There’s Mexican food, and there’s what Norte Americanos think is Mexican food. Los Angeles has a lot of both, but to really get into what real Mexican food is like, you’ve got to learn your Mexican states, your regions and your styles.

I’m still working on that last part

In the meantime, I’ve had a very good time compiling this list. While I have ranked them from top to bottom, don’t be fooled, I will have a meal at any one of these places in a heartbeat.

(NOTE: More stuff will be added to this list over time, because I need to go to and experience more Mexican for myself.  But for now…enjoy.)

1) Babita Mexicuisine

Babita Mexicuisine has been ranked as one of the Top Mexican Restaurants in America, according to Travel and Leisure Magazine. Not in Los Angeles mind you, in America. That’s an awful lot of hype to live up to. Fortunately, Roberto Berrelleza, the Chef-owner of Babita Mexicuisine make it look easy…even though it’s not.


2) CaCao Mexicatessen

For people who favor the low key, casual dining to all other things, there is no place on earth like CaCao Mexicatessen. It is why you like living in Los Angeles. It is easy. It is relaxed…and more to the point, the food’s damn delicious.

Cacao Mexicatessen

3) La Serenata De Garibaldi

This has long been my gold standard (as well as one of the first reviews I ever wrote).  While it will always hold a special place in my heart, there are places just as good as La Serenata De Garibaldi. Still, this restaurant launched my curiosity about Mexican-Mexican food (as opposed to plain ol’ Tex-Mex).

La Serenata

4) El Huarache Azteca

A Huarache is a dish of Mexico City. It is a shoe shaped, fried masa base, with a variety of toppings including green or red salsa, onions, potato, cilantro and finished with Queso fresco cheese. I had mine with Pork.

El Huarache Azteca

5) Cook’s Tortas

Mexican Sandwiches done right in Monterey Park. There will be long lines, but you’ll have plenty of time to consider your options as Cook’s Tortas has a massive blackboard menu to your left. Step up to the counter, place your order. Choose what side you’re going to have, and have alongside what you’re going to have as Cook’s has prepared a number of fresh made salads and sides.

Cook's Tortas

6) Tacos Villa Corona

This is a small family operation in the heart of Atwater Village, popularized by Anthony Bourdain: The Layover.  They are small.  They barely have anything in the way of seating.  And they make damn good Tacos and Burritos.

Tacos Villa Corona

7) Petty Cash Taqueria

Yes, Petty Cash Taqueria is on the westside. It’s unnaturally close to El Coyote. (Seriously, the average person can fling a baseball and at least hit the parking lot.) But where El Coyote is has the market cornered on old-world, old-school Tex-Mex, Tex-Cal style and food, Petty Cash is doing the whole Food Truck thang…only indoors. In a nice space.

Petty Cash

8) Mi Corazon

Ever hear of Kenneth Village?  Yeah, neither have I, until I went on the hunt for this little gem.  The restaurant is adorned with some really lovely Mexican Art, this is a place that does the basics of Mexican Cooking but does them very well, for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.

Mi Corazon

9) Yuca’s Taco Stand

How exactly does a Taco Stand win itself a James Beard award? How does that same Taco Stand only finish 9th on this list?

What can I say, it was great, but there were others I liked just a little bit better…but it’s still damn good. Your results will probably vary, and that’s okay.  But I encourage many, many visits to make absolutely sure.