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El Carmen Restaurant - 43 Reviews - 8138 W 3RD St, Los Angeles, CA - Bars, Pubs & Clubs Reviews - Phone (323) 852-1552

El Carmen Restaurant

8138 W 3RD St (at Crescent Heights Boulevard)
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 852-1552
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Food & Dining


El Carmen Restaurant - Los Angeles, CA


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if you're looking for tequila, look no further. this place has got it. i like the red vibe in this place- it's kinda sexy. i've taken a lot of dates here cuz its easy to get ro...


Had a drink here on Friday night. $10 for a margarita on the rocks. It was mostly rocks with very little tequila. And it comes in a small glass. The bartender chick was pretty...

Nothing beats the tequila and tacos at El Carmen! 5/11/2011

See the full El Carmen review at One Delish more

tequila- to kill ya! 3/20/2011

if you're looking for tequila, look no further. this place has got it. i like the red vibe in this place- it's kinda sexy. i've taken a lot of dates here cuz its easy to get romantic at the bar (if you can get a spot). actually the place is small so you can eat dinner here so that you make sure you have a place for your lady to sit. get the taquitos. and of course, plenty of tequila. more

Great Vibe that the female bartender tries to ruin 11/26/2009

I love the place....the crowd is always great, the drinks are great....BUT the older blonde female bartender seems unhappy all the time and has the worst attitude, she kind of ruins the vibe which is terrible. I still go there often since it's so close to where I live and I just hope that she isn't the one working the bar. Another problem is the sewage smell in the hall and both bathrooms, I have never been to a bar or place that serves food and had to smell raw sewage, the smell is so strong and it's right next to the kitchen. I can't imagine why the owner or landlord does not fix the problem, it has been months. You would think the problem is in violation of a health code or something. It is hard to figure out why they refuse to close and repair the pipes. As bad as the horrible smell is, the female, blonde bartender is actually worse to handle. With both horrible down falls, the place is still so much fun and I always meet great people there. Advice- hold your nose when you walk towards the back/bathroom area and ask for someone else to wait on you if the unhappy blonde tries to take your oder....otherwise you should have a great time. Pros: Great crowd and atmosphere Cons: The blonde female bartender/raw sewage more

Overpriced 6/27/2009

Had a drink here on Friday night. $10 for a margarita on the rocks. It was mostly rocks with very little tequila. And it comes in a small glass. The bartender chick was pretty worthless when it came to service. Stick with the beer and the food. Pros: Location Cons: Service with an attitude more

How great is this place! 5/27/2009

Dug this place for years, never fails to deliver on food, ambiance and of course, drinks. Great crowd too. Pros: Kinda loving all of it Cons: Parking more

Mmmmm.... Pomegranate Margarita.... 5/21/2009

My co-workers and I went to El Carmen last night for Happy Hour, most of us for the first time. I really liked it, although it's a cozy place with no outdoor, you quickly warm up to the place because of its pros. Mexican theme, great service - even though it was crowded, she was there whenever we looked up, and the food and drinks kept coming... (That's partly due to our amazing boss though) We couldn't stop raving about the food, we kept saying, ""OMG, this is sooooo good! (Munch, munch, munch) Did you try the shrimp? (Munch, munch, munch) What about the guacamole? (Munch, munch, munch) Did you try the ceviche? And we kept eating! It was great! We love to eat, and all that is on the Happy Hour menu!!! Don't forget to try the pomegranate margarita... Bomb! Pros: Great Service, thanks to Idalia, our waitress Cons: No Outdoor more

WOW. Great drinks and the Food is amazing 5/21/2009

After work my co worker and I went for Happy Hour let just say we had a great time. Idalia the cool waitress told me to try a watermelon margarita it was grrrreat. Oh my the Tequila Shrimp were amazing but the Apple Fritter A la mode was mouth watering. If you are looking for great drinks, food and service this is the place to go. Pros: watermelon margarita Tequila Shrimp more

WOW!! Best Margaritas Hands Down 5/21/2009

So we went to this place for some coworkers. The place looks kinda small from the outsite, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Wrestlers are looking over you in this hot spot, with great ambience. The best part was the Cactus Fruit margarita. Wow!!! You must also try their desser menu. Their apple firtter a-la-mode was amazing!!!! Overall this place was a great spot, with people to mingle with and fun atmosphere. Pros: Great drinks, food, staff more

Fabulous Fun! 5/21/2009

Went last night after work for happy hour and let me tell ya we had a blast. The drinks were very tasty ""watermelon margarita"" on the rocks my fave as recommended by our cool waitress Idalia. The Tequila Shrimp didn't even touch down on the table ""Banging""! You cannot leave without getting an order of the Apple Fritter A la mode...K if you do you I just might have to send my doggie Dolce Vita to teach you a thing or 2. Bottom line we had a wonderful time the food and drinks were ""Fabulous"". Looking for a low key place to have a great time, look no further! Pros: Tequila Shrimp & Apple Fritter are CRACK-O-LICIOUS! more

Mexican Wrestlers and Tequila 5/11/2009

El Carmen is one of those bars that just makes you happy. With the bold and funky decor of black velvet paintings, wrestler masks, Mexi-comic wallpaper, and illegal Vietnamese snake bottles, El Carmen gives so much in such a small package. It's like the ""Three Caballeros"" but with booze. The specialty drinks are never a disappointment, especially the homemade pineapple-infused tequila on the rocks and the lip-burning spicy Margarita. Don't let this small bar fool you...the food at El Carmen is some of the best (if not the best) bar food in all of Los Angeles. Notably the fish tacos and the potato flautas will make you regret eating that stupid lean cuisine you had 2 hours ago. Pros: Infused Tequila, specialty drinks, simple yet amazing food. Cons: seating is limited more

Try the Cactus Fruit Margarita! 12/16/2008

The cactus fruit margarita is amazing! The guava is yummy too. I always have my friends try a shot of the Fusion... it's tequila marinated in pineapple. Although it's frequented by the Hollywood-type, I like El Carmen for it's 'authentic tendencies.' The red sauce on the enchiladas is really good; it's not a salty wanna-be Mexican sauce. The asada tacos are tasty and so are the flautas. fyi - service is consistently mediocre. more

Cinco De Mayo, Get there no later than 7:30 to avoid a line 5/6/2008

I went here two years ago for Cinco De Mayo and had the best time. The highlight of the night ,were the large Margaritas! Pros: Music, drinks, food and AMBIENCE Cons: Girl Bartender had an attitude more

All Around Great 3/20/2008

New to the neighborhood, and am definitely making this my place. Friendly, competent bartenders make a strong drink - all of which are very good. Some of the best margaritas in LA, and there's innumerable tequilas to sample. And whoever said ""don't eat here"" is WAY off the mark. The chips and salsa with guacamole was the best I've had in years. The cheese enchiladas were excellent as well, and inexpensive. Dinner for 4 people with 2 beers was $61. Great value anywhere, especially on 3rd St. Pros: Great drinks, atmosphere, food Cons: Arrogant 3rd St. crowd more

Great margs 2/1/2008

Don't eat here, but definitely head over after dinner at dougboy's for the best margarita in LA and a perfect jukebox crowd. Pros: Margaritas, jukebox Cons: food, parking more

My personal favorite bar in LA 8/23/2007

I've been going to El Carmen consistently for about 2 years now, and have come to the conclusion that it is my favorite drinking spot in LA. Not only is the atmosphere and decor awesome (good music, slightly trendy but still laid-back crowd, and you've got to love all the lucha libre decor) but the drinks and food are very good. If you're planning on eating dinner there late night, definitely call ahead -- they have a table in the back for large groups, and the place tends to fill up. They do, however, keep tables for those dining -- just there for drinks = standing room/a lucky snag of a seat at the bar only. I highly recommend the potato flautas -- or the nachos, if you're sharing -- and grab a spicy margarita or a pineapple infused tequila to drink. The servers can get a little forgetful when it gets super packed, but the bartenders tend to be right on their game -- i have, however, had a tough time convincing them to sell me one of the Tito la Brea paintings off the wall. We'll see where that goes. more

Best Margaritas in L.A. 8/6/2007

If you like your margaritas blended/frozen, this is the place to go. Seriously. Very seriously. It's as if they use a smoothie machine. The perfect consistency, deeelicious flavor! Mmm, I want one now. Happy hour weekdays 5-7 is beyond awesome, $3 for the best margaritas in town? Unbelievable. That's less than what I just paid for a small vanilla latte ($3.05 at the Coffee Bean). Good small bites too, vege tacos, enchiladas with a great spicy ranchero sauce, warm chips and salsa/guacamole. Pros: Best Margaritas!! Cons: Parking can be tricky around 3rd ... Get a cab if you're drinking more than 1 more

Awesome food & Margaritas!! 5/18/2007

Not only do they have the best margaritas, but the food is AWESOME!! The food to me is authentic.. unlike the person below me stated. Tacos are a la carte and not served with tons of fillers like non-authentic places serve them. Their tomatillo ribs are to die for! The elote is awesome.. and the fish tacos are my fav. more

Best Margaritas 4/10/2007

They have the best drinks! The cactus fruit margarita is one of the best margaritas I've ever had. You should definitely try it. The food is horrible and it is NOT authentic like the person below me stated, but after a couple of drinks you won't know if it is authentic or not. Great bar! Pros: Margaritas are great and they have over 300 types of tequilas. Cons: The food is horrible and overpriced more

I love El Carmen!! 3/23/2007

This is my favorite place to go with the girls, or on dates. The decor is awesome and it's very dark and sultry. Their margaritas don't give me headache the next day, the staff is genuinely friendly and the food is authentic Mexican at a great price. And I love that I don't have to order a full dinner if I'm not that hungry. They sell their tacos a la carte. El Carmen rules!!!!!!! more

If you want tequila, this place is cool 10/25/2006

Very solid margaritas...huge tequila selection, other than that it is nothing special but I guess it's a fun spot if you are kicking it on third street. more
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Menu for El Carmen Restaurant

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  • The Scene
    If "Twin Peaks" director David Lynch designed a south-of-the-border bar, this is what it would be like. Mounted bull heads watch over tequila drinkers, while black velvet paintings of Mexican wrestlers survey the room. The theme carries over to the wrestler masks hanging from the ceiling and the Pulp-style art covering the walls. The surreal mood is locked in when the jukebox jams its fourth Michael Jackson song in the last hour and no one even notices.

    The Draw
    The kitsch factor draws its share of hipsters, but El Carmen also gets its fair share of the sleek and chic who come for the tequila, baby. There are more than 420 varieties to choose from; the sampler platter offers a sip or two of several different types. Or try a Mexjito, a delicious, tequila-based take on the mojito.

  • 4/30/2007 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Mon-Fri 5pm-2am Sat-Sun 7pm-2am
  • Payments:

    Master Card, Visa
  • Neighborhoods:

    Central LA, Beverly Center