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“Won't go back.” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Border Grill Downtown LA

Border Grill Downtown LA
445 S. Figueroa St., Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (Downtown)
213-486-5171
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Ranked #487 of 7,958 Restaurants in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cross street: 5th St.
Transit: 7th & Metro Station
Description: Enjoy upscale, modern Mexican food in a vibrant setting at Border Grill, the hip, urban cantina from Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" and Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales”. Presenting the bold foods and flavors of Mexico, Border Grill has established a new standard for gourmet Mexican fare. With a menu of complex authentic dishes based on the home cooking of Oaxaca and the Yucatan, Border Grill takes Mexican food to a whole new level!
vancouver bc
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Won't go back.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

Decided to try the restaurant as I was staying in the hotel across the street. I ordered tortilla soup and yucatan pork. About 20 minutes later my main course arrives but no soup. I inquire about the soup and was told they ran out. I ordered around 6:30 and what Mexican restaurant runs out of tortilla soup so early in the evening. They could have asked me before the main course arrived if I wanted another appetizer. Pork was tender but devoid of flavor. I won't go back to see if this was anomaly because their seat was so uncomfortable. They have cheap looking wooden chairs without any cushion which was hard and lumpy. I couldn't wait to get out.

Visited September 2012
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144 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    46
    57
    20
    12
    9
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Symphony of Flavors”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2012

I was staying at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles for business, without a car, and not really wanting to travel far for meals. I was so pleased to have discovered the Border Grill Downtown LA. It bills itself as upscale modern Mexican food, and it did not disappoint. Ate lunch twice here, and would have eaten more meals had my schedule allowed it. There were so many things I wanted to try on the menu! The service was excellent - granted the General Manager had just started two days before, but she went around to each table to see how things were, and brought me a taste of their habanero salsa, which didn't come out with the other 3 salsas that start each meal, with freshly fried tortilla chips (tomatillo, chipotle, and roasted red poblano(?) pepper). The Al Pastor tacos were exquisite - check the menu on their website for a description. I also tried the Plantain Empanadas and a special Mission fig/Goat Cheese salad. My dining partners tried the Avocado Tacos and the Grilled Fish Tacos. Of course, I had to have a taste of each, and I would still say the Al Pastor were my favorite. Servers were knowledgeable about the menu items and made excellent recommendations. The special drink of the day was a Strawberry Mint Lime Cooler - so refreshing. My mouth was singing after each of the meals, in a most pleasant way!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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San Diego, CA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great Food and Atmosphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

We specifically sought out Border Grill for the chefs. We had eaten at their previous restaurant Cuidade, and also Streets, and were anxious to try Border Grill. It did not disappoint. The diner was delicious. There were several families with children, as well as nicely dressed singles and couples. Nice inclusive atmosphere. I recommend it for all who enjoy good food.

Visited September 2012
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Altadena, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Two disappointing experiences”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

My husband and I love the Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, and were sad when the Pasadena BG closed, so when a Groupon became available for the downtown LA Border Grill, we bought two of them. We used the first (for two people) a few weeks ago on a Sunday night, and although the restaurant was not at all busy, the service was very slow. For example, I waited about 10 minutes for my glass of wine even though I could see it on sitting on the bar about 20 feet away from me. The bartenders were washing glasses and chatting with each other, and easily could (and should) have delivered it to me when they realized our waiter was tied up. Our food was also not as warm as it should have been when it arrived. Still, our server was personable -- talking us through which items would be best for my husband, who's a strict vegetarian -- and the food was good, so we chalked the glitches up to being an "off" night. (I've worked in several fine-dining restaurants, and know that does happen.)

I should note that the Border Grill has a special Groupon menu and none of the staff seemed in any way unhappy to see us there as Groupon diners, which is to the restaurant's credit. (We do know to tip on the full amount!)

So we returned last night -- a Saturday -- with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend and our four-person Groupon. We were seated right away, were served chips and water, I ordered a margarita and my husband got the delicious pomegranate lemonade. When the time came to order our appetizer and entrees, my husband ordered the quinoa fritters we'd had the last time, only to have our server tell us, "You don't want those if you're a strict vegetarian; they're made with eggs." Good to know ... but our server on our previous visit had assured us there were no eggs in them, so my husband was not thrilled to learn that. (Happily -- for the restaurant, at least -- he's not deathly allergic to eggs.)

We placed our orders and got our appetizers fairly promptly. We realized then that we had no silverware or napkins, so we requested them from the server who'd delivered the appetizers. It wasn't until our main server returned about five minutes later to inquire about how we were doing that we actually got our utensils/napkins and were able to begin eating. We then waited quite a while for our entrees.

Finally, they were delivered ... well, three of them were, but my brother-in-law's chicken mole was not. The waiter who'd served them left without a word, and when the main server came to see how we were doing about five minutes later, we pointed out that one meal had yet to arrive. The server said, "Is the other waiter going to bring it?" and we said, "We don't know, but we certainly hope so!" After another five minutes or so, we managed to flag down our main server and told her that the missing meal was still missing. She was horrified and went to check on it. When she returned, she apologized and told us that we'd be given an extra desert to compensate, and that the meal would be out in a few minutes. As she was leaving the table, she mentioned, "I guess they didn't see that there were three porks rather than two on the ticket," which got a, "Wait, wait, wait," from us. "He ordered a chicken mole; remember the 'savory vs. sweet' discussion you two had?" She looked horrified once again, and dashed back to the kitchen. By the time the chicken mole was served -- close to 20 minutes after the other entrees were served -- the three of us with food had pretty much finished our meals. The mole sauce was practically imperceptible (I realize it was pumpkin seed rather than traditional mole, but there was not enough of it to lend much flavor), so my brother-in-law was less than impressed by it, especially after the long wait.

We asked to have the remainder of the two pork meals packaged to go, and they were returned to us randomly. If the person who returned them to us had cared at all -- or perhaps it's a training issue -- he could have asked, "Which one of you still had the tortilla?" Not bothering to distinguish between the meals is really bush-league service.

On to the deserts. The molten peanut-butter cake is to-die-for delicious; the brownie sundae is good, too. We asked if my husband could have sorbet as our third, comped desert, and the server said she'd be happy to bring him not just one, but two scoops of sorbet to make up for our inconvenience. The mango and passion fruit were delicious, and a nice wrap-up to a very uneven evening.

I'm afraid we didn't pay a lot of attention to the bill -- it was a bit hard to figure out, because of the Groupon -- but when I got home, I took a closer look. Guess what? We were charged $5 for the two scoops of sorbet, which my husband wouldn't have ordered in the first place had they not been "complementary."

I really want to love this fairly nearby Border Grill -- I remember Ciudad as being such a great dining experience, and I'd imagined this location to be the flagship BG -- but it's simply not anything special. The food options are interesting, and I appreciate the effort to use organic elements and local sources, but that's not enough to offset haphazard service, even by charming waitstaff. In an ironic twist, I just received a two-for-one entree coupon for joining the BG "VIP" club, but I don't have a desire to use it unless I make it to the Mandalay Bay before the expiration date.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Belmont, Michigan
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“The best Mexican Food!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

We ate here when we stayed in LA on a business trip. A friend "local" took us here for dinner - assuring us we would love it - and we were not disappointed!! We sat on the patio and ordered a smorgasboard of items and shared them.

You can tell that they use fresh ingredients to make their food. Service was wonderful, and we will be back the next time we return to LA!!!

  • Visited July 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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