The days are getting longer with summer approaching, and what better way to ring in the season then with unwinding (or getting fired up) at some of the best Mexican restaurants around town? Not to mention, who’s excited about Cinco de Mayo being right around the corner? We’ve tried all the guacamole, margaritas, chips & salsa this city has to offer, check out Los Angeles’ 10 Best Mexican Restaurants of all time:
1. Casa Vega
This spot has graced Ventura Blvd since 1956 sharing its traditional, high quality food. It’s a popular location for groups to pop in, such as a concluded acting class sitting down to margaritas, and is also a celebrity favorite for celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Nicole Richie, & Jessica Simpson. It’s family run, and their style is evident by the catchy jam on their promo video. Try the tacos.
2. Sol Y Luna
A newer restaurant with a cantina feel in Tarzana, where they make delicious guacamole made in front of you. For a hearty meal try the Molcajete, a bowl of steak, chicken, shrimp, cactus leaf, cheese and peppers covered in a spicy red sauce. There are no reservations at Sol Y Luna so order a mojito if you happen to encounter a wait, you may be sipping it alongside Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez.
Frida has two locations, Beverly Hills as well as Glendale and they boast old world recipes with a modern touch. Happy hour is 3-6 PM. The tequila is served traditionally here with a side of Sangrita (spices, Tobasco and tomato juice). Try the ahi ceviche, house made guacamole, & enchiladas suizas. If you’re looking for an easy, more affordable offshoot- try Frida Tacos in Hollywood & Brentwood.
4. Red O
For a little more upscale choice try Red O on Melrose with cuisine by celebrity chef Rick Bayless. The menu includes traditional Mexican fare as well as lighter California dishes and there are some snack categories on the menu. This snazzy joint has chandeliers a plenty, leather swings, a garden patio, and a tequila lounge. Try the braised short rib tacos & grilled Mary’s chicken!
5. Malo/Mas Malo
Malo is a popular Silverlake restaurant with 150 different 100% Blue Agave tequilas. Try the ground beef and pickle tacos. Mas Malo is its sequel downtown on 7th St in an ex jewelry shop from 1923. It focuses on East L.A. Chicano style food and locally sourced ingredients, and its cantina is open until 2 AM. They tweet their specials and have free coffee on weekends for brunch.
6. Café Habana
This casual Cuban/Mexican cafe is out in Malibu with counterparts in Brooklyn and New York. Opt for Cafe Habana’s fish tacos, corn on the cob, or plantains out by the ocean surrounded by vibrant art and an upbeat environment. Taco Tuesdays are the jam ($3 Tecates and $3 Tacos, & lots of hot surfer dudes & beach babes)!
7. La Costa Mission
Another Malibu option, this one is a little more upscale choice in a cute little hacienda with beamed skylights. La Costa Mission has some exotic options like duck and lamb, but also amazing salads, cheesy queso, and a big selection of margaritas using real lime juice instead of syrup.
8. El Compadre
This Sunset spot is highlighted by its authentic ambience, a nightly live band playing Mexican classics, and flaming margaritas. El Compadre’s interior is windowless with strange painting, rustic arts & crafts, and colorful festivities a plenty. It’s usually busy for dinner so hop into a booth with some friends and go for an a la carte mixture.
9. El Coyote
This Melrose Mexican Café is large, with the capacity to seat 375 people and it’s covered with Christmas decorations year round. Why not? Over El Coyote’s 80 years it has collected autographed celeb photos keeping the classic L.A. location feel. The glasses of wine are incredibly deep, and the tamales are cheap and delicious. Ostrich tacos are available from time to time and there are some ghosts rumored to be lingering around.
10. The Spanish Kitchen
This fine Mexican dining spot on La Cienega is ideal for a date night. The Spanish Kitchen is a little pricier than the casual joints unless you hit the awesome happy hour, but its a hip, relaxed atmosphere with a traditional setup. Try the sea bass or the paella, or hit taco Tuesdays for a choice of 20 different taco options for $2.00 a pop.