LOS ANGELES — San Diego is known for fish tacos and another staple ingredient, french fries, a key ingredient in California burritos.

Cesar De Santiago, owner of Acapela in Los Angeles, says no one really knows the origin.

“There’s a bunch of restaurants in San Diego that have been there for 60 to 70 years. They all say they started it. No one really knows, but we all do it right,” said De Santiago.

While these traditions made their way into many Los Angeles Mexican restaurants, De Santiago wanted to make his mark in LA by opening his own spot.

“I like the diversity in Los Angeles. The population is bigger than San Diego, so I think, when growing a business, LA is a hot market,” said De Santiago.

He was actually born in Los Angeles but grew up in Baja.

He learned the ropes of the restaurant business at his family’s restaurant Tacos el Paisa in San Diego. He started on the cash register as a kid, then perfected kitchen skills before taking over the front of the house. 

“The process has been great for me. I know from one end to the other what the business consists of,” said De Santiago.

At Acapela, delicious comfort food comes in massive portions without skimping on flavor or depth. Everything from the salsas to the meats are hand prepared.

“We make our al pastor from scratch with very traditional ingredients like guajillo, pasilla, garlic,” De Santiago said.

One of the standout dishes is the loaded surf and turf fries with asada and shrimp. It really is a cheat day heaven, which was the goal of Acapela. They want to bring customers joy and happiness through good vibes, good music and good food.

“Two things that comfort the soul, that’s music and food, and it hits right there,” said De Santiago.

Acapela is located at 6913 La Tijera Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045.