Stepping into Papa Cristo’s on Pico Boulevard feels like leaning into a warm hug, and that’s largely by design. Just look at the mural on the side of the building, or nearly any photo of Chrys Chrys, the affable man behind one of Los Angeles’ most successful Greek restaurants. Arms wide, smile ready. This is a place of familiarity, and has been for decades.
For Eater’s Classics Week 2015, I put together a really nice #mediumread about Mitla Cafe, San Bernardino’s longstanding Mexican restaurant that helped form the basis of what would become Taco Bell.
There’s more to the history, though, as the piece shows: segregation, changing demographics, disenfranchisement and a sense of commitment to community.
Go take a look.
You may not know it just by looking at chef Carlos Salgado’s modern Mexican four-course menu at his Costa Mesa restaurant Taco Maria, but the fine dining chef’s biggest inspiration may well be a hole-in-the-wall taqueria in Orange. That restaurant — his parents — sparked a lifelong love of Mexican cuisine, cooking and Orange County itself.
After stints in the Bay Area as pastry chef at fine-dining spots like Commis in Oakland, Salgado returned to Orange County to start Taco Maria as a market-driven food truck, before eventually expanding into Costa Mesa’s hip OC Mix Mart. Now one year in at his wood-lined open kitchen restaurant, Salgado is blessed to have the eye of L.A. diners, and to be serving the kind of food (in exactly the kind of town) that he’s always wanted.
No one would accuse Diep Tran of breezing through her five years as owner of Good Girl Dinette. The ambitious chef pushes plates of Vietnamese-style diner food in Highland Park, opening the doors to her first restaurant in the middle of some of the worst economic turmoil in American History. Still, five years in, Good Girl is going strong.
Los Angeles is a city that has run on steak for decades. From Beverly Hills business lunches to thick late night slabs of prime rib, grilled meat has been a prime motivator for the L.A. restaurant scene for the better part of a century. And thankfully, many of the city’s great old school steakhouses are still standing. From Torrance dive bars that double as prime rib joints to Glendale tiki spots, this is a special The Five Days of Meat edition of are ten of the city’s best long-in-the tooth steak joints.
Tacos are the heartbeat of Los Angeles’ culinary scene. Upscale chefs sling braised meats and fresh tortillas alongside uni and imported mezcal, while daily loncheros keep the city fed with $1 late-night tacos from the same trusty location. From hand-patted tortillas to all manner of ingredients — stews, moles, seafood, slow-cooked pork and plenty of carnitas — there are endless iterations of possible taco greatness. Here, in no particular order, are twenty tacos to try before you die in LA.