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Mar 6, 2011 09:29 PM

Restaurante Santa Cecilia at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights

I was excited to see some mariachi music, so I parked downtown on a Sunday (for free) and walked over to Mariachi Plaza on First and Boyle Heights.

There were uniformed mariachis milling about, and I was hoping to see them play. But nothing seemed to be happening.

So I decided to have a taco at Restaurant Santa Cecilia, right there on the plaza. It’s very small, with maybe 10 seats and a patio out back. But you can get the food and take it out on the plaza, which is actually quite large if you include the area behind the Metro station. Inside were more uniformed mariachis, and I noticed there were some out back, too.

I ordered a simple carne asada taco and the very nice lady behind the counter asked if I wanted everything on it. I responded “No, just meat,” but she persisted and I agreed to have some sliced avocado added.

It was a full-sized taco, not the little ones we normally get for $1. And the meat was moist and flavorful...and I could see the crust on it. The taco didn’t really need the avocado, but it added some creaminess that made it more filling. And I appreciated that the lady went out of her way to give me a little extra. It was served with a lemon wedge and radish quarters. This was a delicious taco, and for $1.65 I felt it was a bargain.

After the taco, I went outside to again determine whether I would be able to see mariachi music.

As nothing was happening, I went behind the restaurant, where a dozen or so uniformed mariachis were playing cards. I asked about when they would next perform on the plaza, and they responded they DON’T perform there. Instead, they REPORT to the plaza in case anyone wants to hire them to go and perform at a function, etc.

So while I liked the taco, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see any mariachi music. But now I know the deal… Oh, and I got a picture with one of the mariachi guys just for fun.

And by the way, just east of Mariachi Plaza is a very nice looking stretch of shops and restaurants that I plan to try.

Restaurant Santa Cecilia
1707 Mariachi Plaza, corner of 1st Street and Boyle Heights
Boyle Heights
(323) 980-0716
Per website open 9am to midnight

Restaurant St Cecilia
1707 Mariachi Plaza De Los Angele, Los Angeles, CA 90033

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  1. Try La Serenata de Garibaldi.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      Is this the same place that has an outpost in Santa Monica? If so, is the SM one any good?

      1. re: jdwdeville

        One in Santa Monica and one in West LA. Neither one of which I really think that highly of. But I've never been to their "flagship" restaurant in ELA, which is supposed to be much, much better than either of the other two (assuming that both the westside ones are still open?).

        La Serenata De Garibaldi
        1842 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

        La Serenata
        1416 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        La Serenata
        10924 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064