Portland >Restaurants >
703 Sw Ankeny St, Portland, OR | Directions 9720545.522583 -122.677826
11 am to 2:15 am 365 days a year
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Neighbors West - Northwest
Not just any ordinary downtown alley hole-in-the-wall, this one has a secret passageway to Mary’s Club, one of Portland’s most venerable strip clubs. As though that weren’t compelling enough, they also serve otherworldy cochinita nachos, and the When Pigs Fly plate is fun too. Get your change in dollars and you’re set.
Love their fish tacos, chicken tinga tacos and huge portions. I can never finish. It's always busy and you can have your food in Mary's strip club, which is attached. Hey, Courtney Love got her start here! I'll talk about the club later, in the meantime, get the nachos only if you're super hungry! Staff friendly, but not the fastest.
OMG, authentic homemade Mexican food – Okay, this place is no longer El Grillo, it is now called Santeria. From what the server told me the cook there now is the original owner of El Grillo who left and now he is back at Santeria. I had the Beef Morita, very spicy, but just right if you can handle it. The flavor was great from the roasted morita peppers. My buddy had the First Class Flight, 3 different tacos and a great way to try a few different things that they offer. Everything is done in house, they carry mexican beers, soda, etc. This place is legit and delicious. Final note, both of us left the restaurant completely full and happy, with tip less that $24 for lunch. You can't do that at a lot of Mexican joints as good as this one!
Probably doesn't do your body good, but it sure tastes good – Delicious and cheap trashy Mexican food appropriately situated next door to Mary's, a strip club. Great for college students and others on a budget: large portions and small prices. Quesadillas are fairly standard but big burritos are tasty and sometimes overwhelming. One of a few Mexican food refuges in Portland where natives think Cha Cha Cha is "good" Mexican (it's not).
Best Mexican chow on the planet – Get the Burrito El Grillo. It's huge, and doesn't break the bank. I'm a big dude with an always above average, if not rather large appetite. I am sated at El Grillo for under ten bucks! Furthermore, the sauces are superb, and the meats aren't dripping with grease. Great quality food at a very fair price. The counter staff deliver your order on the fly.
I found El Grillo by asking a bookseller at Powell's where to go for good Mexi-chow near the bookstore (my first visit to Portland in 2000). She suggested El Grillo. I've been going there since. If I'm in the city, I'll go out of my way to go there, as opposed to just another chain Mexi joint. El Grillo's ambience is awesome. Yes, it conveniently shares a restroom with Mary's strip bar next door. If the sight of bare women offends you, stay away from the restrooms!
However, the restaurant is a cozy little joint with a small counter, and a few tables. The decor is sort of a mix of indie-retro / 50's diner / Mexican tiled. There's nothing stuff-shirted or pretentious about El Grillo; go in with jeans and a t-shirt, kick back, and prepare to enjoy a great meal at a great price.
Yes, I avoid the place on the few days Portland has scorcher weather (>90 degrees).
great shredded beef. avoid during summer it is like a sanua. – Great place to freak out your mom if she has to go to the bathroom. Once a cook there tried to pay me for somempthing verry wrong that I will not put in here, in the back room but after telling the owner it is a much better reasturant, frendly service and it is prompt. Good food but can be expencive for the kind of place it is. I reccomend it though
Mexican food and nekked girls. What more could you want? – When gotta get away from the office for a burrito and some nekked girls, this is the place. Order your food, then head next door to Mary's Club for some quality mid-day entertainment! Very incognito way to go see nekked chicks during the day without risking being seen by co-workers!
Solid taqueria fare on the sauciest block in town. – In Short
This little taqueria does mostly takeout, given the cracked vinyl stools at the counter, a few small tables, and blaring Tejano music. The signature El Grillo burritos are for the famished--a huge tortilla stuffed with anything from bland ground beef to authentic beef tongue and topped with oozing cheese and a sweet enchilada sauce. Tacos are a great value, especially the deep-fried fish fillet generously adorned with cilantro, onion and sour cream.
Still a great spot! – Still a great spot with a gritty, authentic feel, real food, quickly prepared. The roasted sals with the chips is great, as are the squeeze bottles of house red and green sauce, and the communal crock of pickled jalepenos to add to your plate. The burritos remain huge and satisfying, but there are now a couple daily specials; today's was a complex and gratifying pollo en mole. My favorite remains the chili rejeno. Try it out!
YUMMMMM – Best tacos ever!!!!!! Carne asada tacos are the best and they taste just like the ones in Baja!! Go here!
Don't judge this book by its cover! – Friendly folks behind the cash register and awesome Mexican food on your plate. This place has so much character, you feel like a more well-rounded person just for having been inside. With a door leading straight into Mary's, Portland's first strip club, or the front door facing the Church of Elvis, you've really never experienced Portland until you've been to El Grillo. The food is fantastic, authentic and incredibly affordable.
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