El Cholo Cafe
El Cholo Cafe

El Cholo Cafe

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.elcholopasadena.com/
  • Phone: 6267955800x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Open Daily at 11:00am
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Spanish, Mexican, Latin / 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, Smoking Area, 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 6267955800x
  • Special Events: 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 91 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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
El Cholo Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
42 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4.1
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
83% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
good for groups (24)fit for foodies (16)great for outdoor dining (15)neighborhood gem (14)great for lunch (13)special occasion (11)great for brunch (10)kid-friendly (10)romantic (6)hot spot (4)vibrant bar scene (2)scenic view (2)late-night find (2)Show More
  • Good food, nice time
    imensly
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    My second time and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time with a group of friends. Second time my wife and I were able to carry on a conversation with the noise level at appropriate levels and the servers at our table just the right amount of times. I recommend the fresh guacamole as your starter, but do not load up on all the chips. The combination fajitas was a little much as it is a lot of food, but good. Probably go with the tamales next time as they sound fantastic. My wife had the shrimp over enchilada and was very pleased with her meal as well. I will be back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Craving Green Corn tamales!
    Savvygrandma
    Dined on 9/1/2014
    I hadn't had green corn tamales for a long time, and since it was my birthday, I decided to celebrate it at El Cholo and satisfy my craving. We went early on Labor Day, had a huge, comfy booth to ourselves, and we're practically the only customers there. It was quiet, lovely, and the restaurant accommodated our every need, but not always immediately. The food was delish, especially the green corn tamales and the beans! We will be back, hopefully before October, when the fresh corn and the tamales go out of season. This restaurant has been around since the 1920's and remains a wonderful place to eat!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Mexican Food
    Dougs63
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    If you're looking for great mexican food this is the spot, from drinks, chips, table side guacamole and service, El Cholo is the one.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Can't Go Wrong with El Cholo
    Arlene
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    The fresh guacamole is outstanding. The vibe of the restaurant is always fun and energetic with a Mexican singer serenading your table and a photographer snapping your pictures. The food is always great. Every time I come here, I always order something new, and I'm never disappointed. I've never tried anything that was bad. The ingredients are fresh and the dishes are tasteful. The service is also good. It's no wonder El Cholo has been around for so many years.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Business Meeting
    Rella60
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    We arrived early around 6:15 and had a fair bar experience before our table was ready. Server was right away with us and helpful. Gave us some time to see menu and came back around to ask if anyone wanted drinks. We ordered but did not feel to rushed. In fact at the end of the evening we could not find him to get the bill. Food was very good and hot which is a pet peeve of mine as most places it is luke warm. This was a good temp and everyone seemed to be happy with there meal. Overall a good experience and the room was semi private maybe a little close to the bar. I noticed an outside area that would have been a little more conducive for our meeting but no one asked if we would like that area. I will come back and eat again at El Chollo.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just ok
    LAdiner
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Food is very Americanized, but decent. Decent services, venue, etc. margarita is overpriced for what's given. Convenient location, next to the arc light theater.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • dinner with friends
    aminlaVIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    We went to El Cholo with friends to help celebrate my birthday and had a wonderful time. The food was excellent and the service was good. Overall, we had a wonderful evening.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good food, average service, noisy
    sopasdiner
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Enjoyed the good food as usual but our server was unattentive and the restaurant was excessively noisy, hard to talk at out table
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice place for lunch meetings
    dcubed
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    We frequent El Cholo and other food establishments in the Paseo Colorado location. Never had trouble finding a table for large groups at lunch time, the patio seating is lovely. The food is great and we love the chips, salsa and table side guacamole which allows time for much needed conversation. Good choices on the lunch menu.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Terrific Mexican food, especially the table-side Guacamole and the slow-cooked pork carnitas. Some unusual dishes, well worth exploring.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • my new place for special occasions.
    elserenomom
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    We had my boss's going away lunch and out was more than what I expected. Service was great and food was delicious.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Its E Cholo...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009VIP
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    It is always great for Mexican. The margarita's are the best in town!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First Time
    BoKi
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    This was our first time at El Cholo Cafe but it certainly will not be our last. Becky, our waitress, was wonderful. She replaced our bowl of chips because she said they were too small and broken!! The food was fantastic. We will be adding El Cholo Cafe to our list of regular places! This will be our #1 go to Mexican restaurant!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Dinner on the patio
    LadybergVIP
    Dined on 7/7/2014
    Good tasting fresh Mexican food, and the margaritas rock!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Waited and waited for service
    Jvfoodlover
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food
    Yummy
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    We always love eating at El Cholo Cafe when we are in town
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fabulous
    Jeff
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Tasty Mexican food, great staff
    jiffypopVIP
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bad food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    The food was cold and uncooked. The fajita combo plate had only one shrimp on the plate. Horrible
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great find!
    4oaks
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 21 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 21, 2014
    • Overall Rating4
    • Food4
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 435 reviews are from the El Cholo Cafe reviews archive.
  • Mothers Day
    Chloe
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Thank you El Cholo! Food,Drinks and service was AWESOME!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Restaurant
    ElliottG
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Took my family for Mother's Day and everyone love the food and service, we will definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • delicious
    graciemae
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    Great food; marvelous service. Table side guacamole is a must - have!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
    Terisu10
    Dined on 5/5/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lost its spark
    FromFiestaToSiesta
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Pretty Spiffy!
    Happypants
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Thursday dinner out
    LadybergVIP
    Dined on 5/1/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Service/food
    Buitrago24
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    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..
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Peach Margarita is great!
    GinnaVIP
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    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...
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday dinner!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, special occasion, Great for Lunch, Late-Night Find, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dinner and a show!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/28/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Meh
    JoyceKing
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good but...
    MichaelScarn
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    Super small portions of decent Mexican variety for a large bill. Good one time, but wouldn't go back.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A bit noisy
    PMEd
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Going Down
    JohnA
    Dined on 2/8/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This is a "fun" Mexican restaurant,
    Pasadenafoodie1VIP
    Dined on 1/31/2014
    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!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not a good Mexican meal
    RoadWarriorVIP
    Dined on 1/30/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed in customer treatment
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 1/22/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good suprise bday dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 1/21/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet