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Counter Intelligence: Bizarra Capital, a dreamland Mexican-style gastropub

Ricardo Diaz has another hit with this Whittier spot, offering excellent fried huauzontle, best-in-town guacamole, fiery tacos, satisfying mole fries and a sweet capirotada.

June 01, 2012|By Jonathan Gold | Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic

The carne asada plate is a gargantuan thing for $14, an acre and a half of well-marinated skirt steak served with some of that guacamole, charred spring onions and a cup of bacony beans. The cecina, a similar quantity of thin, pungent, air-dried beefsteak, isn't even listed as such on the menu. It comes as a surprise side dish with the queso fresco enchiladas, which are also pretty great (the restaurant makes its tortillas to order, presumably from the same fresh masa used at Guisados). The dish of costillas de puerco is essentially a great L.A.-style chile verde.

The only dessert here, besides a dryish flan, is the capirotada, an austere block of Lenten bread pudding flavored with cinnamon, raisins and cheese. I like it a lot, but if you are yearning for, say, the molten, butter-washed, chocolate bread pudding at Hungry Cat, you are probably going to be bummed.

And those mole fries? More pedestrian than the ones in the dream, to be sure, but not bad with a bottle of Bohemia.


The newest project of Ricardo Diaz, this Mexican-flavored gastropub continues his winning streak.


12706 Philadelphia St., Whittier, (562) 945-2426


Antojitos, $3-$6; ceviches, $5-$19; main dishes, $9-$13; desserts, $6


Open for lunch 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and for dinner 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Credit cards accepted. Full bar. Lot parking.

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