Guelaguetza has served as a culinary institution in L.A. since the Lopez family opened the restaurant in 1994. Named after an Oaxacan dance, the popular Koreatown spot is known for its unparalleled moles, which are paired with plates of hearty tacos, rice, meat and vegetables. Lively music usually accompanies your meal—whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner—and it’s not unusual to see diners get up and dance. Want to try and replicate your dish at home? An attached store sells jars of Guelaguetza’s moles—red, black and coloradito—along with ingredients to make their fantastic micheladas.
Mexican food might be the official cuisine of Los Angeles, with a taqueria or taco truck on seemingly every corner and freshly made horchata a standard summer drink. What can we say? We’re blessed. But the South of the Border fare runs so much deeper than tacos, with flavors and preparations that can vary depending not only by seasonality and provenance, but simply by which L.A. neighborhood we happen to be in at the moment. We tasted our way through moles, tamales and picante plates to round up L.A.’s best Mexican restaurants, from old-school traditional to modern and back again.