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Modern Mexican

November 21, 2013
Mercado

It’s no secret that America’s best Mexican food is found in California, with Los Angeles in particular boasting both the most traditional, down-home joints, and inspired, modern takes on the country’s cuisine. Santa Monica stalwart Mercado has long been a standout for the latter, and when restaurateur Jesse Gomez and chef-partner Jose Acevedo decided to expand with a 185-seat, 6,200 sq ft branch on West 3rd, they kept the concept and menu the same, much to the delight of ravenous locals in search of the famed rajas poblanas.

The restaurant’s success is rooted in both Gomez and Acevedo’s Mexican roots, which are interpreted for a modern Angeleno palate in signature dishes like the aforementioned rajas (creamy Mexican pepper strips with corn tortilla), what many consider to be the best carnitas in the city, and for dessert the flan, which already has a cult following. It’s all served up in a bright dining room with lofted ceilings, while an open-air bar pours over 70 premium silver, reposado and anejo tequilas. These are best sampled with one of the house cocktails, like the Margarita de Jamaica with hibiscus-infused reposado tequila, triple sec and fresh sour; or the Westside Fresca with mescal joven, strawberries, mint, lime, agave nectar and angostura bitters. Mexico meets LA!

7910 West 3rd St / +1 323 944 0947
/ dinner daily, Sun brunch / mercadorestaurant.com
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