LAReview

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

El Bacano Spread
7.5

El Bacano

Dominican

North Hollywood

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCasual Weeknight Dinner
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As of this writing, LA has one Dominican restaurant. One. And it’s next door to a Subway in North Hollywood. That makes El Bacano something of a novelty, but you can’t eat novelty for dinner. What’s more important to us (and hopefully you, too) is this 16-seat restaurant’s simple, delicious Dominican staples that are perfect for a casual weeknight meal when all we want is a nice fried pork chop. 

El Bacano exterior

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

El Bacano sancocho

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

El Bacano mini spread

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

El Bacano interior

photo credit: El Bacano

El Bacano Empanada

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

El Bacano exterior
El Bacano sancocho
El Bacano mini spread
El Bacano interior
El Bacano Empanada

Oddly, whether you dine in or order your plantains to-go, El Bacano serves all of its food in styrofoam containers. Our suggestion: eat there while the food is hot and enjoy the reggaeton booming from the sound system. El Bacano’s menu is big, but most meals follow a similar pattern: beans and rice (a.k.a. habichuela), a side of chewy tostones, and your protein of choice, which can come fried, stewed, or sauteed. It truly comes down to personal preference because we’d give the thumbs up to everything on the menu, from tomato-y bacalao guisado lapped up with red beans to the extra crispy machi chicken wings marinated in tons of garlic to the deep-fried pork chops that you should absolutely drench in lime juice. But if you’re the indecisive type, order the sancocho.

This glorious soup is only available three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), and it’s worth planning your whole trip around. The rich broth is slightly cloudy from rendered pork fat, perked up with fragrant spices and lime juice that make it delicious enough to drink straight from the Big Gulp-sized cup it’s served in. This is a jumbo portion of sancocho, so split an order between you and a friend, which will free you up to snack on tostones and mojo and bob your head to whatever Karol G banger is playing.

Food Rundown

Moro de Habichuelas

There are two sides of moro de habichuelas on the menu, and you’re golden with either. Whether you choose black or red beans, expect creamy beans stewed with rice until they blend together, plus extra oomph from garlic, onion, and tomato paste.

El Bacano Empanada

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Empanada

These crispy fried pockets emerge from the fryer with a beautiful gold color and one with three fillings (pssst…ground beef is the best one). The juicy meat is cooked down with sofrito and tastes a little sweet from the sauteed onions.

El Bacano Machi Chicken

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Machi’s Chicken

We’ll never pass up a box of fried chicken, especially chicken with crispy, crackly skin. Rather than hiding in thick dredging, this poultry’s charm is in the marinated meat flavored with garlic, oregano, and warm spices. Order this for the table.

El Bacano sancocho

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Sancocho

This literal tub of stew is the best thing at El Bacano, so we’re not annoyed that it’s only available three days a week. You’ll find an entire barnyard swimming in this salty, citrusy broth: chunks of beef, pork, and chicken bobbing on the surface, along with corn cobs and soft plantains.

El Bacano bacalao guisado

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

Bacalao Guisado

This entree's side of rice is a useful tool for soaking up every drop of the soupy, tomato-y salted cod stew (which you’ll want to do). It’s filling but light enough to be a nice change of pace from the menu’s many fried dishes.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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