La Cabañita

Sparr Heights—a Glendale neighborhood near the point where the Angeles Crest Highway disappears into the San Gabriel Mountains—may seem like the end of the earth to some Angelenos. But all hail the GPS: you can get there, and a meal at La Cabañita (“the little cabin”) will be your reward. Twenty years ago, Mexico City natives Francisco Jimenez and his wife, Patricia, opened their tiny restaurant using recipes from Francisco’s mom, Maria Vasquez. La familia Jimenez continues to deliver large portions of soulful Mexican cooking to locals and curious gastronauts. Their repertoire covers five distinct variations on stuffed poblano peppers, seemingly endless takes on the taco, and fork-tender, elegantly sauced meat dishes that appease even the most ravenous carnivores. With festive folk art on the walls and a huge mural of scenes from Mexico City’s history (painted by Francisco’s brother Cesar), the atmosphere is colorful. Carafes of margaritas from the full bar make it all the more so.

sweet seats

Sit downstairs to check out Cesar’s history lesson in pictures. According to legend, the Aztecs founded Mexico City on the spot where an eagle was seen eating a snake. That snow-capped peak in the mural is Popocatépetl volcano, foregrounded by the modern-day city skyline.

chew on this

Weekday lunch specials, available from 10 AM to 3 PM, are a steal at $7.99 and come with rice, beans, and a soft drink.


Mon.-Thurs. 10 AM-10 PM
Fri. 10 AM-11 PM
Sat. 8 AM-11 PM
Sun. 8 AM-10 PM

price range

approximately $10 (sopes: three homemade lightly fried corn tortillas with black beans, red sauce, lettuce, sour cream and cheese on top) $16 (carnitas a la Cabañita: lean deep-fried pork, served with frijoles charros, rice, salad, pico de gallo, guacamole and two homemade corn tortillas)