Dining on a budget: Los Gueros in Monrovia

By Lafayette C. Hight Jr.

The best way for a restaurant to develop a following is to wow you within the first few minutes of sitting down at your table.

I had such an experience at Los Gueros last week after happening upon them while strolling down Myrtle Avenue with a rumbling stomach.

I’ve actually known about the restaurant for years, however. They were located in a large, barn-sized building in Pasadena for such a short while – at least it seemed that way to me – that I didn’t get a chance to visit before they closed. I remember now that I was told of their Monrovia relocation, but it obviously faded from my memory.

So, a few seconds after being seated at one of their outdoor tables, I decided to order guacamole to complement the chips and salsa.

Literally, a few seconds after that, a guacamole cart was wheeled over and a staff member started peeling and mashing avocados, mixing jalapenos, onions, tomato, lime, salt and pepper into a healthy green mixture that doubled as a conversation piece, since everybody walking down the street felt compelled to comment on how delicious it looked. 

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It was so good, in fact, that I completely forgot about the menu, and wasn’t ready to order for a little while. But I eventually decided on carne asada enchiladas.

I wondered if the main course would arrive in the same three-minute window that the guacamole appeared, but it wasn’t quite that lightning fast.

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The best thing about their menu, whether lunch or dinner, is that the most expensive items are about $13. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a bar.

I even tried a banana margarita, to satisfy my curiosity. It was just okay, and I wasn’t too crazy about it. But I think it’s because I generally think the only time bananas should be liquefied is when they are put into a smoothie.

I quizzed my server about the name, Los Gueros, which to those of us who speak Spanish, might seem an odd name. According to him, however, the Frenchman who started the business earned the moniker `Guero,’ which then led to the restaurant’s name.

But back to the food. Whenever I dine at a Mexican food establishment, I judge the meal by the quality of one simple element of the meal. (Interestingly enough, it’s the same for Chinese food.) 

The rice. It’s simple to prepare, but too many times in my dining experiences I end up at places that serve dry, hard rice, and I’ve had to write them off.

I’m happy to say that the beans and rice at Los Gueros were great. And the asada steak was well-seasoned and marinated. I’m looking forward to sampling more of their menu.

And ordering the guacamole again.

Los Gueros, located at 423 S. Myrtle Ave. in Monrovia, are open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday an Saturday  and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, call (626) 358-0200.

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