Five New Downtown Los Angeles Restaurants


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Ricardo Zarate mans the kitchen at Mo-Chica.

Ricardo Zarate is surely the only chef to have received Best New Chef recognition from Food & Wine magazine while running a food-court restaurant. His modest debut eatery Mo-Chica, opened in East L.A. in 2009, explored contemporary takes on classic dishes from his native Peru. Thanks to the success of his second restaurant, West L.A.’s Picca, he has transplanted Mo-Chica to an expanded, industrial-chic space downtown with graffiti-tagged walls and whimsical décor touches (check out the painted Peruvian figurines customized by local chefs and pals of Zarate including Ludo Lefebvre and Nancy Silverton). Specialties include the classic lomo saltado (spicy marinated beef atop Kennebec fries) plus an alpaca-and-lamb hamburger with pickled cucumbers and aji amarillo yogurt dressing, and carapulcra, a sun-dried potato stew with crispy pork belly and chimichurri sauce. 514 W. 7th St., downtown, 213.622.3744.

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