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Mexican near Manhattan/Hermosa Beach?

I need to take my out of town friend for a Mexican fix this weekend, in the vicinity of Hermosa/Manhattan beach. The obvious choice that comes to mind is Pancho's, but I'm not a huge fan of their food. I like the food at El Gringo in Hermosa Beach, but I'm hoping for someplace with a nicer atmosphere. Basically, Pancho's atmosphere with much improved food would be ideal--does such a place exist around Manhattan/Hermosa beach? It doesn't need to be particularly authentic Mexican, it just needs to taste good and be a nice experience. Actually, El Cholo would work if it were further south, but Santa Monica is too far. Any ideas? (FYI, I hate Cozymel's, so that is also out.)

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  1. I was just poking around the web looking for inspiration...anyone been to Ortega120 in Redondo Beach? This claims that their chef is a veteran of Water Grill, Lucques, and Patina: http://www.ortega120.com/120blog/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nicole

      Hmm, just found this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/565553
      Looks like there were some service issues in the Fall, but it might work for what I am looking for. It's funny, the posts so far consist of a conversation with myself! :)

    2. I don't have a specific one to really recommend, although we go to Cozymel's because it's there and serviceable.

      There may be some places on this thread about chips and salsa that you consider within driving distance:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602425

      And my post about Cozymel's was here:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6024...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cinnamon

        I've ben to Ortega 120 2 or 3 times. The chips and salsa are awful but the three shrimp taco appetizer is very good. That is all I have eaten there. It has an upscale decor and a huge bar. I think it has a bit of a bar scene at night. I don't care for Pancho's either. I've heard good things about Riviera (?) in RB.

        A lot of people go the place on Pier Plaza-great location-terrible food IMO.

        1. re: Densible

          Panchos has no game either in Spanish or English. We have a hard time seeking what the OP is looking for in the South Bay.. I too like the Rivera and Casa Pulido is just around the corner both are head and shoulders above Panchos. The balance of my list is all shacks...

          -----
          Casa Pulido
          228 Avenue I, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

          Riviera Mexican Grill
          1615 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

      2. Thanks for all the help. I'm not sure whether we'll go to Ortega123 or Riviera with my friend this weekend, but I will definitely check out both sometime soon.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nicole

          Oh my... Riviera Mexican Grill. You have to go there. . Great chips and salsa. Affordable prices. Dishes from the usual enchiladas and tacos to lobster taquitos and tofu fajitas.

          Atmosphere is festive and it's never empty... so, they move through product pretty quickly and word of mouth is good.

          http://www.yelp.com/biz/riviera-mexic...

          Skip the Ortega120 place off of PCH... sure the chef may have a nice resume... but it looks like a ghost town. It took over for another defunct baja mexican restaurant (that deep fried everything... so nasty).

        2. For Sonoran & Oaxacan style food, I like Teresa's Mosaic Cafe. Recommendations: Pollo en Mole Oaxaqueno, the Chile relleno, & the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo.

          North Village (strip mall N of golf course)
          150 S. Sepulveda Blvd (SW corner of Sepulveda & El Segundo)
          El Segundo 90245
          (310) 648.7212
          Open for lunch & dinner daily

          1 Reply
          1. re: vickie2172

            I also really like Teresa's Mosaic Cafe, and they make fresh tortillas to order.

          2. I'm so glad I posted because I want to eventually check out many of the places you all listed--thanks so much! This weekend we did end up at Ortega120 and it was actually a very good experience. The chips and salsa were weak (although we eventually received tortillas with flavored butter that were very good), but the food and drinks were excellent across the board--we really enjoyed everything we ordered. The restaurant was packed, and there were a few large groups, so our table kind of slipped through the cracks and there was a long wait for our food. However, the management dealt with the situation very professionally, and not only apologized profusely for the wait but also comped our meals AND bought as a free round of drinks (and we hadn't even complained, they were very proactive in handling the situation). I can forgive this service issue because the food was great once we got it and the situation was handled so well. We will definitely be returning to Ortega123 in the future.