdY that serve up Maya cuisine.

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  1. In terms of depth and breath of Mayan Cuisine, CI is really it. Other restaurants have the occassional Yucatan dish, El Portal, Babita and even Pink Taco. But no one has the mastery and variety that CI does. In fact, I almost hugged the chef when he told me that he had Pulpo en su Tinta on his menu! I couldn't even get that when I went to Yucatan in October!!!

    Like FdY, there are a couple of bakeries that I've popped to over the years that peg themselves as Yucatecan... again, they come close to some things, but they don't have the experience, and IMHO the care that FdY does. IAgain, I was astounded as I tried several Hojaldras in Merida this last visit, and none I liked better than the one at FdY (Which has to do with a sad trend going on with Yucatecan bakeries right now, but I will recap that hopefully soon).

    Don't get me wrong, I ADORED my trip to Yucatan (as I always do) and ate very VERY well... but it also really highligthed why I am so glad to have CI and FdY here...


    17 Replies
    1. re: Dommy

      Thanks Dommy for your post!

      It just strikes me as strange that SF has about 5 or 6 Yucatec Maya eateries and LA has 2.

      There must be more undiscovered places out there!
      Are you familiar with any figures regarding the presence of immigrants from the peninsula in the greater LA area?

      Here are a couple of great articles on this subject form the SF chronicle:

      1. re: kare_raisu

        Thanks so much for the articles!!! :) But the answer is kinda explained by them. It is migration patterns, you see this especially from migrants from deeper within mexico, there is a bigger risk for them for then to travel to the U.S. so they seek to land to places where they know 'their people'. Southern Mexicans are very different from Northern Mexicans and Chilangos... don't even get my started on my own schizo feelings about that... I've known all my life how odd I was for being Yucatecan in L.A., even today when people try to peg me, (especially since my accent is very neutral) they never guess Yucatecan...

        I don't have the time to read through that mega post, but I hope you enjoyed the SF troll!! We HAD to try Mi Lindo Yucatan when went there last...

        Sadly though, it did not hold a candle to CI in terms of variety of menu and the preparation of the food. When they severed me an uncut Brazo de Reina, I wanted to send it back!!!

        Oh! And P. just reminded me that the LAT did a report on a "Mayan" place near Redlands. I completely forgot about it because I flew into a rage whe I saw it also served "menudo" and "Machaca" OMG!!! I had to EXPLAIN Machaca to my cousins in Merida this very trip!! They had NO idea what it was... :PPPPPP


        1. re: Dommy

          "The numbers are hard to pin down, but the Mexican consulate in San Francisco issued 1,600 consular identification cards to Yucatecos last year alone, and officials estimate there could be as many as 10,000 Yucatecos in the Bay Area, with perhaps three times as many in Southern California."

          -- You are right. Well, that puts the SoCal Yucatecs at somewhere around 30 thousand.

          I read that it wasnt until the 1960s -when rail was put in- that the Yucatan started to be much more connected with mainland Mexico. I recall that it was even administered separately from the Viceroy in DF during the Colonial era - which makes sense considering Merida is closer to Havana than Mexico City.

          The troll was awesome - I only wish we had you there to help us. Though I did take notes from your Mi Lindo Yucatan post!

          1. re: kare_raisu

            Hey KR,

            There is a small (but undestinguished) Yucatecan on York Blvd in Highland Park just down the block from the mythical Galco's. There is also a littl Chilango hole in the wall with respectable weekend Barbacoa called Huarache Azteca... as well as some Mariscos places... so the area might merit some more sleuthing.

            Also there is an outstanding Panucho vendor that stops at the Playa Vista Car Wash in West L.A. down the street from the classic Dinah's. I made friends with one of the mechanics (Jose) who is from Motul... he turned me on to more places in South Central but I never got a chance to check them out.

            There is also a place in Pasadena called El Portal that bills itself as Yucatec but they do mostly Old School Cal Mex.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Dommy! and I are right around the corner from Playa vista car Wash. When is the Panucho guy there?

              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                He stops by to feed the employees... the car repair guys are very cool if you chat them up.... just start by telling them you are a Chivas fan and you will be in. The few times I had the Panuchos it was the car repair guys sharing with me.

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Gah... you had me until Chivas... That's blashemy in my household... ;) Thanks for the tip though... I'll keep an eye out! :)


              2. re: Eat_Nopal

                Thanks EN - How does he operate? Are the panuchos cooked at home and then brought under tinfoil to the car wash?

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  I can't remember if he has a van that he uses for his catering business, or if it was a full on lunch truck serving the usuals, that also has Panuchos for those in the know. But he brought them into the Car Wash, catering style big Aluminum foil pans, with acoutrements in styrofoam containers... I think the workers all pool their money and then scrap it out for the various styles.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    I went there today to fill up my Diesel [$50 Un-Believable] and I talked to the guys. A couple of the wives get together to feed the masses and it is not really for public consumption but it does happen on the weekends.

                    Take Care

                    - P.

                2. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Eat Nopal: Can you please tell me the name of the Yucatecan Restaurant in Highland park, on York. Many, many years ago, maybe 20 yrs, we used to got to a Yucatecan Rest. right in that area, but then we couldn't find it anymore. I wonder if it's the same. It was very authentic. I would love to go and try it.

                  1. re: lvgoodfood

                    I can't think of the name but its on the same side of the street as Galco's... and has a picture of Chichen Itza in the logo.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      Thanks, I definitely will try to make it there, soon I hope.

                      1. re: lvgoodfood

                        Since it is only about 30 minutes from us, we went today to Villas Durango, early afternoon, it is in the same location of the restaurant we used to go about 20 years ago, and not much has changed inside.
                        It appears to be different owners. We went mainly because we have been craving for Panuchos for quite sometime.
                        The food was not the best, but was good. Very reasonable, actually I think very low prices compared to other Yucatecan places in the LA area.
                        A Maya combination, which included 2 salbutes, 2 panuchos, two codzitos and beans, was only 7.25. The codzitos (not pictured in my photo) were just plain chicken flautas, no red salsa, or nothing special about them, or maybe a different kind of codzitos. They are very generous in the amount of meat they put in the salbutes and panuchos. The salbutes had cochinita pibil, which was very, very good, and the panuchos pollo pibil, also very good, lots of flavor. And you really get to taste it since they put lots of it. It took longer than normal to get our food, but I didn't mind waiting, since everything was prepared to order, and it tasted just like that, freshly made.
                        The only thing I didn't like, and made the experience very uncomfortable was the 'very loud' jukebox, and there were some people there, just drinking, and kind of loitering, and they kept asking the waitress to raise the volume of the jukebox, and she did, so it got louder and louder.
                        I will be back, and hopefully the music will be gone, or not so loud. Please don't get me wrong I do like music, but not this way.

                        1. re: lvgoodfood


                          i think you found the yucatecan place that eat nopal was talking about... villas durango..

              3. re: Dommy

                Casa Maya in Mentone is that place near Redlands. This mom & pop place is a great IE find!
                Yes their menu does have Northern dishes as well as those from Southern mexico.They also have organic rice and beans, great fresh fish and excellent cochinita pibil.

                1. re: Sarsa

                  I second that ... Casa Maya is great. Service can be a little iffy when they are really busy but the food is great.

          2. FYI Dommy has started to post on our trip to the Yucatan. You can see the first post here:

            3 Replies
              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                I FINALLY posted up my second report on Panaderias... I have one more I want to do, if I can ever dig myself out of school work! :P



              2. The place referred to in Redlands is, more specifically, in Mentone (on Hwy 38 heading towards the mountains). It's called Casa Maya. Incredible food. Probably one of my top 5 places to eat. Mentioned here:


                If you plan on heading to the Inland Empire, or want to make a day trip out of it, I would highly recommend it.

                1. A friend of mine speaks very well of Chitzen Itza at approximately 2500-block of W 6th Street, just a couple blocks west of MacArthur Park. I have never been, but he goes almost once a week and says it's very good Yucatan-regional food.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jimmyodonnell

                    I apologize as I now realize the original poster requested info on places OTHER than this one.