Portland >Food & Dining >
Catering >La Calaca Comelona
2304 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR | Directions 9721445.516237 -122.642202
Neighborhoods: Buckman, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program
Abundant Latin color and ghoulish kitsch galore make for A+ ambiance at this venerable Belmont ristorante, which has one of the greatest patio gardens in town and a super happy hour--I love the spinach tortillas with house salsa and cactus quesadillas.
The atmosphere is very festive with a Day of the Dead motif. The back patio on a sunny day is a great place to sip on a south of the border cocktail creation. The HH food choices are mini version from their menu. I enjoyed the pulled pork Totopos and the plaintain croquettes.
Interesting interior, average food – Me, my girlfriend, and her friend went there to grab a bite before a movie. We were in a hurry so the staff was friendly and able to accommodate us. The Latin music was nice but loud enough that we had trouble carrying a conversation. I loved the artwork and the punchy colors in this place. We decided to go with the veggie quesidillas which was basically one item, cheese, and only one tortilla folded in half (which we didn't learn until after our dish arrived). It was $7 each for this tiny portion. I thought it was pricey and was expecting a two full size tortillas. While they had some neat options to put in your quesidilla, they were not evenly distributed in my girlfriends. She ordered the chipotle chili ones and there were very few in there. I got the cactus one and that was better proportioned Their drinks were very tasty. I got something called the green snake which was mint, gin, lime, sugar, and some other stuff in there. My gf got a fruity drink that reminded me of an Orange Julius. We had asked the waitress for extra sauce since they brought out a tiny portion to share among the 3 of us and she forgot it. We were in a hurry so we didn't ask again.
This was my first experience but I thought the staff was friendly, the ambiance was something I would expect to see in Mexico so it was appropriate. They could turn down the music a little and their food was boring tasting and sorta bland. I've had better Mexican food in PDX, so I probably won't go back there again unless it's for drinks.
Not so great for happy hour... – I read about this is a happy hour guide book that gave it a 10/10 and invited my coworkers and friends along. Turns out happy hour is only in the bar, which is a very tiny space in the back. The food was good and the atmosphere was fun, but the drinks were pretty watered-down and my coworkers had to sit in the front room and pay full-price for dinner at 8:30pm. It seems pretty silly to me to have an appetizer cost $8 in one section of the restaurant and then, a few feet back, have it cost $5. I mean, it was Friday night and the place was pretty empty by around 9pm. You'd think they'd want to get rid of their grasshoppers at that point, right?
Great food, horrible service – I have mixed feelings about La Calaca, because I love the food but I hate the service. Been here several times and have experienced rude servers who run around frantically like chickens with their heads cut off, even when it's not busy. Literally RUNNING through the bar and acting too busy to serve you. We were actually told that we could not stand in the bar--we had to be sitting down while we waited for our table. Our margaritas and mojito were terrible--totally watered down. Another couple returned their drinks while we were sitting there. If you can stand the service and avoid the cocktails, the food is great! The most authentic I've found so far in P-town. Be sure to try the pork in black sauce, puerco negro, I think it's called. Absolutely fantastic. The patio is wonderful, too.
la calaca comelona – If you are looking for increadible mexican food at a decent price try this 23rd and belmont favorite. Weekends can be a little packed and sevice can be a little better earlier in the week. Waitstaff is friendly and efficiant and the portions are good sized for the dinners "try the sarape ". The cadilac margarita Is choice and the chi can is one of the most interesting drinks that I have ever tried. p.s. they dont have chips and salsa or burritos
Crickets, etc. – I love this place. Not the best Mexican I've ever had, but the whole experience has been pleasurable every time I've visited. The service is friendly and helpful. The atmosphere is just plain cool -- including the wonderful outdoor utopian patio. I've had tacos and sopes, as well as their fantastic ceviche and hearty meat skillets. Everything I've eaten is wonderful, but probably my favorite item on the menu is the spinach tortilla appetizer. They give you fresh onion, red and green hot sauce, and cilantro making this simple handmade fresh tortilla perfectly tasty. The crickets are worth trying just for the hell of it, but I certainly wouldn't get it every time. I did learn one very important lesson from the crickets: anything with chili and lime can taste good, even if it has small scratchy legs. Not too impressed by the drinks, but the smoothies and fresh horchata are totally awesome! It's a total experience.
Good Food, Baaaaad Service – Despite all of the negative reviews on here, my friends and I tried this place for a birthday celebration. We made a reservation for a party of 12 the day prior. When I got there, the host/waiter said that there was no reservation for us and further, that they could not accomodate a party of 12. He said that he was the only person that had been there the day before so we could not have possibly made a reservation.
Even though there was only one other party there at the time (another large party that was told they had no reservation either - hmmm), we were told there was no room for us. He pretty much told me to come back some other time, but they could not get us in that night. Once they realized that we were not leaving, they put some tables together for us. Once we were done with dinner, a few people in the party wanted to stay and have a drink in their (small) bar area and were told that we could not fit in there so we should go somewhere else.
The service was horrible and slow.
The food was really good though, and authentic. If they would focus a bit on their customer service and not turn customers away they might have a chance. But if they continue with they way things are now, I am afraid that they will never be successful. Such a shame.
Authentic Mexican Food – The food was very fresh and the prices were reasonable. Don't go there if you are looking for Tex-Mex, this is very good "Mexican" food!
Good Mex Alternative – Bitchen food. So-so mixed drinks. Margaritas should be waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy better. Better margaritas at many other non-Mexican joints. Some excellent lighter-fare dishes. Had a very nice red-snapper empenada thing. Like a giant fish fritter. Cool outdoor patio seating.
Fantastic Mexican Fare – As self-proclaimed connoisseurs of authentic Mexican cuisine, my husband and I decided to favor the good reviews of this restaurant and give it a try. We're so glad we did!! It was positively excellent. Although the prices were high, the service, atmosphere, drinks and food made up for it completely. I would definitely go there again. (There are choices on the menu that will not break your bank as well.) However, when we were there, the menu said that happy hour started at 8pm, and there was no pond on the patio. Not having expected these things, nothing dissappointed us on our visit.
Try it, unless you like taco bell, in which case your untrained palate would not appreciate the authenticity of this fabulous restaurant.
really cool place – After reading a really nasty review, I decided to write one of my own, because my experience was quite unlike theirs, although I do agree with a couple of things. I love the decor, the bar is quite cozy and pleasant, with my table near the fireplace. Service was prompt and friendly, even though we had several late arrivals, and ordered things one at a time, which I know, as a former service industry employee, makes the table " high maintenance". I love the avocado salad, and the pork tacos were so good, I ordered more, they are highly addictive. I do agree with some reviews that this place is overpriced on some items, and the ceviche was very fishy tasting. I tried the grasshopper appetizer, thinking what the heck, and it was gross. I felt like I had a mouth full of, you guessed it, insects!
I really like this restaurant because it is unusual, and the food is generally very authentic, in a mexican revolutionary kind of way. My other fave mexican place is very similar, with food that is not covered in cheese, and very fresh ingredients. Not everything is the best ever, but the nasty reviewer seems like he has a personal ax to grind, and his hyperbolic description was by definition, way over the top.
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