No matter how intent you are on getting that Umami burger, you cannot ignore new Candela across the street on LaBrea, lit up as it is by a sexy sign for Leonardo’s nightclub next door. Started by Leonardo’s owner Armando Lopez and his daughter Maria, Candela’s romantic atmosphere seeks to integrate a traditional Mexican restaurant with something “sexier, more modern, and kind of trendy” according to Maria, who sought to blend her knowledge of design with her’s father’s in running a restaurant.
But it’s really the food that intrigues us. In addition to Coca-Cola from Mexico, beloved for its reported use of cane sugar, and churros served with chocolate rum sauce, Candela designates itself as a taco bar that, says Maria, seeks to “honor homemade Mexican food.”
Candela chef Salvador Aguilar has been working at taquerias since he was only 8 at his family’s Vallarta taco stand, and is a veteran of L.A.’s La Barca, in addition to many other restaurants.
Aguilar’s tacos seem to contain entire entrees unto themselves, with the sorts of ingredients we see filling entire plates elsewhere. Here we take a look at Candela’s tacos on offer, many of which go beyond a normal asada, pastor, and carnitas tri-fecta. Be forewarned, the English translations turn the flavor down slightly.
Taco Bar (Your Choice $1.75)
Dorados de Papa y Queso/Fried Potato and Cheese
Crema de Elote con Chile Poblanos/Creamed Corn and Roasted Poblanos
Rajas y Queso/Chile and Cheese
Pollo en Mole Rojo/Chicken in Red Sauce
Pollo Adobado a la Parilla/Marinated and Grilled Chicken
Carne y Cerdo/Beef and Pork
Chile Colorado/Pork in Spicy Red Sauce
Tacos al Pastor con Pina/Seasoned Pork with Pineapple Chunks
Carne Asada a la Parilla/Grilled Skirt Steak
Camarones Enchilados/Spicy Shrimp
Pescado a la Parilla/Grilled Fish
In addition, four tacos of your choice are available on Candela’ s Taco Tour for $10.