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Malo: Never Before has a Restaurant's Name been so accurate.

My wife and I stopped at Malo for a quick bite to eat on Saturday night. We were in the Silver Lake area for a party, so we just needed a quick bite to eat, lest we make a mess of ourselves at the cocktail party... At 7:15PM, Malo was less than half full, but they wouldn't let us sit at one of the outside tables or tables along the wall because those were all reserved. But when we left at 8:30, those tables were all still open. Must be a very late dinner crowd in Silver Lake... yeah, right. My albondigas was perfectly edible, my wife's oaxacan shrimp were pretty good, and the avocado/tomatillo salsa was actually pretty tasty. So what's the problem? For $36 (tax and tip included), I could have eaten for a week at a taco truck that served comparable food. The menu clearly makes an attempt to make some classic taco truck food more upscale, but frankly, it was not very convincing or enticing. Looking at some of the tables near us, they seemed to agree because the more experimental dishes were languishing.

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  1. I would agree that Malo is limited in many, many ways, but I enjoyed my chicken fajitas in spite of myself. It was actually a very good dish, well seasoned and prepared. Go figure.

    1. Ate there Friday night, as a warm-up to the Chow-event tomorrow, and 'cause the Chow-spouse wanted a drinkie. (. . . as opposed to "a drink". Drinkies generally involve fruit juice, and may involve paper umbrellas, flames, or names invoking geography (other than "Scotch") or sexual innuendo...) Drinkies were good; food not so. My chicken soft-tacos: gimme Tacos Villa Corona, dude. You can't make tacos out of chicken breast, and hold the meat warm for any period of time; you get jerky, and not in a good way. Her comment, re: her posole: "I could make this better...."

      ah well...


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      2 Replies
      1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

        Or, as my wife and I now call it after our one dinner there: Muy Malo.

        1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

          Since I never turn down a good "drinkie" I was going to give Malo a whirl based on what I have heard are great cocktails. Do they in fact have great margaritas and a world class selection of Tequila?

        2. It's a good place to go with a group of people to just drink and get a couple things to eat and share with each other but I don't think I'd go there for just a sit down dinner with another person. Last few times I've been I ordered the exact the same thing (beef & pickle tacos $5.50, side of corn $3) and a bunch of drinks and walked away just full and tipsy enough. Their white sangria is pretty good.

          10 Replies
          1. re: EatinThePizzaNaked

            Tried the white sangria this evening and thought it was good, as well. :)

            1. re: katkoupai

              Hmm, how did I miss the white sangria.

                1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                  There certainly was a funny "fizzy" taste to the pitcher drinks at Malo last night, but I couldn't quite place it. I thought it tasted more like sprite than cream soda but my head wasn't exactly screwed on very tight at that point.

                  1. re: slacker

                    Hi, Slacker. There were two pitchers of sangria. One was red, and one was white. I'm assuming the white one was white sangria. I had two glasses of it, and it was pretty good. The wait staff at Malo kept refilling these pitchers through the night. :)

                    1. re: katkoupai

                      Weird, all I ever noticed were the pitchers of margaritas and red sangria--the one that tasted like cream soda.

                      1. re: slacker

                        Well, I guess I imagined that the lighter drink was white sangria, then. :) I squeezed a lemon wedge in one, and it was pretty good. Margarita? Okay. :)

                      2. re: katkoupai

                        The yellowish beverage was margaritas. I know because I drank a lot of them despite the fact that they were mixed with way too much sour mix. (This was at last night's CHOW fete.)

                2. It's never very good. I'm in the neighborhood a lot so often end up there with friends. The chips and habanero dip are good, everything else is mediocre at best. The room is loud and uncomfortable and service is not very attentive.

                  1. I must say that I have a fondness for their ground beef/cheese/pickle tacos - mind you, this is very similar to what my grandma used to fry up for taco nights in the Inland Empire and nothing I could not make myself at home. But I don't. So I'm glad that Malo makes them for the once-every-three year trip I seem to make there. The problem is that the "scene" seems to trump the cuisine - at least the people watching is amusing at times.

                    1. We went there on a Friday night and the same thing happened. 7:15pm, place is half empty, go to get a table, the hostess says, sorry, all reserved. But you can go in the bar and eat and drink your hearts out. So we go in the bar, spot an open table, go to grab it, the waitress slaps down a "Reserved" card. I ask what's the deal? She says, sorry and walks away. We get a seat at the bar, the tattoo'd bartender chick ignores us for 10 mins, then a very nice red head bartender comes out and takes care of us for the rest of our short stay. We like her. The food here sucks. The attitude sucks worse. Lame.

                      1. We've definitely had our share of not-so-great service at Malo, but I find the habanero creme salsa truly addictive and, unfortunately, have never found anything close at any of our beloved taco trucks. The aforementioned beef and pickle tacos are also delicious in a junky way, and I must admit I seriously crave them from time to time.

                        We always walk into Malo with the knowledge that we very well may get a server with a bit of attitude and lack of grace. But we also know that that dreamy salsa will be there waiting for us as well.


                        1. Service at Malo has been, um, "malo" since they opened. Horribly overpriced too, but what do you expect from the same folks who brought you the Echo? Some dishes are good -- none are superb. Lobster tacos are decent. The pico de gallo is perhaps the best tasting thing they have.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Hollis Greene

                            had same problem called in for a 7 ish reserveration said nothing was available only the bar, so went anyway place was relatively empty. Suddenly they had cancellations according to hostess was seating in dining room. I thought salsas were good and my Al Pastor was not bad, I've had worse. The phenomena in LA of saying there booked when there not appears to be widespread, I just go anyway and stand in front of them and suddenly after a few minutes I'm seated. Had the exact same problem at Hungry Cat.

                          2. I hate to beat a broken drum but I continue to have no idea what all these people are complaining about. We walked in last night (Saturday) around 7:30 and got one of several empty tables in the bar. Ordered a selection of ground beef and pickle, carne asada and hard shell chicken tacos, all of which were very yummy although the chicken could have used a touch of salt. The chips are different then they used to be -- not as thick and homemade tasting, but easier to eat since they're not so chewy. Service was totally efficient, finally remembered to use my KPCC discount card which shaved $6 off the bill.
                            And to the other poster above, yes they do indeed have very good margaritas (I like the "naturale" or something like that) and a world class selection of tequila. Try the Oro Azul infusions with fresh fruit steeped in Oro Azul!