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Checklist: Coronado's Mexican Restaurant & Bar

By Miles Cotton and Kelli Richardson
Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011, at 04:01PM
Coronado's Hayley Fox / blogdowntown

Robert Coronado squeezes juice for homemade margaritas at the restaurant he and his father opened near 5th and Spring one year ago.

Checklist is a bi-weekly series about Downtown restaurants and bars both old and new that highlights local establishments that succeed in marrying efficient service, quality food, and excellent overall value.

Story

Is it open? Is it sketchy? These are two questions you may utter as you peer in the windows of Coronado’s on 5th Street between Broadway and Spring. A single experience with the flavors of truly fresh food and drink inside will eliminate any questions from your mind and forever send you headlong through the door.

After unanticipated hiccups in permitting and approvals delayed the restaurant opening in 2010, Coronado’s has found its place among Downtown eateries.

What sets this place apart in a city littered with Mexican food options?

Quotes

“Fresh ingredients just make things better,” says co-proprietor Robert Coronado.

“Slow and low is the key to tender meat but the main difference between Coronado’s and other Mexican restaurants is that we marinate our meats for no less than 24 hours.”

A couple of other key differentiators separate Coronado’s from the pack: “Aside from always using higher quality ingredients, I like to keep things seasonal. I’ve just introduced tamales for the cold winter season in both cheese and spicy pork.”

Food/Beverage

A simple menu makes choosing your meal relatively easy. If you’re looking to explore the whole menu, though, don’t start with the carnitas. You will likely never order anything else. Immensely flavorful and perfectly prepared, Coronado’s carnitas is a consistent home run hitter. Expert preparation leaves the ends slightly crisp, adding a satisfying texture.

The most popular menu item is Carne Asada Fries. As one might imagine, 24-hour-marinated carne, slow-roasted to perfection and served over piping hot French fries with guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo, leaves little else to be desired.

A welcome surprise is the full bar and multiple beers on draft, making Coronado’s a great place to grab a bite before a night out at the bars or a final stop at the end of the night. Another television might even make this the best place in Downtown to watch a game . . .

Service

The service at Coronado’s is friendly and attentive but the dining room is small so on most nights there is only one server. Frills are minimal so if you’re looking to chit-chat, sitting at the bar is the best option.

Value

Coronado’s menu is value driven first and foremost. Its simplicity makes it very easy to get a good meal and a beer or margarita on a modest budget.

Coronado's Mexican Restaurant & Bar / 212 W. 5th / Hours: Mon-Thurs noon-11p.m. and Fri-Sat noon-1:30a.m. / 213-489-0138 / coronadosdtla.com

Miles and Kelli are Downtown residents with a combined 20 years in food and beverage operations. Miles is a Los Angeles native who works in commercial real estate brokerage and development, with a focus on repurposing historic structures in jeopardy for food and nightlife uses. Kelli is a Los Angeles transplant from Oregon via Alabama and is the managing director for an L.A. area restaurant group. Both love the discovery of new food, drinks and venues, especially when they offer a unique patron experience and great value.

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