Opened in 2021, El Granjero Cantina is a vibrant Mexican restaurant located at The Original Farmers Market. Well-situated on the edge of Market Plaza, right next to The Grove, El Granjero Cantina, particularly its patio, offers lots of opportunities for people (and dog) watching.
Executive Chef Jenni Sklar (Lucques, Son of a Gun) ensures that El Granjero Cantina is a standout. Tortillas, salsas… everything is made from scratch. The eatery’s superior food can be indulgent or healthful, depending on your choices. You’ll find a number of gluten-free or vegan options, including vegan queso. The delicious, fresh fruit-forward cocktails are made with care, using quality ingredients. See below for seven reasons you should visit El Granjero Cantina.
- Freshly Made Tortillas: A Mexican restaurant is only as good as its tortillas. At El Granjero Cantina, tortillas are made to order for each guest. Chef Sklar spent months searching for the right blend of fresh masa and maseca (dry corn flour) and you can taste the effort. This mixture makes for a remarkable tortilla that’s soft and pliable, with a texture that resembles a flour tortilla.
- A Superior Happy Hour: I’m not a fan of happy hours that end almost as soon as they begin, and offer “specials” like $1 off a pricy cocktail. Happily, that is not the case here. EGC’s happy hour goes for three hours – from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – from Mondays through Fridays. Happy hour offerings include six $10 cocktails, $5 draft Modelos, and five different $10 food options, including Baby Fiesta Nachos, Crispy Avocado Tacos, Tomatillo Chicken & Cheese Dorados, and more.
3. A Unique Caesar Salad: This is not your typical Caesar. The romaine spears are served whole, enabling you to gracefully eat the salad with your hands without making a mess. Topped with cheese, cured egg yolk, sunflower seeds, and breadcrumbs, this distinctive Caesar salad is flavorful, pleasantly crispy, and fun to eat.
4. Exceptional Antojitos: Truly special, the Fiesta Nachos are made with guajillo cheese sauce, pickled red onions, black olives, sour cream, and two types of salsa. We shared the “baby” size. Despite the name, it’s very sharable, and made even better with the addition of savory soyrizo. We are also fans of the all-green guacamole. It contains no tomatoes: just avocados, scallions, cilantro, and lime. Other antojito options include Crispy Pork Belly with manzano chile aioli and pickled red onions, and Savory Plantains with Aji Verde sauce.
5. Atypical Tacos: Dorados, deep-fried to a golden brown and filled with soyrizo and vegan cheese, are plant-based but taste supremely indulgent. Another great vegan taco option is the Crispy Avocado tacos, which also feature chipotle aioli, marinated kale, corn salsa, and pickled red onions. I also loved the lobster tacos. Generous portions of lobster are battered outside and succulent within. In addition, tacos can be ordered with a vampiro shell.
6. Great Drinks: Created by Tobin Shea (Redbird’s Bar Director), El Granjero Cantina’s cocktail menu is impressive. You’ll find four different margaritas — one with watermelon and another with mango — both laden with fresh fruit. There are two frozen drinks: a mojito and a strawberry margarita. The well-edited selection of classic cocktails includes a Michelada, a Mai Tai, and an Old Fashioned made with both tequila and mezcal. Five beers and several wines round out the bar menu. You’ll also find a wide assortment of nonalcoholic options, including horchata, Mandarin Jarritos, Mexican Coke, Topo Chico, and housemade sodas flavored with cucumber-pasilla or fruit.
7. Healthy Bowls: It’s all too easy to overindulge at Mexican restaurants. Next time I have a craving for Mexican but want to eat something on the lighter side, I’ll go for one of El Granjero’s Tazones (bowls) with romaine, substituting the herbed rice with cauliflower rice. The Keto Bowl features cauliflower rice, queso fresco, creamy cabbage slaw, marinated kale, and your choice of soyrizo, carnitas, braised beef, or tomatillo chicken. A bowl topped with seared fish, aji verde, marinated kale, and pickled onions is another healthful choice. So is the Crispy Avocado Bowl with chipotle aioli, marinated kale, corn salsa, and pickled red onions.
El Granjero Cantina is located at the Original Farmers Market at 6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036. You can find more info here.