Very fun fact: the URL of Guelaguetza’s website is “i love mole dot com “. Before even setting foot in this Mexican temple of Koreatown, we’re already conquered. Here’s another reason to love Guelaguetza: Jonathan Gold has nicknamed it “the best oaxacan restaurant in the country”. And, as if we needed a third reason to be convinced, Guelaguetza received an ‘American Classics’ James Beard Award, the equivalent of an Oscar for a restaurant. However, don’t look for tacos or burritos, there aren’t any. Fernando Lopez, a Mexican immigrant, founded this establishment in 1994 (his four children took over after he retired) and since then he has always served traditional food from his region, Oaxaca. Do not miss the chicken mole (choosing between the negro, verde, rojo and coloradito moles remains the most difficult task), the banana leaf tamale, and the meat platter (tasajo, chorizo, cecina, for which you will also need a dictionary). As for drinks? Micheladas of course, or a margarita made with one of their 65 types of mezcal. And while you’re eating and drinking, a mariachi plays every night in the main room – but if you prefer a quiet atmosphere, you can ask for a table in the back. What’s not to love?
Address: 3014 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9AM-10PM. Saturday 8AM-11PM. Sunday 8AM-9PM.
Reservations: (213) 427-0608 or on their website
Price: Entrées $14-18, Beer $4
Best for: Dinner