In 1962, Alberto Heredia and his wife, Carmen, flung open the doors of Carmelita's Restaurant, introducing a menu of tried and true family recipes from Puebla, Mexico. Now, a third generation of the Heredia family helps simmer carnitas and blend avocados into guacamole at two Carmelita's locations. The dining rooms, which are bedecked in vibrant knickknacks and paintings, let diners bask in bright colors without getting yelled at by a judge for bringing a kaleidoscope to court. Against the electrically hued backdrop, mariachi bands play on special occasions, their trumpets rising in warm spirals above fiddles and guitars.
The chefs at Plaza Jalisco make all the classics—carne asada tacos, spicy chicken fajitas, plates piled with vegetables and seafood. They toss sautéed shrimp into giant burritos, layer fish fillets into tacos, and fill enchiladas with a blend of spinach, mushrooms, and salsa blanca. They serve many different styles of seafood, with the siete mares—or the Seven Seas—pairing prawns, octopus, shrimp, scallops, fish, mussels, and crab simmered in their own juices. To complement these dishes, they have a full drink menu featuring a range of tequilas. These can be blended into house margaritas or enjoyed by themselves for a drink as elegant and energizing as a gloved slap in the face.
Some people could just eat tacos all day. And Tacos Y Mas helps make it possible with signature tacos alongside special breakfast tacos that incorporate scrambled eggs. The Mexican grill’s staff load their double-tortilla tacos with classics such as chorizo and eggs or one of their signature blends such as the cowboy, whose smoked jalapeno, beef sausage, and egg mixture secured the taqueria a spot on D-Magazine’s list of Best Breakfast Tacos in Dallas in 2010. While they do serve up their breakfast dishes all day, they can also fill tortillas with more traditional Mexican favorites such as shredded chicken in a chipotle sauce, grilled shrimp sprinkled with onion and cilantro, or the heart-healthy grilled vegetables in a chipotle salsa. But as their name suggests, they don’t just serve tacos—"mas" covers grande nachos, Cuban sandwiches, and trios of queso, guacamole, and salsa roja for guests who like dips but not decisions.
For more than five decades, Manuel treated his fellow Los Angelenos to from-scratch Mexican specialties at the original El Tepeyac Cafe. Today, his son Marcos follows in his culinary footsteps at Panchito's, where he nabs fresh veggies for the restaurant's piquant sauces and impromptu still-life paintings. He honors his family's generations-old recipes by spotlighting his dad's signature burritos, machaca (shredded beef), and towering tostadas on his own menu, and he maintains each dish's flavor and integrity by preparing everything fresh daily from the best ingredients available.
Grilled sirloin nestled into sour cream-topped quesadillas. Sautéed jumbo shrimp simmered in ranchero sauce. Cheese stuffed into battered Anaheim peppers. Such are the authentic delicacies whipped up by the culinary maestros of Sabores Mexican Cuisine, who concoct tacos, burritos, and enchiladas for dinner and lunchtime feasts. To bookend entrees, customers can commence meals with loaded nachos or end with a bowl of deep-fried vanilla ice cream.