Every neighborhood seems to have its own family-run Mexican spot like Tacqueria los Anaya, but few that I’ve come across can match the same familial atmosphere and quality of cooking. Open since March of last year, the three brothers in charge clearly know what they’re doing in the kitchen, while the front of the house ensures that first-timers become regulars as much for the food as the friendly and attentive service. On a Monday night at six o’clock the restaurant was already half-full, with families, couples, and a few individuals occupying wooden tables inside the clean and colorfully decorated interior. Most tables appeared to have at least a couple of tacos or sopes on them, but the real winners looked to be the daily specials written on a whiteboard just inside the door, with things like salmon veracruz, pork ribs, and the newly introduced “Manny Burger”
Plenty of places toss out stale chips, watery salsa, and over-worked guac as if they’re doing the customer a favor. Not the case here. The chips were fresh out of the fryer with the perfect amount of oil left clinging, the mild salsa was clean-tasting with plenty of raw onion and cilantro, and the guacamole was perfect in its simplicity, just like mom or grandma would make. Tonight it was on the house since it was my first time, but it was certainly good enough to warrant coming out of pocket a few extra dollars on any future visits.
After last week’s mediocre $5 combo plate from Mariela’s, I was curious to see how a similar three taco combination from Anaya would compare. It wasn’t even close, as Anaya proved to be superior on every level. Though the cost is a bit higher at $7.25, it’s a minimal difference when the quality and execution are so far ahead. The Anaya brothers know what they’re doing.
Asada [$1.95] | Grilled Angus Beef
While taking my seat I glanced into the kitchen and saw a layers of flank meat waiting to be marinaded and grilled, and the final product didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was some of the better asada that I’ve had of late. The acidity of the salsa verde paired well with the grill-induced char, while the supple pieces of beef maintained just enough chew.
Lengua [$1.95] | Beef Tongue
Lengua was absolutely stellar, a perfect example of the mouth meat: juicy and lean, tender as an all-day pot roast, and showing off an unabashed beefiness. For anyone who needs to be made a believer in the deliciousness of tongue, Anaya is where it’s at.
Pollo Mole [$1.75] | Shredded Chicken With Oaxacan Mole
Just like kimchi in Korean culture, no two moles are exactly alike, with each family recipe just different enough to be unique. The version served at Anaya certainly had some of the familiar dark, chocolatey notes, but also an underlying kick of an Indian spice that I couldn’t quite place. It struck a fine balance between savory and sweet. The shredded chicken remained moist, while the red sauce and cotija cheese were a nice addition.
As far as the tacos were concerned, Anaya knows what their doing. It starts with the warm homemade tortillas and continues with quality meats expertly prepared and dressed individually so that each taco captures a distinct flavor profile. While the tacos are a great introduction to the cooking at Tacqueria los Anaya, and are certainly worth ordering at every visit, it seemed pretty obvious that the specials board is what really showcases all that Anaya has to offer. That, and some of the best service I’ve experienced in a restaurant of any caliber.
Tacquera los Anaya
4651 W Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Dine date: Mon 12.9.13, 6:00p