La Bonita, Los Angeles

La Bonita, Los Angeles

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  1. A website guided me to this little hole in the wall nestled into the corner of an everyday strip mall. When I got there, I realized that I shop at the Armenian market right next door all the time (yes, as a professional writer I am an abnormally observant person). We got to La Bonita at 6:45 p.m. and were the only customers.

    This does not bode well, I thought.


      I ordered the carne asada without realizing that it would come in one single slab of beef, which I had to cut up before I could eat. When I finally got around to eating it, I enjoyed it, though I didn’t do cartwheels while doing so (and I still wound up with beef stains all over my shirt). My wife wanted carnitas and was very disappointed that they don’t serve it there. She had the carne al pastor tacos (and I had a few, too), which were good (but again no cartwheels), and of course she griped that it was too spicy. It wasn’t even moderately spicy as far as I was concerned until I slathered it with the salsa verde (which goes heavy on the Serrano peppers… oh yeah).  


     The rice was typical Mexican rice; no letter to home over it. The homemade tortillas were quite good, very thick and as hot as the surface of the sun. The meats were okay, good enough for a repeat visit, but the servings in my combination plate were much smaller than I’m used to, so the meal didn’t bloat me to the size of an elephant seal as usual.  


     The red salsa was watery and somewhat bland; the green salsa was spicier than most but with no tang, and I wasn’t about to try the orange salsa, which looked suspiciously like thin, pureed habanera peppers, which are death to those not used to excruciatingly spicy food. However, the refried beans were actually soupy in their thinness and absolutely delicious. Next time, I may just get a bowl of beans to go with some tortillas, but I’ll use my own salsa, thank you very much.

    According to the website, English is not a second language at La Bonita; however, while ordering I discovered that the man spoke English fluently with hardly an accent, an accomplishment that my wife—who has a degree in English—cannot match.


      The best Mexican food we’ve had remains far away in Pasadena—and the second best is a tie with four of the Mexican joints in Grand Central Market—but La Bonita at least wasn’t a disappointment and is worth a visit if you happen to be cruising through Little Armenia and have a sudden, inexplicable hankering for Mexican food. Just be sure to bring a sharp knife with you if you order the carne asada.


    La Bonita

    4874 Santa Monica Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90029
    (323) 644-4909

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