Located along Arcade Lane in the heart of Pasadena's Playhouse Village, El Portal restaurant is now in its 28th year of serving authentic Mexican food and drinks. Owners Abel Ramirez and his son Armando have established El Portal as one of Pasadena's most beloved restaurants that features traditional Mexican favorites and specializes in the flavors and dishes of Yucatán.
A native of Yucatán, Mexico, Abel began his restaurant career at The Huntington Hotel and later as the general manager for The Athenaeum at Caltech before opening the doors of El Portal in April 1995. Abel has long served as a volunteer at the Tournament of Roses and on the Boards of the Pasadena Playhouse, Hillsides Home for Children, Families Forward, and the Pasadena Senior Center to fulfill his ongoing commitment to giving back to the local community.
Armando built his experience in the restaurant business by helping his father at the Athenaeum before coming to El Portal as a line cook after finishing his culinary studies. Armando draws his inspiration from that real-world experience learning all parts of the restaurant business. He still enjoys some hands-on cooking to keep his skills sharp when he can find the time and specializes in coming up with exciting new cocktail creations for the drinks menu.
El Portal has evolved over the years to become a part of Pasadena's social fabric. It is a gathering place for birthdays, showers, graduations, receptions, holiday celebrations, and more. Many families have been visiting El Portal for multiple generations. This is the result of Abel and Armando's philosophy of building and maintaining lasting relationships with their guests and looking forward to seeing them return time and time again.
El Portal also features a lively bar scene at its Cantina Verde, which is a great place for meeting friends, watching the Dodgers and all kinds of sports, and catching up with other regulars. Be sure to look out for special events and the celebration of holidays throughout the year. And don't miss our biggest fiesta of the year – our annual tequila tasting!
We hope you will come visit us soon in our little hacienda!