With its Día de los Muertos décor replete with purple neon lighting, flickering candles, and enough eye candy to fill the largest of plastic pumpkin pails, Velvet Margarita dips guests' chips in ambience as much as in salsa. To keep things simple, all dishes are $16.50 during dinner (4 p.m. to close), $11 during lunch (11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and can be made spicier upon request. Nosh on the pollo ala parilla con piña (chicken topped with pineapple and pico de gallo) or the salmón de Martin flopped heavy with white-wine pico cream sauce on a pillowy bed of rice and sautéed greens. Hedge your hunger-related bets with a chile relleno burrito, slow baked and topped with red serrano cream salsa and guacamole.
At L'Scorpion Tequila Bar, sommeliers pour nearly 200 varieties of tequila, including a premium collection of blancos, reposados, anejos, and mezcals. The vast, expertly curated selection earned it a spot on the Huffington Post's list of LA's Best Tequila Bars.
Fittingly, the focal point of L'Tequila is the bar, where dark stone arches frame row after row of tequila bottles illuminated by the nearby wrought-iron candelabras. Brick walls envelop plush leather booths, which serve as private enclaves for sipping margaritas or spelling out social-security numbers in limes. To complement libations, L'Scorpion also serves a menu of tapas and tacos.
Garnering the James Beard American Classics Award in 2005, Yuca's has sated cravings for the quick and classic with a varied menu of authentic Mexican fare and traditional American staples. Celebrating their 35th anniversary at the Hillhurst location, the tortilla experts offer up a bevy of tacos ($1.75–$2), burritos ($2.50–$4), or tortas ($3.50–$4.25) with hearty fillings such as Yucatan–style pork, grilled steak, or shredded beef. Traditionalists who prefer their protein horizontal can partake of an array of patty-laden luxuries from the classic hamburger ($1.95) to the decadent double-chili cheeseburger ($3.50), and the humble hot dog ($1.40–$1.75) is a sports stand-by that hearkens back to the great Mexican-American cricket matches of old. Multiple guacamole gourmands can band together with a party package, providing two tacos plus rice, beans, chips, and guacamole for up to eight people. The breezy open-air patio at the Hollywood location allows for outdoor enjoyment and easy testing for tortilla-based parachutes.
The neon flames on California Burrito Grill’s oversize sign welcome patrons into a brightly lit interior lined with California license plates. The corrugated-metal counter offers patrons front-row views of crisp house-made chips, sizzling toppings, and staff constructing suits of armor from cast-off taco shells.
For mouthbuds hungering for inventive twists and shouts, Malo’s hard-shell tacos feature combos such as the ground beef and pickle ($6 for two tacos) and potato and cheddar ($5.50 for two tacos). Other new-fangled dishes include the pork carnitas marinated with Coca-Cola and fresh orange juice ($12). All items can be sided with a variety of edible backup singers such as refried beans ($2.50), yucca fries with chipotle dip ($4), and Mexican corn on the cob ($3.50). The swanky eatery boasts a sleek, industrial-style interior with red velvet wallpaper and glossy black subway tiles along with an outdoor patio. The upscale, laid back décor makes Malo an ideal location for a romantic rendezvous with a significant other or for clandestine meetings of the Gary Shandling look-alike club.