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Broken Spanish Sings Ray Garcia's Gorgeous Love Song to Los Angeles

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The South Park stunner opens today.

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Chef Ray Garcia’s South Park overhaul of the former Rivera space is now complete, as Broken Spanish comes to life. The colorful tiles and wood-wrapped interior show off the restaurant’s upscale casual sensibility, where modern Los Angeles cuisine comes to light.

Inside, Broken Spanish offers a variety of dining experiences, from easy going two- and four-tops in the main room to elevated, almost communal-style seating (but with lots more elbow room) running along the center. A wrapping marble bar lets customers watch the action as closely as any sushi counter, while patio space and another glass-lined room filled with Mexican pottery provides comfortable banquettes and long tables for large groups. Bells & Whistles designers Jason St. John and Barbara Rourke are responsible for the sunny new outlook inside.

As for the menu, chef Garcia has traded old world Mexican authenticity for the flavors and ingredients of today’s Los Angeles. Typical street esquites are laced instead with smoked manzanos and kewpie mayonnaise, while tamales may contain English peas and swiss chard from the farmers market. Larger plates include familiar titles like chile relleno and chicharrones, each framed in Garcia’s classical training from his years at places like the Peninsula Beverly Hills and Fig in Santa Monica. The early standout dish here is likely to be the cabeza, an innocuous-sounding menu item that actually arrives as a fully cooked lamb head with pickled onions and cabbage.

With partnerships from Jacob Shure and Sprout LA, plus chef de cuisine Geter Atienza (Fig, Bouchon) and newly minted beverage director Michael Lay, Garcia hopes to revive the former Rivera space by creating one of Downtown’s newest destination experiences. Starting today, the restaurant is open seven days a week for dinner only, with hours from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Broken Spanish
1050 S. Flower StLos Angeles, CA