HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Are you making a specialty food? Tell us about it

Any mexican food place better than El Coyote?

cyberdiva Sep 22, 2007 07:34 PM

I love mexican food and drive to LA from OC just to eat at El Coyote. Is there any place better than that? I love their rice and shredded beef enchiladas. I'm willing to go anywhere if the food is godd! Thank you!

  1. b
    Barbara Ladden Dec 22, 2007 08:52 AM

    I was also going to say "any place is better than El Coyote". It's for drinkers, not eaters.

    Try family owned and run Tere's in a strip mall near Melrose and Vine. Also, Loteria in Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax.

    1. b
      b0ardkn0t Dec 20, 2007 01:30 PM

      Try any Siete Mares(Seven Sea) Restaurant(El Monte/City of Industry/La Puente), as they specialize in authentic Mexican seafood dishes(not fish tacos from Baja, try Taco Nazo for that) and most Mexicans I know have always loved the restaurants (it's a small franchise).
      Also Guadalajara Grill(West Covina) has adequate though not great food.
      and other restaurants in Whittier, Montebello, and western SGV, maybe some in Suth Bay area.

      1 Reply
      1. re: b0ardkn0t
        b0ardkn0t Dec 20, 2007 01:33 PM

        Certain 7 Mares restaurants and Guadalajara Grill have live Mariachi music on certain days.

      2. o
        oldboardKurt Dec 20, 2007 09:20 AM

        you won't find that many places around that have as much energy as el coyote, its really a blast with a bunch of friends. the shredded beef tacos or the nacho sup with chick plates are actually pretty good, and a scratch marg also works. the place has been in business for 75+ years and I have been going for 40 of them. then again, if one is just about the food or all dead inside then there are other options.

        1. wyatt3290 Dec 16, 2007 03:47 PM

          you don't go to El Coyote for the food, you go for the margaritas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wyatt3290
            Vikzen Dec 19, 2007 10:47 PM

            And, a couple of decades ago, I used to meet up there with friends late night, yes, for the margaritas, and the conviviality. Beverly Boulevard has gone through several permutations over the years!

          2. Skunk2Racer Oct 5, 2007 05:24 PM

            Try Ramona's Frozen Mexican Food..... Or Better than El Crapayote Yack in the box... Tacos 2 for 99 cents would you like a Yumbo Yack... Sorry George Lopez Line LOL

            1 Reply
            1. re: Skunk2Racer
              writerinla Oct 5, 2007 08:18 PM

              The original Poquito Mas in Studio City is better than El Coyote. Though, I have to admit, the margaritas at El Coyote are strong and addictive.

            2. f
              foodie909 Oct 2, 2007 12:49 PM

              OMG, anyplace is better than El Coyote - its for margaritas only!!
              El Cholo is prime, Loteria and Sonora Cafe are upscale and delicious,
              El Tepayec is authentic...
              Closer to home, you have The Ranch Enchilada in Yorba Linda, El Torito Chain :0
              El Super Rico in Santa Ana, Las Brisas in Laguna (the other place good for margarits only)

              1. h
                Havesom00 Oct 2, 2007 01:06 AM

                El Compadre~not so bad...

                1. m
                  matchu Oct 2, 2007 12:41 AM

                  Mexico City in Los Feliz is fantastic in my opinion. The mole is excellent as is the cactus salad.

                  1. 48pinups Oct 1, 2007 11:59 PM

                    I agree El Cholo is good. If you find yourself in Sherman Oaks (San Fernando valley), go to La Fogata on Van Nuys Blvd and Magnolia. It's so good, and very down to earth.

                    1. E Eto Oct 1, 2007 10:01 PM

                      You might want to consider checking out all the Mexican places around Santa Ana in your neck of the woods.

                      1. mrshankly Oct 1, 2007 07:08 PM

                        Las Fuentes in Reseda.


                        1. katydid13 Oct 1, 2007 07:04 PM

                          Um...even Baja Fresh runs rings around El Coyote. However, I didn't think El Cholo was anything special, except for tasty margaritas.

                          1. c
                            Cubancoffee Oct 1, 2007 05:19 PM

                            Oh, about a million. Their margaritas can blind you, but their food as not Mexican as any person actually from Mexico would know it. I would also recommend Babita's, or just about any taco truck ahead of El Coyote.

                            1. c
                              Clinton Oct 1, 2007 02:27 PM

                              Since I live in the South Bay area, La Capilla in old town Torrance would be my number one choice for both atmosphere and food. Second would be the Burnt Tortilla in Gardena and La Villa near El Camino College in Torrance would be last. Two other mentionables would be Josie's which is close to Artesia and Crenshaw and Ramona's on Crenshaw and Redondo Beach Blvd.

                              Tito's in Culver City is great for taco's but if I'm driving out of the way for Mexican food, El Abajeno (Vic's) on Inglewood and Culver would be my first choice. It's old home-style Mexican food at it's best ordering from the display counter where you can see them making your food. Not much ambience but the food is great! Even serves beer...

                              1. c
                                cyberdiva Oct 1, 2007 09:09 AM

                                Thanks for the feedback. Thank you to everyone who made suggestions on other restaurants to try. I will venture out this week.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cyberdiva
                                  Servorg Oct 1, 2007 05:22 PM

                                  We look forward to hearing your comments after you have samples some, (or all) of the recommended places. Hope your "research" is delicious.

                                2. j
                                  jlrobe Sep 24, 2007 09:41 PM

                                  Babita if you are looking for the GOOD stuff. Otherwise, there are tons of oaxacan places that I feel are better than El Coyote. If you love mole that is.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jlrobe
                                    Dig T Sep 24, 2007 10:01 PM

                                    Babita!!! I had forgotten about them jlrobe. Definitely worth a trip out to the suburbs to try this place, it's off the 10 Freeway, a ugly little hole in the wall (of course that means they have good food!). I've been there three times and food is always great, the chef is friendly, the service is iffy.

                                  2. Will Owen Sep 24, 2007 02:55 PM

                                    In defense of El Coyote (and I've said this before, yes, I know...), it is the Buca di Beppo of Gringomex restaurants. It's not a restaurant so much as it is an ongoing frat party with Mexicanish refreshments. It's where you go to share pitchers of appallingly yallery-green margaritas with the kind of friends with whom you do things like that, and then eat a bunch of greasy stuff in the hope that you'll be sober enough to drive home...though by the time the valet finally gets your car for you you're probably ready for breakfast. I've had a lot of fun there...or so I'm told ;-)

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                      jesstifer Sep 24, 2007 06:19 PM

                                      Someone has to step up and defend El Coyote better than comparisons to Buca di Beppo and Taco Bell! That seems to be my job. Remember, the poster loves El Coyote enough to drive from OC for it. Some of us like 30's-style California-style Mexican on its own terms. There are some items that are not good; many that are mediocre; a few that are definitive. And a lot more that just aren't on the menu. See my post linked below for suggestions if you claim never to have had a good meal there. Overall, between food, drink, and price, El Coyote is certainly a better option than Barrigans, Acapulco, or El Torito. Those places are all available in OC. Clearly this poster is looking for a funkier, more LA, but still sit-down, vibe. I'm not a big El Cholo fan -- too much salt, all around -- so I'd recommend El Chavo on Sunset across from the Vine Theater. Can't beat the day-glo sombreros on the ceiling for atmosphere, and they make arguably the spiciest chile verde in town. They also have some of my favorite taquitos anywhere.

                                      Here's my longer rant about El Coyote, too long to post here:


                                      1. re: jesstifer
                                        bsquared2 Sep 24, 2007 09:30 PM

                                        Nothing against 30's style California-Mexican, I just don't think El Coyote is a good representation of that.

                                        I still think it is absurd to drive from OC, which has some amazing Mexican restaurants, to eat at El Coyote. You can drive down one block of Main St. in Santa Ana and find find 10 better restaurants.

                                        1. re: bsquared2
                                          monkuboy Sep 24, 2007 10:03 PM

                                          Like I said, if the OP is looking for 30's style Cal-Mex food, she can do better going to Ralph's and buying a Swanson Hungry Man Mexican frozen dinner. That's miles above El Coyote's best day.

                                        2. re: jesstifer
                                          LANative Oct 1, 2007 06:52 PM

                                          Love El Chavo; they always have these great soups with dinner; you never know what kind you'll have. They have the best margaritas in town, too. Been going there for a loooong time. Plus, Uncle Jer's is around the corner for some fun shopping, & Tiki Ti is basically next door.

                                          1. re: LANative
                                            Woolsey Oct 1, 2007 10:04 PM

                                            I gotta disagree on one thing. I've had El Chavo's margaritas while waiting for a movie at the Vista. They're nothing special. El Cholo's remain the gold standard margaritas in the city. The El Cholo house margarita is not too overwrought with overpowering spirits - keep your Cadillac margaritas, I say! - but it still has quality hooch. But still, El Chavo was better than the bargain-bin-booze concoction passed off as the "best margarita in L.A." at El Coyote.

                                            But oh, how subjective that "best margarita" tag is...

                                      2. b
                                        bsquared2 Sep 23, 2007 09:54 AM

                                        You drive from OC to LA to eat Mexican Food? Santa Ana has many amazing Mexican Restaurants. I grew up in OC and used to eat at a place that had the best Carnitas I've ever had. My jaw is on the floor with that statement. There are so many great ethnic cuisines in OC (Mexican, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern....), why waste the gas.

                                        I wouldn't really consider El Coyote real Mexican. If you like that style, El Cholo would be a better choice. I ate at El Coyote (some friends wanted to go) and I had the worst nightmares that night. Very vivid and very weird. Not sure if it was the enchiladas or the 'bathtub' tequila from the Margaritas.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: bsquared2
                                          sassille Sep 23, 2007 09:52 PM

                                          If you love El Coyote, you're gonna love Tito's Tacos.
                                          Seriously, Mi India Bonita on Olympic Blvd off the 5 frwy is lots closer to the OC.

                                          1. re: sassille
                                            monkuboy Sep 24, 2007 06:46 AM

                                            Please don't insult Tito's like that! At least Tito's has some redeeming features, more than can be said for El Coyote.

                                            1. re: monkuboy
                                              roasted138 Oct 5, 2007 05:32 PM

                                              I agree. Not only is it a solidarity for the community with its landmark status, LOOK AT THE PRICES! They're not trying to be fine dining. They have a small location that puts out good, cheap tacos fast for the hungry working class.

                                          2. re: bsquared2
                                            exilekiss Oct 6, 2007 08:38 AM

                                            Hey bsquared2,

                                            What's the place in OC you're talking about that has the "best carnitas" you've ever had? I'm very interested. :)


                                            1. re: exilekiss
                                              bsquared2 Oct 6, 2007 08:43 AM

                                              Ha! It was across the street from Santa Ana High on Flower St. (I don't remember the name). Keep in mind that this was many years ago. It was a small Mom & Pop place. Real home cooking.

                                              I have no idea if it is still there but you have made me want to check it out next time I'm in OC. That said, there are many places that are still that general area that have amazing tacos. Santa Ana has a multitude of great taco joints.

                                          3. Emme Sep 23, 2007 12:18 AM

                                            um, babita, guelaguetza, monte alban, el cholo for the green corn tamales
                                            concur w/ el tepeyac and gilbert's.

                                            1. a
                                              ahuacatl Sep 22, 2007 11:42 PM

                                              another vote for Taco Bell.

                                              Really though, a guy I worked with once told me that Acapulco was his favorite restaurant, that he ate there once a week and that he had his wedding reception there too. I just smiled dumbly and waited for him to give me the all clear, it's a joke, but no.

                                              There is some seriously good Mexican fare in this town, you don't have to eat at El Coyote, unless you like it of course!


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ahuacatl
                                                Woolsey Sep 23, 2007 12:16 AM

                                                ...or those little frozen burritos that sell three-for-a-dollar at Food 4 Less.

                                                El Coyote is pretty much the bottom of the barrel as far as Mexican food goes. Any "Mexican" place that offers spaghetti as a side should be suspect, yet, as I was slagging the place a few months ago, a coworker of mine walked past, heard the words "El Coyote," and said, "El Coyote? El Coyote is awesome!" Still, if it's and old-school, Tex-Mex-style plate-of-red you're looking for, I say get thee to El Cholo on Western. The margaritas at the pink adobe are also far superior to the ballyhooed ones at El Coyote.

                                              2. Vikzen Sep 22, 2007 09:47 PM


                                                I bet you'd like La Serenata for seafood!

                                                1. d
                                                  dtud Sep 22, 2007 09:33 PM


                                                  maybe el torito or acapulco? taco bell or del taco if you're in a hurry.

                                                  1. monkuboy Sep 22, 2007 08:52 PM

                                                    A Swansons Mexican frozen dinner is better than El Coyote. Honestly, that's the worst Mexican restaurant I can think of. Take the advice of any of the other posters to your thread. Another recommendation is Gardens of Taxco, on Harper in Hollywood.

                                                    1. d
                                                      Dave and Stuff Sep 22, 2007 08:38 PM

                                                      Aren't all of them better than El Coyote?

                                                      How about El Cholo? For upscale, I like Sonora Cafe...at the Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax, there's EXCELLENT Mexican food at Loteria.

                                                      1. Servorg Sep 22, 2007 08:09 PM

                                                        www.lahuasteca.com -- I think Pasadena location is closed so Lynwood is the only one

                                                        http://teresitasrestaurant.com/index.... -- they close fairly early for dinner

                                                        Enrique's Mexican Restaurant
                                                        6210 E Pacific Coast Hwy
                                                        Long Beach, CA 90803
                                                        (562) 498-3622

                                                        1. b
                                                          Burger Boy Sep 22, 2007 07:54 PM

                                                          Any place is better than El Coyote! Try Barrigan's or El Cholo or El Tepeyac or Ordonez or Gilbert's El Indio or Lars or any place east of the LA River..................

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Burger Boy
                                                            Dig T Sep 24, 2007 08:21 PM

                                                            I second the nominations for El Cholo, El Tepeyac, and Ordonez.

                                                          Show Hidden Posts