A chain of Tex-Mex Restaurants…that may serve the best Margaritas in town.
A Tex-Mex style Mexican Restaurant, owned by this family, has been in continuous operation in Los Angeles since 1923 (when the family opened up the Sonora Café). They know what they’re doing. It’s good food, but it’s a bit of a tell that they may be more known for their margaritas than anything else.
Me? I’ve been to the Western Ave. Location (near Cho Sun and Koreatown), the Santa Monica Location, and the new Pasadena Location. The one on Western is the original, and the one to go to (especially if Cho Sun is too crowded). Hell, they still give you little Pralines with your check. They’re incredibly tiny Pralines, but good Pralines nonetheless. (Remember, my family’s from Texas, and there are size standards involved.)
The Santa Monica Location off Wilshire is a bit of a turn off, if only because half of the Development People in Hollywood file in there with their BMWs and Mercedes to party down (drinking their famous margaritas) in the Bar Room Friday and Saturday nights, making it damn impossible to get a Enchilada when you need one.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: This ain’t La Serenata. This is old school Tex-Mex, the good stuff. It’s hard to go wrong with a lot of the stuff. I love the Combination No. 1, which is a Cheese Enchilada and Beef Taco, and is their all-time best seller. I also love Carne Asada, New York Steak, Beans, Rice, Pico de Gallo and Guacamole.
But as I’ve come here more and more, I feel in love with their original creation, the Sonora Enchilada, stacked like a Lasagna, and blessed with the addition of a Fried Egg. Tastes like the old school of old school Mexican-American cooking, and I can’t wait to have my next.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Apparently, Rachel Ray gave the chain her “Best Taco” award. That doesn’t speak well of El Cholo’s. Anthony will be so displeased.
PARKING: Depends on which one you hit. The one in Santa Monica? Pure Valet. You can try the street, but you’ll be walking a little bit. The one in Pasadena? It’s in the Paseo Colorado Shopping/Apartment Complex, so you’ll be using the same garage that you’d use for the Arclight Pasadena. The original one near Koreatown? It’s got its own Valet Powered lot. It’s too narrow and small. You’ve got to use the Valets.
El Cholo’s (Original)
1121 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Tel: (323) 734-2773
Sunday: Monday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm