The first day of school for any kid is mortifying. We don’t care how popular you were the year before or what kind of pounding puberty took to your face over the summer, the idea of walking back through those doors for another year was a complete horror show. Sure, there were old friends to see, but there were far more new ones to try to awkwardly make. Tack on the harder classes, new teachers, and a gym period you had to share with the 8th graders, and there was nothing remotely comfortable about it.
Escuela, on the other hand, is a different story - every time we come back, we feel pretty great about it.
Located on that stretch of Beverly you avoid because you want nothing to do with The Grove, Escuela is a place you probably frequented a few years ago and might have forgotten about - but it’s still as good as you remember. Yes, there might be those unsettling wooden shoes hanging from the ceiling, but the overall feel inside this warm little Mexican cantina can’t be beat. Want to come in on a casual first date? Solo lunchtime taco binge? Tuesday night friends dinner when you completely forgot to make a reservation? Escuela makes it work. There’s even a circular table in the corner that fits up to 13 people for your big birthday dinner or whenever you want to feel like King Arthur next.
photo credit: Holly Liss
Of course, none of this matters if the food is crap, but luckily it’s not. We aren’t going to say this is the most authentic or mind-blowing Mexican in town, but for all the reasons stated above, it doesn’t need to be. The tacos are good and affordable, the tinga tostada is excellent, and the housemade tortilla chips are addiction fuel. But let’s not forget the best part - it’s BYOB. And not the sh*tty LA version of BYOB where have to pay $20 only to be stared down by the waitstaff until you’re guilted into leaving. At Escuela, you can roll in with a pack of beer, a bag full of wine, or a handle of Tequila, and for $4 a person, they’ll happily open it and serve it to you.
To be a fun, flexible, unpretentious, and still delicious restaurant everyone wants to hang out in is an extremely difficult feat. Escuela just makes it look easy.
If only 7th grade could’ve been the same.
Pork Rib Tacos
Escuela has a very solid list of tacos, but it’s hard not to crown this baby the winner. The pork meat itself is excellent, and their homemade sweet chili sauce brings it home.
THIS JUST IN: Shrimp and chorizo taste good together, please everyone start cooking more of it. In the meantime, we’ll be over here binging on this.
Chips And Guacamole
We’re fully aware it’s pretty hard to fck up chips and guac, but Escuelas is better than most. The guacamole itself is solid enough, but we can’t get over how good their housemade tortilla chips are and neither will you.
Chicken Tinga Tostada
With a menu predominantly featuring tacos and burritos, it’s easy to pass over the small tostada section at the bottom. But don’t. Because this chicken tinga might be the best thing on the menu.
Jamon And Queso Taco
You definitely aren’t going to want to order this, but you should. Because it’s good. The crispy pancetta topped with spicy salsa verde makes this the most unique thing you can order here.
We don’t say this often, but you can skip the churros. They’re not a total bummer, but we prefer ours to be a little crispier, with a whole lot more cinnamon.