- Reporters Desk
The sweet notes of mariachi trumpet and guitar rang out on the evening breeze in South Shores. Delicious aromas and a promise of wonderful things to come came from the warm dining room at Pina’s on 25th Street. The 30th anniversary of the cozy restaurant marked Josepina and Martin Magana’s three decades of loving collaboration, welcoming the community and turning out phenomenal Mexican food.
Tears came to Pina’s eyes as she recalled the response of her customers at the 30-year mark. Many customers have been returning to the restaurant for many years, and have observed the occasion with flowers, cards and visits. She considers the restaurant her life’s work and says “making her people happy’ is her goal every day.
Colorful murals on the east wall depict scenes of Michoacán, near the hometown of Sahuayo, roots of the Magana family. The cuisine draws from the tropical climate, with avocados, chilies, tomatoes, herbs and tropical fruits adding to the dishes. Precious avocados are put to splendid benefit here, with Pina’s guacamole a must have at the restaurant.
Crunchy tacos are state-of-the-art— perfectly stuffed and fried, then garnished properly with shredded lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese and a last sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Beef, chicken or fish is a tough call, but each variety is a perfect foil for Pina’s excellent salsa. The house salsa is fresh and finely chopped, full of nicely hot jalapeños and cilantro. Every day is Taco Tuesday at Pina’s.
Chile verde is a specialty of the house, long cooked pork in green sauce, full of flavor with the subtle tang of tomatillos and green chili. Served with rice and beans and hot tortillas, this dish is the answer to any question. Well-stuffed burritos come with this terrific guisado also.
Breakfast is always a good thing at Pina’s, with great coffee and chips and salsa first thing, and lovely huevos rancheros to follow. Eggs are cooked to order and sit atop corn tortillas, with rice and beans, then crowned with Pina’s own ranchero sauce. Heaven in the morning!
Pina’s menu is a treasure of delightful dishes, made with the care and skill of an experienced hand. Enchiladas are dressed with homemade sauces, stuffed with meat or chicken or cheese and gently baked to perfection.
Josepina and Martin have made beautiful music together for over three decades, and the welcoming restaurant is a testament to that harmony. The good vibes have also produced a splendid family — from daughters Daisy (29), Marlene (27), Denise (25), son Martin Jr. (23), daughter Celeste (16) and son Christian, (14).
Pina’s Mexican Restaurant, 1430 W. 25th St., San Pedro.