For the brother-sister duo of Fernando and Bricia Lopez, Guelaguetza is a vehicle that allows them to share their family's deep love of Oaxacan cuisine with the rest of LA. Though located in Koreatown, the place feels authentically Mexican, from the shots of mezcal poured at the bar to the Marimba band that entertains on the weekends. Each meal starts with a basket of chips and a side of homemade mole (a family recipe) for dipping, ensuring you’ll never want plain old salsa again. As for your main dish, the banana leaf-wrapped tamale, stuffed with perfectly balanced black mole and chicken, is a time-tested Lopez specialty.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.