Gish Bac - Oaxaca in LA

Sure, this place is nothing new to you. It’s not a hidden secret yet it consistently flies under the radar. For Oaxacan, for example, people will almost always recommend Guelaguetza, which we love but judging on the merit of food alone, Gish Bac is even better.

They stand out especially because of their weekend special of super long roasted Barbacoa made of lamb or goat. Sometimes you get lucky and get some of it during the weekday. This is barbacoa de chivo or goat

satisfying and rich without being overly fatty or salty. The broth, i swear i could live in it. When you pair it with their tortilla and top off with some salsa it’s seriously next level. You taste just enough of the goat to know that it’s goat but the funk is perfectly muted

Oaxacan without mole doesn’t count. This time the Coloradita went down and it was glorious. A significant kick, incredible depth and balance.

Tlayudas is another thing you should always consider but this time I had to try the memelas with cecina. Really awesome, it is one of those 1+1 = more than 2 dishes.

Refreshing nopales after all that food is a perfect finish

Their awesome sweet rolls that look like empanadas and are lightly filled with a custard are delightful

People are super sweet and it’s always mellow and comfortable in there. Flavors are bright and satisfying without being heavy or overseasoned.

Who knows what Gish Bac stands for, and why does all the confetti inside say Gish Back? And when did they get the fancy new store front?


When I Google it, I get “Gish Bac.” Never heard of the place. Looks good.

I went once and was underwhelmed. Maybe I ordered the wrong thing? (and it was so long ago that I have no memory of what I ate)

…people were begging Maria to open a restaurant, so the Tlacolulan community would have a place to enjoy goat barbacoa on the weekends — in 2010, Maria and David opened an Arlington Heights spot called Gish Bac , which means “Tlacolula” in Zapotec. ¯_(ツ)_/¯


Gish Bac is my favorite Oaxacan restaurant in LA.


Was music on? Were you seated in the main room? Were you buzzed? If not, re-do and remedy.

Thanks. It will not be long until I make my return this time. Weekend needs to happen as I am a lamb fiend.

i’m so heavily into this goat marrow boan right now… it had no chance.


Yall need to be eating here more! Goat is crazy! Can’t believe this place isn’t packed.


My one experience there was unpleasant. The food was okay. The service was terrible – I remember looks of bewilderment that we might share certain items – and the atmosphere was joyless. I would not go back. I enjoy Sabores Oaxaqueños much more, followed by Guelaguetza.

Ooh, hadn’t heard of this place. Will need to try. Thanks.

I’ll agree it’s joyless (people come with their own vibes) but I’ve had no poor service in about 8 visits.


Joyless is a good description. Yep, I think you have to temper your service expectations at hole-in-the-walls & mom pops’. As long as they’re not rude. You’re there for the food. If a place has good vibes it’s a bonus.

It’s weird. I like everything about the place, people are kind of whatever, some of the servers are more engaging than others. But i never noticed until this thread that being in there is only about the food… like there’s zero atmosphere… a speaker playing quiet music would easily solve it .lol… need vibes… really love their food.

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Maybe mention it next time. They might listen since you do go there somewhat regular

It’s what makes the nondescript box, La Cevicheria, fun. Their spot has even less comfort than GB but the funky soundtrack and the gracious owner make it a party. Plus you can bring beer! :wink:

visited for lunch on a tuesday, got the barbacoa enchilada, which also came with pancita.
the fact that you can get barbacoa of such quality on any weekday for lunch is wild! of the heavily spiced/flavored barbacoa broths/consommes i’ve had, this takes the crown pending repeat visits.
even more so, the fact that you can get pancita of such quality on a weekday for lunch is insane! the pancita had a delicateness which is hard to put into words - usually i find pancita too offally and single-note for my personal taste, but this was surprisingly good.
also got the gish bac torta - very good, ingredient quality pretty high.