This is a newly opened colorful cantina, located right in the heart of the Fairfax district at The Original Farmers Market. At El Granjero Cantina, (meaning the farmer), the culinary team is giving diners an authentic Mexican cuisine experience influenced by Southern California farmers market ingredients. It’s is a lively, bright, inviting, indoor-outdoor seating experience. Also it has a great patio in the common area on the plaza, between The Grove and The Farmers Markets, perfect for people watching. It is pronounced gran-heh-roh.
This space used to house Ulysses Village, which was a Greek restaurant, I tried their food there and was ok, but it never had the crowds that El Granjero Cantina seems to have. Now it is a far more a vivacious and intriguing space.
Owner John Moshay opened El Granjero Cantina in June of 2021. He also owns Fritzi Coop in the market, with partner/co-owner Neal Frazer from Redbird and Vibiana. I was greeted by, general manager Grace Etchegoven, who worked at the Melrose Italian staple restaurant, Pizzeria Mozza. She says, “I am really proud that we squeeze fresh lime juice for all of our cocktails as this is something that is very important to us, and it really helps us produce the best quality beverages we can provide.” The very creative mixologist, Toben Shea agrees, he is also from Redbird and Vibiana, and has created some delectable agave forward cocktail sensations. Tobin took classic cocktails, the Old Fashioned and the Mai Tai, and he put a tequila twist on them. He honors traditional agave-based spirits from Mexico with a specially curated list of Tequilas y Mezcal showcasing a special selection of Blanco Tequila, Reposado Tequila, Anejo Tequila, and Mezcal. To round out the wonderful culinary feel, Executive Chef Jenni Sklar adds some of her Latin twists, and fully embraces regional Mexican flavors. She worked at Lucques, Squirl, Son of a Gun, and Whoa Nelly Catering. She says, “We make everything in-house from our pickles to our salsas, carnitas, and our tortillas. The tortillas are soft, pliable, full of moisture and fantastic flavor. The density reminds me of a tamale and every tortilla is handmade to order every time”. El Granjero Cantina’s tortillas are extremely special as Sklar spent months looking for the perfect blend of fresh corn masa and maseca (dry corn flour) to create a unique texture that resembles a flour tortilla.
Here’s What I Tried:
Classic Margarita, tequila, lime and citrus agave. This cocktail is super thirst quenching, and goes down very easy.
Pomegranate Margarita, Verde mescal, Grand Marnier, grapefruit,and pomegranate lime. The perfectly sweet and sour cocktail, loved it.
Mai Tai, Anejo tequila, aged rum, lime, passion fruit and cinnamon. This was my favorite; I really enjoyed the marriage of all of the ingredients.
Lifesaver, Mezcal, Pisco, Fiero, lime, and pineapple syrup. For the mezcal lover this one will make you very happy.
Guacamole, with smashed avocado, scallions, cilantro, and lime. Their Guacamole is so subtle, but it really makes you want to come back for more.
Fiesta Nachos, guajillo cheese sauce, Fresno chilies, black olives, onions, salsa verde, pico de gallo, with braised beef. A huge portion, make sure to share this delectable rendition of a Mexican staple.
Caesar salad, with tomatillo chicken, romaine lettuce, cured egg yolk, sunflower seeds, and breadcrumbs. The sunflower seeds added an extra component that is just out of this world.
Hibiscus, with sautéed hibiscus flowers, onion, carnitas, and cheese. I really loved these quesadillas, unexpectedly sweet and the hibiscus adds a great texture.
Seared Fish, with Aji Verde, marinated kale, and pickled red onion. The fish was Mahi Mahi and is so tender and delectable, for sure this was one of my favorites
Dorado Tacos, with black bean puree, onion and cilantro, salsa macha, queso fresco. A crispy taco is my jam, this one did not disappoint!
El Granjero Cantina was designed by Amy Knoll Fraser who wanted to take full advantage of the existing architecture of the space and exposed joist of the ceiling. Fraser drew inspiration from many trips to Mexico City and she wanted the space to feel like a lively bustling cantina where the energy from the street outside gives back to the restaurant inside, spilling into each other. She saw the space as casual, but cosmopolitan and created a subtle division between the two with tall folding panel doors and dangling light fixtures meant to evoke lightning bugs in a jar creating a warmth that immediately attracts guests into the space. Fraser created bold pops of color throughout the restaurant which inspired the stripes running down the back bar and interior side wall and the bold and bright mural on the outside walls based on a traditional Mexican Otomi embroidery with a nod to Matisse cut outs. The chair design was created by Hee Welling inspired by refrigerator racks, and all the woodwork throughout the space was thoughtfully designed in hickory by John Moshay’s son designer Ned Moshay making this project a full family affair.
El Garnjero Cantina is just something new, fresh, and festive. The atmosphere will make you happy, and the food will complete this inventive experience, it is truly worth trying.
El Granjero Cantina is open every Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, and every Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm. El Granjero Cantina offers Happy Hour “All Day” every Monday and Tuesday, and every Wednesday through Friday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
SocialMedia: Facebook @ElGranjeroCantina and Instagram @elgranjerocantina
El Granjero Cantina
The Original Farmers Market
6333 W. 3rd Street, Stall 750
Los Angeles, CA 90036
* Note some content was taken off of their website and press release.