They’re certainly the best in South Los Angeles. They’re in my top 5 in all of Los Angeles.
What: The pupusas and baleadas at El Ranchon Restaurant and Pupuseria
Where: 3564 Normandie Ave, 90007, a couple of blocks south of Jefferson Blvd on the east side of the street. They have a tiny parking lot. Street parking is usually available on Normandie or a nearby side street.
What to order: House special pupusas which are posted near the kitchen pass. They have uncommon fillings such as spinach, carrots, zucchini, and the “loca” that’s stuffed with just about everything. If you’re lucky, you might get one that burst open a little, so the filling oozes out a bit and gets charred on the flat-top. They also have baleadas, a Honduran specialty. A handmade 6” inch flour tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese, scrambled egg or choice of meat. The tortillas are a bit chewier and flakier than Mexican flour tortillas.
What makes them different? Besides the house special pupusas, they also have a habanero sauce, which isn’t common in Salvie restaurants. Their curtido, lightly pickled cabbage slaw, is a little more fermented and deeply seasoned than most restaurant curtidos that I’ve tried.
What else is in the neighborhood? It’s about 1 1/2 miles from USC. About 2 miles from the museums at Exposition Park. It’s around the corner from Revolutionario, my restaurant. If you’re keen on doing a food crawl, you could hop on over to nearby Joan and Sister’s Belizean restaurant on Western Ave.
Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give their pupusas a 9.5. Everyone I’ve recommended the place to comes back raving about the pupusas.
There is usually someone who speaks English on staff. But your server may not. If you don’t speak Spanish, then you can point to the menu items you want or ask the older woman in the kitchen who speaks English.