It’s been nearly nineteen months since we last moaned and groaned about Haute Living’s weak-sauce lists of "best restaurants" in L.A. Sorry to see the publication hasn’t improved on these sorts of features in all that time. Today, Haute drops recommendations for L.A.’s "Five Best Mexican" restaurants and it fails to resonate with anyone on our planet. The list starts with favorite local target Red O, putting Bayless straight in the number one spot. Rosa Mexicano takes number three while Loteria takes both number two and four. Finally, Lynwood’s mighty La Huasteca takes number five. What’s wrong with this this list (besides almost everything?).
Okay, first of all, where is Rivera on this list? It’s haute, it’s excellent, it’s a lovely space, and it surpasses the supposed artistry and creativity of a place like Red O’s only a few times over. Still, we venture further. Hold your nose.
Loteria twice? Clearly, Loteria in The Farmers Market is not what most people consider a haute restaurant. It’s a taco stand, albeit a favorite of many foodies. It’s difficult to count the number of Mexican restaurants that should have been on this list before adding repeat offender: If we wanted to go Westside, we would have been content with Frida or new Taberna Mexicana in Beverly Hills. For long-loved upscale Mex, there’s always La Serenata, that romantic stalwart in Boyle Heights, celebrity favorite Casa Vega in the Valley, or Casa Sanchez, which charges haute prices and feels as much like a steakhouse as it does a Mexican restaurant most days. Flashy and fun Casa in Downtown and even one of the two locations of Border Grill should have been considered long before doubling down on Loteria. None of these are necessarily the best Mex in town, but anything’s better than naming the same place twice.
La Huasteca? Normally, it’d make us very happy to see Lynwood’s worthy La Huasteca here, but its inclusion feels just a little random seeing as it’s sharing space with so much Westside fare. If Casita Mexicana didn’t make it, then we’re hardly buying La Huasteca. The whole mention feels kind of like the Grammy that went to Jethro Tull in 1988 just to make up for the organization’s previous oversights. "Hey, we just picked a bunch of random Mexican restaurants for our list, all four of which deserved billing over La Huasteca!" Sorry Haute, we won’t even give you that one. Too little, too late.
Though we have our own issues with Sandia, El Compadre, Lares, and anything from the dude behind Rock ‘N Fish, Feast took a shot at this same "best upscale Mexican" list this week and did much better job. Rivera, you’ll note, at least made top billing!
Top Five Mexican Restaurants In Los Angeles [Haute Living]