Banditos Restaurant Opens in Studio City with Tex Mex Fare

Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays, by the way.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink
  • Written by
    Heather Platt
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

Tacos get both a Texas spin and an international flourish at the new Banditos restaurant in Studio City. And fans of the old Barrel & Ashes at the same location can be consoled: Tacos at Banditos are a meaty affair. 

“We have a huge barbecue,” says restaurateur Anat Escher of her newest venture, Banditos.

“We barbecue all our meats with wood, so it is very Texas,” she explains, alluding to the restaurant’s main attraction: tacos. The eclectic array of meat, fish and vegetable-filled corn tortillas are admittedly far from the traditional Mexican varieties. But Anat, who has owned the Bungalow Club on Melrose and Barbarella restaurant and Trophy Wife bar in Silver Lake, takes pride in her all-over-the-map taco menu and in the quality of meat she uses at Banditos.

“For example, skirt steak carne asada,” says Anat. “I make it with original Argentinian chimichurri sauce, pico de gallo, and Mexican rice on the bottom. It’s like a little plate,” she explains. Other options include tender braised short rib tacos with kimchi, hoisin, sriracha and crispy wontons; wood-smoked brisket with fresh mango chutney salsa; chicken marinated overnight in chipotle; lightly fried fish with coleslaw and avocado sauce; and smoked pork chorizo tacos with fresh corn and cotija cheese. There’s also a vegetarian taco.

“We barbecue all our meats with wood, so it is very Texas.”

The biggest draw at Banditos might be its daily happy hour, when two drinks are the price of one from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Or Taco Tuesday, when the tacos are $2, and fruity margaritas like guava, passion fruit, mango and blackberry are $5. You can get numerous fruity varieties shaken and stirred or two flavors, strawberry and mango, frozen. We suggest arriving early (there’s usually a line out the door by 6:30 p.m.) and grabbing an al fresco seat at one of the cheerful picnic tables topped by colorful Mexican runners out front. Once the rush hour traffic along Ventura Boulevard dies down a bit, it is a perfect spot to watch the sun set behind the Hollywood Hills.

Banditos has a neighborhood sports bar vibe with numerous TVs up on the walls inside and plenty of beer on tap. Come at the right time and it’s a perfectly kid-friendly spot to grab an early dinner. Come later with friends for shots of tequila, chips and guac—and a heck of a good time.