Loreto, located in the Frogtown district of Los Angeles, is an visually stunning restaurant, offering fresh, inspired Mexican cuisine

Making a reservation for Loreto for my dinner with Katharine was a test. We have an upcoming trip together and subconsciously, both of us wanted to really feel each other out on our ordering styles and preferences.

Now usually, I meet people where I feel they are. For Kinkan, it’s easy to go with Johann or Amanda. However, someone else might say “This food is too complicated and pointless.” With Loreto, I wanted to try a new place and refresh my view of Katharine’s preferences. Since we’ve known each other for over 20 years, it’s easy to get fixed in a projection of what a person likes – vs the present day reality. I’m happy that Loreto offered us that opportunity, in hearts galore.

Parking for me was relatively easy on a side street in a residential area. In short, the key is to have an early reservation for the best possibility of saving $15 for valet.

Once Katharine and I exchanged warm hugs of hellos, we were led to our table. Now, when I made the reservation, I requested a nice table with a pretty view. Wow, oh wow did the hostess at Loreto deliver. We had the best table with the best view of the bustling indoor vibe and relaxing outdoor setting sun.

Our server, Joaquin, was an absolute delight. For drinks, we both started with glasses of  IT’S A CELEBRATION (Havana Club, Cava, Pepino y Limón), the house made frozen daiquiri. We clicked drinks as the first course of our order, two orders of the OSTIÓN KUMIAI WITH SALSA NEGRA (Guerrero Negro Lagoon, Vizcaino Bay, Baja CA).

With a squirt of the salsa negra liquid, the flavor of the oyster was perfect. It honestly was a pitch perfect way to stimulate our appetites for what came next.

The SCALLOP SASHIMI (Lemon, Jugo Rojo, Cilantro Oil) was sliced thin, with flavors of citrus and cilantro oil brightly standing out. We loved it so much that we ordered the TORO SASHIMI (Salsa Negra, Furikake, Olive Oil), which was also delicious.

Next up was the battle of the ceviches. The PAPAYA CEVICHE (Bay Scallop, Shrimp, Green Papaya, Red Onion, Cucumber, Lime, Basil, Cilantro, Thai Chiles, Chiltepin) vs the CEVICHE MAGDALENA (Yellowtail, Honeydew, Cucumber, Maui Onion, Avocado, Jalapeño, Cilantro, Basil, Salsa de Calabasa).

Now, Katharine was curious about the spice level of the papaya ceviche. Joaquin stressed that due to the Thai chiles, it was moderately spicy – but still delicious. Then, Katharine said that it was great – because she could try it and if it got too spicy, she could switch to the Magdalena and I could finish it off.

Guess what happened…….. Pretty much exactly that.

We both absolutely loved the Ceviche Magdalena. Its cool, delicious blend of cilantro, avocado and yellowtail was the absolute right amount of flavor to play with on the provided tostadas shells. And yes, when the Papaya Ceviche got too hot for her, I took over finishing it off.

However, I will say that I thought that the bay scallops were simply too much for me. This is because after the Scallop Sashimi, it simply couldn’t compare.

The ATUN PICANTE (Blue Fin Tuna, Crispy Epazote Rice, Morita Aioli Avocado, Agro Dolce, Serrano) was explained to us as the Mexican version of the Japanese classic of crispy tuna on rice. We finished the bites within minutes.

We finished our dining courses with the MAR-ESQUITES (Shrimp, Corn, Lobster Mayo, Chiltepin, Lemon, Queso Fresco) which was the bowled version of the Mexican street corn – with fat pieces of shrimp.

Now, one thing about Loreto is that they are committed to only giving you a two hour window for your table. Reservations are booked weeks in advance. So when Joaquin told us that we had 20 minutes left on the table, I was crestfallen. But, when he followed it up with the idea of us moving outside to our exterior bar area, I made him playfully promise us that he could find us a table. When he did, I was ecstatic. The night was young and we simply didn’t want our conversation to end.

We listened to the desert selections and settled on what was literally called BOWL THING (deconstructed strawberry shortcake).  It was scrumptious and the best way to end our main dining time.

After settling our tab, Joaquin led us to a side area of Loreto, full of table, open access to the bar and – most importantly – a cooling summer breeze. After greeting our new server, we ordered glasses of the Presqu’ile Winery’s 2022 Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County). The hours passed by as our conversation flowed. Our waiter, Jesse, even gave us fantastic suggestions on where to eat in Rome!

Dinner at Loreto was the perfect spot to enjoy a magical summer evening in Los Angeles.

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1991 Blake Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90039
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