Portland >Food & Dining > El Palenque Mexican Restaurant
8324 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720245.462455 -122.646922
Neighborhoods: Sellwood - Moreland Improvement League, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program
Best Mexican & Peruvian Food in Town! – Excellent food and service every visit! Great place to go for a business lunch or dinner with family!! My favs are the the Cheese & Loroco Pupusa or the Pelenque Burito. YUM!
Fantastic, Friendly, – My husband and I have been going to El Palenque since it opened and every time the food has been fantastic! The owners and staff are always friendly and remember our favorites dishes. The Carnitas Pork is a must have! Whatever the occasion, party, romantic dinner, or just lunch, they are prompt and the food is perfect. For my Husbands' birthday dinner party they even surprised him with a special birthday cake, and made sure all of our guests were treated like family. And I must mention, El Palenque has the best chips and salsa in town. We love this place!
Dreaming of Papusas – God bless the soul that created the Papusa. I have been to this place 3 times and I still can't bring myself to order anything else. Don't get me wrong, the menu is amazing. They have an entire page of guac dips and a world of other great sounding dishes but the Papusas, oh the papusa and all its cheesy black-beany goodness!!! Our server never mentioned, luckily the kitchen staff clued us in: put the cole-slaw stuff on top if the papusa...don't eat it on the side. Oh, and the house margarita is great!
*Frequent Lunch card (buy 8 lunches get one free)
Bones in the food? – 2 of the 3 times my partner and I have been to El Palenque we've found bones in our food, and I believe the third time we didn't find any bones because all we ordered was the spicy guac. I just don't understand paying more than I would at Chevy's for a meal with bone shards in it. If they had been whole bones, say a boned chicken leg, I might not be opposed, but both occasions the bone shards were in a wrapped food vessel (burrito and enchillada). I know Chevy's is by no means authentic, but at least when I pay seventeen dollars for a meal I don't gnaw into bones. The guac is awesome though, there's many different choices, and the S.A. hot chocolate is decent but not overly spicy. Pretty much anything that doesn't have bones.
Salvadoran and Mexican dishes that are the real McCoy. – In Short
This low-ceilinged, cozy restaurant has green walls contrasting with a red carpet and small, similarly colored tables. Familiar Mexican dishes are on the menu, but the Salvadoran fare turns the experience into an adventure. Salvadoran pupusas--deep-fried tortillas filled with cheese and meat or black beans--are complemented by tart-vinegar cabbage salad. Mexican dishes include mildly sweet, rich and smoky red chicken mole. Don't miss the sweet fried plantains served with black beans and cream.
Super Salvadoran; so so mexico – Stick to the Salvadoran platters, guacamole and Mexican hot chocolate and you will be happy you went. Leave the more "Mexican" part of the menu - that's what taquerias are for. A platter for 2 with cheese bread, papusa, plantano and cream...that's all you need. casual atmosphere, take a while for the check to come so just be ready to relax.
That was not Mexican food! – I am no snob by any means but you can go to most Mexican fast food restaurants in Portland and get better food than you pay more for here. I had fajitas with steak, it tasted like beef jerky that fell in the dirt. My date had enchiladas that looked and tasted like sloppy and cheap. Margaritas were too sweet...I won't go on. Normally I would not trash a restaurant but I searched citysearch trying to impress my girl visiting from NYC were the Mexican stinks, this place is rated 9.9 in Mexican by Citysearch! Come on people! I've had better meals at Taco Bell, I'm losing faith in Citysearh!
User review by tnrltd – Friendly and helpful service in this cozy little place made sure we will be going back again. We had questions about a few different menu items, and the server was very pleasant in describing the various dishes.
Live guitar music, playing softly, while we enjoyed our meal added to the overall experience.
With the exception of the margaritas, $6.99 for a 16oz serving was too high, plus a little more tequila would have been nice, the prices were very reasonable. Stick with a beer if you want alcohol with your meal.
The guacamole, salsa and warm fresh corn chips were fantastic. After we were done eating, we sat and listened to the music while finishing our drinks. Our server, (maybe the owner?), brought us a generous complimentary sample of their dessert-style cheese bread. It was warm, fresh and delicious. We will be going here again!
Great hideaway – El Palenque is a great, out-of-the-way restaurant if you want something other than standard or chain fast food. They offer Salvadorian fare (a rarity in Portland) and the Mexican dishes are delicious. The salsa is first-rate. Probably the best part about El Palenque is the great service you'll get. It's family-owned and the owner/manager/waiter/busboy is super nice and always willing to tell you something about the food or culture of his country.
Overpriced nothing – First off I'd just like to say I don't like to write a bad review about a restaurant, but I recently had food to go from here. In the past I had eaten in the restaurant and a decent meal. This time I had the "Salvadorean Double Combination" with the cheese and black bean pupusa and the what was supposed to be the Chicken Salvadorian tamale. The pupusa was a big tasteless blob of dough, cheese and a few beans. The "chicken" tamale turned out to be a vegetarian tamale with four small pieces of carrot and three small pieces of bell pepper, wrapped in a thick glop of greasy cornmeal. This plus a drink came to $13. For half that I could've had three tacos and a drink at the Taco place on Bybee.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of El Palenque Mexican Restaurant on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.