Inspired by traditional flavors from some of Mexico’s favorite taquerias, LOQUI has become one of Downtown Los Angeles Arts District hidden gems, a restaurant that celebrates the connection between familial and culture and Mexican food. LOQUI first opened as a pop-up at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco in 2013 and after five years of perfecting recipes, founder Mexican-born Ari Ampudia, was ready for a change and moved the business to Culver City.
In 2016, LOQUI officially opened their doors to Angelenos and began to serve the heart and soul that is the core of all Mexican recipes, as they focus on recreating the flavors and simplicity of a class taqueria through delicious food reminiscent of Mexico. Just three years later, LOQUI opened its second location and joined the colorful DTLA community.
If you have ever been to the DTLA location, you may know why I call it the ‘hidden gem,’ the restaurant isn’t just on the side of the street like most shops or restaurants in the arts district. It’s slightly behind Wurstkuche, just remember to enter on Traction Ave and look out for the green sign with the word LOQUI on it.
When visiting the DTLA location, not only are you getting a great meal but a great atmosphere. With extensive outdoor seating, the open-air patio, which will be soon be extended, is centered around towering cacti which provides the perfect surrounding while waiting for your to-go order. The area itself is very inviting with the abundance of plants, textures, and colors.
I was lucky enough to visit the DTLA location to get my taste of the flavor and soul inspired by Ampudia’s favorite taquerias. And before I go into detail, if Ampudia wanted to have the best flour tortillas — he certainly did it. These were the best tortillas I’ve ever had.
On my Menu: mushroom and chicken tacos, chicken plate and chips & guac.
The Mushroom Taco
For all my plant-based lovers — this is the taco for you! The mushroom has a zany, mild spicy taste. All the indigents inside: cheese, beans, guacamole, onions, salsa, and cilantro are made to blend perfectly — making you forget you’re not having a taco with meat! Note: cheese can be taken out to become vegan.
The Chicken Taco
This was the best chicken taco I’ve ever had. They must charcoal grill indoors or something because it doesn’t look like your typical grilled chicken, in a good way! The chicken has a little spice to it, but not enough for you to stop eating it. You can taste the sweetness of the onion mixed with the cheese, guacamole, salsa, and cilantro.
The Chicken Plate
This bowl has a sweet tangy taste — the chicken is grilled to perfection and all the flavors together just blend in beautifully with the mix of the rice, beans, guacamole, cotija cheese, onion, cilantro, and corn tortilla. If you get a side of flour tortillas you can make a mini taco! The bowl is so filling, you might not even finish it in one sitting, but it becomes the best leftovers! Even with the next day, you can make it into a breakfast burrito —- that’s what I did. It’s a two in one kind of meal.
Chips & Guac
I’m a big fan of extra crunchy chips and that’s a perfect way to describe LOQUI’s chips — not to mention that their guac is super creamy. It’s a great side for your meal.
Given the pandemic we’re facing now, all restaurants are adjusting to make sure all guests have the best take out or delivery experience — you can order on Chownow, Postmates, or Caviar. Along with being busier than ever with take out orders, LOQUI recently introduced Family Meals (something they haven’t done before) to adapt to COVID.
Working from home can be stressful enough, along with having the family home 24/7 and some people may not have the energy to cook dinner right afterward — that’s where LOQUI can help. LOQUI provides two options for family meals that can each feed four to six people.
The first family meal option is for $90, which includes two choices of proteins: chicken, mushroom, pork, or beef. Then with rice, beans, guacamole, 1 pack of a dozen flour tortillas, purple onion, cilantro, cotija cheese, chips salsa, salsa Roja, and a bag of chips.
The second family meal option is for $110 — includes the same items from option one, plus 6 beers of choice or 1 bottle of wine.
There are also pantry items you can purchase: chips, salsa, and guacamole, or a combo of chips, salsa, and guacamole. You can also purchase a packet of a dozen flour tortillas. Pro Tip: keep an eye out when they’re available online — they sell out fast!
Even with this pandemic going on, we need to try to remember to support our local restaurants, just like LOQUI.