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El Coyote Mexican Cafe

2 Ratings: 2.0
1 review about El Coyote Mexican Cafe

Landmark LA Eatery

  • Jun 28, 2010
  • by
Pros: Fun
Low Prices

Cons: Bad food
Pay to park after 4PM

The Bottom Line: A really fun place for drinks and conversations

El Coyote has reached legendary status in Los Angeles.  It's not for the food certainly, but for the ambiance and overall groovy and kitschy vibe it projects. For locals, it's a good place for some good booze and a laugh.  For tourists, it's famous for a variety of other reasons which I will go into later.

El Coyot is located in the West Hollywood section of town.  It's held up well over the years being established in 1931.  That alone makes it remarkable as most restaurants in LA only last a year or two before closing. 

Parking is plentiful in their free lot.  However, after 4PM, it is valet only which means you have to pay $4 to park.  There is metered street parking if you search for it and don't mind walking a block or so.

The inside is dark and has the faded glory of yesteryear with the classic red booths that comfortably seat four or five.  The restaurant holds up toe 375 people but has a one stall bathroom for women and a one stall for men.  Obviously the line for the bathrooms is always long.

The wait staff is dressed in traditional Mariachi costumes which is festive and fun.  The walls are decorated with typical Mexican adornments and plaques from decades past.  It is as if time has stood still inside the restaurant.  They do serve children, but the clientele is mostly for adults.  I noticed the average age was older - mid fifties and up. Nostalgia is prime on the menu here.

The food was nothing special and the menu had some downright weird items such as spaghetti noodles.  The salsa closely resembled rago spaghetti sauce and was served hot.  What?  The tacos were greasy and the tamales were bland and uninspired.  The food is not why folks flock here - but the Martguerita's are!  They are made from scratch and are strong.  After one Martguerita, you "get" it at El Coyote.  After two Margarita's you are really swinging!

My suggestion is to stick with the tortillas and fresh guacamole and enjoy a Margertia and the fun conversation that is sure to follow.

For true crime buffs, El Coyote was the site of the last meal of the beautiful Sharon Tate and her friends Abigale Folger, Jay Sebrig and others.  After their meal, they met their destiny with the Manson family up in Benedict Canyon.  They can even show you the table they all sat at that fateful night.

So, enjoy El Coyote for what it is - a hip, trippy old style Mexican restaurant that spins nostalgia and Margarita's. Every time I have gone there, I have had fun.



Kid Friendliness: No
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Notes, Tips or Menu Recommendations Trippy, Kitschy, good conversation place
Best Suited For: Friends

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October 17, 2010
When I lived in Hermosa, I'd frequently meet up with my Hollywood friends here and, luckily based on your review, all we ever had were margaritas and tortillas. I had no idea about its famous roots though, so that was cool to learn. My favorite Happy Hour Mexican place is Lula's on Main Street in Santa Monica, everything is $4 on the Happy Hour menu and both their drinks and food are tasty. I still wouldn't bring the kids for Happy Hour but, it's a better deal than El Coyote!
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