John Gold, restaurant critic for The Los Angeles Times, has picked the fourteen best places to have Mexican food in the City of the Angeles. Here are his choices for the top five.
One of the most serious Mexican restaurants on the Eastside, a casual corner joint whose service is burnished to a white-tablecloth sheen. Chef-owner Roberto Berrelleza is especially gifted at the cuisine of his hometown of Los Mochis on the Sinaloa coast. 1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel, (626) 288-7265; Babita-MexiCuisine.com.
2. Border Grill:
More than 25 years later, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are still producing polished versions of great Mexican dishes. 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1655; and 445 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (213) 486-5171; BorderGrill.com.
3. Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita:
Where to go for unbeatable cemitas, Puebla-style hoagies of thinly pounded fried beef, avocado, chipotle chiles, and hand-shredded string cheese on sesame-seed rolls. 3010 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, (323) 881-0428.
4. Chichen Itza:
The most serious Yucatecan restaurant in town is in a bustling cooperative marketplace near USC. 3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 741-1075; ChichenItzaRestaurant.com.
The elusive Mexican seafood king Sergio Peñuelas, the master of Sinaloa-style pescado zarandeado, seems to have found a home. The aguachile is also the best in town. 3544 W. Imperial Highway, Inglewood, (310) 672-2339.