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Jun 9, 2009 06:08 PM

Very Specific (Mexican)

I'm in search of good Mexican food, comfortable booths, great margaritas, good prices, low lighting and really good ambiance. I really like El Compadre in Silverlake - although some dishes are better than others, the ambiance is pretty much perfect in my opinion. And they have great margaritas.

I really like booth seating - I'm looking for a place similar to El Compadre but not. Hopefully with better food. El Compadre has been on my list of places to go on a regular basis - I'd like to switch things up a bit. Preferably on the east side of town (Los Feliz, Echo Park, Silverlake, Downtown, etc) but willing to travel to the westside if necessary.

Margaritas are important - a lot of places I've looked at don't seem to have a full liquor license (ie Chichen Itza). How is the ambiance at Chichen Itza?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Ambience at Chichen Itza is downmarket food court, unlike the food. It occupies a space that is both cavernous and strangely cramped, not comfortable at all unless you enjoy food courts. We went once, and though everything was very good and comfortably priced we didn't enjoy the experience sufficiently to repeat it.

    I don't know where you're going to find your heart's desire 100%. We have places we go for the food, places we go for margarita therapy, places we go for comfy booths and gentle lighting, or fine tunes on the jukebox. Best we've done so far is three out of four.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Are you talking about the Chichen Itza at Mercado La Paloma, which is in a food court, or their actual restaurant near MacArthur Park on 6th? The restaurant, though it doesn't suit the criteria that the OP is looking for (booths and margaritas), is quite comfortable and feels like a fairly simple, nicely decorated, modern, casual but not at all downmarket space. Nicer, in my book, than even places like Angeli Osteria where the tables are practically on top of each other, but somewhat similar in terms of the feel of the room.

      1. re: estone888

        Sorry - it had completely slipped my mind that there's a freestanding restaurant as well... to which we obviously have not been. But since we're booth-and-margarita people too, we probably won't go unless we're in the vicinity already.

    2. Border Grill, in Santa Monica should meet your demands for Margaritas and booth ambience. Also, the food is very good.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. how about La Serenata? the food is great, and though not mentioned on their website menus, they DO serve margaritas...

          i don't know about the atmosphere at the West LA or Downtown locations, but the SM one was nice, relaxed, and cozy when i was there.

          6 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            They do NOT have a full liquor license, only wine and beer, so the "margaritas" contain no tequila, only soju. Awful!

            I was going to suggest Bahia Caporales in... gasp... Burbank.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Are you sure? I thought the one on 4th in Santa Monica had a full liquor license, and the one on Pico had beer/wine in half the restaurant and full license in the other half.

                1. re: WestsideLisa

                  That might be true... the Westside branches are so much worse than the original that I haven't been in 5+ years. I know for certain sure it's only a beer/wine license in the Boyle Heights -- which is the only one worth visiting IMHO.

                  There are much better places for Mexican seafood on the Westside, though with applecore's specific requests I'm blanking.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Definitely Don Antonio on Pico (which someone already mentioned here). While they are the usual Mex-Am food they do a killer albondigas (not Mi India Bonita or Teresitas class - but still good eats) and they have generally good food, strong drinks and a nice back patio for al fresco dining.

                2. re: Das Ubergeek

                  I am soo glad someone made this post since I too have been searching for a great mexican restaurant in the northeast LA area. We just moved to this area and really like it. It is close to Silver Lake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, South Pas, Los Feliz, even downtown is not too far away.
                  So last night I tried Bahia Caporales in Burbank. They also do not have a full liquor license. They said they make their margaritas from a liquor made from Agave. It was OK but I wanted to throw that out there. My friend and I both had the filet of sole with butter and garlic that the server recommended. It was fine but didn't blow me away. Their ambiance was a TV in the corner playing novellas really loudly. We asked if we could move to the opposite side of the room but they offered to turn it down. They do have the cozy booths and decor that the OP may be looking for. reminded me of Don Cuco's a little bit. I liked their chips that they served with salsa--crisp and thin.

              2. When you said booths and good margaritas one place came to mind first.
                Gilbert's El Indio on Pico in SaMo

                Gilbert's El Indio
                2526 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405