Mexican cuisine is undoubtedly one of Los Angeles' major culinary claims to fame. With the city's close proximity to the region, the availability of fresh, local ingredients, the high number of Mexican ex-pats living within the city-limits, and the culture of culinary experimentation, it is no wonder that a number of different Mexican regional styles of cuisine thrive here.
Inspired by the city's rich Mexican culinary heritage, these five Los Angeles hotspots have taken inspiration from a variety of traditional, regional styles of Mexican cooking, expanding upon them to create a modern culinary expression that fuses the best that both Los Angeles and Mexican cuisines have to offer.
Petty Cash Taqueria
The brainchild of Chef Walter Manzke and Los Angeles' top restaurateur Bill Chait, Petty Cash Taqueria may just be the ultimate Angeleno taco joint. Inspired by cuisine found in both East Los Angeles and Baja, this street food inspired taqueria serves up a number of house specialty tacos, quesadillas and ceviche, all incorporating local, seasonal ingredients. And while the dishes served are contemporary-influenced, they are rooted in steep tradition and represent a fusion of modern culinary technique with traditional, local recipes and ingredients. The beverage program is just as unique, featuring a number of Mexican craft spirits and beers, alongside an innovative cocktail program designed by none other than LA's master mixologist Julian Cox himself.
Dia de Campo
A beach side eatery located in sunny Hermosa Beach, Dia de Campo is a self proclaimed modern surf lodge catering to the LA beach goers looking for some tasty bites after the sun begins to set. Helmed by Chef Tin Vuong and restaurateur Jed Sanford, Dia de Campo has only been open a few years but is already a local favorite for its flavorful, seafood-centric menu that is inspired by both the fresh cuisine found off the coast of Baja as well as the local LA inspired Mexican joints of the chef's childhood. Alongside a number of classic cocktails given a modern twist, the beverage program features a wide variety of wines and beers from the region with one of LA's largest collections of wine from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja.
BS Taqueria features the dishes from the acclaimed Chef Ray Garcia. With the goal to represent the myriad of rich flavors found in Los Angeles, Garcia refers to his cuisine as "authentically inauthentic" for their incorporation of both conventional and contemporary ingredients. Using local, heirloom produce alongside non-GMO corn masa from Mexico, BS Taqueria effectively showcases all the best of Mexican cuisine through the filter of the city of Los Angeles.
From the creator of Umami Burger comes another newcomer to the LA food scene. Focusing on the small plate craze that has overtaken Los Angeles, Tacoteca serves up a number of traditional Mexican and Mexican inspired dishes that reflect the country's rich heritage while incorporating a number of fresh Los Angeles ingredients. Tacoteca features a mezcal-heavy beverage program to compliment their array of dishes, including crowd favorites like the Lamb Barbacoa, complete with fresh mint-garlic salsa, and the Duck Tamal that served with a killer spicy chocolate mole and guava cascabel salsa.
With locations in Downtown, Santa Monica and Hollywood, Mercado is the creation of Jesse Gomez, featuring culinary creations from Chef Jose Acevedo and drinks prepared by Cesar Arenas. The menu was created to feature dishes that would highlight the team's Mexican roots, incorporating recipes handed down through generations, while utilizing fresh, farmers' market ingredients to give the dishes an LA twist. One of their most popular salads - the Mexican Kale Salad, complete with queso fresco, candied pepitas and dried strawberries, topped with an agave-lime vinaigrette. After all, nothing is more LA than kale.