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Queso fundido dish with melty cheese at Madre Restaurant in Los Angeles.
Queso fundido at Madre
Wonho Frank Lee

21 Essential Sit-Down Mexican Restaurants in LA

Grab a seat, and definitely a margarita

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Queso fundido at Madre
| Wonho Frank Lee

Trying to eat through Los Angeles’s dizzying Mexican restaurant scene can be overwhelming. Because the city hosts the largest concentration of Mexicans in America, and one of the largest in the North American continent, there’s essentially an endless number of places for tacos and tortas (and tortas ahogadas) and tamales — and that’s to say nothing of the birria, the barbacoa, plant-based options, and all manner of Sinaloan and Oaxacan specialties, among others.

Truly, the city is riddled with incredible Mexican cuisine, from street food to upscale spots, so this map will focus on sit-down brick-and-mortar restaurants around greater Los Angeles. Consider it a sampler of where to find some excellent Mexican food in LA, while any of the links listed prior will be helpful in finding specific dishes or regions.

ADDED: El Compadre, Leonor’s Mexican Vegetarian Restaurant, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, Martin’s Cocina y Cantina

REMOVED: Bizarra Capital, Casa Vega, Socalo, Sonoratown

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Birrieria Apatzingan

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Classic Mexican antojitos and birria destination Apatzingan lives in a crowded center with a convenience store and other businesses on a busy Pacoima intersection. Try the birria with Apatzingan’s large, floppy tortillas.

A beige bowl of glistening red goat birria topped with cilantro and onion on a table outdoors.
Birria at Birrieria Apatzingan in Pacoima.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Leonor’s Mexican Vegetarian Restaurant

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While Mexican plant-based restaurants continue to gain popularity, Leonor’s Restaurant opened back in 1988. With two SFV locations, the family-operated restaurant can prepare vegan or vegetarian dishes like the tacos, burritos, tostadas, or enchiladas.

El Compadre

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Once seated in one of El Compadre’s red vinyl booth, order a flaming margarita and wait for the Mariachis who play nightly. With its colorful yet darkened room lit with 1970s-style sterno candles, El Compadre still holds court on this side of Sunset Boulevard after almost five decades and is, without question, thriving.

Los Angeles standout Madre has locations in Palms, West Hollywood, and Torrance, each a prime example of Oaxacan cooking from memelas and moles to tlayudas — and all served alongside one of the widest selection of mezcal in the country.

Memelas from Madre
Memelas at Madre
Jakob Layman

Petty Cash Taqueria

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Petty Cash is arguably the best place to score some pretty standout tacos, uni-laced guacamole, and agave-based cocktails in Fairfax. Especially cool digs with high ceilings make it a great place for large groups to gather at community tables.

Tables outside of Petty Cash Taqueria & Bar.
Petty Cash Taqueria.
Caroline Pardilla

Mírame

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In 2020, chef Joshua Gil opened his modern Baja Mexican restaurant in the heart of Beverly Hills, with stellar cocktails and some of the most creative cooking in Los Angeles right now. Try the Baja fried snapper with blue corn tortillas.

Indoor outdoor seating at Mirame Beverly Hills.
Mírame in Beverly Hills
Rich Marchewka

Guelaguetza Restaurant

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There’s little debate that Koreatown’s Guelaguetza is the go-to when it comes to Oaxacan cuisine in Los Angeles. An Angeleno will find few better places to indulge in complex moles, two-foot-wide tlayudas, and piles of chapulines than the massive restaurant that, with its floral-wrapped tables, always manages to feel especially festive.

Moles at Guelaguetza in LA’s Koreatown.
Moles at Guelaguetza in LA’s Koreatown.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

LA Cha Cha Chá

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Mexico City restaurant Terraza Cha Cha Chá opened this rooftop destination in Arts District and the response has been tremendous since opening in 2021. With chef Paco Moran helming the kitchen, the modern Mexican fare features tacos, tostadas, composed seafood dishes, and a view that can please a crowd. They’re now open for brunch as well, meaning all-day weekend options for the Arts District.

Cha Cha Cha’s indoor dining area in Downtown Los Angeles
Cha Cha Chá in Arts District.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Sonoritas Prime Tacos

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This simple taqueria has some of the finest grilled carne asada and other tacos in the city, all made on handmade flour or corn tortillas. Sonoritas also took over the former Broken Spanish space in Downtown LA for an ideal pre-Staples Center dinner.

Tacos from Sonoritas Prime in Los Angeles.
Tacos from Sonoritas Prime in Los Angeles.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Bar Hermanito

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Bar Hermanito is one of the most surprising — and satisfying — dining choices you can make on Sawtelle. The menu takes inspiration from the neighborhood’s Japantown culture and history, with dishes like yellowtail tostada with umeboshi (Japanese pickles). The best reasons to come to Hermanito, though, are its tacos, smooth cocktails, and westside-cool patio atmosphere: more common choices like al pastor, shrimp, and quesabirria tacos are complemented by a Peking duck platter (not available every day — so consider yourself lucky if you come in and it’s on the menu).

Gish Bac

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Maria and David Ramos have one of the most impressive Oaxacan restaurants in the city, serving everything from stellar mole to excellent lamb barbacoa on the weekends. The latter makes Gish Bac an unmissable spot on California’s barbacoa trail.

Barbacoa from Gish Bac
Barbacoa from Gish Bac.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Celebrated Mexican chef Enrique Olvera has an outpost of his more casual restaurant Atla from New York City, with pristine takes on upscale Mexican favorites like fish ceviche tostadas and octopus huarache to duck al pastor. The Arts District restaurant also has a new brunch menu to pore over on weekends.

Fish tartare, avocado, furikake at Damian in Los Angeles on a plate with a slice of lime.
Fish tartare tostada at Damian
Araceli Paz

Mercado

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Part of a growing collection of Mercado restaurants, this Santa Monica outlet prepares quality fare for the whole neighborhood. From straightforward guacamole to kale salads to a proper chile relleno, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here; the “dos gringas” tacos, featuring melted oaxaca cheese and tender al pastor, hit every time.

Aqui es Texcoco

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This is the place for lamb barbacoa, tucked into a space out in Commerce. With additional outlets in Tijuana and San Diego, Aqui es Texcoco remains one of the stronger options for eating big weekend plates of pit-roasted lamb.

Aqui es Texcoco in Commerce, California.
Aqui es Texcoco in Commerce, California.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

La Casita Mexicana

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A standard-bearer for sit-down Mexican cuisine, La Casita is as award-winning as it is delicious. Sure, the team there has gone on the open several other places since, but this remains the real destination for anyone looking to explore what Mexican cooking can be.

La Casita Mexicana’s dining room in Bell, California.
La Casita Mexicana’s dining room in Bell, California.
La Casita Mexicana

Martin's Cocina y Cantina

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The Martin family opened its first restaurant in 2009. Five restaurants later, they emerged with Martin’s Cocina y Cantina, a departure from the other Fiesta Martin locations throughout South LA. It’s a bright, modern addition to this prominent Inglewood street with incredible cocktails, good food, and if necessary, a bar with wide TVs to watch local sports teams.

Rocio's Mexican Kitchen

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Rocio Camacho goes by the moniker of the Goddess of Mole for a reason: the moles and other cooking here are truly some of the best in the entire country. Also come for the tacos de cazuela, bright, citrusy cochinita pibil crowned with pickled red onion, and Oaxacan-style caldo de pollo, a warming chicken soup.

Chef Rocio Camacho stands inside her colorful Mexican restaurant, wearing a white shirt.
Chef Rocio Camacho stands inside her colorful Mexican restaurant.
Bill Esparza

Tamales Elena Y Antojitos

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In May, Tamales Elena y Antojitos sent shockwaves in the SoCal restaurant community by announcing that it would close permanently, only to reveal days later that the Bell Gardens restaurant would re-open on June 3 to keep selling tamales, guisados, and pozoles for the foreseeable future. The tiled outdoor patio has bright umbrellas to fight the sun.

Patio at Tamales Elena y Antojitos.
Patio at Tamales Elena y Antojitos.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Coni'Seafood

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This Inglewood restaurant is the master of shrimp in all preparations — fried, sautéed, cut into ceviche marinero, or left whole for shockingly bright and spicy aguachile with a vibrant jalapeño puree. But the real star here is the pescado zarandeado, whole snook coated in an umami-rich paste and shaken over coals with an indoor space and cozy patio.

A top down view of grilled fish, shrimp, and ceviche.
Coni’Seafood
Farley Elliott

Ortega 120

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The South Bay loves Ortega 120, the long-running restaurant serving everything from short rib and truffle cheese nachos to queso fundido, or the handmade tortillas. The space itself is fun and funky, with a charmingly casual vibe.

Lola's Mexican Cuisine

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Long Beach’s longstanding Lola’s Mexican Cuisine has one of the more beautiful parklets in all of Southern California, complete with a shade structure and coat of bright paint. Go for the tacos dorados, aguas frescas, margaritas, and don’t miss the romantic back patio.

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Birrieria Apatzingan

A beige bowl of glistening red goat birria topped with cilantro and onion on a table outdoors.
Birria at Birrieria Apatzingan in Pacoima.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Classic Mexican antojitos and birria destination Apatzingan lives in a crowded center with a convenience store and other businesses on a busy Pacoima intersection. Try the birria with Apatzingan’s large, floppy tortillas.

A beige bowl of glistening red goat birria topped with cilantro and onion on a table outdoors.
Birria at Birrieria Apatzingan in Pacoima.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Leonor’s Mexican Vegetarian Restaurant

While Mexican plant-based restaurants continue to gain popularity, Leonor’s Restaurant opened back in 1988. With two SFV locations, the family-operated restaurant can prepare vegan or vegetarian dishes like the tacos, burritos, tostadas, or enchiladas.

El Compadre

Once seated in one of El Compadre’s red vinyl booth, order a flaming margarita and wait for the Mariachis who play nightly. With its colorful yet darkened room lit with 1970s-style sterno candles, El Compadre still holds court on this side of Sunset Boulevard after almost five decades and is, without question, thriving.

Madre

Memelas from Madre
Memelas at Madre
Jakob Layman

Los Angeles standout Madre has locations in Palms, West Hollywood, and Torrance, each a prime example of Oaxacan cooking from memelas and moles to tlayudas — and all served alongside one of the widest selection of mezcal in the country.

Memelas from Madre
Memelas at Madre
Jakob Layman

Petty Cash Taqueria

Tables outside of Petty Cash Taqueria & Bar.
Petty Cash Taqueria.
Caroline Pardilla

Petty Cash is arguably the best place to score some pretty standout tacos, uni-laced guacamole, and agave-based cocktails in Fairfax. Especially cool digs with high ceilings make it a great place for large groups to gather at community tables.

Tables outside of Petty Cash Taqueria & Bar.
Petty Cash Taqueria.
Caroline Pardilla

Mírame

Indoor outdoor seating at Mirame Beverly Hills.
Mírame in Beverly Hills
Rich Marchewka

In 2020, chef Joshua Gil opened his modern Baja Mexican restaurant in the heart of Beverly Hills, with stellar cocktails and some of the most creative cooking in Los Angeles right now. Try the Baja fried snapper with blue corn tortillas.

Indoor outdoor seating at Mirame Beverly Hills.
Mírame in Beverly Hills
Rich Marchewka

Guelaguetza Restaurant

Moles at Guelaguetza in LA’s Koreatown.
Moles at Guelaguetza in LA’s Koreatown.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

There’s little debate that Koreatown’s Guelaguetza is the go-to when it comes to Oaxacan cuisine in Los Angeles. An Angeleno will find few better places to indulge in complex moles, two-foot-wide tlayudas, and piles of chapulines than the massive restaurant that, with its floral-wrapped tables, always manages to feel especially festive.

Moles at Guelaguetza in LA’s Koreatown.
Moles at Guelaguetza in LA’s Koreatown.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

LA Cha Cha Chá

Cha Cha Cha’s indoor dining area in Downtown Los Angeles
Cha Cha Chá in Arts District.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Mexico City restaurant Terraza Cha Cha Chá opened this rooftop destination in Arts District and the response has been tremendous since opening in 2021. With chef Paco Moran helming the kitchen, the modern Mexican fare features tacos, tostadas, composed seafood dishes, and a view that can please a crowd. They’re now open for brunch as well, meaning all-day weekend options for the Arts District.

Cha Cha Cha’s indoor dining area in Downtown Los Angeles
Cha Cha Chá in Arts District.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Sonoritas Prime Tacos

Tacos from Sonoritas Prime in Los Angeles.
Tacos from Sonoritas Prime in Los Angeles.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

This simple taqueria has some of the finest grilled carne asada and other tacos in the city, all made on handmade flour or corn tortillas. Sonoritas also took over the former Broken Spanish space in Downtown LA for an ideal pre-Staples Center dinner.

Tacos from Sonoritas Prime in Los Angeles.
Tacos from Sonoritas Prime in Los Angeles.
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

Bar Hermanito

Bar Hermanito is one of the most surprising — and satisfying — dining choices you can make on Sawtelle. The menu takes inspiration from the neighborhood’s Japantown culture and history, with dishes like yellowtail tostada with umeboshi (Japanese pickles). The best reasons to come to Hermanito, though, are its tacos, smooth cocktails, and westside-cool patio atmosphere: more common choices like al pastor, shrimp, and quesabirria tacos are complemented by a Peking duck platter (not available every day — so consider yourself lucky if you come in and it’s on the menu).

Gish Bac

Barbacoa from Gish Bac
Barbacoa from Gish Bac.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Maria and David Ramos have one of the most impressive Oaxacan restaurants in the city, serving everything from stellar mole to excellent lamb barbacoa on the weekends. The latter makes Gish Bac an unmissable spot on California’s barbacoa trail.

Barbacoa from Gish Bac
Barbacoa from Gish Bac.
Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA

Damian

Fish tartare, avocado, furikake at Damian in Los Angeles on a plate with a slice of lime.
Fish tartare tostada at Damian
Araceli Paz

Celebrated Mexican chef Enrique Olvera has an outpost of his more casual restaurant Atla from New York City, with pristine takes on upscale Mexican favorites like fish ceviche tostadas and octopus huarache to duck al pastor. The Arts District restaurant also has a new brunch menu to pore over on weekends.

Fish tartare, avocado, furikake at Damian in Los Angeles on a plate with a slice of lime.
Fish tartare tostada at Damian
Araceli Paz

Mercado

Part of a growing collection of Mercado restaurants, this Santa Monica outlet prepares quality fare for the whole neighborhood. From straightforward guacamole to kale salads to a proper chile relleno, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here; the “dos gringas” tacos, featuring melted oaxaca cheese and tender al pastor, hit every time.