La Casita Mexicana | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

La Casita Mexicana

photo by Anne Fishbein

As with many Mexican restaurants, you are greeted by a basket of tortilla chips when you sit down at La Casita Mexicana. But these are far from ordinary: Three luscious moles — red, green and a sweetish negro — drizzled on top hint at what lies in store at Bell’s beloved, 15-year-old gem. Whether it’s a plate of flautas showered in cotija cheese, platters of grilled cactus and chipotle-smeared steak, or delicate filete de pescado steamed in corn husks, chefs Jaime Martín del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu’s cooking boasts remarkable depth that even seasoned veterans of Latino cuisine will find stunning. Part art gallery, part banquet space, it’s hard not to be transfixed by the colorful and traditional decor lining the walls. But rest assured, it’s the soulful flavors in each regional Mexican dish that will haunt your memory for days afterward.— Garrett Snyder