Philly owns cheesesteaks, New Orleans owns po' boys, New York owns pastramis.
California’s quintessential sandwich? The taco.
And with newcomers Mercado, BP Taco, and now Tinga, Santa Monica is becoming taco ground zero.
Replacing long-time tenant Renee’s Courtyard Café (may those $2 beer specials R.I.P.), the funky Mexican cantina from La Brea sets up shop on the Westside beginning tomorrow. Look for a T-shaped plant installation, lamps resembling agave blooms, and murals of raining tacos.
It's also raining agave, thanks to Joel Black’s (Comme Ça, Cana Rum Bar) cocktails. Riffs on margaritas abound, and their famous Dirty Horchata thankfully is making the trip. (Fun fact: the muddying agents are espresso and Appleton rum.)
Menu-wise, they’ve kept the classics. Anything in the taco or nacho family is golden. Then they get creative: the guac gets bacon and chicharones, the chicken and waffle dish is made from horchata buckwheat before getting a bath in borracho sauce.
They even have a “pastra-madilla,” a quesadilla with Boar’s Head pastrami, grilled chayote, and gruyere cheese.
But we're still stuck on the house-made tapatío.
Think outside the Bell: Tinga will be open until 2a, with a late-night menu until 1:30a.
Nearby: King's Head; Bodega; Viceroy