There’s nothing easy about opening a restaurant. Places open and close like clockwork in LA as the secret formula for success remains just that: a secret. So opening four of your own restaurants on the same block? Death sentence. Unless you’re Josef Centeno, who somehow cracked the code and turned DTLA’s Historic Core into his own personal food playground. With Baco Mercat, Orsa & Winston, and Ledlow, Centeno created a culinary identity for a part of town that never had one. But with Bar Amá, he promised a place the neighborhood could treat as their own.
Bar Amá’s casual, walk-up cantina vibe is exactly what you want it to be and a nearly foreign concept in this suddenly upscale part of DTLA. Opening everyday at 11:30am, you can just as easily have a quick lunch with a client as you can grab a beer and some queso after work with your loft neighbors. Just make sure you make a reservation on the weekends. Sh*t gets packed.
The menu is full of real deal messy Tex-Mex food, but with way better ingredients and bigger dreams than what’s usually seen in this genre. When queso and branzino crudo sit next to each other on a menu, we know the place is f*cking with us just a little, but in a way that we very much enjoy. If a restaurant is having this much fun, you are too.
Bar Amá is a total crowd-pleaser. Downtown has raced so quickly towards the high-end of things, it’s just a relief to know a place like this can even still exist. And props to Centeno for knowing it could. Now give us the rest of your secrets.
This San Antonio regional staple is Bar Amá’s signature dish and possibly even better than the Texas original.
This dirty little appetizer is delicious and the first sign that Bar Amá is hell-bent on not taking this too seriously.
Mom’s Green Enchiladas
Homestyle Mexican cooking done right - messy and delicious.
Cauliflower and Cilantro Pesto
The vegetables at all the Centeno restaurants tend to be excellent. No different here.
You’ll want some little flavor-packed taquitos to round out your meal. Spend the extra $5 to get the all the toppings as well.
Only found on the brunch menu, this Tex-Mex slopfest of eggs, tortilla chips, potatoes and onions is your hangover move at Bar Amá.
Take us now sex lord. This beautiful dessert consists of mocha, coconut, and a cream cheese frosting that’s pretty unreal.