Is It Any Good?

Mexican Beach food in Pasadena.

IxTapa Cantina on Urbanspoon
Ix-Tapa Catina on Foodio54

It looks modern from the outside, particularly if you consider the fact that the space once housed the ever-popular Moose McGillycuddy’s (now kicked off the continent, and cosigned to Hawaii). You think you might be in for a high-end Mexican experience…

…but you’re not.

Look, I don’t want to piss all over the place, Ixtapa Catina is all right, but don’t be fooled like I was. I’m still mad that I brought a date for what I thought was going to be a nice quiet evening of talking and staring into her eyes, and instead I walked into a middle of a Sports Bar in the middle of Laker season.  Ix-Tapa is a Mexican Party Place that serve decent-to-average Mexican Fare you can get anywhere. (Though I will say their refried beans are the best I’ve ever tasted.) You’ll get good service, you might even have a good time, but if you want to have a quiet conversation with someone, seek entertainment elsewhere.

However if you want to catch the Laker game, and get some decent grub to boot, this is the place for you.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, the refried beans to be sure. But the menu has changed a bit since I was last there. The Carne Asada Grilled Rib-Eye Steak, which my date had, was a pretty good choice. I believe I had the Carnitas, which were okay. But now I see some…well…interesting things on the menu. I see Mexican Short-Ribs (Birria), and I see Bistec De Pollo, which according to their site is a Chicken Steak Tender Chicken Breast “Grilled to Perfection” (yeah, we’ll see about that), topped with Mojo Sauce, and served with White Rice, Black Beans and Fried Plantains. But that does sound good.

The only thing that’s making me nervous is the Ropa Vieja, which is one of my favorite dishes, one of my favorite Cuban dishes. In short (and again, according to their website) it’s thinly Shredded Beef prepared with Fresh Tomatoes Onion Bell Peppers, Cuban Spices, and served with White Rice, Black Beans & Plantains.

I get nervous about the Japanese places that try to serve Chinese or Korean stuff. I get nervous about the Mexican places that serve Cuban stuff.  The authenticity rule applies here.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: It’s basically a Sports Bar. Prepare for it to be loud and crowded. Now, if you’re looking to hang out and watch the game, that’s a perfect atmosphere, but if you’re bringing a young lady to dinner, with hopes of having an intimate conversation, seek food options elsewhere.


PARKING: Consult the Pasadena Parking Guide, the Schoolhouse is still my favorite option, and the One Colorado Lot is also nearby.


Ix-Tapa Catina
119 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105

Tel: (626) 304-1000

Sunday-Wednesday: 11.30 am – 11.00 pm
Thursday-Saturday: 11.00 am to 2.00 am