Comfort Food at Bar Amá

A birthday is a perfect excuse as any to go out to dinner. It is a guarantee to have a group of people which means ordering lots of different dishes and sharing. So, for this year’s birthday, I picked Josef Centeno’s newest restaurant Bar Amá in downtown LA that recently opened. Inspired by the memories of the women who raised him, Josef Centeno has created a menu of elevated Tex-Mex favorites that he grew up on.

Bar Ama

The cocktails at Bar Amá focus on tequila and mezcal and the list of brands offered is rather comprehensive.

Tahoma Limon Chingon

Tahoma Limon (Mezcal Joven, Lime, Sugar) – a tart citrus cocktails with a hint of smokiness

Chingon (Tequila Reposado, Citrus, Orgeat, Benedictine, Orange) – a blend of sweet and sour with herbacious notes


Made-To-Order Guacamole (cilantro, lime, chile) – who doesn’t love fresh guacamole with chips?!?!

Tex-Mex Queso

Tex-Mex Queso (avocado, sour cream, salsa) – it’s hard not to like melted cheese and this was no exception. I like to believe that Centeno is using quality cheese and not velveeta but who knows?!?! It sure is creamy like velveeta cheese.

Ceviche with tomatillo, red onion, chile, mango

Daily Ceviche (tomatillo, red onion, chile, mango) – fresh ceviche with a kick that is soothed by the mango

Tuna Cruda, sesame, pumpkin seeds, apple

Tuna Crudo (sesame, pumpkin seed, apple) – the addition of pumpkin seeds and apple add a fresh take on tuna crudo (as much as I love avocados, it was nice to not see tuna and avocado paired together again)

Cauliflower and Cilantro Pesto

Cauliflower & Cilantro Pesto (cashew, pine nut, lime) – the pesto balanced the undertones of heat of the crunchy cauliflower

Puffy Tacos

Puffy Tacos – the puffy fried taco shell is light and chewy. Tacos come two per order so we ordered a few different ones – Carne Guisada with hierba santa chile sauce, Grilled Shrimp with jalapeno cream and Cheese & Potato with chive sour cream


Sizzling Chicken Fajitas – possibly the best fajitas I have ever had with tender meat marinated in peppery seasonings

The fun part about this being a birthday dinner is that dessert is a given and this lucky birthday girl was able to try all five desserts on the menu!

Sopapillas and Mexican Hot Chocolate Coconut Tres LechesChocolate Pecan Fudge Cake

Pecan Creme Brulee (Sesame, Pecan, Chile) – the nuttiness from the sesame and pecan and the hint of heat from the chile offer a different take on the classic brulee

Sopapillas & Mexican Hot Chocolate (Honey, Cinnamon, Oaxacan Sea Salt) – reminded me of childhood trips to New Mexico, the fried bread is coated in honey and sea salt

Leche Quemada (Burnt Milk) Pudding (Graham Cracker, Fennel Pollen, Peanut, Almond) – fruity, spicy and sweet

Coconut Tres Leches (Coconut, Cream, Vanilla) – a dense but most moist cake with the nice addition of coconut

Chocolate Pecan Fudge Cake (Vanilla Ice Cream, Chile, Chocolate Caramel) – rich dark chocolate with a hint of heat from the chile

Bar Amá was a great place to celebrate my birthday with friends but it will not take a special occasion for me to return…..soon!

Bar Amá
118 W 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-8002