Food & Drink

Everywhere in LA to celebrate not-Mexican independence

Where to Cinco in LA

So you don't just celebrate Cinco by eating a bag of Tostitos then wearing the empty container as a makeshift sombrero again, we picked out the places with the best margaritas, guac, nachos, waitresses, and oh so much more: Best MargaritasEl Coyote7312 Beverly Blvd; Mid-Wilshire; 323.939.2255There's nothing too spectacularly different about El Coyote's simple-yet-delicious margaritas, but that's kind of the point: since 1931, they've been serving the most consistent tequila + lime combo in LA. And by this point, it's so popular that when they call it "world famous" on the menu, it doesn't reek of hyperbole. Just limes and tequila and stuff. Get more info on this Mex-stitutionPhoto Credit: Tatiana Arbogast for Grub StreetCraziest Taco FillingMetro Balderas5305 N Figueroa St; Highland Park; 323.478.8383This Highland Park hole in the wall serves all the standards -- carne asada, quesadillas, etc. But, on Saturdays and Sundays, they expand the menu significantly with eight different carnitas fillings that hit literally every note: you can eat pig butt... or snout... or, um, braised pork uterus. Check out these titillating tacosHottest Hot SauceGuisados1261 W Sunset; Echo Park; 213. 250.7600A long-standing favorite in Boyle Heights, both the original and the newer Echo Park location give your mouth real-deal spice bombs, like the homemade habanero salsa on their chiles torredos taco -- an assault on your mouth that's as painful as it is delicious.Click here for more on the spicy legendBest GuacamoleKate Mantilini9101 Wilshire Blvd; Beverly Hills; 310.278.3699The movie-biz mainstay does a tableside guac that just hits all components out of the park: the perfect consistency of mashed greenery, the right amount of onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, plus multi-colored flour tortilla chips with perfect crunch. Is it Mexican? No. Does it cost too much? Probably. Is it worth it? Yes. Get all the deets on this power lunch powerhouseBest Outdoor SpaceCabo Cantina Venice30 Washington Boulevard; Venice; 310.306.2500Sure, it's kind of more of a Mexican-themed sports bar than the finest food experience in all the land. So what? Their outdoor area's blocks from the beach, which means bikinis, booze, and tortilla chips all baking in the sun. If R. Kelly is looking for a fiesta, fiesta, he should know it's right here, always. Click here for more on the party spotBest NachosTinga142 S La Brea; Mid-Wilshire; 323.954.9566Purists will complain that Tinga's not a "legit"-enough taco shop -- and that's fair. It's new-ish, it's not run by Mexicans, and their recipes have unusual ingredients. Which is exactly why their nachos (available at both the Mid-Wilshire and Santa Monica locations) are so amazing. LA Weekly also recently gave them props, and it's no wonder -- their cochinita pibil nachos've got non-greasy, super-moist pork, habanero salsa, Monterey Jack, guac, and queso fresco. Melted cheddar and pico de gallo just don't compete. If you like gourmet Mex-taurants, click hereHottest Waitresses Pink Taco10250 Santa Monica Blvd; Century City; 310.789.1000It's no surprise that the barely-subtle Pink Taco chain hires the honeys, but it's true: the Century City location, especially, has an aesthetically pleasing wait staff with just the right touch of emo sass.Get more info on the taco-licious chain, right hereBest Tequila SelectionMercado1416 4th St; Santa Monica; 310.526.7121There are places with more tequila, its true: Las Perlas downtown, Tekila in Hollywood, etc., etc. But Mercado's the only high-end taqueria on the Westside with this sort of extensive collection: 70 real-deal reposados, añejos, and extra-añejos, for boozy aficionados who want to drink well without traveling for the privilege.Click here to find out more about the upscale tequila-slinger

Margaritas at El Coyote
Hot sauce at Guisados
Interior at Kate Mantilini
Exterior at Cabo Cantina Venice
Nachos at Tinga
Outdoor seating at Pink Taco Century City
Margarita at Mercado