Took a long lunch at work and checked out this Mexican eatery which seems to have won a number of "Best of" awards, but there's suprisingly few reviews online.
If you're near downtown, it's definitely worth a try.
We ate at the 1300 Wilshire location, a few blocks NW of downtown, across from the Good Samaratin Hospital.
I think they also have one on Ceaser Chavez (and maybe one other?).
It's in a sketchy neighborhood, and there's nothing unique about the decor (basic), but the building itself is somewhat funky, supposedly the former residence of Charlie Chaplin. I'd say it is similar in ambiance to the original El Cholo on Western... lots of red booths in scattered sections (plus a big covered patio) of a big, old house.
They offer the standard mexican fare, but also specialize in a number of unique dishes, such as medley of lobster, shrimp and cactus molcajete (did not try) and a few others.
Also unique is having guacamole made fresh at the table.
Their main differenciation or speciality seems to be their line of Parrilla dishes. I believe parrilla means 'charcoal grilled' or something similar - basically they bring your selection on a small, hot grill which is placed on the middle of the table. You can choose from a variety of fare... seafood, beef, chicken, pork... simmering in juices and veggies on the grill.
My lunch buddy and I decided on a mixed grill of ribs, carne asada, and bubbling queso... all very good. The ribs had been slow cooked separately, and were suprisingly tender and sweet. We made tacos out of the carne and used chips and torillas to scoop up the cheese.
The Parrilla dishes come with beans, rice, salsas, tortillas (either corn or flour) - all freshly prepared. Others around us were scarfing down giant bowls of ceviche, grilled garlic shrimp, chorizo with queso, etc.
I'm usually satisfied with a burrito, so I wouldn't go there every day for lunch. But if I was super hungry for very tasty mexican food, this place is now on top of my downtown list. Am definitely wanting to go back and try some other dishes. It's nice to find a place that offers a bit more than the standard combo dishes while retaining its authentic mexican feel. Not trendy... just lots of good food at a good price (most dishes in the $6-10 range).