Baco Mercat opened back in 2011, and six years later it is still one of the best restaurants in DTLA. While many restaurants have come and gone, Chef Josef Centeno has grown his DTLA restaurant portfolio. His dining empire now includes Bar Ama, Ledlow, Orsa & Winston and P.Y.T. Each of his restaurants has a very different personality with Baco Mercat being the wild child… a mix of Middle Eastern, Mexican, Spanish, Italian, and even Asian influences.
We stopped in for lunch at Baco Mercat a few days ago. Surprisingly, the place was not packed and we got seated quickly. While we were waiting to order, I asked the busboy about his favorite thing on the menu. He raved about the El Pesco baco. PERFECT… because I was eyeing that, plus you can’t go to Baco Mercat and not order a baco, which is one of the chef’s signature sandwiches. As you will see, we ordered that and a lot of other food starting with the Ricotta Fritters ($10). This appetizer is awesome. They are fried ricotta balls served with lemon zest, saffron honey and dill. Absolutely delicious!
We also “started” with the Caesar Brussels Sprouts ($13) made with pecorino cheese, anchovy and garlic… and the Yellow Beet Salad ($13) served with yogurt, sumac, hazlenuts and feta. Both of these dishes were fresh, clean and flavorful.
For our main courses we once again over-ordered. We got two pizzas. One called Turkish Love ($17) made with lamb ragout, tomato, feta, burrata, basil and curry lemon. Other other was the Double Mushroom pizza ($17) made with shiitake and cremini mushrooms, topped with fontina cheese and chili flakes. Oh, and let’s not forget my El Pesco baco ($15). It was a thick pita stuffed with crispy shrimp and slaw topped with sriracha and chive dressing. OMG. So good!
There is a reason Baco Mercat is still thriving after so many years. It’s because the food is great! Chef Centeno keeps the menu interesting with a great mix of unexpected flavors. If you haven’t been to Baco Mercat in a while because you have been trying some of the newer restaurants, you need to rethink your plans. Baco Mercat (and your taste buds) deserves your attention!
BÄCO MERCAT 408 S. Main Street (just south of 4th Street) 213.687.8808 bacomercat.com