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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brunch with a pan-Latin twist now serving at Garvanza’s

Fish tacos brunch/Photo by Valentina Silva

By Valentina Silva

By all rights, Garvanza’s should be wildly popular, but its tucked-away location keeps it undercover. The neighborhood restaurant focuses on pan-Latin flavors with an emphasis on high quality local ingredients. The produce is fresh and seasonal, and the service is super friendly. A lot of people, including me, are rooting for it.

The bulk of Garvanza’s menu is burritos and tacos, including tender barbacoa with pickled onions, pork shoulder slow cooked in garlic and peppercorns, and flaky mango-salsa-topped fish tacos. Plates, comprised of those same meat choices and some of the most flavorful rice and beans in a 10 mile radius, are also served.

Brunch options/Photo by Valentina Silva

The one must of the appetizers at Garvanza’s, which shares the name of the historic neighborhood next to Highland Park, is the Garbanzo Bean Salad, a simple mix of fried garbanzos, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. The cool veggies and a drenching of lime juice really brighten up this highly addictive dish. The chips and salsa are also notable for the same reason—the chips are thick and greasy, making them the perfect match for the tangy salsa their served with.

Brunch at Garvanza’s gives you free reign of the entire menu, plus some breakfast options. Their Buttermilk Pancakes with honey and cinnamon are a Yelp hit, and the Vegan Burrito is stuffed with sorizo, zucchini, rice and black beans. I like the Spanish Tortilla, a tasty layering of fluffy eggs with thin slices of potato, zucchini and onion. There’s no actual tortilla involved, but it is topped with melted cheese and comes with green salsa.

The agua frescas, prominently displayed in the dining room, shouldn’t be passed up, nor should their smoothies—the vegan option with almond milk, bananas, strawberries and brown sugar is a lush, but not overly sweet, treat.

I’ve heard the same promised of the Flan Brulée, but that’s still on my to-do list.

-Valentina

Garvanza’s
519 N. Avenue 64
Highland Park

Valentina Silva writes about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her blog, Eastside Food Bites.

8 comments

  1. One reason it’s not wildly popular is because when we went a while back it just wasn’t that great. We wanted it to be – we can walk there from our house. But the breakfast sandwich was small and pricey, one egg and with no sides. Plus they ran out of avacado for it (listed on the menu) and didn’t say so until I told them they forgot it when it came to the table. No discount, minimal apology. I guess Figeroa Produce was too far away to go get some. And the Huevos Rancheros came with white rice (!) with no spice or flavoring whatsoever. The pancakes were delish, but that’s not enough for us to go back for a full meal. One day we might try again, but for now we’ll keep going to the Coffee Table or Gus’s in South Pas for weekend brunch, and My Tacos or the Mexicatessen for Huevos Rancheros.

  2. I love this place, a welcome addition to Garvanza and the surrounding communities… and yes, it is by far the freshest latin food I have ever had in LA! I look forward to patronizing this place for years to come!

  3. I live on the same block as this place and have waited patiently for the last 4 years for this place to open! After a few rough first visits post opening, they seem to have hit a stride. They have guacamole now! Plus, their house made chips are AMAZING. My favorite thing is the breakfast burrito. The vegan burrito is a close second. The mexican iced coffee is awesome too!!

  4. I want to like this place. They are close to my home and in a neighborhood with a shortage of decent restaurants. First, they got off to a most unusual start and lost lots of promotional momentum by unexpectedly closing for two weeks only one week into their opening day. I have no idea why there was this closing after what seemed a very busy first week. Walking or driving by, things have seemed slow ever since. Unfortunately Garvanza’s still needs work. They are trying to be an upscale restaurant without the truly upscale fare. Flavors could be a little more intense, portions a little larger. Coffee needs to improve greatly as the last cup I ordered tasted sour like something from a chain diner. Sunday brunch for two was $31 with tax & tip. That price has me often firing up my own pancake griddle or visiting the nearby My Taco for a breakfast burrito instead. Fortunately they have recently upgraded their signage, which was previously nearly camouflaged, to something slightly more visible. Hopefully this added visibility will be better noticed and encourage people to come in for a visit. Street parking only.

  5. I excitedly waited for months for this place to open and promptly went in – bringing my whole family with me. We had a great dinner with my parents and my inlaws – however we were charged 3 times for the meal. And not like they tried to swipe it and weren’t sure if it could go through – my bank pulled up a red flag when 3 different charges for $250+ were put on the card. I voided the fraudulent charges but I’ll never go to Garvanza’s again.

  6. As the owner, I appreciate each and every comment. I just want our customers to be clear as to our intentions. We do not intend to provide sub standard food or service. Anyone who has run a restaurant knows this is the priority and that unfortunately mistakes sometimes happen. I believe people are generally forgiving and I personally apologize for any negative experience that one may have had at Garvanza’s.
    For those who have had issues with credit card transactions, we apologize for any misunderstanding on your bill. The bank initaially creates two transactions on the report which may look like a double bill, but I assure you when the process is complete it is only the one transaction that is approved. We are working with the service provider to make this less confusing. We DO NOT, I repeat, WE DO NOT defraud the public with credit card transactions for obvious reasons. We promptly correct any mistakes that are brought to our attention, as any business owner would. We are continually striving to improve our operations and our menu to ensure our guests a great dining experience at Garvanza’s. Thank you for your patronage and understanding.

  7. I’ve eaten at Garvanza’s three times now and I am rooting for them. The vegan burrito is delicious and I can’t get enough of the garbonzo beans salad. It is truly a treat. My husband has eaten several different dishes and enjoyed them very much and frankly I think that their prices are very reasonable. How can you complain about $31 for brunch for two, including tax and tip? That is a great price for healthy, fresh food. This is not fast food. It is local, healthy, cooked to order, and delicious. It takes a cook and a waitress to serve you. You sit at a table for an hour and eat and then complain about $31? How much do you think at least two people serving you should earn? Plus the food has to be paid for and the rent too? I would rather go out to eat less, but eat good food when I do. Garvanza’s, I hope that you succeed because I love eating at this local restaurant!

  8. Is Garvanza Restaurant going to be something else. Will it reopen?

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