Toca Madera.

A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):

Ambiance: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white
Food & Drink: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white
Service: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white
Likeliness to Return: fork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-whitefork-knife-blk-white

WHAT: Toca Madera
WHERE: West Hollywood
WHEN: Dinner & Drinks
WHAT ELSE: A sugar skull themed Mexican Cantina [that boasts a separate vegan menu in addition to the regular], with a dj and photobooth.
WHAT TO ORDER: The guac ($11). Made table-side, you get to tell them just how you like it and even taste it before they roll their little cart away. And they top it off with pomegranate seeds. Unique in that they serve this with fried plantain chips, we asked for a side of regular corn tortilla chips because, well, there’s a reason this is the gold standard.
WHAT TO SKIP: The Carne Asada tacos ($14 for 2). These were good but nothing to write home about and with such an extensive menu, we’ll definitely try something else before going back to these basics.
WHERE TO SIT: There really isn’t a bad seat in the house; just depends on your mood and the company you bring.  Romantic first date-  back indoor ‘patio’ lit with a large twinkle tree and hanging plants and lanterns (so hot right now-  we get it).  Someone you’re trying to cozy up with-  the low lounge tables.  With a friend, but trying to meet some hotties-  the high tables or the bar.
WHERE TO PARK:  It’s on W. 3rd St., so do yourself a favor and valet ($7) so you can get you night started an hour sooner.
WHO YOU’LL SEE:  Too soon to tell.  But for opening night it was packed with a lively hollywood-esque crowd.  And PS, the owner is dating a former playmate of the year (the huge half-naked portrait on the wall); so maybe some bunnies?
WHO TO BRING:  Definitely NOT your hard of hearing parent/grandparent (unless they’re the life of the party and/or cougar status).  You’re newly legal friend/sibling/cousin will LOVE.  Safe to say anyone who’s down for a good time.  Or anyone who likes a free (yes, free!) photobooth. So…EVERYONE.
WHAT TO WEAR:  The waitresses seemed to be going for a seductive dia de las muertas look in all black, but it just came off to us as kinda slutty. That being said, it’s looking like it may get a little ‘clubby’, so you may want to dress the part. However it is LA, so let’s be real… wear whatever you want.  Just maybe save your Lulu’s for your hungover brunch the next morning #basic.
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOU GO:  Mellow night? Not so much.  Party night? YES.  Make sure you’re in the right mind set.
WHAT TO KNOW:   The wall in the bathroom is an amazing backdrop for a quick pic (see above).  And there is also a Toca Madera opening up in Downtown San Diego soon; so tell your friends down south about it.
EDDR LIFE LESSON:  Don’t always jump the gun.  We got lucky with this one because it was a successful night (for both us and the restaurant) and they had their shit together (bravo-  we’re hard asses and have seen this not be the case too many times).  But sometimes it’s best to hold a beat and wait for the kinks to be smoothed out before rushing to a place.
A2 FINAL THOUGHT:  Cool vibe, good music, fun crowd, souvenirs to take home and skulls galore (a fav symbol of the EDDR gals)… AND it was opening night…WIN.  While it may be a while before we rush back for dinner, (although we’re inclined to bring that token vegan friend so both diners can enjoy), we’ll definitely be back for drinks on drinks on drinks soon.
Still sifting through our 100 photo booth remnants…how else do you take advantage of a free booth?


Toca Madera ↔ Menu ↔ 8450 West 3rd St. LA, CA, 90048 ↔ 323-852-9400

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