Flor del Rio: Eating Ambrosia-Like Birria in Boyle Heights

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Mexican Restaurant Los Angeles

Flor del Rio features a colorful facade for their Nochistlan style birrieria.

There’s something intriguing about a specialty restaurant, an operation that’s so confident in a single dish that they don’t even bother featuring other options. If that dish doesn’t pan out, they’re out of luck, and out of business. In East Los Angeles, you’ll find several hyper-focused Mexican restaurants/trucks specializing in foods like cemitas, barbacoa and shrimp tacos. Flor del Rio is a colorful Boyle Heights restaurant fixated on birria, which can be either be beef or goat, depending on the chef’s native region. At Flor del Rio, which Jonathan Gold stylishly identified in LA Weekly, the choice was goat, and it more or less lived up to the hype.

Restaurant Mural Los Angeles

The restaurant features colorful murals inside and out, with a flower (flor) standing in for the word on murals of Nochistlan’s church and aqueduct.

Don’t bother asking for a menu. Your only choice is whether to get the meat on or off the bone. Either way, birria costs $10.65 per order, but by all means, eat on the bone. As food aficionados know (and Ruth Reichl titled a book), meat is more “tender at the bone.”

Mexican Food Los Angeles

Roast goat was certainly tender, but also spice-rubbed and crusty at the edges. Still, the highlight was definitely addictive chile-flecked consomé loaded with goat-y debris. Strangely, the broth’s cumulative flavor was similar to pepperoni pizza.

Mexican Food Los Angeles

The basic idea is to form your own tacos with the meat; load a steaming tortilla with several clumps of juicy goat meat, sprinkle on onions and cilantro, try to squeeze on some lime juice from Flor del Rio’s stingy specimens, and douse the concoction with salsa. I preferred the orange salsa with added chile kick.

Mexican Food Los Angeles

As the pile of birria dissipates, it clears the way to load your spoon with that ambrosia-like broth.

Tortillas Los Angeles

Corn tortillas were just fine, but lost their powers of persuasion after cooling, much like pizza or French fries. Thankfully, cool air had no such effect on the birria.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Wow! I always pass by that place, and I never got around to trying it. Thanks for the post. I’m gonna give it a shot now. Mmmm. Birria!

Sure sounds tasty to me. Invite me along when you decide to go again.

dang, this is the place we missed out on. I guess taurat tandoori wasn’t a bad consolation, but we had to make the trip all the way here.

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