It’s doesn’t take heavy research to find great Mexican food anywhere in LA, and the Westside is no different. In addition to stands and trucks, what you’ll find in Culver City, Santa Monica, Venice, West LA, and beyond are decades-old sit-down establishments where people return religiously for never-ending margarita pitchers and big combo plates. Whether you’re in the mood for a big group dinner with guaranteed mariachis or just need a quick taco fix at lunch, here’s your guide that sorts the good spots from the great.
Open since 1963, La Cabaña is an LA classic. It’s not the most inventive food in town, but you’re not at this Venice landmark for a thoughtful take on the sope. You’re here for the shredded beef quesadilla and the culinary monstrosity that goes by “El Verde Burrito” (a coop’s-worth of chicken, beans, lettuce, avocado, and tomato, all topped with salsa verde and cheese). They have a fantastic back patio, $33 margarita carafes, and sometimes, a mariachi band plays on the roof. Also, they’re open until 3am every night.
Casablanca has been around for almost 40 years, and the menu hasn’t changed much since then, which is a good thing. The signature dish is the calamari steak, but we tend to go for either a grande burrito or the build-your-own fish taco situation. And aside from the solid food, Casablanca is always a dependable good time, with live music, tortillas being made in the main dining room, and, if you stick around long enough, the owner will probably wheel the tequila cart up to your table.
Don’t be put off by the fact that Señor G’s is also a juice bar - this tiny order-at-the-counter spot in Playa del Rey has been serving good Mexican food since 1980. With a large menu that ranges from taco plates to ceviches, there’s a lot to choose from at Señor G’s, but if you stick to the burritos (the carne asada is excellent) and the breakfast section (the machaca and eggs platter has saved us on many hazy Sunday mornings), you’ll always walk out happy.
The best part about this casual, order-at-the-counter taco spot is that you’re never too far from one if you’re on the Westside. They have locations in West LA, Venice, and Santa Monica, and the food is consistently great at all three. The menu is absolutely massive, but we tend to stick with the hard tacos or one of their tortas for lunch, or the breakfast burrito if we went a little too hard the night before.
The original Coni’Seafood in Inglewood is one our favorite restaurants in the city, so when the Mexican seafood spot opened a second location on Centinela at the edge of Culver City, there were plenty of reasons to get excited. From the fresh ceviche and grilled whole snook to marlin tacos we would drive across the city to eat, this is tremendous seafood that you can’t get anywhere else in LA. The modern, industrial space is ideal for a casual midweek dinner with friends.
Paco’s has been serving combo-plate classics in that part of town that’s definitely sort of Del Rey (but maybe also Mar Vista) since 1975, and it shows. From the festive dining room, filled Christmas lights, fish tanks, and murals, to the menu, which is loaded with “Combinaciones Mexicanas” platters, Paco’s hasn’t changed since the Ford Administration, but sometimes, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Do they have 14-pound burritos and chimichangas? You bet. Are they fantastic? Of course - mostly because they’re made with Paco’s fluffy flour tortillas. Those tortillas are great on their own, too (especially when they’re slathered with butter), so order some for the table, down a couple frozen margaritas, and enjoy the ambiance.
Located on that stretch of Venice Blvd. in Culver City where the traffic seems to be eternal, Gloria’s is a casual, family-run spot that’s been serving Mexican/Latin American staples for almost four decades. While you can’t really go wrong with anything here, we tend to stick to “Ms. Gloria’s Specialties,” and in particular, the carne adobada. This massive plate of baked pork in a tangy, tomato-based sauce is the perfect excuse to pull over while you wait for traffic to die down.
Located in the Platform complex in Culver City, Loqui could’ve easily been another run-of-the-mill taco spot where people pitstop between shopping for high-end hand soap and wicker bowler hats. Instead, it’s become one of our absolute favorite taco options the Westside. The flour tortillas are thick and chewy, and the spicy chicken proves that chicken tacos don’t have to be boring. Be sure to put the salsa seca on everything.
Teddy’s serves unique red beef birria tacos near the boardwalk in Venice, and they’re fantastic. You only have one meat option here and it’s salty, spicy, slow-cooked beef, and you can get it in the form of mulitas, tacos, vampiros, and quesatacos. Teddy’s is open late on weekends, which means it’s a fantastic alternative to your normal post-bar taco truck stop.
Cinco is a Oaxacan restaurant/bar in Westchester that happens to be your best bet for a quick drink and some tacos before catching a flight at LAX. It’s a casual space with a great craft beer list and mezcal cocktails - all of which cost about half as much as whatever draft beer or cocktail you’d get at an airport bar. The al pastor tacos are excellent, and don’t leave without an order of the memelas, thick corn tortillas topped with black bean puree, queso fresco, and any meat of your choice.
It’s fun to go to Don Antonio’s with a big group and eat in what feels like an underground cave even though there aren’t really any underground caves in Los Angeles. You’ll probably end up eating too many chips before the food comes out, but that - and the margaritas - are all part of the experience. Everyone seems to like the super burrito, but we recommend a combination plate involving enchiladas, crispy tacos, or chile rellenos.
From the outside, Lanea looks like every other colorful, social media-friendly cocktail bar in Santa Monica. And on the inside, not much will sway you from that opinion. With pink lounge cushions, scattered succulents, and sugary cocktails that look nice in photos, Lanea is definitely a bit by-the-books, but then you glance at the snacks menu and realize there’s a lot more going on here. All the food at Lanea comes from the team at Barba Kush, a family-run Mexican restaurant in East LA, and the results are tremendous. From loaded nachos to consome to their legendary lamb barbacoa tacos, this is exactly where you need to be eating after a long day of working a block from the beach.
Lula is never empty. From noon to 10pm, you’ll find an assortment of people in bathing suits drinking margarita pitchers, somebody’s dad watching soccer at the bar, and big families who come here twice a month. There’s no wrong time to come here - as long as you’re prepared to drink the lethal signature margarita (the Cadillac, with triple sec and Grand Marnier, is also deadly). After about a half a glass, you’ll need a taco trio or some fajitas, and for whatever reason, the Caesar salad is always worth ordering.
You could go to the Brentwood Country Mart to buy Gwyneth Paltrow-approved cheese knives, to mail a package at the least-chaotic post office on the Westside, or to see what intimidating high schoolers are wearing these days. But no matter why you’re here, your lunch should be from Frida, in the nice outdoor food court. You’ll appreciate these simple little tacos when you’re surrounded by stores where you could spend half of your rent check on a onesie for a newborn baby. The chicken, pastor, and mole are our favorites.
(1927) El Cholo 1121 Western Ave Los Angeles, CA 90006. The oldest surviving Mexican restaurant to have stayed located in the same location in Los Angeles. It was first opened on Broadway in downtown L.A. by Alejandro and Rosa Borquez in 1923 as the Sonora Cafe and the name was changed to El Cholo in 1925.What is Mexican number 1 food? ›
Tacos. Recognized as the most popular Mexican dish worldwide, the taco has become an art.What is the most eaten food in Mexico? ›
Corn is the most eaten staple among Mexican consumers. It is the base ingredient of tortillas, a type of slim flatbread and, one of the most representative and widely consumed food products in the country, used for the preparation of both tacos and quesadillas.What is the signature dish of Mexico? ›
Mole. Mole poblano from Puebla features Mexican chocolate among its many ingredients. Mole is widely considered one of Mexico's most iconic dishes, ranging in color from rich brown and fiery red to verdant green, yellow and black — just to name a few.What is the most American Mexican food? ›
Fajitas. “Fajita” means “little strip.” Despite the name, fajitas are as American as burgers and fries. Fajitas were inspired by the ingredients of Mexico but would have seemed foreign to most people living south of the Rio Grande.What is the most popular drink in Mexico? ›
Margarita. Of all of the famous Mexican drinks, this classic cocktail has to be the most recognizable and beloved. Margaritas are served across Mexico to the sunburnt beach-going tourists and to socialites that are out for the evening at classy cocktail bars.What is the biggest meal in Mexican culture? ›
Comida is the main meal of the day; in English it translates to lunch or dinner, depending where you're from. Traditionally this meal is taken at around 2 p.m. and will include soup, a substantial main course, aguas frescas, a soda or beer, dessert and coffee.What is the oldest family owned Mexican restaurant in the US? ›
Established in 1922 by our beloved Tia Monica Flin, El Charro Café of Tucson, Arizona is The Nation's Oldest Mexican Restaurant in continuous operation by the same family.What is the oldest restaurant still open in the United States? ›
The White Horse Tavern is a National Historic Landmark being America's oldest restaurant, having served guests since 1673. The White Horse Tavern was originally constructed as a two-story, two-room residence for Francis Brinley. It was acquired by William Mayes, Sr.What is the oldest diner in California? ›
WELCOME TO TADICH GRILL
Located in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District, Tadich Grill is the oldest, continuously run restaurant in California, and third oldest in the United States.