Palmilla Cocina y Tequila

Crab Benedict Croquette

Crab Benedict Croquette at Palmilla Cocina y Tequila

Why is it so hard for me to find good Mexican cuisine in Southern California. I mean, that’s crazy, right. It should be so easy to find here, but I can’t say anything’s knocked my socks off lately. Oh, until today. Palmilla Cocina y Tequila is a great little gem of a restaurant right on the pier in Hermosa Beach. I went with a friend today for their Sunday brunch. Executive Chef Christina Cipres is all about the flavor. If I closed my eyes I would have thought I was on the beach in Cabo because the flavors are fresh and authentic, from the cocktails to the house-made desserts.

We sat outside on their patio which is the way to go if the weather is good, because it’s excellent people watching as well as enjoying the cool ocean breezes. They nailed me right off the bat with their Bunuelos, homemade tortilla chips tossed in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with chipotle-mint honey. I think of all the other Mexican restaurants that serve those packaged tortilla chips and run-of-the-mill salsas. All I can say is, shame on you!

Watermelon, Ginger & Hibiscus Aqua Fresca

Watermelon, Ginger & Hibiscus Aqua Fresca

The Traditional Bloody Mary

The Traditional Bloody Mary



They have a great bar menu including a vast tequila selection, agua frescas, fresh juices and a build your own mimosa option. We ordered the Watermelon, Ginger & Hibiscus Agua Fresca (with tons of fresh ginger bits) which was light and refreshing as well as the Traditional Bloody Mary ($9) which was anything but traditional. Just check out the array of spices around the rim of that glass. Awesome.

Papas Rajas Hash with Chorizo

Papas Rajas Hash with Chorizo

But I haven’t told you about the food yet, and that was the best part. Chef Cipres takes Mexican cuisine to a whole ‘nuther level.  For me, I would describe the dishes as homey comfort food with a great layering of flavors and textures, that bring out the best in Latin spices. The presentation is creative and the plating nicely finessed. A dish you must order is the Crab Benedict Croquette ($16) which is two perfectly poached eggs atop sweet potato croquettes with dungeness crab and a to-die-for adobo hollandaise sauce. I would also recommend the Papas Rajas Hash with Chorizo ($12). They serve it in a mini skillet with three sauces and three house made tortillas, it was easily enough for several people.


Bread Pudding

Churros with two dipping sauces

Churros with two dipping sauces

But wait, there’s more. The flavor doesn’t stop there, because you’ve gotta have dessert. To accompany our Lavazza Coffee ($4) which was excellent, we had the bread pudding and the deliciously crispy, crunchy churros with two dipping sauces.

Chef Christina Cipres

Chef Christina Cipres

The Bar at Palmilla Cocina y Tequila

The Bar at Palmilla Cocina y Tequila

Mama loves attention to detail, and the folks at Palmilla Cocina have put as much thought into their decor as they have their food. Once inside the restaurant you feel transported to a far off exotic location.. The room is illuminated in a soft golden glow from the handmade chandeliers on the ceiling. Artistic tiles and chains adorn the walls and give the space a hip, ethnic vibe. I don’t think it’s a place I would bring the kids, but it’s certainly perfect for a fun, girls night out.

Palmilla Cocina Y Tequila

Palmilla Cocina Y Tequila

And here’s the best part of all. When all is said and done, and you can’t eat another bite, even though you want to…you can go walk it off on the beach which is 10, okay, 15 steps away from the restaurant. I should add that the service was extremely friendly, attentive and efficient and parking wasn’t a problem since there are public lots in the immediate area.

You can walk it off at the beach

You can walk it off at the beach

Palmilla Cocina y Tequila  39 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254    (310) 374-4440

43 Comments on “Palmilla Cocina y Tequila”

  1. Makes me want to fly to California just to eat there. The food looks and sounds outstanding.

  2. juliadeniro says:

    This place sounds great. If I’m ever in southern California, I’ll definitely look it up.

  3. sabine says:

    Looks like you had a heavenly brunch!

  4. Nicole says:

    I LOVE that place!! Everything I’ve had there is delicious. Their fried ice cream for dessert – FABULOUS! I have never tried brunch, but after seeing those eggs, I’m there!! 🙂

  5. chef mimi says:

    It’s a pretty restaurant! And the food looks divine! So jealous!

  6. The restaurant looks gorgeous. The food is appears exquisite and elevated to a whole new level of Mexican cuisine deliciousness. One sign of a great restaurant is an authentic, well-prepared, no-fake-weird-sweet-ingredients drink. Score one for Palmilla Cocina y Tequila there! Thanks for sharing, Sheryl.

  7. Olga Harwell says:

    THANK YOU FOR THE WONDERFUL NEW POST.    IS THERE ANYWAY  I CAN GET THE RECIPES??? I do not see a trip to CA in the near future.     This young lady dishes look fabulous.

      Olga Harwell


  8. These pictures make my mouth water. My compliments!

  9. Abe says:

    Amazing! Next time in SoCal. I’m there!!

  10. Christina is our Niece and her “Dishes” are unmistakenly the BEST I have ever eaten… including my own cooking, and I love to cook! We are so Proud of her and her accomplishments… she has Talent beyond words… We’re gonna have to go down and try that Crab Benedict… that looks Amazing!!! XOXOXOX

  11. I was taken aback when you said you hadn’t been able to find any good Mexican food of recent (especially in Southern Cal). Well, from your photographs it looks like you found quite a gem! I can almost smell the delicious flavors! The crab benedict croquette is exactly what I’d order. 🙂

  12. this looks amazing! i truly want to jump into the screen and dive right into to all this deliciousness!

  13. We have the same trouble finding decent Mexican in Sydney too. My favorite cooking book is Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe but the trouble is sourcing all the ingredients over here so we get kind of stuck – can’t get it out of home or make it properly ourselves.

  14. As soon as that snap for the Bloody Mary came up (I knew) it must be good. Looks truly amazing! There’s nothing better than a crisp tortilla or Tostada too.

  15. cloverleaf says:

    Am surprised that you find it hard to find good Mexican food in L.A., but very pleased to see your beautiful review. Mexico is made up of 31 states and the federal district, each with its own cuisine, so “Mexican food” is kind of a misnomer as we use it in the U.S. 😉

  16. df says:

    Oh Sheryl, thank you, thank you for the visual and sensory break from our endless winter. What a tremendously inventive place to enjoy a meal, both in terms of the food and the setting. Like nothing I know in my everyday life!

  17. Patty Nguyen says:

    Crab cake benedict is my favorite brunch dish of all time!

  18. bakeritalia says:

    Wow! I would be in heaven if I got served anything like that…crab benedict looks mind altering

  19. Lori Hemmis says:

    That food looks amazing! I’ll be in Cali soon, wait for me to do another restaurant review:)

  20. I’d think that California would be chock full of good Mexican restaurants. All of that food looks delicious – especially the churros!!

  21. Fancy Mexican cuisine! I think I need to take a trip down South! I’m drooling over those crab benedicts.

  22. I feel like there is a giant void in my life now that can only be filled with that watermelon aqua fresca.

  23. Don’t even get me started on finding a decent meal, let alone Mexican, in this city. Everything is ridiculously over-priced and caters to the Dutch pallete with weird substitutes and *always* a side of mayo. Why? Anyways, this looks delicious. I’d die for that meal, those drinks and that VIEW!! (10-15 steps away).

  24. I think I could live quite happily in this restaurant.

  25. amazing… this place 🙂

  26. Brooks says:

    Now that is what I call a dining experience! The Crab Benedict Croquette has Mrs. W’s name written all over it. I understand your quest for finding good Mexican food—NorCal has similar challenges. I adore your food reviews, Sheryl. Not only do you capture them beautifully, you present them with integrity. Thank you for whittling down my choices when in the City of Angels.

    • Thanks Brooks, I appreciate your comments as always! Too many choices in LA. I don’t get up to Northern California too much, but I was there recently and had dinner at The Slanted Door in San Francisco. Have you been there? If not, it’s one I would highly recommend.

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