Mexican Food isn’t Just About Tacos.

Try a cemita. It’ll make you drool.


When it comes to eating and trying Mexican foods, I seek out the most authentic pieces I can lay my hands on, and I this time I found a gem in cemitas. Cemitas originate from the Southern Mexico state of Puebla, and to the untrained eye, they look similar to tortas. But the taste…oh the taste! And the best restaurant in Los Angeles for cemitas is a little place in Boyle Heights called Cemitas Poblanas Mi Magdalena Restaurante.

When you walk in the glass doors of this little restaurant, you will find customers packed in tight. Brightly lit televisions sets replay recent soccer games and the smell of grilled meats and onions hit your nose hard. As you stand in the line and scan the menu, you will see endless options to choose from as your mouth waters.

Cemitas Pueblanas Mi Magdalena menu

I went for the most authentic cemita, one that is thinly layered with steak, a breaded and fried meat prepared milanesa style.

Finding a place to sit is like prime real estate, especially on the weekends. A wall is lined with a variety of brightly colored Mexican sodas.

Inside Cemitas Pueblana Mi Magdalena

Restaurant owner Miguel is a passionate and robust man who speaks primarily Spanish. He started selling his cemitas out of a food truck and quickly had more customers that he could imagine. He decided to open a restaurant and has been going strong in the Boyle Heights community for the past fourteen years with plans to open a second location.

So what makes Miguel’s cemitas the best in Los Angeles?

Miguel says it’s the original recipes passed down by his mother and the freshest ingredients. Everything he serves, from the mole to the breaded meats, is fresh and hand made.

The main ingredients in a cecina milanesa cemita are grilled steak milanesa and sliced onions, Oaxaca cheese, slices of avocado, chipotle sauce, and papalo, an ancient plant found throughout Mexico which Miguel says is key to the unique flavor. Papalo is still a relatively obscure plant to many Americans; however it is slowly gaining popularity in New York kitchens as immigrant farmers increasingly grow the herb and sell it in markets. Take all of this deliciousness and put it on a lightly toasted sesame seed bun and you have his famous cemita.

Beef milanesa Cemita

And this cemita is packed with flavor. My first bite takes my taste buds into a craze as I eagerly stuff my mouth. The bread is soft and I can taste the subtleness of the sesame seeds combined with the seasoning from the breading of the meat. The stringy Oaxaca cheese blends in perfectly into the slices of creamy avocado. Bitting into the Papalo changes the flavor profile as it releases an aromatic herb-like scent and flavor. My bite ends with the crunch of the onion and a kick of spicy chiptole flavor.

Final Words? Bomb. Perfection. A must-eat.

Cemitas Poblanas Mi Magadalena Restaurante is located at 3049 East 4th St. in Los Angeles.