The Shut-Up-and-Give-it-to-Me-Quick Version:
Best tortillas and best margaritas, hands down!
Please note the Paco’s location on Centinela Ave. is the best one to visit (fresh tortillas that are made in front of you are at that location only)
Mon – Sat 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sun 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:
Being half Mexican, I am very picky when it comes to Mexican food and I am constantly looking for the best restaurant. Marin has failed to impress me so I leave the Mexican indulgences for when I’m in L.A. (and this weekend was no different).
Paco’s is the most authentic Mexican restaurant I have been to. Although they have menu items like burritos and their hard taco’s come with American cheese, the majority of their dishes do justice to the true Mexican cuisine. I’m going to get on my soap box for a second and say that if you go to a real Mexican restaurant and simply try a burrito, it’s like going to a sushi restaurant and ordering a California roll (read: not a true experience).
Paco’s is a fairly big restaurant. As you walk in, you’ll find the waiting room to your left (feel free to order drinks – they will bring them to you as you wait) and to your right is the dining area. In the front room there are mainly four person tables, while the back room has larger tables. The entire restaurant is usually heavily decorated with whatever theme is appropriate at that time of year. Paco’s is like going to your grandma’s house for dinner… casual, comforting and always delicious (it can also get a bit loud). I should say, like grandma’s house, Paco’s is about good, traditional food (read: not low calorie). If you are watching your weight, this isn’t not the place to go, but if you are looking for a yummy meal at a reasonable price, Paco’s is your place. All meals come in big portions and they are very flexible about any request you may have.
What we ate:
- Pickled onions and carrots ($3.50)
- Queso fundido ($5.50)
- Taco Combination ($13.25)
- Carnitas plate ($15.50)
- De Tampico ($18.50)
- Albondigas soup ($9.75)
Everything was delicious as always. There is always chips and salsa on the table; their salsa is good, but not spicy. We, also, always ask for pickled carrots and onions, they are great by themselves and add flavor to any of their dishes. As a starter we always get queso fundido, which is melted cheese with chorizo on top. It comes with tortillas (the flour ones go best with this dish) and is definitely one of my favorite things. The cheese is stringy and the chorizo adds just the right amount of flavor. The real winner though, is the tortillas! WOW, these are by far the best tortillas I’ve ever had! They are handmade by what looks like the cutest older lady (don’t miss it – she’s in the front of the restaurant by the check-in table). The tortillas come out warm and the taste is just incomparable. You just have to try them!
Their crispy tacos come a la carte or with beans and rice and you can order however many you want (there is no minimum). I usually get two a la carte after some queso fundido and I am satisfied. The tortilla is fried and thin so it’s not overly crunchy. The tacos come stuffed with your choice of beef or chicken (I prefer beef), lettuce, cheese, and salsa. I often use the salsa on the table and add more just because it’s really good. The beef is well-cooked and comes shredded! The entire taco is just delicious – simple and tasty!
Their carnitas (pork) plate is really nice because the carnitas is not fatty and the flavor is just right. The dish comes with beans, rice, tortillas, tomato, cilantro and onion. Again, you also get the choice of which tortilla you prefer and in this case I would say go with the corn. Also handmade (although not as swoon worthy as the flour ones), carnitas go better with corn tortillas and are better for making your own tacos with the pork and the toppings provided.
Their tampiquena (de tampico) is a skirt steak with onion and pasilla chile strips that comes with rice, beans and an enchilada. This is more than filling and tastes amazing; the meat has this great flavor and the chile’s aren’t normally spicy, but add a great depth to the dish. The meat isn’t too chewy and it’s always juicy.
Albodingas soup is a Mexican meatball soup. It is served with green beans, carrots, potatoes, celery, zucchini, and tomato. This is great when you’re feeling sick or in my sister’s case any time she’s at Paco’s. It tastes really great and is one of those good-for-the-soul type soups. Always a little tastier with a few drops of lemon.
Besides the tortillas, the margaritas are the best part. I usually order a regular lime margarita anywhere I go, but when I’m at Paco’s, their strawberry margarita is the way to go.Their margaritas are the best! They come blended and there is no point in ordering by the glass, so take advantage that they sell them by the pitcher (side note: they are nice and always give you the extra from the blender so really it’s about a pitcher and a half a glass). You can’t really taste the tequila and they just go down so smooth. Truly the best!