El hambre es la mejor salsa (hunger is the best sauce). - Miguel Cervantes
Watching the Top Chef finale this year has me thinking about food and L.A., what with so many guests, contestants, and judges hailing from our fair city. An episode or two ago we had the chef-owners of some of our favorite restaurants, Roy Choi (Chego/A-Frame) and Sang Yoon (Father’s Office), making appearances on the show. And so I thought it might be kind of fun to profile our personal favorites in a series of posts.
Whatever your thoughts are on Los Angeles, it’s hard to deny that the city is a food-lover’s kingdom. You can find whatever you want, whenever you want it, and for, really, whatever price you want to pay for it (and, yes, you can pay through the nose if that’s your bag). The places we’ve loved the most are almost always no-frills, low-cost, and ultra-delicious. They’re the kind of places we go back to time and time and time (and time) again.
Like Mariscos Chente. Located somewhere sort of between Mar Vista and Culver City, Chente specializes in Mexican seafood. Ceviche. Shrimp. Fish tacos. All the best stuff, really. We stumbled in there on a lazy Sunday afternoon several months ago and have been back about a dozen times since then. When we were at home in the Midwest over Christmas break for two weeks we found ourselves leaning into one another every couple of days to say “I miss Chente.” That’s when you know you’re an addict.
Let’s call a spade a spade, though. Mariscos Chente is a dive. You probably wouldn’t bring someone here on a first date (unless you happened to know that your date was the most awesome person ever). The booths are cracking, the decor is made up of a charming beach mural and a 7Up refrigerator case, and background noise consists of either football (the kicking-the-ball-around kind) or telenovelas. They accept cash only.
The food is phenomenal. Even the requisite chips and salsa are on another level, with the salsa being made up of limes, cilantro, and chiles (I’d love them forever if they bottled that salsa and sold it). But you don’t come for the salsa, even though it’s spectacular. You come for the seafood.
Mariscos Chente is one of our absolute favorites, and truly a must-eat for those who love seafood, Mexican food, and a good dive.
Stay tuned for more posts like this.
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