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LA’s Only Garifuna Restaurant Melds Belizean Flavors and Afro-Caribbean Cooking Styles

Winston Miranda opens a stall at Mercado La Paloma for his restaurant Gusina Saraba

Plate of browned chicken with sides on a tiled table.
Jerk chicken, beans and rice, with sauce at Gusina Saraba at Mercado La Paloma in South Central.
Matthew Kang

On July 2, Winston Miranda, owner of Los Angeles’s only Garifuna food truck, opened his first permanent restaurant Gusina Saraba inside Mercado La Paloma in Historic South Central. It occupies the stall vacated by Azla Vegan, which was a beloved Ethiopian vegan place that has moved on to focus on catering. Miranda had a deal to open in the summer of 2020 at the food hall, but the deal fell through. Now, the newly opened Gusina Saraba will feature Belizean cuisine, and a handful of Miranda’s Belizean-Garifuna dishes, which will be available by special order. Gusina Saraba, which means wake-up kitchen in Garifuna, will offer a weekend brunch menu featuring endless fry jacks.

The Belizean dishes offered at Miranda’s stall are rice and beans, the national staple of black beans and rice cooked in coconut milk, which are then served with meat or fish on top. Miranda also cooks plus popular Belizean plates like jerk chicken, oxtails in gravy, stew chicken in a rich red recado (achiote paste) sauce, as well as curry shrimp. Appetizers include conch fritters, Mayan panades (Belizean empanadas), salbutes (puffy chicken tacos), and garnaches (bean tostadas), all of which are perfect vessels for Marie Sharp’s habanero hot sauce, Gusina Saraba’s onion sauce, pickled onions, and habaneros.

Breakfast combos, which started last weekend, include beans and hash browns, hash fish, sauteed onions, and peppers. Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, fry fish, powder buns, Johnny cakes, flour tortillas, and endless fry jacks round out the rib-sticking weekend daytime meal.

Miranda’s Garifuna dishes include bundiga (fish and green bananas in coconut), hudut (mashed green plantain ball with fish soup), and tapou (fish stew with green plantains and root vegetables), all of which can be ordered in advance.

Fans of the Saraba truck will still be able to catch Miranda’s Belizean cuisine on the streets of South Central during the day, as well as Hollywood in the evenings. Here at Mercado La Paloma, Gusina Saraba will serve from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

Gusina Saraba. 3655 S. Grand Avenue, Historic South Central, (213) 441-7252

Blank storefront of a food stall in Los Angeles.
Stall at Gusina Saraba, still awaiting decor and signage.
Matthew Kang
Man wearing gray shirt pours food into a to-go container behind a counter.
Owner Winston Miranda prepares beans and rice behind the counter at Gusina Saraba inside Mercado La Paloma.
Matthew Kang
Plate of oxtails, sides, and vegetables on a brightly tiled table.
Oxtails, plaintains, rice, potato salad, and vegetables.
Matthew Kang
Man wearing gray shirt and jeans holds a plate of grilled chicken.
Winston Miranda of Gusina Saraba holds up a plate of jerk chicken.
Matthew Kang

Gusina Saraba

732 West 130th Street, , CA 90247