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Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Near The Pearl

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, and we all know what that means! Time to round up your crew and head out for some soul satisfying Mexican food, washed done with a frosty Margarita (or two), premium tequila, or rare mezcal. Lucky for residents of The Pearl, Koreatown is the hub for some of LA’s most iconic and award-winning Mexican restaurants, cool gastropubs, and craft cocktail bars. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s time to explore Oaxacan cuisine, famous for its moles, secret ingredients, and ancient pre-Hispanic culinary techniques. LA’s collection of Oaxacan restaurants is the largest in the world outside of Oaxaca, and many of them are near KTown.

 

El Cholo

1121 S Western Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90006

 

El Cholo was founded as the Sonora Cafe in 1923 when Alejandro Borquez pushed back from the dinner table and said to his beautiful young bride, Rosa, “You are such a good cook we should open up a restaurant.” In 1927, the iconic El Cholo, located on 11th and Western, began as a storefront with eight stools, three booths, and a hot top stove where they heated tortillas on top and melted cheese enchiladas underneath. The stove is still on display in the lobby. In 1959, Carmen Rocha joined the El Cholo staff and introduced a dish called “nachos” from her hometown of San Antonio – and history was made. Today, the legend lives on and El Cholo is one of the most popular destinations for authentic Mexican cuisine served in a traditional setting.

 

EsCaLA K-Town

Historic Chapman Plaza

3451 West 6th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90020

 

Created by Seoul Sausage chef Chris Oh, EsCaLA is a Colombian Korean restobar known for eclectic food, specialty cocktails, guest DJs, and Sunday brunch parties. The menu has been crafted to suit the highly discerning palate of LA natives, while respecting and maintaining the authenticity of Latin American flavors. Everything from the menu, to the wall art and music have been chosen with the intention of replicating the life experiences of the people who dreamed EsCaLA into reality.

 

Guelaguetza Mexican Restaurant

3014 W Olympic Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90006

 

Guelaguetza is a restaurant, boutique market, and an advocate of Oaxacan culture in the heart of Koreatown. Guelaguetza first opened its doors in 1994 by immigrant husband and wife Fernando Lopez and Maria Monterrubio. Since then, the goal at Guelaguetza has been to showcase the best of the family recipes and stay true to authentic Oaxacan ingredients. Named “The Best Oaxacan Restaurant In The Country” by Jonathan Gold, Guelaguetza has been cited by The New York Times, GQ Magazine, Esquire, Los Angeles Magazine, Oprah Magazine, The New Yorker, Travel and Leisure, Sunset Magazine, and was awarded The James Beard Award for the American Classics category, the most prestigious award in the culinary industry.

 

The Mexican Village

3668 Beverly Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90004

 

The Mexican Village is a popular Los Angeles hot spot for dining and dancing, in a warm, comfortable Spanish atmosphere. This family-owned establishment, headed by Abel Olivares Jr. and his sisters, Diana and Blanca, was founded by Abel Sr. in 1965. The Mexican Village presents a menu based on generations of family recipes, handed down throughout the years. These tasty dishes are a combination of specialties from Mom, Tias (aunts), Tios (uncles), and creations from Chef Jesus Rivero, who hails from Mexico City. The restaurant also offers poblano moles prepared by Miguel Angel, a native of Puebla, Mexico. The full bar stocks over 50 different types of Tequilas to compliment your meal.

 

La Barca

2414 S Vermont Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90007

 

Originating in Downey, California, La Barca’s location near USC is a destination for students and diners from surrounding areas. The family-owned eatery serves freshly-made Mexican food with a generous side of traditional Mexican hospitality, for an enjoyable dining experience. La Barca is dedicated to maintaining a safe clean environment, and using only top quality ingredients. Be sure to check out their fine selection of craft margaritas and specialty tequilas.

 

Here’s Looking at You

3901 W 6th Street

Los Angeles, CA 90020

 

This stylish neighborhood bistro from Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta has garnered numerous accolades from the likes of New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine, LA Times, LA Magazine, Eater, and more. Describing the cuisine and concept as “progressive SoCal food in Koreatown,” Whitener and Ta present an inventive array of handcrafted cocktails and a globally influenced food menu. Housed in an Art Deco building on the site of a former cheesesteak shop, Here’s Looking at You radiates a hip, modern vibe with Edison bulbs, mid-century influenced cabinetry, a playful book shelf, and perky bar stools. Special reservations are required for parties of 8-12.

 

Paper Tiger Bar

4574 Beverly Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90004

 

This sophisticated, lowlit nightspot is a hidden gem nestled in a restored 1920s building just off Western Ave. The elegant venue features dramatic Victorian-inspired decor, highlighted by a luxe grand staircase, winding hand poured bar, vintagey furnishings, and a large mural painted by Michael Thomas. Open nightly Wednesday through Saturday, Paper Tiger Bar offers signature cocktails, creative bar fare, DJ Lounge, and a full service kitchen. Birthdays, large parties, events are welcome.

 

R Bar

3331 W 8th St.

Los Angeles, CA 90005

 

A password is required for entry at this speakeasy spot. HINT: Check out their Facebook page. With karaoke and rock on the jukebox, this dark, prohibition-style bar offers a great craft cocktail selection and casual fun in the neighborhood. R Bar hosts themed events like 80s Night, Vegas Baby, and Jam On Toast Tuesdays, featuring Big Blueberry Band spreading their jams all over your lovely toasts, while DJ Super Paranoid passes out “ear” d’oeuvres. The kitchen is open late, along with happy hour through the night.