It looks like a dive from the outside, but inside Babita is inviting, with crisp white linens and romantic charm. But no one comes for the setting—they come for owner/chef Roberto Berrelleza’s regional Mexican cooking with a Oaxacan focus. He is a serious chef who makes seriously good Yucatecan cochinita pibil, filet mignon with a pimenta-mint sauce, habanera-blazed camarones topolobampo (he’ll tone down the heat if you ask) and perhaps the best flan in town. Regulars often drive across town just for his chiles en nogada, a fall-only specialty of pork with dried fruit, pecans, roasted chile, cream sauce and pomegranate seeds. The service is professional, but be warned that the food is sometimes slow to appear, because of Berrelleza’s personal attention to every dish.
1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel, 626.288.7265, Mexican. L Tues.-Fri., D nightly; closed Mon. Beer & wine. MC, V. $$-$$$