Permanently Closed - Border Grill - Santa Monica

3.9
1412 Reviews
$30 and under
Mexican

About

This restaurant is permanently closed.

Border Grill in Santa Monica serves gourmet Mexican fare with classic French cooking techniques for lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch. Guests love the truly authentic Latin flavors, inspired by street vendors and home chefs rather than fine dining establishments south of the border.

The menu at Border Grill includes green corn tamales, brisket taquitos, seasonal vegetable chilaquiles and Yucatan pork slow roasted in banana leaves. Brunch might include pumpkin tamales or quinoa fritters. The Border Grill uses organic rice and beans as well as humane certified, hormone-free meats. Seasonal ingredients take center stage on the menu, which features gluten-free and vegetarian options as well.

What 1412 people are sayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.9based on all time ratings
4.0
food
3.9
service
3.6
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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NH
NancyH
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are going to miss having this wonderful restaurant and the amazing Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken in Santa Monica. Wishing them best of all possible luck in their future endeavors.

JM
JaimeM
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Unfortunately, this much beloved restaurant is closing today. The wait staff, the chefs and bartenders, my friend and I could barely keep from crying.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Diego
68 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2016
Overall2food2service2ambience2

We had a 11:30 reservation for Sunday brunch.
The AC was broken. No ice for drinks or mimosa.
We ordered and food came 45 mins later.
No compensation for late food, warm drinks and no AC.
Kitchen did their job. Management didn't.
Asked waiter several times when food was coming and his response "I have no idea!" What on earth are we tipping him for?

M
Macbry
Orange County
22 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this place. Gonna miss it!

MM
MonicaM
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The BEST!
Even though these are the last few days of the Border Grill, you would never know. The service, the food, the Professionalism of the wait staff and the Margaritas were top notch. Everyone at the restaurant including patrons were there to have a good time and to me ... to relive the memories of the old Border Grill. The Friday night I went on was packed, but festive.
The guacamole and green corn tamales hit the mark, as did the chicken toastadas and enchiladas. The best part of the evening was when our dessert of churro tots were personally delivered by Susan Feniger herself, wow, I was surprised and enjoyed our short conversation. It sounds like Susan and Mary Sue are ready for their next adventure and I personally cant wait to try their new restaurant creation. Cheers to you both, for giving LA the best Mexican food, but more important than that ...a fun place to have a bite and a great Margarita!!Thanks for the memories.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So sad to see the Border Grill close. It's been a favorite for years.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2016
Overall2food5service3ambience1

Great but no AC on a 95 degree los angeles day, would have been nice to know before hand.

KS
KennethS
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very good service and the food was excellent. Nice location in Santa Monica.

LA
LAFoodie
Los Angeles
21 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Hadn't been to Border Grill since it first opened on Melrose in the 80's. I moved to Valley so wasn't close anymore. But heard the Santa Monica restaurant was closing soon which got me there. It was the best Mexican food I've ever had....guacamole, fish tacos, chicken quesadilla, and churro tots! I highly recommend before it's gone.

SP
SohrabP
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2016
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Had a reservation. Showed up. Restaurant was closed with a sign saying, private event tonight. Weak sauce.

G
Goodfood
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2016
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Sorry to see Border Grill close in Santa Monica. The food is excellent and the ambiance is great.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
31 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2016
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Hostess is rude but food and servers were great

G
vipGrannyk
Los Angeles
58 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was wonderful as usual. The service was excellent. This was a farewell to the restaurant dinner. We will miss having dinner here.

T
Tastebuz
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2016
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We went to Border Grill because we heard it was closing! We've always loved the food and the service. The chicken tacos with wild mushrooms were fabulous as was the Baja ceviche and the Margaritas. This place has been around 25 years and they never just phone it in. Always interesting pan-Latin items on the menu. Even the noise level has come down.

I hope they surface someplace else soon.

g
gwswartz
Philadelphia
15 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of my all time favorites. Heard that it's closing (SM location only), and I'm so sad. So many great memories there. And the food is always exquisite.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2016
Overall1food1service2ambience1

This place was awful!!!!! The chicken enchiladas came out empty w no chicken (yet bones in it!). They were returned and came back the same way again. Never go here!

N
Noni
Los Angeles
22 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Yummy food. Great selection of salsa. Tasty dishes!!

N
vipNukeleon
Los Angeles
47 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2016
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Heard that this once innovative star would be closing in a month or two and happened to be in the area, so we stopped by to say goodbye. Border Grill was groundbreaking but now there are plenty of authentic, creative Latin American restaurants and that leaves Border Grill seeming mundane and routine.
They still dole out chips and salsa here, a practice is disappearing these days. The chips were hot and fresh and the variety of salsas was wonderful. We passed on cocktails and instead had Jamaica and Pomegranate Lemonade. Unfortunately they probably put more effort into the more profitable cocktails. The jamaica was watery, and the lemonade pale in color and pomegranate flavor.
Unfortuantely, they sold the last carnitas pork shank, so settled for the exciting skirt steak. My date had the pork in achiote sauce, which was awesome. The sauce was citrusy and complexly flavorful.
The waiter made the effort to make up for the pork shank and gave us free green corn tamales. They were extraordinary. The second best tamales I've ever had (lamb neck tamales at Broken Spanish are #1) . It was a great move by the waiter.
Border Grill seems to have lost some its creative spark, but there's still quality there. The competition is plentiful from mom and pop Mexican restaurants with pedigreed chefs. When Mary Sue and Susan reopen elsewhere, let's hope they will once again be the inspirational pair they were when BG opened 27 years ago.

SP
vipSamPetersOnTheTown
Los Angeles
49 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2016
Overall2food4service3ambience2

This is a favorite place. Disappointed that they took our reservation for 130-- then kicked everyone out at 2! They were closing for 2 hours! Got the bums rush.

LS
LaSirenaGorda
San Diego
19 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience3

A good selection of tequila, and combo drinks! Food was quite tasty and the Services was exceptional!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

everything was great

JT
vipJT212
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2016
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Generic Mexican food almost like fast food but good margaritas!

S
vipStacey
Wilmington
33 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Border Grill is one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in LA. The guacamole is great and the fish tacos among the best. The place is loud, energetic, and full of life! If you are looking for a quiet, romantic night out, this is not the place.

K
Krisbeough
Orange County
3 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2016
Overall4food4service4ambience3

We were in Santa Monica for a show at McCabe's Guitar Shop. I'm a Top Chef fan and hadn't yet been to Border Grill so it was the natural choice for dinner. Did not disappoint- had an amazing ceviche, the best chicken enchilada's ever. Husband ordered chicken tacos that I thought were just okay, but that he was very happy with. Nice wine selection too. Will definitely go back next time I'm in the area.

SD
vipSDDiner
San Diego
54 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Our server made a great wine recommendation and we were impressed by the wine selection - well priced wines we had not seen at other restaurants. The service was outstanding. We drink a lot of water and our glasses were never empty.

NS
NancyS
New England
1 review
Dined on August 13, 2016
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Excellent service and food. However, ladies room is really bad. Hope this is on their agenda to improve because everything else is perfect.

A
Andrew
Manchester
3 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2016
Overall3food3service3ambience3

This place came highly recommended to us when visiting Santa Monica from the uk.most things were fine,nothing special,but the fish pieces in the fish tacos were stone cold.i would accept cold salad in the tacos,cold tacos,cold salsa etc but cold fish is not nice at all.service started ok but then deteriorated.

S
Soninsanndiego
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2016
Overall4food4service4ambience3

They sat us in the farthest corner in the back of the restaurant when there were several tables open closer to the windows. I hope its not because we made the reservation through Open Table.

d
vipdelicio
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was my 4th visit to Border Grill and, once again, I left feeling great! The food was excellent, the service on point and I even met Chef Feniger this time!!!

LG
LynneG
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2016
Overall3food5service4ambience2

Restaurant was incredibly warm, hot even. Quite uncomfortable and as we were seated up front by the window half of our party faced the sun. There was virtually no ambience and everyone was sweating. We could hear no music in the restaurant and couldn't wait to leave. We have been Border Grill regulars since its inception and we will not return. Love the cookbook! Horrible dining experience at what should have been a fun festive relaxing group dinner.

F
Filet
Denver
8 reviews
Dined on July 30, 2016
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Great dinner and very happy with their Gluten Free options!

YK
vipYeznikK
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fast service

h
helpful
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I would love an expanded menu, but I do love everything I've had here. And I appreciate the gluten free marking on the menu very much, and the servers' knowledge of the preparations. Not a cheap date, but always a lovely experience.

SS
SteveS
Los Angeles
12 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We had a happy hour drink at the bar then dinner! The service from greeting to bar to table were great! Food is really diverse and tasty, we really enjoyed ourselves and were able to have a great conversation!

B
vipBarbhark
Philadelphia
35 reviews
Dined on July 24, 2016
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Food was excellent, service and waitstaff very good. The menu had many tempting offerings. The portions were generous, and unfortunately we didn't have any room left for dessert. But we heard from tables around us that it was delicious .

A
vipAlly
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2016
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Service was slow; it was not busy in the restaurant. Food was ok- we've had better flavored guac from other Mexican restaurants in the area. The server and food runner didn't know what type of fish was used in the fish tacos- but when we got the tacos at the table we could tell it was not fresh fish since it had distinct old fish smell (we're a seafood eating family). We did not eat them. The best item we ordered was the steak quesadilla. The chips and salsas they gave out first were good as well.

TP
TroyP
Orlando
3 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2016
Overall3food2service3ambience3

Food was pricey and underwhelming. For the price I would have expected much better flavors. It feels like the restaurant thinks it's food is better than it is.

F
vipForkboy22
Los Angeles
40 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I recently decided to try Border Grill after a couple years' absence from this restaurant. Of course it was one of the first Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles to become creative with their cuisine... I was curious to see how the restaurant was faring in 2016... what a delightful thing to discover that the restaurant was finer than ever. The drinks were bountiful and exciting, the chips divine and of course the fish tacos and the asada dishes were thrilling. As ever, the Border Girll is reliable and ready for you to return... again and again.

n
vipnativeangelino
Los Angeles
51 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Border Grill is consistently good, we liked the guacamole, green corn tamales, chicken poblano enchiladas, Yucatan pork (yummy), and the plantains. Great selection of drinks, including margaritas and craft beers. We had a large group (13 people) including visitors from New York, and enjoyed great service. No room for dessert, next time . . .

e
evbaby
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2016
Overall4food5service3ambience3

Service could have been a little more prompt. Close to an hour between seating and entree service (but it was a pretty busy Saturday night).

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Permanently Closed - Border Grill - Santa Monica is rated 3.9 stars by 1412 OpenTable diners.