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Best Mexican Restaurant Orange County 2008 - La Perla Tapatia

La Perla Tapatia

La Perla Tapatia

514 W. Lambert Ave.

La Habra, CA 90631

562-865-4116

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Readers' Choice: El Matador, Costa Mesa

Most Mexican restaurants stick to gabacho favorites at the exclusion of regional specialties, or focus on a state cuisine and ignore enchiladas and other Southwest standards as if they were the Minuteman Project. Striking a happy medium is La Habra's La Perla Tapatia, a dive where the only niceties are the handmade leather chairs and tables imported from the Mexican state of Jalisco. It specializes in such standards from Jalisco as birria (spicy goat stew), tortas ahogadas (a take on the Mexican sandwich fave, except this time drowning in a spicy salsa that really is caliente, and not gabacho-caliente), and the funky fermented-corn beverage called tejuino. But people looking for a straightforward breakfast can also enjoy snappy chilaquiles topped with fresh Mexican cheese (fully pasteurized, not the bathtub variety), tacos and other assorted safe meals for the Jim Gilchrist in you.

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