Name of restaurant: Lola's Mexican Cuisine
Chef: Luis Navarro
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? It's hard to say which single dish best represents the restaurant, but it would probably have to be the green salsa that comes with the complimentary basket of chips at every table -- it may be the single most compulsively delicious sauce since the heyday of the white garlic paste at Zankou Chicken.
Concept: Relaxed, friendly restaurant serving slightly upscale Mexican food in the middle of Long Beach's Retro Row strip of thrift stores and Midcentury Modern shops, directly across from the renovated streamline-moderne Art Theater.
Who's at the next table? Lola's is incredibly eclectic. The next table could be artists, skateboarders, family friends or just folks from the neighborhood.
Appropriate for... A quick bite after the movie, dinner with friends; it's our favorite Friday night here-comes-the-weekend dinner spot.
Uh-oh... Get there early, it's always packed. On the other hand, with summer coming, there is a back patio and a "parklet" out front for outdoor eating.
Service: Come more than once and you're likely to be greeted at the door with a hug. It's just that kind of place.
What are you drinking? Decent beer selection, and there's always a craft beer or two on tap. Also, Mexican Coke.
Info: 2030 4th St., Long Beach, (562) 343-5506, www.lolasmexicancuisine.com