Best (Authentic) Mexican Restaurants in Los Angeles

When Travel and Leisure runs an article about L.A.’s Best Mexican Restaurants, you bet we’re going to cover it here on Gadling.

I’ve spent most of my life in Los Angeles eating Mexican food and when I ran across this article, I confidently assumed that there was nothing new that Travel and Leisure was going to teach me about my hometown.

Boy, was I wrong.

Instead of researching the more popular Mexican restaurants, writer Alexandra Marshall went in search of the more authentic and traditional. This led her to parts of the city to which I’ve never ventured–South Central, Boyle Heights, East LA, to name a few–but places where many immigrants from all over Mexico have come to live, bringing their local cuisine with them.

To further add embarrassment to my faulty sense of the Mexican culinary scene in Los Angeles, she completely ignores the run-of-the-mill burritos, quesadillas, and tacos and dives right into strange concoctions from other parts of Mexico. Here are just a few mouthwatering discoveries she mentions:

Barbacoa – “maguey leaf–wrapped mutton” cooked slowly over a bed of lava rocks
Horchata – “a cold drink with fresh nuts, cinnamon, and vanilla.”
Mole – “a powerful paste of ground chiles, garlic, dried fruit, up to 30 spices, seeds, nuts, and sometimes chocolate.”
Pan de cazón – “a casserole of minced shark meat, beans, and a mild, persimmon-colored tomato”

Yum. And to think I’ve been limiting my palate to tacos and burritos.

The article also features a list of the best places to eat the above mentioned goods. Sorry, but none of them have websites or, for that matter, take credit cards. Yes, this is truly authentic, rural Mexico.