My parents are visiting from out of town and needed to be at USC tonight at 7pm. I'm pretty unfamiliar with that area, but thought it would be easiest if we ate near there. So, after searching the chowhound archives, I read about Chichen Itza in a post from Dommy!
What a great suggestion! We all completely loved it. None of us are experts in Yucatecan food but every dish was great.
The restaurant is part of Mercado de Paloma, a community development project right on the other side of the 110 from USC. The set-up is kind of like Grand Central Market (except much smaller and quiet) with different food and shop stalls and a central eating area. It's only open until 6:30 which was fine for us time-wise. I assume most of their business is at lunch.
My father had the cochinita pibil (a roast spiced pork) with black beans and rice and a chicken tamale. My mother had pollo asado with black beans, rice and plantains. The flavor of the pollo asado was delicious, but not spicey - perfect for her. I had a special, the tikin-xic - grilled fish with mild seasoning on rice + a citrus jicama salad. I also had a very good jamaica to drink - my father had the mamey (sp?), which was a little too sweet for me.
The man who took our order was very patient in explaining almost the entire menu to us and pointed out what he thought were the best items (which we ordered). The presentation was beautiful and the service really kind and efficient considering it isn't a sit down restaurant. And for the three large main dishes, the tamale, and two drinks we paid $26.00
I'd love to hear if anyone's eaten at any of the other restaurants here or have other things to recommend at Chichen Itza.