Cero for Ciro’s


If you look up East Los in most travel guides to LA you’re not likely to find many entries, it’s still uncharted territory for many of those guide writers. When they do decide to go fucking crazy and venture off their predictable maps, they often make their way to El Tepeyac (surely because they all read each others fine work!), an eatery renowned for its massive plates of piled ingredients semi-wrapped in flour tortillas, which are strangely still deemed “burritos”. A bucket of food covered in a tortilla is not a burrito. Though many Eastsiders love this place, those in the know often chuckle at the long line of (mostly) tourists snaking thru Tepayac’s parking lot, wondering why they don’t just go down the block to the nondescript, but much preferred, Ciro’s. Even though both places are East LA “institutions”, siding with Ciro’s has been a badge that marks you as one with a better appreciation of Mexican-American food. (Mexican food it ain’t!) Well, no longer, and it’s not because Tepeyac has suddenly gotten better: sadly, Ciro’s has been resting on it’s laurels.

See the picture above? Under that smothering layer of cold, bland, shredded white cheese is supposed to be an order of Tacos de Papa. Stuffed inside the more-soggy-than-crisp tortilla shell is some so-so potato filling, iceberg lettuce, and tomatoes that refused to ripen before they were chunked. Not even a bit of salsa? Claro que no! All it needs is some mayo and a slice of white bread to make this plate complete! And some fools still think Mexicans don’t assimilate. Unfortunately, they are wrong.

The bowl of avocado salsa is often mentioned as one of the highlights of Ciro’s, and though it is usually good, the chunks of aguacate are just huge now, as if someone is getting lazy. As if someplace is slipping. Oh Ciro’s, you used to be a decent place to eat. But nostalgia is for chumps and life’s too short for tasteless food. See ya’ around!

Ciro’s 705 N. Evergreen St.
On the Eastside

5 thoughts on “Cero for Ciro’s”

  1. El Chavo,

    El Tepeyac’s and Ciro’s have been regular haunts of mine for thirty-six years, and I’m sad to say, El Tepeyac’s has slipped in flavor over the past year.

    As the owner of El Tepeyac’s attempted to pour a glass of tequila for me last Wednesday, Manuel said he was planning on selling the restaurant at the end of the year, and retire for an easier life.

  2. Sorry to hear about Ciro’s and thanks for making my gringo ass feel like a punchline for patronizing Manuel’s. Why does it always have to be an insider/outsider game. I know, I know, you didn’t make the rules; you just play by them.

    Tell you what, I’ll keep going so those of you “in the know” can keep on chuckling at me.

  3. My mom grew up right around the corner from Ciro’s and el Tepeyac, and up until the late 80s my grandparents were still living there. I’ve been eating Manuel’s specials since I was in diapers, but had never been IN the place until last year. I’ve been to Ciro’s more often lately and decided that their taquitos had really declined in quality.

    Here’s that chunky guacamole you were wondering about:

  4. If the salsa looked like the pic you linked, that wouldn’t be too bad. But in the one I had the avocado chunks were even bigger!
    Seems like there’s a growing consensus that both places are losing their luster. Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente!

  5. Hmmm, Mr. Campbell, I don’t think you should take the above post so personally, lots of other ethnicities eat at Manuel’s too. Why it’s on a tourist list of places to eat, I don’t quite get.
    They should come up with a name for this style of Mexican food. Other restuarants of this ilk: La Abeja, Arco Iris, La Fonda…

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