Kid Hit Menu Items: The kids’ menu at La Cabañita, located in the charming, small town of Montrose north of Glendale proper, is a basic combo with black beans, rice, and a small drink (feel free to decline for water instead) with cheese quesadillas and other simple faves ($6.99). Be prepared to go through a bowl of the (in)famous super thick tortilla chips mighty quick. Maybe this problem can be avoided during breakfast. Salas are mild enough so you don’t have to worry too much if an errant chip gets dipped in a bowl by curious but inexperienced-in-the-ways-of-spice hands.
Adult Perks: A Dos Equis draft, Bohemia, or generously sized margarita helps cut through the rich sweetness of the chiles en nogadas ($14.95). This dish might not display the level of artistry as Casita Mexicana, yet there’s a complex mingling of nutty, meaty, and sweet flavors. (I like them with a careful smattering of habanero chiles drizzled on top, even if it’s not mexi-kosher.) Assemble a meal of various sides and tacos ($2.99 each), or order a serious main course plate featuring various Mexican specialties that aren’t super specifically tied to any one region. Homemade chicken mole, crisp carnitas, and cochinita pibil tacos served on thick tortillas that later create the basis of those crazy chips make for a quite substantial meal.
Pros: During crowded nights the rear room is sometimes open, while other times it’s used for private parties. The staff keeps the tables turning quickly, so waits aren’t too long, and the tiled benches out front provide extra room to wait, plus there’s a wide corridor in back to run around in.
Cons: La Cabañita has been popular for decades, and needs a lot of seats to accommodate its many fans. So it’s cozy in there. Definitely no room for strollers during busy hours. The bar takes up a lot of room and yet is the least crowded part of the restaurant.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Easy street parking on Verdugo or on the street behind the restaurant, where there’s also an additional rear entrance.
Other Tidbits: If you want to witness a hoppin’ restaurant on a Saturday night, head out to sleepy, charming Montrose — at all of 5:30 p.m. That’s how the deep suburbs outside of Glendale roll, people. (In all fairness, this phenomenon happens in Hollywood and Manhattan, too.) We’re not the only ones with the idea to have an early dinner at La Cabañita, since families pack the inside and spill out onto the sidewalk. The words “Montrose” and “Mexican food” might not be inextricably linked in the minds of Angelenos, but this has been a destination for Glendale foothill residents and those who don’t mind a traffic-free drive to the area near the 2 and 210 freeways. With big platters of quality food, strong drinks, and friendly atmosphere, La Cabañita is your classic neighborhood restaurant. Hand painted murals, bright papeles picados, tiled floors and walls are festive and lively. Meanwhile, proudly displayed reviews and signed headshots are L.A. clichés that feel folksy in this environment. La Cabañita is open for all three meals, and is a terrific partial catering option for parties at home, too.
3447 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale/Montrose
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.