Yes, Bäco Mercat, chef Josef Centeno’s creation, is mentioned in EVERY list of essential LA eateries and, yes, it has also joined MCM’s ranks, too! The first hint that Centeno’s restaurant promises an incredible dining experience (apart from the warm and inviting ambiance) is the thought behind the extensive and interesting drink menu: Choose from a tasteful wine selection, a good draught beer offering, an herb-infused fresh cocktail, hard-to-find spirits, or a house-made sweet and sour soda (lime chile, orange vanilla, chichi mirada, or ginger pineapple).
Like his drink selection, each item on Centeno’s menu is complex, flavorful, and, most importantly, downright dreamy. These are dishes that you eat and can’t shake from your thoughts (while continually plotting your next visit). His signature flatbread sandwich, the bäco, provides a warm and wholesome accompaniment to crispy vegetables and fresh shrimp, pork and beef carnitas, or oxtail hash with cheddar taters and horseradish cream (our favorite). Although the bäcos are not to be missed, be sure to work your way through his menu by trying one of the cocas: a choice of a chewy or crispy flatbread that resembles a pizza (we loved the bondiga with three cheeses, smoked jalapeños, and lamb), at least one of his signature vegetable dishes (caramelized cauliflower with pine nuts and mint or crispy potatoes with eggs, house-cured pickles, and smoky paprika), a fresh fish dish that ranges from hamachi crudo to seared albacore, and one of his mouth-watering meat dishes (honestly, could there be anything tastier than the hand torn pasta with melt-in-your-mouth pork belly?)!
Bäco Mercat’s location in the romantic Old Bank district in downtown LA, sets a wonderfully historic stage for an all-evening dining experience. Plus, around the corner is Centeno’s sister restaurant, BAR AMÁ, equally as warm, inviting, and delectable. Next time you visit LA, Bäco Mercat should rise the top of your not-to-miss eateries. Details: Bäco Mercat