Food Angelenos

These 5 Mexican L.A. Staples Will Give You the Best Cinco de Mayo Experience Without the Hollywood Scene

May 5, 2016
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

To most people, the thought of Mexican food goes hand-in-hand with margaritas and Mariachi bands – but to a resident of Los Angeles, the way your Carne Asada is cooked for your fajitas takes a backseat to the possibility of who you might end up standing next to on the smoking patio of the trendy, South-of-the-Border-themed eatery cooking up that hot plate.

Mexican restaurants in L.A. are no joke, and when it comes to Cinco de Mayo, you can bet on the most scene-y individuals making it out to one of the city’s many sit-down hotspots (El Compadre, El Coyote, El Cholo, Gracias Madre, Don Antonio’s, Mercado, Toca Madera, Mexicali, Casa Vega, to name a few) known to provide quite the wholesome Hollywood crowd.

Not to say there’s anything wrong with wanting a vibrant ambiance, but if you’re looking to avoid obscene lines and save hours on getting overly glam for the night – yet still have a swell time with super cool folks – there are several under-the-radar mainstays in the City of Angels that are a must for events like these.

Keep scrolling to read about five consistent Mexican hotspots that you can visit today to avoid “the scene,” but still keep the festive fun!

  • Guelaguetza – If it’s crickets (AKA chapulines) you fancy, then you’ve come to the right place! Jk (well, not really – they do serve these as an automatic appetizer) – this Koreatown-based hotspot is also known for its Oaxacan-style cooking, particularly its mole.
  • El Condor – When I think Mexican food on Sunset Blvd., El Compadre is obviously the first thing that comes to mind – but head 20 minutes east and you’ll approach Silverlake’s laid-back, but lively El Condor. I can tell you firsthand that their various queso dips, mini tacos and cool vibe make the visit very worthwhile.
  • Sol Y Luna – Tarzana’s highly touted festive space boasts decorative folk art and a mural of Mexican icons. Added bonus? Their tableside guac is Zagat and Yelp-acclaimed! This restaurant has been referred to as the best Mexican food in the Valley.
  • La Serenata de Garibaldi – If authenticity is what you’re after, this is it. Located in the heart of East L.A., this cozy little spot offers a selection of specialty seafood dishes unlike any other, in a colorful atmoshphere.
  • Candela – Located just south of La Brea and Wilshire in a humble setting, this sit-down taco bar draws crowd of all kinds for its laid-back, social atmosphere and yummy, inexpensive offerings.

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