Los Angeles County is Home to the Most Mexican Restaurants in the Country

In a recent Pew Research Center report, about 1 in 10 restaurants in the United States serve Mexican food

mexican restaurants

Photo: Pexels/Chitokan C.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Mexican food is one of the most popular cuisines in the U.S. From enchiladas to moles to street tacos, Mexican cuisine spans a multitude of dishes that remind many Mexican families in the United States of home. Mexican restaurants have brought together communities and a recent LAist article brought to light just how much of a mark Mexican cuisine has made in the country. In a recent Pew Research Center report, about 1 in 10 restaurants in the United States serve Mexican food. Los Angeles is home to 30 percent of California’s Mexican restaurants, making it the county with the most Mexican restaurants overall. The significance of Mexican cuisine is not surprising given the presence of Mexican Americans in the United States and in California. According to the same report, about 37.2 million in the country are of Mexican heritage. California (22 percent) and Texas (17 percent), both with their own large Mexican-American communities, are two of the states that rank highest as far as Mexican restaurants.

What else isn’t surprising is that Los Angeles county holds the most Mexican restaurants in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau reported, in a breakdown of racial groups in LA county, that 4.8 million Latino or Hispanic people reside in the county—40 percent of California’s total population are also of Latino heritage. Mexican Americans alone make up around 74 percent of LA’s Latino population, making it the largest Hispanic/Latino group in the county. The heavy presence of Mexican restaurants in LA county coincides with the significant influence Mexican Americans and Mexican culture has had over the years in Los Angeles. From the style to culture, it is no surprise that Mexican food has also made its mark in Los Angeles. 

Some of the most acclaimed Mexican restaurants in the United States are born out of Los Angeles. Guelaguetza, the iconic Koreatown Oaxacan restaurant, has been open since 1994 and has become a classic with its arrays of tlayudas, tamales Oaxaquenos and signature mole. In 2015, it became the first traditional Mexican restaurant to win a James Beard Classics Award. The restaurant is now owned by siblings Paulina, Fernando and Bricia Lopez—Bricia is also credited with having propelled the popularization of mezcal, which originated in Mexico, in the United States. Another restaurant that has made its mark in Los Angeles is El Cholo. Open since 1923, it’s considred LA’s first Mexican restaurant acording to their website, first opened by Alejandro and Rosa Borquez as the Sonora Cafe. Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen run by Rocio Camacho, also known as Goddess of Moles, was a semifinalist for the award for Best Chef: California by the James Beard Foundation. These are just some examples of the Mexican excellence in cuisine that’s clearly not going anywhere in LA.

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Bricia Lopez guelaguetza los angeles Los Angeles County mexican cuisine Mexican Food mexican restaurants
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