THE best mexican food in los angeles, california

2010/08/25 15:59:10
now i know my topic is a bold statement, but its a fact. without a doubt, cant even compare to another fact....
this mexican restaurant is located in Venice Beach, California. The name of this extradinary establishment: La Cabana
La Cabana has been around Venice for probably 30 or more years.
I grew up eating their food, and continue to do so 27 years later.
Without a doubt the best mexican food restaurant I have ever been to in Los Angeles, and I have been to almost all of the hot spots and talked about ones atleast once.
None compare to La Cabana.
Here is the website for them:
If you are ever in Socal and want the best, head over there and treat yourself to the best.
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/25 16:45:29
GoTTi - I'm not disputing your claim, but what makes their food better than anyone else's?  I checked out their menu on-line: nothing particularly out-of-the-ordinary, so it must be something special about the food, itself.  Details please!
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/25 18:20:15
i see your in los angeles...i highly suggest taking a trip over there to experience it first hand....

but i will endulge in some details....

as a little tike, i use to get a bean and cheese burrito, dry. that was my meal. a nightly routine meal. i graduated to a carne asada dinner plate as i got older. a few years back, i tried other dishes there, and one of my brothers favorites, the chile reileno. the chile relieno is so cheesey and tastey, words i type here couldnt even tell the tale.

the carne asada dinner always comes with a great size slice of meat, the beans and rice is excellent. always fresh tasting and moist, never dry and nasty looking. the cheese ontop of the beans is a great blend as well. the "desert", i like to call it, is this sauce they put on top of the rice/beans center portion. it is kind of like a pico degallo sauce i guess. onions, taomato flavor. seasoning. its killer good.

the chips are always fresh tasting. never over salted or even taste old or stale. the sauce they give with the chips has been the same since i have been going. its this red hot sauce. lots of flavor. they serve it with butter. you take the butter, usually comes kind of hard in little packs, and you softly smash it with your fingers so it softens a little so you can take your chip and scrape the butter onto the chip and dip it in the hot sauce. it kind of milds the "hot" off the sauce.

everyone i have taken to la cabana has had a great experience. never had complaints or problems on my end or with the people i bring.

they serve handmade corn and flour tortillas that come to your table steaming hot from the grill they have in the center of the restaurant.

the atmosphere is cool. they havent remodeled it but one time to extend the back to a outdoor balcony since i have been there. they have 3 guys walking around at night with music instruments playing songs infront of your table on request. its very fast paced with the servers, they get your meals and drinks to you quickly. i said, this is hands down the best mexican food (for what they offer on the menu) in southern california IMO...and you can only agree with me by driving over there and experiencing it for yourself.

when you decide to trave over there, park in the parking lot across the street, but close to the Rose Ave. side. you wont get towed or ticketed. usually parking is scarce in that area so it is ok to park there.

have fun
post edited by GoTTi - 2010/08/25 18:22:09
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/26 00:16:14
Aren't La Cabana and Casablanca owned by the same people?

For Mariscos I'd choose Casablanca.  They have incredible calamari.

For Oaxacan I'd choose Guelaguetza Restaurante.  They have incredible moles, one better than the next.

For what I call combination plate Mexican I like Don Antonios on Pico or La Ballona on Main Street, Culver City.

For Bean and Cheese Burritos my go to place is Tito's Tacos.  I also grew up eating Tito's Tacos and last week when I was there I was horribly disappointed with their tacos.  Newer, thicker shells that were over cooked.

For taquitos there's only one place in the entire country...  Cielito Lindo on Olvera Street.
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/26 11:20:48
la cabana and casablance i think were owned by the same owners, but now the ex wife owns one of them or something like that. i dunno. its like a wierd love triangle.

i was at titos last week, got the usual. 2 tacos and 1 bean n cheese burrito. they had its usual flavor, i grew up eating that as well. but for the past year or so, it hasnt been as good as i once remember it to be. dunno what could be causing it. it is just starting to feel like nothing spectacular now. maybe its because they changed the sizes on their condiment cups...i dunno...and the price increases...

when i use to go there, i could get 2 tacos, 1 bean n cheese burrito, 1 root beer and small guacamole for way under $10. i would get 4 fist fulls of chips and a huge salsa container with thick chopped tomatos...the guacamole was thicker. now when i go to get the same thing, its like 1 1/2 hand fulls of chips, a 8 oz container of salsa and a small guacamole isnt enough for 3 or 4 people, and i pay like $6 more.

i understand the price increase ofcourse, but at those prices, i can take myself to la cabana and get a complete meal, have seating, and enjoy it just as much.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/26 11:54:06

For taquitos there's only one place in the entire country...  Cielito Lindo on Olvera Street.

There has never been a truer statement on the forums of!!
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/26 13:26:17
Gotti,  do you remember when Tito's was on the corner of Sepulveda and Washington where Cinco de Mayo is?

I grew up by the corner of Venice and Sepulveda so Tito's was just a bike ride away.  Tacos were a quarter and guacamole was thicker and free.  You could also get your own salsas.  Guess either the health department or the salsa moochers took care of that.

I really dislike when a place makes their servings smaller to make more money.  Someone who likes their food will be willing to pay more for the same size.

Tito's burrito's used to be huge.  Now they're just okay.

I buy a half dozen bean and cheese when there and freeze them.  
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/27 11:38:50
and freeze them..hasterical.

honestly, from watching the mamacitas in via the clean, clear display window they offer us while they are smashing our food together, i learned how to roll my burritos properly. everytime i roll a burrito i vision the girls there doing the burrito so i make the folds just right....

lay the tortilla out. splat down 2-3 bean spoon fulls. fold closer half of tortilla over beans, then pull the beans to you, making all the beans centralized into one center area. fold both ends over the center of the first fold. roll the burrito now away from you so it is tightly wrapped.

then goto work.

i always remember titos being where it is now. i didnt know it was on the corner. for years ive thought that titos might own that corner restaurant, because what kind of competitor would try and setup shop right next door to titos offering the same food? wouldnt make sense. unless the owner of titos financed that restaurant, maybe as another way to filter cash around. who knows. i have never eaten there, but i know its highly suspicious that right next door there is the same place, and they have been there for years and i never see business coming out of there when i am down there.

anyways, ill probably be gonig to titos sunday. looking forward to it.

want to have a good experience @ titos. go to the pavillions i think it is up on sepulveda, or any store that sells beer. get the small keg looknig heineken. bring it on over to titos. get a cup from the counter when u order the food. go inside the bathroom with the beer and poor it in there. and go to town.

been doing that for a while now. it is truly relaxing to be having a beef with them tacos and burritos, right there infront of everyone thats only drinking water or soda. no idea why he doesnt serve beer there, but he is def missing out on free money. lots of it. u know almost everyone ordering will be getting coronas or whatever there. god i could imagine the money he would make off bottled beer or even tap.
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/08/27 17:12:04
Ahh,  you're obviously much younger than I am.

  Don't think I'd want to drink a beer that was poured in the bathroom or even made a trip to the bathroom. 

For that experience I eat my tacos at home.

Cinco del Mayo which was once Lucy's with the same menu as Cinco de Mayo has very different food.  Nothing at all like Tito's.
It's very good.  I love their machaca burritos, their green pork burritos and their fried plantains which are served with crema.

You can also get fried shrimp, burgers and breakfasts there.

Try it some time as it's a totally different experience.

post edited by mar52 - 2010/11/22 09:38:13
Junior Burger
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/10/11 19:20:51
I've eaten at La Cabana years ago and remember it being very good. Let me throw two other places in the mix. I'm in Chino and there are two restaurants out here that are very good: Casa Sanchez and Los Portales. Casa Sanchez is located on Mountain Ave just north of the 60 freeway in a small mall on the west side of the street. Look for a Sizzler as a landmark. Los Portales is located on the S/W corner of Central / Walnut which is just south of the 60 freeway. Los Portales also has another location in Montclair on Central north of Holt Bl. Both are very good.
Junior Burger
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/10/12 05:55:31
Was recently in LA, I am surprised at your claim as LA was so huge and every corner had a half dozen mexican restaurants. I tried to look for what many claim as the best, Don Antonio's, La Cabinita, etc.
Each had something special, some were a let down.
I actually liked this one on wilshire boulevard called El Torito Grill that I stumbled onto one day. I remember Don Aontonio's being plain and lacking seasoning, La Cabinita was good but nothing impressive, but El Torito was fresh and very flavorful. Tortillas were made fresh by a lady in a section across from our booth and the appetizers and main dishes were very good.
It was a vacation so me being under the influence of alcohol half the time might have 'slightly' masked my prespective lol.
Junior Burger
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/11/22 03:04:13
I grew up about 2 minutes from La Cabana and had eaten there for about 15 years. It actually is pretty bad for Mexican food. I would advise any visitors to stay away from the tourist traps like La Cabana, Don Antonios, etc. One of the key things to pay attention to is that not very many Mexicans eat at La Cabana compared many other places. Although some Mexicans eat at these places, they are primarely White hangouts.
In Venice, I would recommend "La Playita" which has a lot of Mexicans eating there. In Culver City, right across the street from the projects is "El Abajeno". But in general, you need to go to the cities which are primarely Mexican. Go to East LA, Echo Park, Highland Park, Santa Ana, etc. Those are the places where you will see the giant freshly cut pigs hanging from the ceiling in the back kitchen, and homemade horchata made every few hours.
Re:THE best mexican food in los angeles, california 2010/11/22 09:53:24
I would advise any visitors to stay away from the tourist traps like La Cabana, Don Antonios, etc
I don't understand that statement.  Tourist trap?  Hardly. These are just neighborhood restaurants.  Cielito Lindo would qualify more as a tourist trap, but it's worth the drive and wait.  It offers something that you can't find elsewhere.
  El Abajeno was quite good.  For the last year I was taking my mother there a few times a month.  That stopped after the last two trips.  I don't give a third chance when someone ruins my food.  EVERYTHING we ate was over salted.  I like salt so this was exceptionally salty.  It's a shame as their food was quite good. 
For Mexican food in Los Angeles most places are good.  I've found a few I wouldn't go back to.  It's hard to ruin Mexican food, but I now know it can be done.
Sad to say that La Balona in Culver City has sold.  It was purchased by someone who wants to put in another Italian restaurant.  Downtown Culver City already has enough Italian restaurants but we don't have a rant forum.
I loved the "Dont touch, hot plate" , greasy combination plate at La Bolona.
It was just a few stores down from my father's and now my brother's store so I ate there frequently.  It will be missed.
post edited by mar52 - 2010/11/22 09:54:46