Best Mexican in Los Angeles

When I first moved to Los Angeles over a decade ago, knowing nothing yet of the city or its many pockets of social and culinary character, my landlady recommended La Cabanita in Montrose, California as the best Mexican food she'd ever found.  She is a genius.  To this day, La Cabanita is still the best Mexican I've found, and there is a lot of Mexican in this town.

Better even than the fare one can find on Olvera street downtown, this food is simple, fresh, authentic, regional, and just freaking delicious.  Everybody offers free chips and salsa, but these aren't just chips and theirs isn't just salsa. The chips are warm, thick and home cut, the salsas a selection of light and spicy salsa verde and deep and smoky red sauce.  You'll be addicted in under a minute.

On the main menu, the many varieties of stuffed poblano peppers are remarkable, and a true standout.  Another standout is the soup -- whether it's carrot soup, corn soup, or their ridiculously cravable caldo de pollo, with its fresh onion, lime slices and corn tortillas, you will go home warmed, amazed, and satisfied.

But my favorite dish is still probably their carnitas platter.  Delicately fried chunks of pork with rice, beans, guacamole, and tender homemade corn tortillas ... all the usual suspects, but all elevated in their authentic taste and superior quality.  The downside? This dish and this place with ruin you for pork or Mexican anywhere else.  A risk worth taking, I say.


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