2909 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA | Directions 9040534.02489 -118.4593
Neighborhoods: West LA, Pico
Jesse the "Manager" – Stay away from the "semi manager" named Jesse. He is a large man and he greeted us when we came in. However since our entire party was not there he said he could not seat us and recommended we wait at the bar. I understand THIS IS STANDARD PRACTICE IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY. However when we went to the bar it was completely full with standing room only. I was with someone with a physical disability so I went to Jesse and let him know there was no room at the bar and we would like to be seated. He refused despite the fact his patron had a disability. So we said, "What if we prepay our bill and offered him $200 to secure payment of the bill. He said yes I'll take your money....but I'll take it for myself and it won't help you get seated or go towards your bill. Two issues.....this restaurant discriminates against disabled people and they give managerial control to someone who is looking out for their own interest and doesn't even care about driving revenue for the very company represents. DON'T GO HERE. I'm sending this to the Better Business Bureau and the ACLU. You think I'm bluffing....just wait!
DONT TRUST THEM – we are regulars on friday nights here. I left my purse tonight, went back 20 minutes later and all the money was gone. what an embarrassment.
Big on portions, and disappointment – I've been here twice...sort of. A friend and I called on Cinco de Mayo to ask how long the wait was. We were shocked when they said there wasn't one, so we headed straight over (from 2 miles away.) After paying for the valet, we got inside and saw more what we had expected and wanted to avoid---basically, a zoo. We left.
We decided to go back last week, and were greeted by an odd guy who showed us to a table and was kind of weird when we said we'd prefer to sit at the bar. The bartender got us some (verrry sweet) margaritas quickly, but took a while to ask for our food order. My friend's tostada was OK; I ordered steak+shrimp. I got enough food to feed a family of four! First, a tasty salad. Then, the steak, shrimp and "steamed" (to death) vegetables. The shrimp were delicious, but the steak was just a hunk of mediocre, unseasoned meat. Ick.
We also felt like the odd guy was hanging back and watching us, which was uncomfortable. Overall a weird experience and I doubt I'll be back.
stay way stay away – STAY AWAY! THEY CHARGE YOU 75 cents for WATER!
Went here for dinner a few days ago. Awful service, awful food.
Waiters treat you like you don't exist. They push alcohol and if you
don't order any they look at you like weirdos. Nickel and dime you for everything. Better to eat at a TACO truck than to go to a dump like this.
Bland Tam;les, Chocolate Pudding Mole – I really liked the atmosphere of this place, and with 40 years owned by the same family, wanted to love this place. The atmosphere is legit...dim lighting with interesting wooden tables and bar. By the time the chips and salsa arrived and the margaritas were on the table, my anticipation of a great meal was peaked. The chips were thick and made on site it seems and the salsa was spicy and tasty.
Unfortunately when my tamales arrived, there were beyond bland. When I requested hot sauce for them, the waiter brought some kind of goopy tomato paste instead of more of the fabulous salsa. It seemed to have no spice in it. Beans were flavorless as was the rice.
My boyfriend says Bill Cosby would have loved the Mole because it tasted just like Chocolate pudding. It was very sweet.
Service started out good but soured as soon as I asked for the hot sauce. Like I said, I really wanted to like this place, but would love to go back in time and not have gone. At least we didn't pay outrageous prices like we did at Border Grill. Poor Santa Monica. Is there any good mexican food here?
Fantasic Mexican Food – This place is highly recommended if you want a great meal with great service. There is an upstairs and a downstairs area (both are great), but no matter where you sit you get great service. I have been about 10 times now, and each time I am impressed. Any carnitas dish is excellent.
Among the best Mexican restaurants – With so many Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, it's hard to stand out, but this place definitely does! Everything I've had on the menu has been wonderful - I recommend the huevos rancheros or the carne asada tacos - the meat is tender and very flavorful. Their margaritas are strong, but still taste good and I love their Mexican hot chocolate. Oh ... and they have the best guacamole!
Great food and services! – My husband and I decided to try this spot out on Friday night. We didn?t have to wait long for a table. The food and salsa were great! Fast services and I loved their margaritas.
One weird thing?the bartender was our bartender, food server and he busses tables too. They all seem to help each other out and it works. Tiny bar area downstairs and no room to sit and wait. Up stairs has more tables and another larger bar. They have two waiting list: one for down and one for up-stairs. They had 2 string guitar players that move around the room. Over all we had a great time and I plan on going back and bring friends.
Hidden among the gritty Pico strip, this casual Santa Monica nook dishes out traditional Mexican fare. – In Short
Stepping into this dimly lit space is like walking into a rustic Mexican adobe. Framed prints of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo artwork hover near the sunken bar made of heavy carved wood, while the roaring fireplace, exposed beams and a white stucco interior make it homey and inviting. (And if that doesn't do it for you, the host's "Hola, como estas?" greeting will.) The noise level is conversational; upstairs there's yet another bar and tables that fill up with late-night revelers on weekends. Dishes range from the simple (carnita tacos, cheese enchiladas) to the more elaborate (camarones a la diabla features shrimp wrapped in bacon, then broiled in hot sauce). While many folks say it's the food that brings them to Lares, others argue it's really the warm hospitality that keeps 'em coming back for more.
Hits: On weekends, the roaming mariachis create a celebratory mood; also, the upstairs bar/dining area, which has a floor-to-ceiling window, provides great outdoor views.
Misses: The shrimp soup can be very bland and the chips and salsa taste about two days too old.
Great Basics – I am not sure why others would write a review on their salads and streaks. Lares is one of the best of LA, with a great atmosphere, staff, and traditional down home mex (nothing fancy). Order the mole for some of the best in town. Great spot to meet friends.
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