Have you ever been to a restaurant or tried a dish that you absolutely could not stop raving about? One of those unexpected, hole-in-the-wall hidden gems? That even despite your innately selfish intentions of keeping the newly uncovered treasure all to yourself, you instead realize that you can’t seem to refrain yourself from sharing the wealth with others? That is exactly how I feel about this restaurant: Chichen Itza.
Hidden within the Mercado La Paloma in south Los Angeles, you would never expect to try such authentically prepared food. Although we admittedly had high expectations due to a recommendation that had been given to my friend for us to try it, we were somewhat wary of the place upon first glance. Quite frankly, it seemed like an excessively embellished restaurant you’d stumble upon at a food court. I wasn’t sure of exactly what to expect anymore and my friend even started to feel as though we must have come to the wrong place.
We then checked, and then triple-checked the address. This place had to be it. So, we continued forth to fulfill our vocation as food lovers – and love the food, we most surely did. Chichen Itza specializes in Yucatecan food, authentic flavors and cuisines of Southeast Mexico. We decided to order several different items off the menu and share everything family-style. The employee working suggested I order Pollo Asado and then I ordered Huevos Rancheros and some horchata* to quench my thirst. My friends ordered a couple orders of the Tamales (both baked and steamed) and some Platano con Crema as our appetizer.
The appetizer was, for lack of better word, unique. While I do love fried platanos very much, I was not particularly fond of the cream served along with it. It tasted very much like unwhipped whipping cream that seemed a little heavy as an appetizer. The Pollo Asado was extremely flavorful with its achiote and sour orange juice marinade which compensated for the tough texture of the charbroiled chicken. The huevos rancheros, always a favorite of mine, were cooked to perfection with an amazingly light yet savory and rich sauce. The tamales were succulent and full-flavored especially with the accompanying tomato sauce mixture. It was also enjoyable since we were able to try tamales with different textures from the baked and the steamed ones.
Like I said earlier, this place is one to rant and rave about to all. If you’re ever in the area, a stop here is a must. I can honestly say that this was my favorite restaurant from my 5-day trip to Los Angeles. Perhaps it will become yours too!
*Horchata is a Mexican rice drink consisting of cinnamon and vanilla flavors.