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.