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Casa Vega’s lobster guacamole with pickled jalapeno

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Taco the Town with These Top 5 L.A. Mexican Eateries

By Betty Ann Graham

Photo by Getty Images

03.06.17

Round up the crew and head to one of these old-school Mexican eateries, known for top tacos, piping-hot enchiladas and thirst-quenching margaritas.

Candela Taco Bar & Lounge
Formerly known as the “Mexican nightclub on La Brea,” this newly renovated restaurant and live-music venue has been an L.A. staple for more than 40 years. Whether you dine in the full service restaurant, sip on a Mexican Coke in the upstairs lounge or dance the night away in the main sound stage, Candela’s Cadillac margaritas and traditional soft tacos always satisfy. Mid-Wilshire, 323.936.0533

Casablanca
Handmade tortillas, more than 250 tequila offerings and a life-size statue of Humphrey Bogart have made this movie-inspired restaurant a must for locals and visitors alike. Peruse one of the largest collections of Casablanca memorabilia in the world before indulging in the venue’s main attraction—calamari steak. Or skip the midweek rush and head in on Sunday, when brunch comes complete with Champagne, sangria and bloody marys. Venice, 310.392.5751

Casa Vega
This Sherman Oaks mainstay recently toasted its 60th anniversary thanks to timeless dishes, including its famous chicken mole, housemade margaritas and mojitos. Fresh ingredients, celeb clientele and late-night happy hour specials (Mon.-Wed., 10pm-2am; Thu.-Sun., 11pm-2am; 20 percent off all appetizers and booze) ensure the fiesta will last for decades to come. Sherman Oaks, 818.788.4868

El Compadre
Come for the famous flaming margaritas and stay for the authentic Mexican cuisine featuring recipes that have been handed down over several generations. The restaurant’s in-house singing trio serenades guests nightly while its knowledgeable staff will cater to all your Mexican cravings—from imported and domestic beers to tasty tamales and steak fajitas. DTLA, 213.749.0025

El Coyote Mexican Cafe
Since opening its doors in 1931, El Coyote has been drawing crowds with fare that ranges from classic to adventurous—buffalo tacos, anyone? Stop by on Margarita Monday for discounted spirits or brush up on your drinking skills with an in-house tequila tasting (dates vary, 6-8pm in the bar). Jalapeno poppers, El Coyote pizza, the Coyote burger and jumbo burritos round out the eclectic menu. Beverly Grove, 323.939.2255