Named after one of owner Jesse Gomez's law school professors, "just because he thought it was a cool name," Yxta serves up nouvelle Mexican food in a setting designed by Poonam Khana (Laurel Tavern).

The restaurant stands out at the edge of bleak surroundings on S. Central Ave. downtown, with exposed brick walls, creamy leather chairs with wood frames, low-watt bulbs that have become the imprimatur of hip restaurants everywhere these days, M.C. Escher-like wireframe chandeliers, and a mirrored tile mosaic behind the bar.

The décor might be stylized and new, but the food is classic Mexican spiced up (pun intended) and served in huge portions for reasonable prices. The appetizers include interesting choices like tostadas with ahi tuna, fried onion chipotle and avocado.

There are entrée-size salads, including one with either salmon or tuna over avocado, red onion, mango, basil and agave nectar vinaigrette.


There are also myriad taco choices including a satisfyingly deep-fried fish taco with cabbage, avocado, cream, tangy chipotle aioli and a side of cilantro-lime rice. In addition to huge enchilada plates, there are also enormous entrees, like the Michoacan-style slow-cooked pork with guacamole, and the calabacitas squash with tomatoes, grilled corn and cheese for your vegetarian compadres.

The pineapple flan dessert is the size of a hubcap and tastes like a creamy tropical cheesecake. The cocktail menu is also unique, with drinks like blood-orange or hibiscus-infused margaritas.

Address: 601 S. Central Ave.
Cross Street: 6th St.
Neighborhood: Downtown
Phone: (213) 596-5579
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-4pm
Type: Mexican
Price: $