Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Apr 5th, 2013

Mas Malo Chicano Cuisine is Still Hip Enough for Downtown

Mas MaloMost restaurant writers tend to categorize restaurants, so in the case of Mas Malo in downtown Los Angeles it can be described as a Chicano style eatery with Sinaloa overtones. What that really means is a lot of dishes slightly edgy, and a two year old restaurant that is doing very well. Management is well aware that trends and tastes can change very quickly in this town, but 638 Yelp reviews later from amateur critics (far share of negative ones of course), the restaurant is still kicking.

Chef Robert Luna grew up with these kind of dishes in Boyle Heights and elsewhere, so he acts and looks like a chef who knows what he wants done in his fiercely guarded kitchen and in the dining room where he makes his larger than life presence felt.

Being located below Seven Grand Bar can only help, as this is a bar with a strong following, so Mas Malo by default became a hip place to be seen and hang out very quickly. Any restaurant that sells 10,000 beef and pickle signature tacos ($12) a month has to be doing well. The restaurant serves ten different tacos with rice or beans and salad, and we also tried the Pork belly tinga soft tacos ($12) that were equally good.

Luna is obviously a great advocate of the benefit of Kale, as we tried the Kale Salad ($10) w/tomato, mixed seeds and a pistachio dressing. This was a nice and crunchy start for the meal, which also included Pumpkin Enchiladas ($16) with white chocolate mole and jack cheese.

I was more impressed by the Chicken Mole ($18) which featured a thick rich chocolate and coffee dressing. The portions are pretty large and with two chicken breasts, that seems like a nice dish to share or take away for another day which is exactly what I had to do.

There are over 200 tequilas available at the bar, but curiously no menu that lists them, but I can vouch for the strength of the cocktails, especially the signature Spicy Cucumber Margarita ($12) and the Bloody Maria.

This one contains bloody-maria mix plus celery, chile and green olives, which packs a bit of a punch. All tequilas however are served with blanco, so if you prefer reposado, the price is bumped up by three bucks. Enjoy these drinks on weekends in the more intimate bar downstairs.

Mas Malo
515 West 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 985-4332
reservations best on weekends
Valet and Street Parking
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-11pm
Friday- 11am-2am
Happy Hour-3pm to 7pm

About the Author

- Michael Hepworth is a food, spirits and travel writer who contributes to magazines, newspapers and magazines in Los Angeles, Dubai, London and Mumbai.

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Mas Malo Chicano Cuisine is Still Hip Enough for Downtown