How Are These Mexican Restaurants in Santa Monica?
My family will be visiting LA again and we're looking for a good place in Santa Monica. We've eaten at El Cholo on Wilshire and really enjoyed it. I realize they serve gringo/Americanized style food, but Mexican where I live is very poor as a point of reference. We wanted to expand our choices and in searching I found Gilbert's El Indio, Tacos Por Favor and Lares Restaurant as possible places. Have any LA hounds eaten here? We would welcome your thoughts and any recommendations on what to order. Thanks.
I love both Border Grill and Gilbert's - they are very different places, different experiences.
Gilbert's is family owned, smaller, not as fancy - but with some surpassingly good dishes and good basics. And I LOVE their homemade pickled carrots.
Border Grill is bigger, fancier, very nice food, and more expensive, a tad more sophisticated.
It depends what you are in the mood for!
1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401
If you plan to stay in the Santa Monica are, you have chosen some pretty good spots.
Gilberts is a very warm, very crowded restaurant. Think El Cholo at a discount. Cash only.
Tacos Por Favor is a local favorite, but very little ambience. Good tacos, though.
Some other possibilities:
Zengo in the Santa Monica Place has a really interesting Latin-Asian fusion menu with a $35.00 brunch including drinks. A real bargain for some really good food that you will not find anywhere.
Monte Alban is maybe a couple miles inland from SM. Very good Oahuacan food. Known for their mole sauces.
There are a couple of great taco trucks, one for lunch at Rose and 4th Street in Venice, and one in the evenings at Lincoln and Rose, also Venice, just outside the SM city limits.
La Cabana is also near Lincoln and Rose and is an option for late night. They make their own tortillas.
Others will certainly chime in with their preferences.
I generally go to East LA for some really good Mexican.
11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Tacos Por Favor
1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404
395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401
I had to chime in here as we ate at La Cabana last night (totally sober with multiple kids in tow). This was my first time at La Cabana (and will be the last). The food was mediocre and I had a really hard time communicating my shellfish allergy to our waiter. At one point it actually appeared that he was refusing to accommodate my request that they try to keep my food separate from any shellfish in the kitchen. It was really strange and awkward. Had we not been with other people, I would have got up and left. I'm hoping it was a language issue, but not sure as he acted rude about it. The one plus is that they were very tolerant of the little kids in our group and the tortilla lady gave them some dough to play with. That said, I would not go back. Would rather go to Gibert's or Don Antonio's.
601 W La Habra Blvd, La Habra, CA 90631
One other Americanized Mexican place that we like is Don Antonio's on Pico just east of Bundy. One of the best versions of albondigas soup on the west side (we generally start dinner with a cup). They do "ground beef" (picadillo) tacos, which my wife likes and I enjoy their steak picado with the serrano chili's added in. Good chips and salsa too and when the weather is nice the patio can be very pleasant.
11755 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Thanks for all your responses, I really appreciate them. Gilbert's El Indio did stand out to me, so I'm happy to hear your comments about the place. I'd never heard of Don Antonio's before so I'll check it out, sounds promising. I'll look at the other suggestions as well.