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Another Marvelous Mexican Restaurant in Altadena

Altadena has more than one great option for delicious Mexican food.

A friend of mine recently mentioned to me how much they enjoy   in Altadena.  They asked if I had ever gone there and I had to admit that I had driven by many times but hadn't gone in.  He urged me to stop by and said that I would be glad that I did.

So last week, my youngest daughter, one of my coworkers and I, feeling adventurous and hungry, ventured forth to try it.  My friend was right!  We were very glad we did.  We went for a late lunch and found a parking place right out front on Lincoln.  

Inside we found that it was pleasant and cheerfully decorated, seating approximately 25 - 30 people.  There were others finishing up their lunches at a couple of tables and it smelled good inside.  

We were seated at a booth by the very friendly waitress who gave us our menus and took our drink orders.  I ordered Horchata and my companions ordered Jamaica and a coke (also from Mexico - made with cane sugar, no fructose).

We perused the menu and found many of the standard items that are on most Mexican food menus.  They serve breakfast all day and are open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm, Sundays 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. Everything on the menu looked good.

My friend swears by the "Camarones Al Mojo de Ajo" -- shrimp sauteed in garlic butter, served with rice and beans.  He raves about it and says that it is the best anywhere.  He and his wife frequent Mota's so often that the chef makes hand made tortillas for them when they come in.  I was going to give the shrimp a try......until I saw the Birria Plate!  Birria is marinated goat meat and not often seen at many local places.  I hadn't ordered it in a long time so opted for it and ate every bite!  It was very good, and at $7.95 with rice and beans and tortillas worth every penny.

My daughter ordered the 2 chicken flauta combination also served with rice and beans and guacamole and sour cream ($5.95).  My coworker ordered the "Arroz con Pollo" -- chicken with rice, also served with rice and beans ($7.95).  They both said that their food was delicious, and I concurred after they each let me taste test. The chicken from the Arroz con pollo was juicy and full of flavor. 

The chips there are delicious, light and crispy (perhaps fried in manteca?).  The salsa is fresh, full of flavor with just enough heat.  They also bring out a small bowl of chile that I thought was great.....with medium heat and a great smoky chipotle taste.  

I also loved the rice and beans, which are not my favorite part of traditional Mexican fare.  The beans are flavored with toasted oregano and other spices and I really enjoyed them, although my daughter wasn't a big fan - preferring more traditional frijoles.  

I will definitely be returning to try the shrimp and other items.  The food is delicious, the prices are excellent and the service was friendly and prompt.  The restaurant is owned by Alfred Mota and has been opened since 2001.

Tortillas are handmade on Saturdays and Sundays, which is also when they serve their menudo.  You can eat inside or order takeout.  Unlike a lot of local places, their menu is online.  

Another fabulous find in Altadena!  Try it....I bet you'll like it.

Laura Monteros May 21, 2011 at 06:14 AM
The camarones are indeed delicious! And the prices can't be beat. My youngest started going to Mota's when he was in high school. He often had long breaks between rehearsals and concerts, so he would walk up to Mota's to get a filling meal for an affordable price. They've brightened up their decor since that time, but the food was always wonderful. In addition to the beverages mentioned by Leslie, they have Jarritos sodas.
Irma Gonzalez May 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Mr. Mota has catered many Franklin Elementary PTA events over the past eight years. We have tried other vendors but we found Mr. Mota to be the most reliable, affordable, and versatile. He has catered our annual fiesta family meal and other family meals. The purpose of these events is not as a fundraiser but to organize an event that families get together for a meal before a student performance. Mr. Mota has served our school community to provide the meals at cost. Families purchase a ticket for the meals, the paper goods and beverages are donated, and the event breaks even. He has catered lunch for small Saturday PTA volunteer work crews, classroom lunches, staff lunches, and large spaghetti dinners for PTA member families. He has been a valuable asset to our school community. He also as catered large family parties for my family and friends.
Nico February 03, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I finally went to Mota's after Steve Lamb and others added praises that mirrored this columnist's enthusiasm. I was very very pleased at how fresh and tasty the food was. I ordered "sopa de pollo" or chicken soup. Wow! it was fabulous. Savory and healthy broth full of fresh carrots and zucchini as well as large chunks of chicken breast. Superb. We also ordered a seafood burritto and chicken tacos. Everything was fresh and very tasty. Quality chicken breast in the tacos and fresh onion/seasonings too. Yum! I will definitely be back.

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