Los Angeles

All photos by Sierra Prescott, courtesy of Mírate

The RundownLos Angeles

Mírate Is a Multi-Story Mecca for Mexican Dining in Los Feliz

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Before you go to a restaurant, what do you want — or need — to know most? In our series, The Rundown, we’re sharing all the essentials about newly opened (as well as some of your favorite) restaurants.

 

In a neighborhood predominated by casual restaurants, Mírate’s knockout of a space in Los Feliz brings a much-needed dose of glamour east of the 101. Sibling to Beverly Hills’ Mirame, where chef-owner Joshua Gil is known for his Alta California takes on regional Mexican cuisine, Mírate entered the chat in late November with multi-level dining rooms, an all-Mexican wine and spirits list, and an approachable menu of tacos, ceviches, aguachiles, and even its own version of “animal style” yucca fries you’ll want to order on repeat. Here’s everything you need to know.

 

1. The stunner of a space channels Oaxaca.

Mírate evokes the ever-popular Mexican jungle aesthetic within a very unique multi-level setting. There are two distinct seating areas (upper and lower) and two bars, with several other private dining areas tucked away as well. To enter, you’ll walk up a flight of stairs and arrive in the upstairs bar area. A balcony lined with lounge-style tables overlooks the lower level dining area, which is covered in plants and murals.

Inspired by the 1920s colonial furnishings of Oaxaca’s La Verde Antequera, designer Alexa Nafisi-Movaghar of Adean mixes up the Old World with the new.  “We want it to feel casual and lounge-like throughout the restaurant,” says restaurant partner Matthew Egan. “People can use the space however their hearts desire.” A 40-foot tree in the center of the restaurant acts as a focal point, and an atrium-like ceiling offers views of the Griffith Observatory.

Tlayuda de Baja California
Tlayuda de Baja California

2. While they might share the same DNA, Mírate is a slightly more casual and affordable sibling. 

Despite feeling fancy for Los Feliz, Mírate is decidedly more casual than sister restaurant Mírame, in Beverly Hills. “We really wanted Mírate to be accessible to the neighborhood,” says Egan. “Not just a special occasion place.” To do that, the menu is more focused on snacks, and small bites to nibble on while enjoying cocktails and spirits from the restaurant’s bar program. All of this makes for a lower price point as well. “Our vision with Mírate is for it to be possible to have a great night out for around $50,” says Egan. While affordability is, of course, relative, with $15 cocktails and $8 tacos, it is possible to hit close to that number if you order conservatively. 

3. The menu melds classic regional Mexican dishes with local SoCal ingredients in a playful way.

Gil’s Mexican-American heritage and upbringing in both Southern and Baja California are major influences on the menu at both restaurants.  His Alta California ethos means using locally sourced ingredients to execute the small plates-centric, Mexican-inspired menu. “We created a sharable menu that complements what we’re doing at the bar with dishes that present familiar flavors in unexpected ways,” Gil says. At Mírate, you’ll find regional Mexican-inspired dishes mashed up with other global flavors in fun, snack-sized form. For example, the lamb flautas (rolled, fried tortillas stuffed with meat and veggies) tap Mediterranean influences with the addition of baba ganoush, feta, and saffron-pickled fennel. 

As the chef-owner of the lauded (and now-closed) Tacos Punta Cabras in Santa Monica, Gil knows a thing or two about making a great taco, which is evident on the Mírate menu as well. You won’t find extravagant entrees here, but you will find an array of tacos including fried chicken (a carry over from Mirame), and an assortment of tacos arabes (a sort of Middle East-meets Puebla variation) ranging from charred octopus and beef tongue to oyster mushrooms. 

Octopus taco arabe.
Octopus taco arabe.

Of course, no bar-driven concept would be complete without a burger and fries. Here, the El Chicano burger is served alongside yuccas sucias (“dirty” yucca fries) which are basically Gil’s version of In-N-Out’s not-so-secret “animal-style” fries, loaded with queso de chorizo, grilled green onions, and his version of Thousand Island dressing. “Our goal is to challenge L.A.’s perception of Mexican cuisine,” says Gil. And the creativity doesn’t stop there. 

Other highlights include a take on the Pueblan cemita, two tlayudas (including one with uni), and a mulita (similar to a bean-stuffed quesadilla) topped with huitlacoche (aka corn smut), cheese, and salsa. On the lighter side, there are plenty of fresh mariscos to start with, including a jicama aguachile with sea beans, gooseberry, cucumber, and chipotle and a kampachi aguachile tatemado with habanero, black lime, charred leeks, and tomatillo. 

4. The bar program boasts an all-Mexican wine and spirits list.

When a space has not one but two bars (one of which is a dedicated mezcaleria), you know they’re taking their spirits seriously. “We took what we’re doing at Mirame and amplified it,” says Egan, noting that both restaurants only carry products with sustainable production techniques.  The all-Mexican wine list at Mírate hails predominantly from nearby Valle de Guadalupe, while cocktail wise, renowned barman Max Reis (formerly of Gracias Madre) offers innovative twists on classics like the El Güero (a spin on a margarita) with aguachile, nopales granita, coconut, and avocado-washed Cascahuin 48 Plata. Also look for takes on palomas, daiquiris, jungle birds, and more.

 

5. Look out for multiple private dining areas and experiences.

Ready to party? The space is perfect for private dining experiences, with multiple options on deck. There’s a first floor PDR that seats 12, a second floor bar area accommodating 10, and a third floor that’s mostly private and can seat up to 30. Keep Mírate on your radar for mezcal flights and tasting events too, as well as expanding to lunch and brunch service soon.

 

Kelly Dobkin is an L.A.-based writer/editor and former New Yorker. She has contributed to Bon Appetit, Grub Street, Michelin, Here Magazine, and is a former editor at Thrillist, Zagat, and Eater. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Resy, too.