Yxta Cocina Mexicana

By Eric Rosen

Yxta Cocina Mexicana
With a short, intimidating name (it’s pronounced EEK-sta), a no-frills interior and a bustling open kitchen, this little restaurant-that-could stands out from the pack of inexpensive Mexican favorites. That’s partly thanks to the low-key but sophisticated industrial-chic decor, but it’s mostly because of owner Jesse Gomez’s warm welcome and the menu of familiar dishes that still manage a few new culinary tricks. Here, tostadas come with sushi-grade ahi tuna and a tongue-tingling chipotle lime cream sauce. The carnitas are thick cuts of slow-cooked pork served with guacamole, a tangy onion cilantro mix, Mexican rice, and traditional frijoles olla. You’ll want to sample a few of the tacos by ordering à la carte, but not at the risk of missing out on one of the big plates, perhaps something bold and satisfying like the arrachera (marinated skirt steak) and pickled red onion. Even the margaritas get an update here. Agua fresca, anyone?

sweet seats

On those balmy LA nights (or if you’re a smoker), the tables on the front patio are best, but inside, you can make new friends at the raised communal table by the bar, or cozy up for an intimate dinner at one of the corner tables along the banquette.

chew on this

In March, Gomez will open Mercado in Santa Monica; meanwhile, the chef there is currently doing the occasional special at Yxta.

hours

Mon–Wed 11:30 AM–9 PM; Thu–Fri 11:30 AM–10 PM;
Sat 5 PM–10 PM
closed Sunday

price range

$10 (tinga de pollo taco) to $21 (Mexican sweet shrimp)
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