El Cholo Cafe

4.2
760 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 760 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.1
food
4.2
service
4.2
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MQ
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
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.

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t
Los Angeles
26 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
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.

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PA
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
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!

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

Mother’s Day

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LA
Palm Springs
11 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Blue corn tortillas are delicious!

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

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RA
New Orleans
7 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!

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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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LC
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was great. The server did not clearly state what was on the happy hour menu so that became an issue at the end of dinner. Overall was a great experience but was a little pricey for the type of food. The location is great so we didn't mind paying a little more.

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BC
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Very convenient to walk to after an event at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and close to parking structure. Nice mexican restaurant with good atmosphere and a nice mariachi group performing in the restaurant.

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R
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Waitress was not attentive . Gives Children drinks in a large glass cup ? No thought also unfriendly and inattentive

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E
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

We have been to El Cholo numerous times mostly the Western site. Sat night we went to the Pasadena site due to the fact that we were going to the Rose. Staff was very nice and the food came quick , but 2 of the 4 orders were not what we ordered correctly , the tostadas had or didn't have the requests that the ladies requested . The value of the meal is a little off , 4 of us was $190.00 with tip . A little steep we thought for the amount/quality of the food and service. Mike

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LL
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Loud, colorful, spacious, mariachis, guacamole demo, exciting evening

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AM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Ok food great margaritas.

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OT
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 3

Fish taco was terrible, rice&beans were fine.
This use to be a favorite restaurant, no more

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n
Atlanta
44 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The table side guac is a MUST! All of our meals were great, as well as the service.

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AL
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Horrible service. That can ruin everything else. Had to wait 15 minutes just to order drinks. Then had to wait longer for us to order.

And even though we asked when our drink order was taken, we (5 of us), we didn’t get our placesettings until AFTER the food came.

Ruined the dinner.

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E
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service! Delicious food!

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LA
Los Angeles
46 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great Mexican food and recommend the chimichangas

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SB
Seattle
27 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I went here since there were a ton of great reviews and I figured it would be more authentic. Honestly, it is good, but it is fairly standard Americanized Mexican food. Mind you, they have crab and lobster options on the menu, which was unexpected, but still. I'd go back, though - I just have reset expectations. It is really good for what it is. The service appeared to be a little overworked, but they did their best to keep tabs on us, so no complaints.

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JF
Oklahoma City
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place to have a late afternoon meal. Reservation process worked perfectly.

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KB
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food at El Cholo was outstanding and the service was friendly and attentive. I highly recommended going there for a meal

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good ambiance

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R
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Classic Mexican american restaurant. No surprises. Tableside guacamole was fun!

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LB
Birmingham
3 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had a great time. We will be back. Location is excellent, service was good and food was great!

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B
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 1

Decades ago their original Los Angeles restaurant was a joy. And, when they opened on Fair Oaks in Pasadena we became regulars, both in the evening and for business lunches. Their place in the Paseo simply has no vibe, unlike its predecessors. And, because there are so many worthy alternatives in the area, it simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

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e
Central Coast
61 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 5

We had lunch on Oct 23rd -- their 95th Anniversary. Having only been to their original restaurant on Western, this was our first experience at the Pasadena location. Sadly, they seemed unprepared for the crowds that showed up (because of the rollback price menu) and we were told several of the wait staff hadn't shown up. We finally moved to another table where it appeared a waiter was working. Food was as we remembered it and the margs were great.

When we checked in, we told the front desk we had an Open Table reservation and the gentleman looked on his screen and found our reservation and seated us. Regrettably, when we got home, I got a message from OpenTable indicating I had NOT kept my reservation so it took some effort on my part to get the mess corrected.

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EM
Los Angeles
18 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Fun and good.

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DS
Tahoe
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food, nice presentation and service. Only 4 stars because it’s so pricey. Great for special occasion tho.

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SO
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

food was not good! even tortillas were not good. only thing good was the margarita

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

I am a frequent patron of this restaurant. (Usually grabbing a bite before a movie)

The restaurant has changed their menu. The Enchilada Suizas used to include 2 enchiladas. However they have cut back and now only serve 1 enchilada for the same price

Also the enchilada itself tasted different. Especially the sauce that the enchilada is cooked in

Very disappointing. I have to say that I may not go back after being a loyal El Cholo customer for over 20 years (at various locations)

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RS
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a treat! Margqrita's can't be beat! Food is great! Service fantastic! Ambiance excellent!

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M
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

A little over a year ago my family and I started coming to El Cholo again after a long "hiatus". Our first time back in a long time was a wonderful experience, so that made us want to keep coming back. Unfortunately, El Cholo has turned out to be one of the most inconsistent restaurant experiences we've had in Los Angeles. The jokes on us I guess because we keep coming back, hoping for an experience like we had before. There have been times when we literally thought the kitchen had changed all the original recipes to save money, mainly because the sauces tasted like they came out of cans. And the service has had its inconsistencies as well, with servers being attentive sometimes and sometimes not, sometimes forgetting what we ordered and sometimes not, sometimes delivering hot food and sometimes not. Well, we're done with El Cholo. Perhaps we'll get nostalgic once again in the not too distant future; but for now, we're looking for an alternative.

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OT
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The Filet Mignon taco are the best also the corn Tamales

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