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Home / california restaurants

San Gabriel Valley’s Best Mexican Sit-Down Restaurants and Mexican Takeout

Whether you begin your day with a dish brimming with warm corn tortillas, saliva-inducing salsa, topped with perfectly over easy eggs or enjoy breaking open juicy, pork-filled banana leaves with friends, Mexican food has likely found its way into your world. In fact, this cuisine is adored globally, as various cultures have quickly adopted components of Mexico’s vibrant gastronomy as their own. 

Mexican food’s worldwide rise in popularity rapidly made its way into American hearts and bellies over the past 50 years. This cultural craze contributed to numerous culinary normatives Westerners take for granted today, with dishes like the taco becoming staples in public school lunches and fast food chain menus. 

California’s Mexican Cuisine 

Nowadays, Mexican food restaurants exist in nearly every city in America, with most offering an extensive array of authentic meals. Southern California is no stranger to the wealth of Mexican cuisine in its midst. In fact, California ranks as having one the highest quantities of Mexican restaurants, parallelled by Texas. San Gabriel Valley, known for its abundance of Chinese cuisine, if you look a little closer, you’ll find an equal array of authentic Mexican restaurants in its midst. 

Check out our top selections of both Mexican sit-down and takeout restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley area. 

Mexican Sit-Down Restaurants

El Pescador

With a name like El Pescador, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself with a healthy assortment of seafood entrees to choose from. Here, the extensive drink menu alone is enough to keep you busy pondering your evening libations. Peruse the mouth-watering selection of shrimp and octopus cocktails before you mull over what to order for your main course. 

What to get: Camarones Tatemados

This spicy dish comes served atop a warmed corn tortilla and brimming with grilled shrimp, onions, tomatoes, and avocados. 

Bizarra Capital

If you’re looking for a low-key meal and some delicious tacos, look no further than Bizarra Capital. Your eyes will beguile these delicious platters full of vibrant vegetables and savory meats before you even get a chance to sink your teeth into them. 

What to get: Pato Taco

Served on a puffy chalupa, the Pato Taco is filled with flavorful duck carnitas and juicy grilled onions. The orange-chocolate salsa offers a decadent flavor contrast that seamlessly melds this dish together. 

Paco’s Mexican

Naturally you’ll want to start your dining experience with Corralejo Premium Margarita. This vivacious drink will set the tone for the rest of your meal. Once you crack open your dining menu, prepare for a slew of options. Let us help alleviate your decision paralysis with this sizzling recommendation. 

What to get: Trio Fajitas 

This triple threat allows you to sample the wide range of meats offered for the fajitas. Served piping hot on a cast iron skillet, the trio fajitas really pack it in. Enjoy the variety in this combo of shrimp, chicken breast, and steak, served alongside grilled bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes.  

Mexican Takeout

Chanos Drive-In

This humble stucco establishment, adorned with multi-colored flags and nestled between E Las Tunas and N Willard Ave in San Gabriel, is home to some delicious eats. With its minimal online presence, you’ll have to stop by to really experience all Chanos has to offer. Pay a visit to this bustling hotspot and snag some delicious Mexican for the road. 

What to get: Machaca Burrito

This jam-packed burrito boasts grilled shredded beef mixed with scrambled eggs and beans. Blended with melted cheese and refreshing pico de gallo (onions, cilantro, and tomato), you might find yourself ordering two next time. 

El Taquito Mexicano 

The chefs here know what’s up. El Taquito Mexicano prides itself in serving fiercely authentic Mexican cuisine while using only the freshest ingredients possible. Rest assured, your dining experience will be truly mouth-watering. 

What to get: Beef Tongue Burrito

Test your taste buds with a truly authentic Mexican dish when you order the Beef Tongue Burrito. Prepare for an array of textures and fireworks of flavor when you take your first bite into this generous tortilla. 

El Cholo Pasadena 

El Cholo is a landmark part of Southern California’s Mexican food culture. This signature spot found its beginnings in Los Angeles in 1923, and has since moved to Pasadena in 2000. You can expect authentic Mexican cuisine of the highest quality along with a bountiful take-out menu.  

What to get: Green Corn Tamales

This classic dish traces back to El Cholo’s beginnings in 1923. Truly a special occasion treat, you can only order these from May through October. Enjoy this fresh corn on the cob, steamed in its own husk and filled with gooey cheddar cheese and spicy ortega chilis. 

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