Another word for excellence is Ana's

Ana's Kitchen Mexican Grill in Glendale is a hole in the wall. If you want ambience with your meal, you are advised to try another restaurant. If you want authentic, tasty Mexican food, Ana's is an excellent choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The tiny restaurant, which seats 15, is identifiable by its blue awning on the east side of South Glendale Avenue at Garfield Avenue. It has been open for six years under its current ownership. The restaurant is clean and efficient. They advertise authentic Mexican homemade food, and they deliver.

I ordered the No. 5 combination — chile relleno and enchilada with beans and rice for $5.95. My wife had the fish tacos, priced at $8.95. My beef enchilada was outstanding, with melt-in-your-mouth tender beef and a spicy kick that doesn't overwhelm the dish. The chile relleno also was tasty. The rice was OK, but a little bland. I loved the refried beans.

I love albondigas soup and couldn't resist ordering a cup. It proved hardy, tasty and satisfying with a giant meatball, big chunks of carrots and cabbage. The bowl is $5.95.

My wife, a fish taco aficionado, gave her lunch two thumbs up. "I'd eat that any time," she exclaimed. I concurred with her assessment of the fish tacos after my taste test.

The fish is a white Pollock covered with breadcrumbs and sauteed with pico de gallo in two corn tortillas. They are then garnished with lettuce and pico de gallo.

Ana's specialties — served with rice, beans and tortillas — include carne asada ($8.49), chile verde ($7.49) and steak picado ($8.49). The menu also has burritos, 13 combination plates, 18 seafood dishes, sandwiches, burgers (I want to try the jalapeño burger, $4.95, on my next visit), breakfast burritos and 20 breakfast specials.

Huevos rancheros is another one of my favorite Mexican dishes, which is one of Ana's breakfast specials for $3.99.

Two other signature dishes are the chicken or beef fajitas ($7.95) and the shrimp enchiladas ($8.95). The chicken or beef is marinated and grilled with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. It is served in a hot skillet and garnished with guacamole, pico de gallo, rice and beans. The shrimp is sauteed in fresh pico de gallo, rolled in two corn tortillas covered with rancheros sauce and melted cheese.

On my five-star rating system, I award Ana's Kitchen Mexican Grill four stars for food quality, five stars for cleanliness and two stars for ambience.

Stan Wawer has been a writer and editor for Southern California newspapers for 47 years and more recently has been freelancing restaurant and travel stories for publications throughout the country.



What: Ana's Kitchen Mexican Grill

Where: 838 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale

When: Open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Prices: Breakfast specials $3.99; appetizers and salads $3.95 to $5.95; lunch and dinner $4.25 to $8.95. Menudo special on weekends only for $5.95.

Contact: (818) 244-5182; The website is basic, with no hours of operation, menu or prices.

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