Happy Cinco de Mayo! In celebration of the holiday, we’ve picked our Top 10 favorite Mexican restaurants around Los Angeles. When it comes to tequila or tacos, you can’t go wrong with any of these.
1. Gracias Madre
Chic. Atmospheric. Vegan. Delicious. Gracias Madre is the new spot to dine Mexican in Beverly Hills. Its charming indoor/outdoor ambience and grade A bar are complemented by inventive and fantastic Mexican dishes served up by Chef Chandra Gilbert. There may be a line, but it’s well worth the wait.
2. Dia de Campo
Located just a block off the sand in Hermosa Beach, Día de Campo is a surf shack of sorts that serves up mean Mexican cuisine. The menu has Chef Tin paying homage to the array of Mexican food he’s enjoyed growing up in LA, mostly coming out of cocinas east of the LA River, while also taking inspiration from the fish houses, oyster bars and surf shacks along the coasts of California, Mexico and Hawaii.
With locations in Westwood and Beverly Hills, Frida is fine dining for the connoisseur of central Mexican cuisine. The eclectic menu ranges from marinated Arrachera Norteña steaks to slow-cooked taco plates to Frida’s selection of top shelf cocktails, utilizing Mexico’s premium tequilas and mezcals.
This tiny, old school taco stand sits in an unassuming parking lot on Hillhurst Ave in Los Feliz. While it might not be much to look at, the food is mouth-watering and very authentic. Come here for inexpensive, James Beard award-winning tacos and tamales. We recommend the cochinita pibil taco, with Yucatan style pork.
5. Petty Cash
Street foot meets street art at this trendy joint on Beverly, which captures “the spirit of Tijuana circa 1986 meeting East LA circa 2013.” Make that 2014. The cafeteria-like dining room is super hip, and for Cinco de Mayo, you can enjoy $5 shots of Score Fortaleza all night.
6. Loteria Grill
Jimmy Shaw’s spare but spacious Studio City dining room has a massive tequila selection and an excellent nopales salad, as well as first-rate enchiladas and meat dishes inspired by Shaw’s mentor, the famous chef Diana Kennedy.
7. El Compadre
With the look and feel of a traditional Mexican Hacienda, El Compadre has been one of LA’s go-to spots for Mexican food since 1975. Located in a prime spot on Sunset Boulevard with plenty of great bars in the vicinity, drop in for the margarita en fuego and the live mariachis, if nothing else.
8. Tortilla Republic
This contemporary twist on Mexican dining makes for a great date spot – sexy, tasty and with a fabulous bar with top bartenders. For Cinco de Mayo, Tortilla Republic will host DJs Corey Craig, Aaron Elvis and Dan Knapp, outdoor bars, a dance floor and live Mariachi.
9. Red O
For haute Mexican cuisine, don’t miss Rick Bayless’s restaurant on Melrose. They’re celebrating this week with a trio of tequila cocktails: El Bueno, a mix of coconut and citrus; El Malo, with hibiscus and lemonade; and El Feo combining the tequila with cucumber, epazote and fresh lime.
10. Border Grill
With locations in Santa Monica and Downtown LA, Border Grill maintains its reputation for superb Mexican food even after more than 25 years in the business and growing into a successful chain. Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are largely responsible for this quality, serving up quintessential versions of all those traditional Mexican dishes you know by heart.