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Oct 17, 2012 06:36 PM

Norwalk Eats

I am working in Norwalk for a couple weeks and have been blown away by the number of great looking restaurants in the area. I honestly think that in the past few years I've only gone to Norwalk for Renu Nakorn, but am really surprised by the undiscovered (to me) gems that I keep coming across.

Going to use this thread to note anything interesting, and would also love to hear input from those in the area with thoughts of where I should be going.

To this point, here are some thoughts:

11600 Rosecrans Ave
(562) 929-0061

I was happily surprised when the office brought in Los Compadres for lunch. My family loves the Los Compadres branch in Long Beach (we like Pine Ave the best), and I had no idea there was a branch in Norwalk. Their green sauce tends toward pretty spicy, and the enchiladas verdes I had held up to my Long Beach expectations. From the LB branch, I like their chile colorado even though its preparation is different from what I grew up with (LC prepares it with pork vs beef, and LC doesn't make it as soupy as I'm used to).

11660 Firestone Boulevard
(562) 863-8203

Wow. I hadn't been to a Mexican market this size in the U.S. Really happily impressed with this market. I'm in constant search of super hard, crunchy tortilla chips. If you're like me, buy their chips that are "good for chilequiles." Their panaderia had a lot of options, and everything seemed fresh baked. I picked up about a dozen fruit-filled pan dulce for her, and she liked the variety. Picked up costillas in chile rojo con nopales from the hot food counter, and they are great. I actually have only nibbled on the costillas, but the chile has delicious flavor, and the heat has a nice build.

Is this store much larger than most Northgate Markets, or can I expect similar from their other branches?

Restaurante Peruano
14352 S Pioneer Blvd
(562) 929-3390
closed Mondays

Went here for a quick lunch today. I had a quite flavorful lomo saltado and will probably return.

14346 Pioneer Blvd
(562) 863-1277

Stopped in here because I was starving and was next door at Ci's Bakery picking up pan dulce for grandma (are you sensing a theme?). An order of taquitos was freshly made and delicious, and served with an honest guacamole and an addictively good side of salsa. Took home cocido that I was going to give to grandma but ended up eating it myself. Quite good, clean flavors, I would return.

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  1. One more note about Northgate market: I ate 4 tacos for lunch from their little taco stand. The small tortillas were griddled, and the fillings were good. The carnitas and chicken were especially good, the al pastor a little dry and not my favorite. I wouldn't normally have gotten four but there was a special: 4 tacos and an agua fresca for $4.99. There's a nice salsa bar near the stand, so you can add extra toppings yourself.

    1. Marquez Restaurant

      The Real-Deal Mexican Food


      1. I'm well aware I'll probably be shown the door by Hounders, but the better half and I have enjoyed the solid comfort food at Rosewood Family Restaurant. The fried chicken is juicy, with uber-tasty and savory breading (take that, Roscoe's), while the mashed potatoes have just-right flavors of butter and garlic.

        (Note: Rosewood is most definitely not, nor has it ever been, a family restaurant in the true sense of the word -- not for its endearingly divey ambience or its lighter-fluid-strength martinis for $5.)

        Good thing for my wardrobe or my blood pressure that we don't live closer to Rosewood. ;-)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dornfelder

          I thought of this thread today when I passed Rosewood. The fried chicken sounds great, and the location ... intriguing. Thanks!

          1. re: Fig Newton

            It is, Fig. The "singing" by the enebriated bar patrons at Karaoke Night will provide you and your dining partner(s) plenty of laughs. Think of it as comedy, on the house.

            And, yes, the fried chicken/mashed potato dinner is terrific comfort fare. Add one (or two) of Rosewood's robust martinis, and you'll be in '50s comfort-food heaven. Yum. :-D

        2. Good 'hounding! Love the idea of a designated anticucheria.

          Have not been to Norwalk's Northgate Market, but I have been to one in San Diego. Looking at the list of stores, I think it was the Southcrest location on S 43rd, just north of National City.

          I'd not been to San Diego for many years and had the chance to take a quick chow tour a couple years ago. One of my requests was to see a supermercado and this branch was chosen as a flagship. It delivered in spades. I recall wishing I could taste everything on the hot food buffet, and I found the produce section particularly interesting. Fresh herbs that we have to hunt high and low to find further north, and new to me, a vegetable labeled Mexican broccoli.

          When you can tear yourself away from the panaderia department, check out the verduras.

          The neighborhood of the month threads on this board don't seem to have turned up much that's new so far, glad you're working the Norwalk beat and hope that others join you in supporting mom 'n' pop's and finding the good stuff.

          1. I work in the area, and my go-to place is always El Taco Rico on Firestone/San Antonio. No frills, really yummy Mexican that is consistent and excellent service. Although it's a chain, The Habit on Norwalk near Imperial is reliably good (I always get their albacore sandwich on grilled sourdough with avocado.). A slight bit farther afield are Senor Baja on Alondra/Pioneer for fish tacos (99 cents on certain days) and Veracruz on Ord and Day/Telegraph (good prices, good eats, but notable for the ever changing holiday decor that has to be seen to be believed.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: djquinnc

              Thanks for the el Taco Rico tip, but the Habit is inedible.

              I drive all the way out to Fullerton just to have a burger at Burger Parlor when I get the craving.

              Not so nearby, but worth the schlep, Hambone's has the finest BBQ in the (562).

              Since we're already on Imperial, Rachada has a more interesting (tri-lingual) menu than Renu Nakorn.