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Jan 16, 2004 12:54 PM

MALO in Silverlake

  • k

I had the WORST dining experience in my life last night at this over priced mexican joint. It took 40 minutes to get chips and salsa, an hour to get our food and we had a waitress who rolled her eyes when we aked her for tortillas and rice (which wasn't part of the $12 entree).

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  1. MALO sounds like its living up to its name

    1. My SO and I went w/ another couple before the holidays, and we had pretty much the same experience. I didn't expect great food, and I was right on that score, but that didn't have much to do with our lack of satisfaction. Our waiter was TERRIBLE. They have little water glasses and I am not kidding, we had to ask 3 or 4 times to get refills. And each time there was not so much as a flicker of recognition that we had asked for this before. Same thing happened with drink orders, and w/ chips and salsa orders.

      I might go back and sit at the bar, b/c the chips/guacamole and margaritas were good - and then I would not have to deal w/ a server. The fact that 2 of the staff can be that bad (poster's server was a woman so that makes two horrendous servers) does not bode well for this place.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Megan

        This is the complete opposite of my experience there last Friday night.

        Arrived sometime around 9:30 p.m., and the place was PACKED and LOUD. This was my only complaint. My girlfriend and I practically had to shout across the table to be heard.

        But, we had very attentive service. Less than a minute after we were seated, someone came to take our drink orders. We had two margaritas, and I asked for chips and salsa, too.

        The chips came out a minute or two later (they are fried to order). The margaritas came shortly thereafter. In fact, I was suprised how quickly they came given that the place was literally packed to the gills and it was SRO at the bar.

        I found the food a bit uneven. The shrimp and carne asada tacos were very satisfying. My girlfriend liked the shrimp ceviche, but I thought the shrimp seemed a bit tough. I would have rather tried the fish ceviche, but I deferred to her preference. :-)

        A second round of margaritas was offered and delivered at the right time.

        By midnight, the place had thinned out somewhat. The din of diners was replaced by the din of the music heard over the sound system, so we still needed to raise our voices. I think they should seriously reconsider the music (or at least the volume level). It can't be heard when the place is even half-full, and they still have to play it very loudly to be heard except if the place is completely empty...and so everyone shouts to be heard over that. Since it seems to be mostly hard surfaces without any soundproofing, they should probably just do away with the (otherwise perfectly acceptable) soundtrack.

        But I would definitely go back. Food and service were perfectly fine.

      2. Had the exact same awful experience about a month or so back. Went there for a friends birthday with a group of six people. The waitress takes our drink order, drops off drinks and then disappears for the next half hour. She finally comes back to take orders (at this point we've eaten all the chips, drinks are empty, we've got no water, etc) we get another round of drinks and put in orders and then she disappears for the next 45 minutes. A table of two sits at the table next to ours about an hour after we do, their food comes at the exact same time as ours.

        We complain to the manager who is only partially apologetic. Food when it finally comes is only okay though at this point to be honest I don't think I would have noticed if it was amazing.

        Finally desperate to leave we get check, Manager comps us 5 drinks (there were six people drinking at the table), they add a 20% gratuity to the check. At this point I'm ready to raise hell but because it was a friends birthday we say screw it rather than ruin his birthday further, pay and bill and swear never to come back.

        I will never, ever, ever return to Malo. Had I not gotten on a plane to go away on vacation the very next morning I would have written this a long time ago urging you all to do the same.

        1 Reply
        1. re: discokill

          The exact same thing happened to me. I wanted to like this place but they treated us like shit and I will NEVER go back. This is the only place in LA I have been that was so bad, making us wait for hours and hours and being incredibly rude about it.

        2. I know what you are saying, but at the same time, the place has a great energy, good food, and its cute. Not a combination you typically find with Mexican restaurants. ;)

          1 Reply
          1. re: pravada17

            Strange...I always have a good time there, and enjoy the food. I typically sit at the bar, though. My favorites are the habanero creme salsa and their carnitas, and the house margs are always great. Guess it's a good thing that I never sit in the restaurant! The vibe reminds me a lot of El Carmen, one of my favorite tequila bars on the west side.

            Clare K.

          2. I wasn't going to post about MALO because I just complained about India Sweets & Spices and figured I should say something nice before I complain again. But I went on Friday with some friends -- they were eating dinner and I was drinking -- and our waitress hated us. It was actually kind of strange. She kept rolling her eyes and was really irritated when I asked how much the margaritas were, which I was glad I did because my friends didn't specify the tequila they wanted and their pretty good margaritas were 9 bucks. Their food looked pretty good and they both said it was tasty. I wanted to like it because it's really close to my house, but I don't think I'll go back.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fromberkeleytolosangeles

              I feel the need to defend Malo...I can't imagine why there are such disparate reviews. I am FAR from a Silver Lake hipster type, but I have always been treated great by all the servers. Now, there is one female server with braids and tattoos who has seemed less than thrilled to be there, but the bussers and food runners seem to make up for that.

              As for having to ask for tortillas, I'm surprised! They come with many of the entrees and they always ask if you want corn or flour. It is a little odd how the rice and beans are all a la carte, but I think this actually prevents me from over-eating.

              Anyway, since they opened a few years back, I have probably eaten here at least 50 times and have never had a bad meal or truly bad service. Hell, I've never even had to wait for a table, which is why I like coming here, even on a Friday/Saturday night.

              It's a certain kind of Silver Lake thing...the food isn't "traditional Mexican" but it's consistent. If you don't like it on first try, you probably won't ever like it.

              The service issues should definitely be forwarded to someone.

              1. re: annalulu

                In addition, the "service issues" that are referenced in the original poster's post happened THREE AND A HALF YEARS AGO. If this thread was revived because of another person's current review, it would have been fine, but somebody "concurring" with a three and one-half year old complaint about the service is not that useful to anyone.

                Personally, I've mostly had good service at Malo with the occasional "average" night, and have always enjoyed the food. I love the hard shell beef tacos, the pork in green chile, and the salsas, guac and chips (ask for them crispy). I've been there around once every two months since it opened, and often more frequently than that.