El Compadre

Perfect For: Big Groups Casual Weeknight Dinner Day Drinking Girls' Night Out Guys Night Outdoor/Patio Situation
PHOTOS: Holly Liss

We don’t mind a little kitsch as long as we can justify everything surrounding it. For example, there is no situation in which we can deal with sparkler-topped bottle service, largely because there’s no situation in which sparkler-topped bottle service adds anything positive to your night.

So when the waiter at El Compadre came out with our margaritas completely enveloped in flames, it really was a test, whether we knew it or not, about our true feelings on the place.

Our reaction? “Ooo fire!!”

Turns out we really like El Compadre.

Flaming margaritas aside, our love for this old-school Mexican restaurant in Hollywood comes from the fact that it’s always a party, and that the food is great. The menu is filled with massive plates of carnitas, enchilada combo platters, and sizzling fajitas that double as the restaurant’s soundtrack when the live band isn’t playing. Sure, you’ve had all of these dishes before, but everything tastes exactly like you'd hope it would. In some cases, even better.

At this location of El Compadre, the kitsch just adds to the experience. But if the Hollywood spot is too busy (which is the case most nights), the DTLA and Echo Park locations are a short drive away.

Food Rundown

El Padrino

This combo is like a trip to Sizzler: “We’d like one of everything. Oh, and maybe just throw a big steak on there for good measure.” A cheese enchilada, a beef taco, guacamole, rice, beans, and yes, a steak, all on one big plate.


These are perfect, oozy goodness. Would recommend a combo with one of these, as opposed to just a plate of them, as the richness might be too amazing to get through more than one.


We’ve already covered the most obvious part: yup, they’re on fire. But after the thrill is gone, what do you have left? Lots and lots of alcohol. And a welcome lack of sweetness in a town that loves to drown their margaritas in sugary mixer.

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