San Diego, CA, USA
Photo courtesy of Sam Wells/LOLA 55
LOLA 55With so many Mexican food options, it may seem like the last thing San Diego needed was another taqueria. Then LOLA 55 opened in the East Village and locals realized something had been missing; a place that paired elevated Mexican cuisine with top-notch cocktails. Chef Andrew Bent participated in Noma’s pop-up in Tulum, when the famous Copenhagen restaurant took its show on the road. Bent's menu here has more in common with molecular gastronomy then street eats. Tacos served on homemade corn tortillas include mesquite-grilled ribeye carne asada with avocado mousse and crispy leeks, and the vegetarian-friendly baby carrot adobada is topped with guacamole and a cilantro-pistachio salsa. Light and seasonally inspired cocktails might include a Tequila Sling with pineapple, lime, and cava or a Harvest Mule with serrano pepper-infused tequila, apple brandy, and ginger. The soaring space designed by LA-based Bells & Whistles is as refined as the food with a white terrazzo bar top and jewel-toned couches.