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Sep 12, 2009 09:07 PM

LA "Serious" Mexican Trip-- Additional Suggestions?

I've been lurking on this board the past year or so gleaning tips on where to get some good mexican food in LA. I live in Asia where there is zero mexican food worth considering (even in Tokyo which seems to have something quite good for just about any other cuisine).

I've based a lot of the following itinerary on the "Mexican in LA for Serious/Old Line" Chowhounds but as I look at the list I have now, it's tilted toward Oaxacan (which isn't a bad thing). I'd wouldn't mind adding a few more spots to the list but they would need to be close to where I'll be (Saturday Eastside), (Sunday- downtown and central) (Monday- Westside).

Current Plan

Lunch- Cinco Puntos
Dinner- Moles La Tia

Lunch- Grand Central Market
Dinner- Antequera de Oaxcana

Breakfast- Pepy's Galley (Chilaquiles)
Lunch- Monte Alban

So that's three Oaxacan dinners in row. Any other options worth considering? I should say that despite the many seemingly great mariscos places I would rather focus on other kinds of food given how good the seafood is where I currently live.

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  1. I'm not sure if Monte Alban is open right now. I heard it was closed temporarily because of a fire. It's my favorite on the Westside, so I was really sad when I heard that. If anyone has heard differently, please do tell.

    Other than that, your list looks good.

    4 Replies
    1. re: alliebear

      I haven't heard anything about Monte Alban opening yet. I think a more-than worthy substitute would be Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista. It's a few minutes away from Pepy's Galley and would fit in your itinerary well. Mariscos Chente is seafood intensive - that's all they do - and they do it very well. Here's a thread started by the hound who first posted about MC:


      There are a few more MC-related threads on this board as well, so give them a read and decide for yourself.

      Mariscos Chente
      4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

        1. re: alliebear

          Excellent!! Enfrijoladas on Friday!! :DDD


          1. re: Dommy

            Well, I see my back up to MC has changed again. I'll probably get take out molotes on Sunday in any case...

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Excellent list!! Keeping in mind that Tamales Freeze VERY well... I would alter plans a bit...

          Stop by Cinco Puntos... get Pork Tamales, put in cooler and take home for later... then drive down Cesar Chavez, right on Evergreen and go to El Tepayac... get the Chicken Taquito Appetizer.... That is a SERIOUS experience and also I found Moles La Tia's apps to be rather meh (except for the awesome soup that comes with everything!!)

          No problem with Sunday and Monday Hounds above have mentioned Monte Alban has closed by Mariscos Chente is a find sub.

          Hope you have fun with this visit... next go around you are going to have to add La Flor de Yucatan on Hoover and then Chichen Itza at Mercado la Paloma. :)


          14 Replies
          1. re: Dommy

            I'll check out El Tepeyec.

            Very sad to hear that Monte Alban has closed down. Where am I going to get my molotes?

            As good as MC sounds, I get so much good seafood where I am now that I am drawn to other flavors.

            How about La Huasteca? Would it be possible to get from Mar Vista out to La Huasteca and back by 12:30 pm or so given an 8am breakfast at Pepe's? And what should I get if I go? Seems like I could just head up the 105 at around 10am though I have no idea what traffic is like.

            1. re: tigerjohn

              Absolutely you can get to La Huasteca by 12.30.

              I would urge you to reconsider on Mariscos Chente. You may get great seafood but I guarantee you won't get flavours like that in Japan. Get a pescado zarandeado and a shrimp dish like camarones culichi or camarones borrachos.

              What about Babita for your eastside run?

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                He needs to go to La Huasteca and back by 12:30, that could be tight, depending on traffic.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  DU, you took the words right out of my keyboard.

                2. re: tigerjohn

                  You could run into traffic issues coming back to Mar Vista from La Huasteca. The 105-West is usually okay but the 405-North from about Century on up to as far as Sunset can be really bad any time on any day, except early or late.

                  Dommy's recs for Chicen Itza and La Flor de Yucatan are great - you'd also be hitting up an additional region for Mexican cuisine - one that isn't as common as one would hope around LA. I believe Saturday is the day to go for La Flor de Yucatan - they have one of the best renditions of cochinita pibil as well as great pastries and other food items that are unique to the Yucatan.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    On the way back I only need to get to LAX by 12:30 so if the 105 is ok, then would you think La Huasteca is a possibility?

                    1. re: tigerjohn

                      I'm putting myself in your shoes and wondering if by going to Pepy's for chilaquiles at breakfast, are you going to have enough space time-wise to enjoy a meal at La Hausteca, jump on the freeways, potentially battle traffic and then get back to the Westside by 1230? IMHO, this place isn't a taqueria where you eat and run. I would think you should be able to take in the surroundings and really enjoy the food. Dining experiences are not so common for Mexican cuisine in LA.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          Pepy's is open much earlier at 6 a.m. last I checked if you can adjust your schedule. La Huasteca is open at 9 a.m. Possibly hit Pepy's as early as possible, then head towards La Huasteca. You'd beat early morning traffic and give yourself ample time to enjoy and still get back to LAX by 12:30.

                          Although I would heartily endorse the Marisco Chente suggestion, one thing to take into consideration with your time frame is MC may not be open that early on a Monday morning. They are a family run place and morning hours the first part of the week can be inconsistent.

                          1. re: Jase

                            That was cool of you to do that research! Very Cool!

                  2. re: tigerjohn

                    with the types of places you're going - i think you will be extremely disappointed if you go to el tepeyac. i find the food to be ---- HUGE --- but totally lacking in flavor. it's just mediocre outrageous portions of food. it's a fun tourist destination, but not if you're actually serious about food. i'd equate it to recommending C&O or buca de bepo if someone was looking for an authentic italian food tour.

                    1. re: dtud

                      El Tepeyac is great for what it is, simple but very good Mexican-American border driven cooking. Would not consider El Tepeyacs food from a region like Oaxaca, Peubla, Mexico City D.F.. Save El Tepeyac for when you have lots of time to try many many things. Your time sounds limited. If you want that style of food close to Mar Vista try El Abanajo, still the same applies, it is Mexican-American type food.

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        I third this. If you grew up with Mexican-American food that is heavy with cheese and sour cream and mostly sort of dull flavors and want that for comfort food reasons; or if you want to challenge your abilities to eat ludicrous amounts of food no matter what it tastes like, then El Tepeyac is your place. Otherwise, give it a miss.

                        1. re: estone888

                          Hey, it is good food, the machaca is amazing. It is just not a regional food like some of the other places mentioned.

                3. I think Monte Alban is closed too and I also like El Sazon Oaxaqueño and El Texate better.

                  You might think of adding La Casita Mexican in Bell for chile en nogada or chilaquiles (great moles there) for a breakfast/brunch or lunch, and if you have time to swing by Don Felix Meat Market for a lengua burrito would be good. Also, El Abajeno has great big carne asada burritos (will fill you up though) and nice carnitas too. Also, how about El Parian for birria or carne asada burrito?

                  I have not had the chilaquiles at Pepe's (I think Mar Vista bowl, right?) but want to try although technically not ful Mexican restaurant there I think?

                  Mariscos chente is great, you might want to mix it up with that--some ceviches or spicy shrimp might be nice foil to all the sweet Oaxacan.

                  La Indiana has nice tamales

                  1. If you don't go to Babita, you'll have skipped the best Mexican restaurant in L.A. IMO.

                    1823 S San Gabriel Blvd
                    San Gabriel, CA 91776
                    (626) 288-7265