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Getting El Coyote

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Met with a bunch of former and current Nashville folks at El Coyote last night. Seems like whenever we do this it's at some long-established tourist trap; last time it was El Cholo! Of course the food was barely above Taco Bell level, though the margaritas found great favor and the service was excellent...

Going to a place like this for the food is like going to a movie for the popcorn. It's part theatre, part party, a good excuse to get the gang around a table and have some drinks in jolly surroundings. Anyway, when you're catching up with folks you haven't seen in a year or more, great food would be almost a distraction. As it was, we got there early, stayed for about three hours, had a royal blast and spent less than $100 for six of us, including tax, tip and parking.

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  1. Ya know, I've always heard this about El Coyote. Yet the place always seems packed from the outside (I've never been there myself). The mind boggles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Marc

      I don't even think the margaritas are any good. I've been twice (in the last ten years); both times they were watery.

      Maybe I caught them on their two off-nights of the last decade, but somehow I doubt it....

    2. Good God, is this place still open? The food has always blown chunks. (BTW, this was where Sharon Tate and friends had their last meal. Man, that was a really bad day for those folks.)

      1. Margs are incredibly watery...garbage.

        El Coyote is jammed because there is a constant influx of attractive young people (including, apparently, Sharon Tate) who have never had Mexican food before and think that's how it's supposed to be prepared. And others go for the throngs of young, attractive people. :-)

        I don't really understand how El Cholo is dissed the way it is while El Coyote largely escapes abuse. It might be that El Coyote is so bad that it's sui generis.

        1. If you're worried about watery drinks, get shots. They have a variety of Tequilas. Then, if you care, try to converse over the din.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mc michael

            I get a double marg, call your tequila being an option, then get the ice on the side, and the booze will arrive naked for you to taste its lack of wateriness, and thus you pour just the amount you want over the ice and save the rest until the time comes when you need it.
            As to food, I find ordering the chicken fajitas to where they are not overcooked works in salvaging the food issue. No rice or beans, etc.

          2. El Coyote, El Torito, Acapulco, Taco Bell...Mexican food for the tastebud impaired. Sure, it's a scene. Sure the food sucks. Sure the drinks are watery and overpriced. Sure, the last time I went there, we got shots and three people barfed, putting their dinner where it really belongs. But, hey, we're in Hollywood. The show is the thing, right? So, if you need a show where the food and booze are the grease for this squeeky wheel, then rush right down and get in line. Me, I'll be finishing my evening at Midnight Tacos washin' down 4 al pastor with an ice cold horchata. The coyote can howl all it wants...it probably has a belly ache.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mssreatalot

              Moral: eat before you go. Just drink shots--in moderation.

            2. The place never changes and you have your choice to sit on a nice sunny patio or a really dark bar w/ comfortable booths. Those are two great choices. If you don't like the margaritas get whatever cocktail you do like. If I have to eat I get tortillas and rice and avoid all else like it contained the plague (which it might). It's a really nice place to get drunk - did so just last night. It's a piece of LA history (at least mine) and should be revered for that, we don't have much history.

              1 Reply
              1. re: duckduckgoose

                Is there any truth to the rumor that this place inspired the term Coyote Ugly?

              2. El Coyote is the perfect example of LA fawning over a "Legendary" eatery that doesn't even approach mediocre. How in LA somebody could screw up Mexican food so badly and stay open for 70 years is a complete mystery to me. I was dragged there for drinks a while back and even the margaritas sucked. I think the same people that are keeping this place open are the same ones lining up around the block for Pink's chili dogs.©

                5 Replies
                1. re: Pesky_Humans

                  And by extension, Musso & Franks, Tito's Tacos, and pick your nostalgia lesson of choice.
                  Yet, there are ways to have a good time, keep it very inexpensive, and not die in the process. Check my post above. Just go and have a good time, if a good time is of interest. If not, dine somewhere else.

                  1. re: carter

                    Why throw Musso's on the same list???

                    1. re: Hunter

                      Because it stinks!!! Okay, supposedly the grill items are okay... but everything I've tried there has been pretty bad. Even the salads... BLEH!!!


                      1. re: Dommy

                        Nobody 's comparing it to The Grill or Spago, but it's a helluva lot better than Pink's and El Coyote!

                        1. re: Dommy

                          I can vouch for only some of the grilled items but the grill is definately the only way to go. The filet, while obviously not Mastro's, comes out perfectly charred rare every time. The French lamb chops are good. I haven't tried the porterhouse but they looked great on the grill the other night.

                  2. Well, some "institutions" have cheap, tasty food. Phillipe's for example. Certainly nothing fancy, but when I get a craving, nothing else well do.

                    1. The Coyote is fun! It's not a hound destination, it's a happening. Sure, some of the food is vile, but there are some things on the menu that are definitely edible. The a la carte crispy, shredded beef tacos, for instance. A word of advice: if you order anything stuffed with cheese, ask for the white cheese instead of the "orange"... you'll thank me.

                      1. El coyote should be left to the nascent yuppie scum, entertainment biz wannabes who want to either be at a 'scene' or to feed their egos by sneering at said scene. The food is truly bad.

                        El Cholo should be reserved for when your Auntie Ann comes out from the midwest and wants "mexican food". The food is stunningly average and while they're efficient, I've never had service there that could actually be called friendly.

                        There's too much good food here to waste time with 'scenes' and tradition.