I've lived in Silver Lake for three years and been exploring the area for longer... and yet my favorite Mexican eaterie is La Cabanita in Montrose. Why can't I find something similarly satisfying in my neighborhood--fresh ingredients, home-made tortillas, good lunch specials, pleasant sit-down area, open from lunch 'till dinner for late afternoon eating? Here's my take on the places where you can sit down along Sunset Blvd. from Downtown to Virgil. What am I missing?
El Compadre, 1449 Sunset: Do you like your food slathered in melted cheese? Do you like insipid margaritas from mix? I don't, which is why I don't go back. Maybe OK for a group dinner where food is not important.
La Esquinita, 1261 Sunset: The place I frequent this place the most, and the food is a bargain and better than most of the other taco stands in the area. But the cooking is pretty basic and I'm getting tired of it.
Barragans, 1538 Sunset: I've tried standards here like tacos & enchiladas, as well as specials like pozole and chilaquiles, and it was all mediocre food served in a depressing setting. Plus my credit card number was stolen here the last time I went. Ouch!
Rodeo's Grill, 1721 Sunset: basically fast food with semi-decent sopes but for me, only viable if I need something fast
Happy Tom's Burger, 1807: See Rodeo's Grill. Interestingly, I've never seen anyone order a burger here.
Costa Alegre, 1901 Sunset: the appealing patio doesn't make up for the wildly inconsistent food and cheap ingredients.
El Siete Mares, 3131 Sunset: I don't like the restaurant, and I OD'd on the fish tacos after eating them 3 times a week when I first moved in.
La Parilla, 3129 Sunset: Probably my favorite in the neighborhood for grilled meats and fresh guacamole. But I still prefer La Cabanita... maybe it just feels like less of a chain than La Parilla.
Allegria, 3510 Sunset: I've never had a good meal here, and have had one downright bad one, so it's off my list of places to go.
El Conquistador, 3701 Sunset: Cute patio, friendly vibe, food that's a cut above El Compadre. I haven't been at night when it gets pretty busy.
Tacos Delta, 3806 Sunset: To me, just OK. I think that the sopes, tacos and tostadas are better at La Esquinita
Malo, 4326 Sunset: I haven't been yet because it seems too much of a hipster place for me... but lots of Chowhounds seem to like it, so maybe I'll give it a shot.
El Chavo, 4441 Sunset: The best thing about this place are the pictures of Dolly Parton above the bar. IIRC better margs than El Compadre.
Here are places I haven't tried (found on the la public health website):
El Autentico, 1400 Sunset
Mariela's Tacos, 2501 Sunset
Los Cobans, 2927 Sunset
La Playita, 3143 Sunset
What else am I missing? Why can't I find the happy mix of good food & inviting setting of La Cabanita in my neighborhood? Or should I stop whining & just try to enjoy what I've got?