El Cholo Cafe

4.1
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786 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
It all started back in 1923 in a small storefront in downtown Los Angeles. 95 years later and 5 generations later El Cholo has become synonymous with Mexican food all over Southern California.

Our Pasadena venue opened in 2000 and is at the Paseo Mall within walking distance of the Civic Auditorium and Convention Center, overlooking Colorado Blvd.
The menu consists of classics dating back to the original menu along with an array of more modern dishes showcasing the different regions of Mexico.

Four private rooms that can accommodate parties from 40-100 that allows our valued guest a memorable experience no matter the occasion.

Most famously known for our Margaritas and a menu featuring over 150 Tequilas. Both of our bars offer a comfortable environment allowing our guest to relax enjoy their experience.
What 786 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.2
service
4.0
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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FG
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious table side-crafted guacamole, perfect accompaniment to our traditional micheladas made with Dos Equis Amber. The setting is festive and lively. And the service is very attentive. My partner enjoyed his seafood enchiladas, and I enjoyed my Santa Barbara enchiladas. The chef cooks the most delicious and homey tasting refried beans, as they were not completely mashed. We enjoyed the rice with chunks of mild chile too. The rice was very tender, not at all grainy or hard. We’d love to return here for a meal on another occasion!

OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

La comida no fue lo que esperábamos, la carne tenia mal sabor (descompuesto) no pude digerirlo así que me cambiaron el plato por unas enchiladas, como nos sentamos en la parte de afuera los meseros se olvidaron de nosotras, el lugar esta en un buen punto en el corazón de Pasadena desde el balcón puedes ver la calle principal “Colorado”

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

The food was not that great. I picked this place for our family dinner and no one enjoyed their food or beverages. We all joked that we should have left after the chips and salsa.

GM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 1

I've always loved El Cholo but this last visit in Pasadena was awful. The lights were blazing. The food prices had doubled. I had an Enchilada Suisa that used to have 2 enchiladas with chicken in them. What I got this time was 1 enchilada and I couldn't find a piece of chicken to save my life. All this for $18. I was hungry when I got home. Unbelievable. I will never go to this location again.

OT
Las Vegas
11 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

An excellent birthday venue

OT
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great people with great service and tasty authentic Mexican food. 10/10 for me boss.

P
Los Angeles
81 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Terrific Chili Verde for lunch meeting. Quiet. Great service. Easy parking.

ST
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service was great! Love this place! Make sure you try the carne asada...tender and delicious

V
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The server neglected to bring some of the food we ordered, twice.

S
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Food was awful. Almost didn’t seem like Mexican food. Service was slow.

DR
Los Angeles
35 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Skinny Margarita and arrived during $15 Enchilada week - so my Shrimp and Lobster Enchilada plate was not $21 - but $15. With the additional savings I treated us to a second round of Skinny Margaritas.

HL
Charlotte
14 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

Overpriced for average food. Drinks were good though....

c
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great and Magnificent

M
Los Angeles
17 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always excellent food and service. Best margaritas anywhere.

l
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 4

Service was extremely slow yesterday!!! It's not usually like this but we were sitting on the Colorado Patio and it was painfully slow and too hot! They need 2 or 3 ceiling fans out there-it would definitely make a difference.

OT
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food, in a fun part of Town.

d
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Very mediocre. Pricey and forgettable...a bad combination. Will not return.

FG
Los Angeles
22 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife is second generation from Jalisco, MX so we rarely find truly good Mexican food that she is happy with. This was our first visit to El Cholo. I enjoyed the Carnitas, good plate. My wife compared the albondigas to being made in a family members kitchen and the ceviche to being something from a popular pop up chef. She’s a bit excited to take our girls back to try it again. If the consistency in the food prep is there, this will be a great spot.

OT
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

The service was wonderful and the ambience was really nice. The food was good, but not memorable with the exception of the guacamole. It was excellent and worth a taste!

L
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Margarita pitcher was great and my enchiladas were good! But the service was very slow.

R
Los Angeles
25 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

Had tickets for a show at the Rose Theater, so El Cholo was the perfect location. We had great patio seating, and got excellent service. The Corn tamales were fantastic, and I could’ve eaten a bunch more! My husband loved the Street Tacos and even enjoyed the beans (which he usually doesn’t eat). Overall, a very nice experience. We’ll be back!

CL
Los Angeles
23 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mikeala was our wonderful waitress who attended to our large table of needy people with ease and efficiency! Everyone enjoyed their guacamole and food especially the green corn tamales- excellent!!! The margaritas were large and delicious too. We celebrate Father’s Day here with our family every year preceded by walking around the Paseo to see the chalk art at the Chalk Festival. Our reservation was made through open table and they were able to seat us immediately even though we were a little early.

S
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 1

Went to celebrate Fathers Day on Saturday, ordered a house margarita on the rocks, no salt and an appetizer plate. Someone on my party order chicken chimichangas and they had no chicken in them and had to be remade. I felt so sick after drinking the margarita and eating that I went to the restroom and ended up throwing everything up. I should have listened to the yelp reviews. I shared the appetizer plate with someone else and they didn’t get sick so I’m thinking it must have been really cheap, bad alcohol. I wouldn’t trust the bar.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

The service was okay. The food made me sick. My husband and son did not get sick.

K
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great and the service was perfect- thank you!

OT
Los Angeles
19 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Food was subpar. The chips seemed stale. For the money I feel everything was overpriced. Our service was extremely slow & no one ever came back to ask if we wanted refills on our drinks or water. Horrible Experience &

MQ
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

The menu offers some unique dishes that you won't find at other Mexican restaurants. The ambiance is lively and fun. It may have just been the day we went, but our waitress seemed to be stretched thin with too many tables to service. Once she took our order we saw her a couple of times whizzing by and by the end of our meal we had to spot her and then flag her down.

t
Los Angeles
29 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Short staffed. Our poor waitress had too many tables to handle. Vilma needs more help. Two events at Pasadena Civic Auditorium that evening. Busy at dinner time. Better staffing.

PA
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

It was for my mothers 78th birthday. She received and enjoyed her chicken enchiladas! The customer service was great and everything went according to plan. Thanks again!

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Mother’s Day

LA
London
15 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Blue corn tortillas are delicious!

ST
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything was great except they told Open Table I didn’t come so I had to fix that. Otherwise, service, food everything was great!

MP
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excelent food and service 👌the place is amazing 😉 and I love the mariachis 🥰🥰OMG very good person I really enjoyed the night

JD
New England
12 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

My shrimp and chicken enchilada was tasty but not exceptional. My wife was not as excited about the street tacos. Overall restaurant was adequate for a quick meal before a concert and lecture but no more than that.

ER
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 4

drinks and service was great. Food, not so much. The food at El Cholo in Whittier is far better...how does that haappen> I had chicken chimichangas...who puts cold, fresh tomatoes in a fried chicken chimi?? they were pretty bad and i cannot eat tomatoes

RA
New Orleans
8 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

My takeaway thoughts are focused on the very poor value. Enchilada Suizas $15.95. But there was only one enchilada! I have been to a hundred Mexican restaurants and that price usually brings three enchiladas. Ripoff!

T
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love El Cholo! Always so good. It’s a treat to there

OT
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on March 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food and wonderful atmosphere. First time here. Will definitely recommend to others.

LB
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is Delicious! Service outstanding....wonderful atmosphere

OT
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were a big group and Oscar separated our checks and took care of us!

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