El Cholo Cafe

3.9
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812 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.

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What 812 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
3.9
Food
3.9
Service
3.8
Ambience
3.7
Value
Noise · Moderate
69% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 2 March 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Had a nice dinner for my mom’s birthday. Great food and service! Great for groups and kids!

S
Schb6
1 review
Dined on 29 February 2020
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience4

Waitress was rude
Hostess was rude
3 of the 5 got sick after eating there

CM
vipCatherineM
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on 28 February 2020
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience3

A more commercial version of the original locations. It offers patio dining with heaters and fantastic view of fountain in the mall area, is spacious, the staff friendly. There are extensive tequila and beer offerings, some interesting wine choices, but the food quality is not as we are accustomed to at other locations.

It was nice quiet setting, but my husband did not enjoy his combo plate; he sent back the Reino and the tacos were just not to his liking.

Not a location we will return to in future; we will visit the original and downtown LA locations.

PP
PatriciaP
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on 22 February 2020
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

We had a good time catching up with family.

g
vipgaryk
Los Angeles
50 reviews
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall2Food2Service4Ambience5

El Cholo used to be the standard of Mexican fare. It is beyond mediocre and large portions can’t replace taste. Maybe it is just pasadena but in my opinion, never again.

AW
vipAW0122
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on 11 February 2020
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience4

Food was okay. The fajitas were not especially great, but edible.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 31 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Great margaritas, great food, ALWAYS a great time

PT
PatiT
1 review
Dined on 14 January 2020
Overall2Food1Service5Ambience2

the service provided by your staff was great, BUT food has changed, and not as good as before, and plus it was cold. ambiance needs updating, again it's the El Cholo that i knew, and needs to be up to par with it's surroundings.

not a great place to team gatherings.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on 4 January 2020
Overall5Food5Service4Ambience5

Great food and ambiance. We enjoy this location.

GO
GardnarO
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on 31 December 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

My wife ate a combination, Cheese Enchilada and Chili Relleno, and I had a cup of Tortilla Soup and the Three Soft Tacos. Along with a Margarita and Dos Equis with lime. We both enjoyed our meals, the service and atmosphere.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Cleveland
4 reviews
Dined on 31 December 2019
Overall3Food3Service3Ambience3

One of our meals came out after all the rest of us had finished eating
Not acceptable

PD
PennyD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 24 December 2019
Overall3Food2Service2Ambience3

I have enjoyed this restaurant before, but on Christmas Eve, even though it wasn’t very busy at all, the service and food were lacking considerably. It took quite a while to get waited on and for our food to come out. Everyone’s meal was lukewarm. In fact, my enchilada Suizas had a skim coat on the sauce from sitting so long. Finally, I was surprised that my meal was so small for the value. I don’t believe I’ve ever been served one small (5” or so) enchilada with rice and beans before, especially when paying $18. The Paseo Colorado has lots of food options nearby, and we left wishing we’d opted for something else.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on 22 December 2019
Overall1Food3Service1Ambience3

Terrible service unfortunately. Slow and several mistakes

LP
LexP
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 18 December 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

A wonderful place to meet seven of our friends for a tremendous meal as well as great service -- many thanks to all.

R
vipRachel
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on 14 December 2019
Overall1Food3Service1Ambience4

Terrible service

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ND
NormanandDiana
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined on 13 December 2019
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience2

Far too noisy and the food is of average quality for a high price. We will not return

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 10 December 2019
Overall2Food3Service2Ambience3

The food was adequate but the service was terribly slow, we sat with empty beverages with no server in sight for long periods of time. The restaurant seemed under staffed even though it was not that busy at noon on a Tuesday.

BA
BerthaA
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on 8 December 2019
Overall3Food3Service5Ambience5

Alcoholic drinks were nothing spectacular as was the food....something gave me a 5 hour headache! Will not be going back!

LI
LewI
London
21 reviews
Dined on 28 November 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Family and friends getogether on Thanksgiving. Most enjoyed Mexican dishes, but the traditional turkey meal was outstanding.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
17 reviews
Dined on 25 November 2019
Overall5Food3Service5Ambience5

Birthday dinner

F
vipFoodie1
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined on 23 November 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

A great place to go for dinner before catching a movie at Arclight Theater. Food, drinks and service are always consistently good.

b
beatcal
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 16 November 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Awesome food, great recommendations, bilingual and tasty margaritas!

TO
vipTOML
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on 16 November 2019
Overall2Food1Service5Ambience2

Dated interior, average cuisine, but cordial and proficient waited staff.

GW
GregoryW
1 review
Dined on 9 November 2019
Overall1Food1Service2Ambience3

My food tasted like cat food. Yes, I have eaten cat food as part of my fraternity initiation.

DM
DouglasM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 5 November 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Absolutely great service great food very attentive daughter‘s 21st birthday lunch she loved it that’s all I needed to hear Mucho‘s Gracias !

e
ericc
Orange County
1 review
Dined on 26 October 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Food was delicious I recommend. Everyone to try out this restaurant EL Cholo is the best

FG
vipFrancesG
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on 19 October 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

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
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on 12 October 2019
Overall3Food2Service3Ambience4

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
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 2 October 2019
Overall2Food2Service3Ambience3

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
GailM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 20 September 2019
Overall2Food2Service5Ambience1

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
OpenTable Diner
Las Vegas
14 reviews
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall4Food4Service3Ambience4

An excellent birthday venue

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 1 September 2019
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

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

P
vipPaul
Los Angeles
87 reviews
Dined on 30 August 2019
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience4

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

ST
STEVEL
Los Angeles
1 review