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Chef Hugo Ortega Expands His Restaurant Empire to Los Angeles

Mi Almita, his pop-up project with Michael Mina, is getting a permanent home

Chef Hugo Ortega in the kitchen. Holly Beretto
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Continuing his year of winning awards and opening restaurants, Chef Hugo Ortega will expand his restaurant empire to Los Angeles with the opening of Mi Almita.

The chef is plotting to bring the restaurant he opened at Michael Mina’s Test Kitchen in San Francisco to a permanent home in Los Angeles’ Beverly Center, reports Eater Los Angeles. As Eater Houston reported back in August, Mi Almita continued Ortega’s focus on fine Mexican cuisine, including dishes like corn soup with huitlacoche and chicharrones. In September, it earned a positive review from San Francisco Chronicle critic Michael Bauer.

Of course, this is just another exciting addition to Ortega and restaurateur-wife Tracy Vaught’s stable of restaurants, which includes Xochi, Hugo’s, Caracol, Backstreet Cafe, and Origen in Oaxaca, Mexico. Ortega will work with Mina to develop the Beverly Center outpost of Mi Almita, making it the third Mina Test Kitchen restaurant to evolve beyond a pop-up.

Mi Almita is expected to debut in Los Angeles in late 2018. Fortunately, Houstonians can enjoy as much of Ortega’s cuisine as they want right here at home.