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"upscale" Mexican resto in the East Valley (SFV)

  • t

Okay, relatively 'upscale'! I'm looking for a traditional Mexican resto with a bar to sit at and a full bar license that's at least as upscale as Casa Vega or Ernie's and in the Stud City, Sherman Oaks, Noho area.
Yes I know Casa Vega & Ernie's aren't really 'upscale', but they do have bars and a booze license and is a sitdown resto.
Senor Fred doesn't qualify as it isn't 'traditional'.
What is La Fogata like, never been so don't know if it has a bar.
Would also go as far east as Burbank or as far west as Encino for the kind of place I'm inquiring about. Many thanks for your input.

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  1. If you mean La Fogata on Van Nuys Blvd., they didn't have a bar last time I was there. I think they serve beer. I wouldn't consider it upscale. You order at the counter and the food is brought to your table. I haven't been for a couple of years, Have you been to Mexicali on Ventura Blvd. just west of Laurel Canyon? The one time I was there I enjoyed it. They definitely have a bar.

    1. What about El Torito Grill in Sherman Oaks? http://www.etgrill.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: Servorg

        I second El Torito Grill. They have a nice patio you can hang out on with sofa seating in one corner. They do a great happy hour too.

      2. I really like Sol y Luna on Ventura Blvd., in Tarzana across from the Corbin Bowl. I don't know how "authentic" it is, but the food sure is good. And they have a nice bar area. Salud!

        1. There's Mexicali, but the food and the service ain't so great.

          Could it be Honduran, Columbian, Peruvian, Salvadorian or something central or south America, or does it have to be Mexican?

          What about Mariscos (seafood) ? there's a good Mexicn Mariscos place on Sherman Way in the same shopping center as the new Tesco. I think it's called La Perla or La Pearla.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Diana

            La Perla del Pacifico is a Colombian mariscos restaurant, and yes it is very good.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/552291

          2. Tequilas on Victory near Woodman (across from Circuit City) is fair to middlin. Actually their Sunday Brunch is pretty good and they make a passable menudo for the brunch. Good Margaritas and at the last brunch I was at they had live music.

            1. La Fogata doesn't have a bar and it isn't upscale. You order at the counter and they call your number when it's ready.

              I think the food at Mucho Mas on Burbank Blvd. in either NoHo or Burbank is better than the food at Casa Vega and Ernie's. At least, if you order carefully. Their house margarita is good. It meets your criteria as "upscale" although it's not even close to upscale (the inside looks like it hasn't been redecorated for at least 30 years). The hard shell chicken tacos are decent.

              1. Thanks for your input. I think I should have just called this "Traditional" instead of "upscale".

                Sol y Luna

                sounds like the kind of place I am looking for.

                Thanks again.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Thorn

                  Senor Fred you said you did not want, yet it does have a list of traditional menu items, full bar, yet obviously some entree items that are definitely not found in all the other places mentioned.
                  Rellenos, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc. are all on the Fred menu, fwiw!

                2. If you are willing to go over the hill, then the newly opened Loteria would fit the bill nicely.

                  1. The only thing you're going to find that may fit your criteria would be a restaurante familiar style, a family restaurant, but the food won't really be that great or necessarily authentic.Most of these places are "seafood" intensive, mostly cocteles and boring mariscadas.

                    Perhaps Mariscos Colima on Vanowen near the frontier of Burbank and North Hollywood? It's not bad at all.Full bar, good menu, and good Mexican food.Not only is Senor Fred's not traditional, but is not even Mexican.Some places mentioned here are Mexican-American, which is fine if that is what you're looking for.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                      There are not many parts of the menu at Senor Fred that are not Mexican, and many are traditional, at least in the American interpretation of that term.
                      http://www.senorfred.com/dinner.htm

                      The fact that they do many of them better than most of the competition may make them not traditional.

                      1. re: carter

                        I went to Senor Fred's twice, both times because I was invited to a birthday party.It was the same birthday boy both times.Anyone knowledgeable about Mexican cuisine can look at Senor Fred's menu and immediately dismiss it as a Mexican restaurant.But, I did order food both times at the b-day parties, so did everyone else in our large group. I also got a peek at the other diner's plates, and there is nothing that resembled anything from Mexico, nor any Mexican tradition.It lookes like El Torito, Chevy's, or El Coyote, without the great tequila selection.
                        And, the American interpretation would be Mexican-American, as you stated.That is a different cuisine.The clientele?Not exactly serious hounds looking for comida Yucateco or Jaliscience.No newly arrived Oaxaquenos looking to get their chicken mole on.That should be your third clue.

                        Hey, we wouldn't call spaghetti and meatballs Northern Italian or Sicilian, verdad?

                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                          I just found Mr Fred to be blah. Not mexican at all, unless you were in Mexico eating at a place serving "American Style" food. The real clue? Every time I've been to Mr Fred, I have seen nary a Mexican person there that was not working there.

                          I tried to order in Spanish once, and the waitress had no clue. She asked me to please speak English, as she couldn't understand "Mexican".

                          1. re: Diana

                            I've only been to Senor Fred once, quite a while ago. GF and I had CHANPURRADO CON CHURROS
                            SeƱor Fred's Famous Mexican hot chocolate with churros. They were excellent!

                            1. re: Diana

                              Diana, thanks for being even more direct and to the point.And yes, even as Mexican-American goes it is blah, at best.I wouldn't ever go unless it was again to support my tasteless friend's b-day.