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El Cholo Cafe
El Cholo Cafe

El Cholo Cafe Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.elcholopasadena.com
  • Phone: (626) 795-5800
  • Hours of Operation: Open Daily at 11:00am
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Latin / Spanish, Spanish
  • Executive Chef: Aleccio Leon
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Delivery, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: El Cholo caters off-premise in addition to delivery to your home or office in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas. Please call our catering division at 626 440-9995 # 104. Blair Salisbury
  • Private Party Facilities: Parties from 25 to 120 for private events offered in 4 of our semi private dining rooms and patios. In addition to that El Cholo Pasadena can also can accomodate parties up to 400 in an adjacent courtyard to our patio.
  • Private Party Contact: Yuri Almanza (626) 795-5800
  • Special Events & Promotions: El Cholo Pasadena can accomodate parties in any of our 4 semi private dining areas. We can also accomodate parties in an adjacent courtyard up to 400 guests.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Garfield Ave. and Colorado Blvd.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking in The Paseo Colorado parking structures. Additional parking in the Marengo parking structure on the corner of Green St. and Marengo Validation available. First 90 minutes FREE
A word from El Cholo Cafe
El Cholo Pasadena opened its doors to the public in October 2000 on Fair Oaks Ave. We moved to the Paseo Mall in December 2010 on Colorado Blvd. keeping the 88 year old legend going strong. All of the El Cholo restaurants feature authentic and traditional Mexican dishes, many of which have come from family recipes dating back to 1923. Our distinctive menu offers classics such as our famous Green Corn Tamales, Enchiladas,and sizzling Fajitas. Our Combination plates along with our newer comidas especiales have made El Cholo famous along with our irresistible Nachos introduced in the 1950's. But there is one thing that El Cholo is especially known for and that is our Award-Winning Margarita. The decor of El Cholo Pasadena radiates warmth and relaxation. The Hacienda style architecture is accented with hand-painted arches, rustic ceiling timbers and traditional Mexican murals. Amenities include two full service bars, three outdoor patios,and a private banquet room.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
Diner Reviews
  • "Good tasting fresh Mexican food, and the margaritas rock!"
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "I went to el cholo with my wife and two kids . Waiter took our order and hot us our drinks . Never came to give us refills for about 1/2 an hour. We needed a fork and he never came around . Finally I had to get up and go to the front desk to ask for our waiter. I waited 1 hour and 40 minutes to get a refill and the check from our missing waiter."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "We always love eating at El Cholo Cafe when we are in town"
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "El Cholo has always and is still the best Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. I have been going there for years, first to the place on Western in LA, now in Pasadena. Absolutely the best enchilada mole sauce in the US. Highly recommend"
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "This is becoming a staple for us. Good is always top notch, there was a fantastic Margarita drink special and we had a thoughtful and attentive waiter in Alex"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "The food was cold and uncooked. The fajita combo plate had only one shrimp on the plate. Horrible"
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "Had a wonderful dinner with friends. Table side guacamole is worth the $$. Ate outside on the patio next to the fountain. Service was perfect. Homemade flour tortillas, with carnitas. Yummy dinner with good margaritas!"
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "I brought my wife here for her birthday didn't know what to expect, I must say great find as soon as we sat down we had a waiter bring us chips and salsa. Chips are freshly made still warm when brought to us. Waiters are very attentive and food is very good and food is served in a pretty big portions. I like the part where you get your picture taken with your party and get a complementary picture to take home. Overall great place highly recommended. "
    Dined on 5/20/2014
  • "Thank you El Cholo! Food,Drinks and service was AWESOME!"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Took my family for Mother's Day and everyone love the food and service, we will definitely be back. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Great food; marvelous service. Table side guacamole is a must - have! "
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Celebrated Cinco de Mayo here with authentic fresh lime margaritas, tequila shots, and filet mignon tacos. There's nothing better! We made our reservations through Open Table, were seated immediately, even though the place was packed. We were a group of 5 and there was a lovely round table waiting for us, with a reserved sign, in the middle of the action. We felt special. Service was wonderful even though it was a very busy night due to the holiday. "
    Dined on 5/5/2014
  • "My wife and I used to love the food and ambiance when it was in the old location. We finally made it to the new location on Colorado and it was completely different. It used to be a fun Mexican fiesta, now it seemed like everyone was having a siesta."
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "We made our reservation online, and they remembered the birthday request, which was great. Only one tiny thing though. I ordered enchiladas (cheese) and the sauce tasted like there was a hint of chocolate, possibly a mole sauce, though I hadn't specifically ordered it. Anyway, I just think they should tell us in case people go home and give leftovers to their dogs. If it does contain chocolate, that could be bad. My mom said her stomach was upset later, but I don't blame the food. We ordered nachos, and all had lots of cheese, and I think it's just a natural consequence if you end up with a stomach issue after eating half a pound of cheese! Service was excellent, and everything tasted great. The birthday song and flan were also nice. "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "Nice weeknight escape. Love the margaritas here. Yummy guacamole made table side. We both had a lobster enchilada special, a pretty plate and muy deliciouso. "
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "The service went from bad to worse ....asked for ice water that we never got ... I t was a birthday dinner for my husband and the staff that were notified didn't relay the message to the rest of the staff and I told our waiter and he never came back with my husbands cake ...So your service is not good at all.."
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "I took my boyfriend their for his birthday, and the food was great. Please try the guacamole, made fresh at your table. I will be back soon."
    Dined on 4/14/2014
  • "Not in the menu, but make sure you order the mole sauce, on anything, it's out of this world good, portions are huge which makes it even difficult for sharing because you could feed 3 people or more with some dishes... "
    Dined on 4/15/2014
  • "Everything was going good until...the earthquake!!! The only problem was that the waiter and the guy taking pictures(yes there's a guy taking pictures in the restaurant) didn't give us a chance to recompose ourselves after that 5.1 quake...I think they wanted to close up an get outta there!!! Overall dinner was good that drinks were great and the ambiance was nice. Maybe next time we'll stay longer"
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "We went to El Cholo because we wanted a place to eat in Paseo Colorado after a movie. We had been to it once before decades ago at a different location. Now I remember why we never went back. It is nothing special. It was pleasant enough and I can't complain about the service, which was good. But the food was just generic California Mexican food - rice, beans and something else."
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "Super small portions of decent Mexican variety for a large bill. Good one time, but wouldn't go back."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We have been going to El Cholo for many years off-&-on & my most recent visit on 02/08/14 was not very good. Service - Normally the service is very good & the wait staff are polite & attentive. Our waiter was neither, he was very short (borderline rude) with us & did not come back to check on us throughout the meal. Refills were a problem since I get better service at Applebees with regard to this. Food - Normally the food at El Cholo would make up the difference to us but this would not be the case on this visit. It was not hot & did not seem to have all of the flavor that we normally expected. Ambiance - This is great but I can sit anywhere for nice ambiance with mediocre food & unpleasant service. I hope this was just a bad night."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "Crowd noise was present -probably due to more of an open seating environ than the customer base. Waiter forgot to deduct two complimentary margaritas. Then presented us another table's check saying we owed more. Margaritas seem high in acid. Reservation system worked great."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "This is a "fun" Mexican restaurant, and the food, while not terrible, is far from "great", in my humble opinion. But its serviceable, the drinks are pretty good, and the service is decent. It's passable, but honestly, I'd prefer to go to some of the other "chains" out there if I want good Americanized Mexican food!"
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "It surprises me that El cholo's food is so mediocre. You'd think, being one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in LA, it would be outstanding. But other than the table side guacamole, their food seems "dumbed down" to be more American than Mexican. Bland and boring. I hope the original location is more authentic. We were a large party and were glad to have been seated in a separate and quiet room. But I will not return anytime soon."
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "Took my wife to eat dinner for her bday el cholo has always been So good to us they accommodate our big last minute Parties and are always prompt and helpful."
    Dined on 1/21/2014
  • "I've been to El Cholo several times and took my mom there. She thought the dish she ordered came with refried beans instead had black beans. She asked one of the staff about it and he said he could bring her refried beans if she'd like. She said yes thinking he was replacing her black beans. The bill came and we were charged extra for refried beans. I told the waiter about the misunderstanding but he said couldn't take off the refried beans because we got a side order. He never apologized for the misunderstanding. As a courtesy he should've told us next time there's an add'l charge. It was not an issue of the money but how they dealt with this small amount. They decided charging us $2.50 was more important than a happy customer."
    Dined on 1/22/2014
  • "The El Cholo Margarita was weak but the food was choice. I ordered the "Taste of History" consisting of: Cheese Enchilada, Rolled Beef Taco, Chile Relleno and Tamal, served with spanish rice and refried beans $14.95 It was filing and a great way to have a variety of the food offerings."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "A BEAUTIFUL restaurant in Old Town Pasadena. They make the best Margaritas that you will ever taste. This includes any place North or South of the border. It is worth a trip to enjoy this Mexican coctail."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "I went to college at USC so that is how I was introduced to El Cholo at their original location. This was my first visit to the Pasadena location and it kept to the same El Cholo standards. Excellent food and the service was top notch. We had a large group of 10 and they were able to accommodate our change in reservation time. They also had coloring and good choices for the kids menu. I always get combo #3 cheese enchilada and beef tomale. So yummy! We were celebrating a birthday and they brought out and served the cake which was really nice. We will be back :)"
    Dined on 12/30/2013
  • "Try the special chile relleno, you will NOT be disappointed. I make a stop here everytime I come to Pasadena and while I am 200 miles away in Chicago, I crave them. Wish I could have them ship them to me."
    Dined on 12/9/2013
  • "El Cholo's has become our Christmas Eve tradition. We love the food, the service, the location and ambiance! Everyone in our party of 8 can find the perfect food and drink. Merry Christmas!"
    Dined on 12/24/2013
  • "Enjoyed the food, but service could have been better. Granted it was a busy Friday night, but it took over 15 mins to find our server to request the check."
    Dined on 12/20/2013
  • "A menu that goes back half a century or more in some categories, a delightful and enthusiastic staff and what may be the best margarita on the planet earth. Splurge once and see for yourself. Squander an extra two bucks for the Gran Tradicional and taste the difference. Great old school nachos not tricked up, quality guacamole and you're on your way to a fun meal in a special place. Every time."
    Dined on 11/26/2013
  • "I love this place, the food, service, etc. But this time they made us wait to get our table that we had a reservation for, in a busy area where the food comes out of the kitchen to be taken to the dining area. Then they sat us next to the busing station which was busy, loud and active all night. One server was really great, even though he wasn't ours. As soon as we sat down he brought us chips, salsa & water. I think he knew people were getting served slowly. He even refilled us when ever he passed by, if not for him we may have left. Normally we sit outside on the bar side, so perhaps the experience is less noisy and better served then inside the restaurant. I actually liked my food, but my husband said his was not as good as usual."
    Dined on 11/22/2013
  • "Had a great surprise party. Great ambiance, nice separate room, great margarita pitchers , and service was fab!"
    Dined on 11/15/2013
  • "Very good food, nice ambience, good bar. Location in open-air mall in Pasadena."
    Dined on 11/8/2013
  • "Great food and fun atmosphere for an after game win! Delicious guac made at the table, fish tacos, enchiladas and more!!"
    Dined on 11/2/2013
  • "I fail to understand how an "LA institution" has food that is so bland and inauthentic. I kept piling on the guac and salsa just to give my flavorless fajitas a boost. The black beans were good but everything else was SO tasteless I left very unsatisfied and disappointed. I liked the patio idea but the lighting was WAY too bright. The service was super friendly and helpful and fast as we had a show to catch. I wanted to like it but I would have needed A LOT more tequila than my one marg. To call this Mexican food is an insult to the thousands of wonderful Mexican restaurants in SoCal that really care about how their food tastes and aren't just about large portions. That should never be why you go out to dinner. That's just sad."
    Dined on 10/21/2013
  • "Margaritas were fantastic! Definitely will go back again..."
    Dined on 10/5/2013