Friday, September 12, 2008

Redondo's Cantina: Ortega 120

Ortega 120
1814 South Pacific Coast Highway,
Redondo Beach, 90277
(310) 792-4120

With a suggestion from my girlfriend's mom, we ended up at Ortega 120. She told me the location had previously been a lobster shack not too long ago, and then an Italian restaurant before that. Guess it must be a bad location.

The restaurant itself was comfortably airy. Tables were far apart, giving you room for just your group. They project some old movies on a wall and have several large TVs showing various sporting events. Noticing loungy couches along the wall, I could see how the place could easily be converted into a night club.

More after the jump...

Positioning itself as a somewhat more upscale, but still festive, Mexican restaurant, Ortega 120 does a great job of walking that line. The food is excellent, created by Thomas Ortega, formerly of Water Grill, Lucques and Patina. In LA, that seems to be the mark of a decent chef. Patina grads seem overly abundant in this town. My carnitas were juicy and delicious. The pork falling apart as my fork cut through the mound of meat. Speaking of mounds, the portions are rather large.

My main criticism comes from the tables and chairs. They have the leather topped tables with the large weaved seating that never seem to fit comfortably at the table. I might be able to bare it at a taqueria, but at a more upscale place like this, I'd like to sit comfortably.

Ortega 120 has everything it takes to be a success. I want to publicize it as much as possible so it doesn't take the route of the old lobster place or Italian joint. As much as it's a shame those places didn't last, the real shame would be to let this new restaurant falter as well.


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