So my husband and I moved last fall, and in our old neighborhood we had an amazing sushi place. It was so good that we went about once a week. We always lamented though, "Gosh, we really wish we had a good Mexican place around here."
Lo and behold, our new neighborhood has a dearth of sushi (sigh), but has the exact sort of Mexican place we asked for: Fiesta Martin at 1330 N La Brea. We've been here quite a few times, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. The service can be a little slow, but it never lacks for friendliness. I think we've had the exact same waiter every time, and this dude is just the nicest. Is he the Martin that likes to Fiesta? I can't say.
The menu here is nothing short of huge-- there's an array of house specials, seafood, caldos (soup), and appetizers. Their tacos are tasty, the fajitas phenomenal, and the burritos boat-sized. For me, a win is that they have chimichangas. I know that they may be a cross-cultural invention... but I just happen to like them. Also, their salsa is of particular interest to me, as it doesn't have many onions/the onion chunks are large enough that I can pick them out.*
A repeat dish I've ordered is the mojarro frita , which is an entire tilapia, deep-fried. Yes, with the head on. It's crispy, light, and is seasoned well. There are also plenty of things that are more traditional like the Milanesa (A+!), and then some truly this-is-a-bad-idea-but-it-looks-so-good dishes such as the Camarones Costa Azul (A+ for clogging ones' arteries!).
The drink menu is staggering as well-- they've got standard margaritas, and then complex, frankly ridiculous-looking cocktails that feature sidecars and upside down beer bottles that seem to defy the laws of gravity.
My favorite drink, however, is called the Cantarito and it originates from Jalisco, Mexico. It's served in a clay pot, has tequila, grapefruit soda, various fruit juices, and then has bits of fruit floating on the top. Plus, the drink is less than $8. As a previous graduate student, that is the perfect price to get a bit fancy, especially here in Los Angeles.
So is the food good? 4 out of 5 tacos!
It's LA, what's the parking like? Meh, there's a tiny parking lot out back, and some street parking in the surrounding neighborhood.
Good for groups? Yes
Reservation required? Nope!
Is it QUIET? No, but especially no when there's some sportsball game going on.
Final verdict: YUM. Fiesta on, Martin. Fiesta on.
*No, I don't hate onions. I actually rather like them, but I have to keep my diet fairly low FODMAP, which I will get into at a later date on this blog. Feel free to Google it now if you like though. Go on, you know you're curious.