This restaurant added safety precaution details

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Socalo

4.4
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106 reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
We are open for outdoor dining Tuesday - Saturday with open-air sidewalk seating with tables spaced 6 feet apart and an expansive shaded patio space dotted with bright orange umbrellas, string lights, and ocean breezes.

We also offer takeout with curbside pickup, delivery, and family meal kits.

Located within Santa Monica’s Gateway Hotel, Socalo is a beachy, California canteen and Mexican pub from award-winning chef/owners Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.

Socalo serves conscientiously-sourced, seasonal SoCal Mexican fare with quick counter service during the day while dinner shifts to full-service dining alongside cocktails featuring small-batch spirits, craft beers on tap and Mexican wines.

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Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitising
  • Surfaces sanitised between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Clean menu provided to every guest
  • Sanitiser or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Social Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
Personal Protective Equipment
  • Waiting staff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
What 106 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.2
service
4.1
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Exceptional service, Drinks tasted great.

AL
vipALICEG
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Terrific evening out. Donald the manager took a liking to us the minute we got there -- we were early for our reservation but he found us a sweet outside table right in the front. The whole crew was so happy to have actual dining guests they really watched over us. Food was exceptional, the fish tacos and cauliflower fresh and tasty. They were a little slow with our dinner, but they apologized and brought us a half order of guac and chips on the house. This was a Saturday night and every outside table was taken by the time we left. I hesitate to tell too many people about this place as it may get too busy.

PO
POCAHONTAS
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Mary Sue and Susan had me with the perfect Margarita with Guac/Chips/salsa!! Excellent food, and service.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing flavors from appetizers to desert. Cocktails to die for...... I love this place.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service

KS
KSSM
1 review
Dined on 3 July 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

It was nice to sit on the patio and enjoy the meal!

BF
vipBikegrrl4FrenchFood
San Francisco
40 reviews
Dined on 1 July 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

I ate four meals at Socalo in less than 72 hours. It was a destination for me, but I also happened to be staying in the hotel where Socalo is located. I really LOVED the margaritas, regular and passionfruit, the delicious soup chock-full of veggies, the fresh and flavorful salsas and meats for the tacos. The staff is absolutely wonderful, and I found my needs being anticipated, much appreciated. The happy hour offers great deals, and the beer and wine list is incredible, as it offers almost exclusively Mexican (largely Baja) options. I can't wait to go back on my next visit to Santa Monica.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 26 June 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is the safest I have ever felt at any restaurant during this covid lockdown. Tables are generously spaced, plenty of outdoor seating, and all staff were wearing masks, gloves, AND shields! I have been seeing just masks by staff at other restaurants but not here. Also temp checks and disposable menus are a plus!! I felt super safe and comfortable eating here.

The food was amazingly tasty. I ordered a burrito and my boyfriend had the steak tacos. They tasted super fresh and we didn't leave feeling over stuffed--just perfect. Margs were fantastic as well. We will definitely be returning!

Only restaurant we have felt 100% confident and comfortable in their safety precautions. Plenty of parking and it is free (as of when we went tonight)

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 20 June 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Despite strict Covid protocols being followed (or maybe because of) we felt comfortable and enjoyed our visit. We enjoyed the food and margs immensely and the service was fantastic and friendly. The only reason I knocked down a few stars is because of the makeshift patio which was in a hotel driveway... but on the flip side, they accommodated the need for extra patio space to provide a safe dining experience so they’re still pretty great in my book. So glad to see a fun restaurant in this space. PS- if you don’t love sweet margs, try the passion fruit marg with no syrup or agave. It was delish and refreshing. As a side note, temps were taken at the door, heavy PPE was worn, all of the diners were wearing masks when not eating, and they wiped the table down a few times which really felt like they were taking time to ensure cleanliness. I’d go back in a heartbeat for the vampiro tacos and cauliflower

NR
NicholasR
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 19 June 2020
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Food was good - though, the guacamole needs work: lacked flavor. Very pedestrian and bland. Mixed a salsa into it to add life and character.

Hanger steak was cooked too well for carne asada tacos. Needed more juice and flavor. Lost cause over cooked.

Beans were bland. Mex rice was fine.

Service was pretty bad. Was their first nite back for in person dining. That said they tried. As did I.

C
vipCassandra
Los Angeles
15 reviews
Dined on 12 March 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

What can I say? Food is great! Service is welcoming and diligent. My only complaint is the noise. When it’s full of people, there’s quite a din, which makes conversation with more than two people a challenge. I would appreciate some noise reduction efforts to make this a restaurant that is excellent for both food and good conversation...that’s what I love about going out to eat:-)

AS
AnnetteS
1 review
Dined on 11 March 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So glad to have the 2 Hot Tamales back on the Westside! The food and atmosphere are fantastic. Don’t miss the chicken chicharones and Vampiro tacos. The cocktails are super interesting. Go with a few friends and order one if everything. You won’t be sorry.

JW
JordanW
Portland
1 review
Dined on 7 March 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Overall my group and I had a positive experience at Socalo. The food was good (especially the tacos and the caesar salad)! The guacamole was underwhelming. The restaurant itself is cute and well decorated, I'd recommend people checking it out!

AS
vipAnitaS
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on 6 March 2020
Overall3food4service4ambience4

Lovely place with hideous noise level. Cannot go back

GE
vipGEORGIE
London
18 reviews
Dined on 5 March 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Great tacos but so loud in restaurant due to concrete floors. Also, I kept smelling diesel. Weird.

C
vipComptoir
New England
35 reviews
Dined on 4 March 2020
Overall2food3service2ambience1

The noise level in this restaurant is unbearably loud. We could not hear one another across the table unless we shouted. It was so overwhelming it was difficult to focus on the food. I would like to report something positive about the food but my steak dish was salted as loudly as the restaurant is noisy. The drinks were decent but the waiter forgot our order and we watched every table around us get served before us even though they arrived after us. This restaurant received rave reviews on Eater but they are quite mistaken. I would never come here again or recommend this to anyone I cared about.

IW
vipIleneW
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on 4 March 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I have always loved the two hot tamales. I've eaten in every one of their restaurants. The food here is very good. The menu is limited but well thought out with choices for every way of eating. It's a little too noisy but Susan Feniger, one of the chef owners, came around to all of the tables and told us they are working on that. I'm so happy to have them back in the neighborhood. It's a great addition to the Santa Monica food scene.

6
vip6kgk9
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on 3 March 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very nice. Love the food .

M
vipMati
Los Angeles
12 reviews
Dined on 29 February 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

A little pricey for the amount of food you get. Dishes are small, but the food is amazing. I went with a group of 6 and we all chose a dish but still felt hungry after dinner. Good food but a bit pricey!

SB
ShaBush
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on 28 February 2020
Overall4food4service2ambience3

food was great! honestly 85% of it was excellent and the other 15% was good. drinks were fabulous too - alcohol forward, beautiful looking, creative and flavorful. the service needs definite work (even though chef fenniger came by our table, as she is one to do) but they just opened so i'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. maybe more of a lunch spot but either way, definitely going to go back.

m
mkmk
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 28 February 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

I've now had two great experiences at Socalo. Top notch service, great food and cocktails featuring fresh ingredients and a nice overall vibe. I do think things are a bit overpriced - if they could increase portions event by 5-10% would make a huge difference. I'm in the food industry and I know good food costs more and I'm willing to pay for it, but I think in some cases things are a bit extreme here. I also wish they would at least offer the happy hour pricing on drinks in the main restaurant - right now, you can only do happy hour in the bar area.

a
vipalacarte
Los Angeles
41 reviews
Dined on 27 February 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Food was great, but the noise level made it difficult to have a conversation.

N
vipNena
Los Angeles
105 reviews
Dined on 26 February 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Food very good service great much too loud. The place looks very nice and have been there a few times because people want to try but we cannot have conversations

OT
OpenTable Diner
Calgary
10 reviews
Dined on 24 February 2020
Overall3food4service5ambience2

Our server was excellent. The entry from the neighbouring hotel was weird, but free parking so that’s good. Drinks were subpar. It was very quiet, although we visited during the week, so they can’t be faulted for that. Overall, it was a decent dinner for two. Maybe a good spot for a first date since it was quiet but not very memorable overall.

DL
vipDavidL
Los Angeles
19 reviews
Dined on 23 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent food, great ambiance, just kind of noisy.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on 23 February 2020
Overall2food2service1ambience1

So noisy, cold surfaces, uncomfortable benchs/chairs. Food mediocre. So disappointed--can't believe this is from the Border Grills ladies!