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Comment Archives: Locations: Restaurants: Mexican

Re: “Santi's

the food is seriously great! we started at the one downtown. the service sucked but the food was so good, we went back. there is no doubt that they take forever and dont fill your glass near as much as Americans would prefer, but this is the only place i would say it is worth it. we moved closer to summerville and are ecstatic that there is one close, so for the past three years we have been happy customers. summerville isnt packed like downtown so we get much better service.

1 of 8 people like this.
Posted by ali.phil on April 17, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Re: “El Dorado

pretty legit, as far as hole in the wall mexican places go. a solid menu and chill atmosphere make it easy to become a regular PDQ. the chorichanga is on point, and not something i've seen elsewhere around Charleston. prices are on the cheap side of average. they will start closing down around you if you're still there at 9 on a weeknight, though. some fridays too. guess this just means they need more business! so go!

Posted by whoifnoti on March 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Re: “Raul's Taqueria & Mexican Grill

A welcomed guest to a strech of Rivers Ave that includes little more than fast food chains and terrible chinese buffets. The decor is very cozy and colorful. Food is on point and delicious. Service is provided by some of the nicest people. with $5 amazing burritos it's a must for a quick lunch or a margarita at happy hour. Don't forget to try the horchata during a work lunch when the boozing is frowned upon.

8 of 10 people like this.
Posted by joshl725 on January 6, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Re: “Taco Mamacita

Excellent food for a real value.
My Daughter and I tried it after soccer practice. The server prompt and knew her stuff. The food came quickly and tasted fabulous. The street corn and the black bean and corn salad as sides hit the spot. The general homeboy may not taste like Mexican food, but who cares, it was GREAT and bursting with flavor. A perfect casual affordable place to eat, and it is on Sullivan's Island.

0 of 1 people like this.
Posted by harley boy on September 30, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Re: “Taco Mamacita

There’s a New Hombre in Town…
I have to say that Zia Taqueria has been perhaps my favorite Mexican restaurant in the Low Country. But knock me down and call me Shorty, there is a New Hombre in Town.

Taco Mamacita recently opened on “restaurant row”, aka Middle Street, on Sullivan’s Island. Although there are two Mamacita locations in Tennessee, this is the first location to come to the Low Country. The owners, College of Charleston grads, fell in love with the area and proudly brought their restaurant here. We welcome them with open arms and nacho chips!

We went to Taco Mamacita for lunch after a golf/museum outing with our favorite relatives who were visiting. I usually don’t have high expectations for a new restaurant that’s only been open a couple of weeks, let alone visiting at an off peak time, but I am happy to say it was simply, terrific.

We were met by a very friendly hostess who quickly sat us in an oversized and very comfortable booth. One of our crew had to take a conference call so we slowed down our lunch order and started with the Appetizer Sampler. Tortilla chips, guacamole, queso and red salsa quickly arrived on an oversized (think deep dish pizza), pan. This was awesome.

The bad part was that it was the kind of appetizer that you keep eating even though you know lunch in on the horizon. Is that really bad? Thankfully the conference call ended and we placed our lunch order.

I have to say that the staff is tremendous. Anyone that passed our table was either refilling our drinks or asking if we needed anything else. A quick 15 minutes after ordering our lunch arrived.

Three of the items arrived promptly and then there was the case of the missing Sloppy Nachos. Three servers stood by our table and deliberated where the Sloppy Nachos were. It appeared that they were served to the table next to us by mistake so our server quickly snatched them back. It was almost comical as we watched our servers hunt for the elusive Nachos.

The Sloppy Nachos were topped with spiced ground beef, jalapenos, Jack cheese, sour cream and tomatoes were more than enough for the table to share even though they were ordered as a lunch item.

The Shrimp Po’Boy BLT (there is a selection of 13 tacos to choose from), was delightful. Creole fried shrimp, spicy remoulade sauce, iceberg lettuce, pepperoncini peppers, crispy bacon, pico de gallo and jalapeno lime mayo topped a warm flour tortilla. We chose the Mexican Sweet corn as a side and this dish was a winner.

My husband ordered two tacos and was quick to devour both of them. The Caribbean Jerk taco had roasted Caribbean jerk chicken, cabbage, mango salsa, refried beans, jerk sauce and peach aioli. I was fortunate to have a bite, and it had a wonderful slow heat to it, and I had taco envy.

The Memphis taco was filled with slow braised pork, diced white onion, chopped dill pickle, jalapeno cole slaw, dry rib seasoning and BBQ sauce – a winner from start to finish.

I found it interesting to see how many unique ingredients go into each and every taco. At $3.99 for each taco (with a side) this is a good deal.

And then there was my lunch… I don’t know how I do it, but I always end up ordering the wrong thing. Let it be said that I did want to order the quesadilla, but thought I should order the Peruvian Chicken since it was a signature dish and was advertised as the “best chicken you’d ever tasted” but sadly this was not the case.

My chicken was very dry and lacked flavor. I mean zero flavors whatsoever. Nada. I thought that the side dishes that I ordered would be my saving grace, but they were subpar. The green chili rice sounded great, but was bland and cold. The black bean and corn side dish also lacked flavor. So while the rest of the table were in taco/nacho heaven, I was in chicken purgatory.

The pluses at this restaurant far surpassed my dry, flavorless chicken and I would definitely recommend it. The staff is wonderful and the restaurant has a great energy to it and I am certain it is going to be a force (aka Nacho), to be reckoned with on Middle Street.

0 of 1 people like this.
Posted by susieg on August 19, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Re: “Santi's

Two words: pollo ranchero. This is a real meal. I can never order anything else at Santi's. Moist and savory 1/4 chicken comprised of traditional dark meat dripping in spicy ranchero sauce and accompanied by rice, guac salad and those delicious refries. Try it, you'll like it.

2 of 4 people like this.
Posted by Guy on July 14, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Re: “Zocalo

I have eaten at Zocalo five(5) times and am really looking forward to going back. I love the menu, the food and the prices. I live at Folly and would drive 30 minutes to eat at Zocalo before I would go 2 minutes to Taco Boy. There simply is no comparison. I have read reviews by those who feel the prices are too high. Now I do not know about the alcohol drinks, because I do not drink, but I find the amount of food you get for the money almost unbelievable. Zocalo is an asset to Park Circle. See you soon!!

Posted by ontheedgege on May 28, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Re: “Zocalo

My fiance and I have eaten at Zocalo several times and love it! The presentation is great, food's even better - the salad with jicama, pickled onions, and avacado is wonderful, as are the other dishes we've tried. I'm so glad to have an authentic Mexican place in the neighborhood, and look forward to summer margaritas on the patio with live Latin music!

Posted by rpkgal on May 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Re: “Zocalo

I've eaten at Zocalo three times since the soft opening and in general I'm impressed both with how together they were at the opening and how they've improved on any initial qualms I had. The addition of Steve Davidson (sp?) in the kitchen is noticeable. The interior decor is very adult and terrific for an evening out with friends. The patio, Like JoshL725 pointed out, is going to be awesome this summer! I look forward to them adding more in the non-meat realm but it is already pretty damn good.

Posted by factoryconnection on May 5, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Re: “Taco Boy

Anyone who does not make me choose a Sangria or Margarita, but instead puts frozen margarita IN my Sangria, gets my vote. I love the large portion of delicious guacamole - - large enough that I don't resent sharing. The corn on the cob with the spicy sauce is just delicious. And the tacos make my inner foodie very happy.

Posted by innerfoodie on March 8, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Re: “Barberito's

we love barberitos. better than moes - but yet so similar. tuesdays are kids eat free nights - we go often! friendly staff - they always seem to remember us. i always get the steak - whatever seasonings they use, mmmmm! prices are decent, but we will rarely go on a full price night.

Posted by Momto2boysSC on February 23, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Re: “Zia Taqueria

I can't wait to go back. It was past lunch hour (after 2:00 p.m.), on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I have always believed that a good way to test the mettle of a restaurant is to go there when it’s slow. During the busy lunch/dinner periods, things usually go well, since the restaurant is usually in a rhythm. But when it’s slow – fewer employees, people are beginning to think about the end of the shift and starting to clean up, then things can slip.

When we entered the restaurant we were a little confused about what to do. Do we wait for a hostess? Do we seat ourselves? And then we looked up and saw a small wall menu adjacent to the bar and a sign that told us to order there. There were seats at the bar open and we decided to sit there. It was still confusing. Was someone going to wait on us? We glanced around the restaurant, still uncertain.

Small, not overly themed, with about 30 – 40 seats, plus the bar and an outside patio, light music played in the background.A very quiet atmosphere, but then again, we were hitting it at a rather slow time.

The bartender came to take our order. It surprised me that there were no sparkling bottled water options, so I made due with soda water. I would normally have tried a margarita but we were heading to a Christmas party later that night. We started with a Chile con Queso. Before we could just about blink it was in front of us along with fresh salsa and chips. That was fast!

The Queso was made with pepper jack cheese, red bell pepper, garlic and white wine (I’m stealing this from the menu, as I would never have remembered everything.) We could not wait to dig in. It was by far one of the best Queso dishes I have ever had (I lived in Dallas for many years and there are many great Mexican restaurants there…). Warm, smooth, colorful and it had a light kick to it. Nice.

The only downside of our appetizer was our service at the bar. We never received any silverware, plates, napkins, etc. from our bartender. At this point I was still a little confused as to whether it was self serve or full service at the bar. The lack of service put me off a bit.

We rustled up plates, etc. from a nearby condiment station. The service style continued to be confusing. I finally realized that if you place your order at the register you received a number and your lunch would be brought out to you. If you were seated at one of the high tops in the bar area or at the bar, the bartender would wait on you. No prob, we were too busy enjoying our appetizer.

Although the bartender seemed to know some regulars, she became animated only when she spoke to her colleague that this was the last day-shift (thankfully), that she had until a week from Tuesday. We did ask her how long the restaurant had been opened, (2 yrs.), if she was one of the original hires (yes, there is very little front of the house turnover), and how business was (good, we’re pretty busy, especially during the holidays), but otherwise, she didn’t speak to us. Isn’t she supposed to be paid for her wit and charm?? Guess I'm used to a bit more interaction from bartenders.

Our lunch included a 10+++, super star, unbelievable, can’t-say-enough-about-it sandwich and another item. Here’s the scoop. But first, we had to ask for silverware to begin eating. Urgh.

We ordered the Carne Asada (thinly sliced beef) Tortas Mexicanas. The menu description hardly does this sandwich any justice. It was served on fresh baked telera bread that had been toasted. It is topped with black beans, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, avocado and cilantro jalapeno spread (again, a direct steal). PLUS… it is served with a small, grilled corn on the cob topped with melted butter and sprinkled with fresh, grated cheese.

The sandwich is massive, easily the size of a small dinner plate. By the time I went to ask to try the corn, it was gone. All I kept hearing was, “Wow, this is something.” Now, on to what I ordered for lunch.

The carnitas quesadilla’s presentation was just lovely, (ut oh, that's like telling someone they are about to go on a first date with they have a nice personality…), overstuffed and served on a fajita-like cast iron skillet. It was accompanied by “cream” (similar to sour cream only thinner), homemade guacamole and a very spicy jalapeno relish. It looked sensational. But alas, the pork inside the quesadilla was dry and not very warm. The cheese had melted nicely, but having the carnitas just luke warm took away from the meal, especially since it tasted great.

It was however, the type of meal that you know you should stop eating, but just can’t. I only ate ½ of my quesadilla, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The sandwich was MIA before you knew it.

Every time I have a meal somewhere and plan to write about it, I drop a card that says, “Read our thoughts @diningaroundcharleston.com.” As there have been some hidden gems that we’ve really enjoyed. If the experience was great, I want them to know and hopefully enjoy and share my thoughts with the team, if it wasn’t that great, I hope that they take it to heart and know that I am just being honest in what my experience was like. Hopefully, they can also fix a few things.

Sometimes I get a note from the owner, GM, etc. She/he will explain what happen if we’d hit a speed bump, or thank me for my thoughts and invite me back. I’ve even received an email where the owner was YELLING at me for what I wrote and questioned "Who do you think you are??" (I responded that I was Jane Q. Customer, and I helped to pay his mortgage, staff, keep his lights on and his suppliers happy.) But here’s the interesting part.

Within minutes of leaving, Kevin W. Grant, the owner/chef dropped me an email. He thanked me for dropping the card and visiting the restaurant, hoping that everything was superb. I applaud his pride of ownership and concern about his brand. I would go out of my way to recommend the place (and already have). I can't wait to go back. View more of our comments at http://diningaroundcharleston.com

2 of 3 people like this.
Posted by susieg on January 7, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Re: “Uno Mas

We visited Uno Mas on a Monday evening and they weren't very busy. It was our first time eating there, and we had seen a few bad reviews online, and some good reviews. We didn't know what to expect. But, we loved it. My husband had Spicy coconut shrimp (served on a grit-cake) and I had Mexican Spaghetti (fettuccine with a tomato-cream sauce with shrimp). The flavors were wonderful. My husband ate every morsel of his, and I brought home a small box because I couldn't eat it all and didn't want to waste a single bite. Please don't believe the bad reviews. We had excellent service and an enjoyable experience. We will be going back and recommending it to our friends.

Posted by zoecat on November 8, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Re: “Taco Boy

Good grief, Taco Boy---did you guys make someone mad? That's the only reason I can see for the litany of awful reviews here. So, you wouldn't find Taco Boy in Houston. I'm glad to know all Mexican-ish restaurants in Houston are perfect. I'm also glad to know it is the pinnacle of Mexican cuisine. Who knew?

What Taco Boy is not:
1. Authentic Mexican.
2. Overpriced (Have you guys eaten anywhere in Charleston? How much cheaper can you make a taco when its ingredients go beyond the basics?)
3. A five-star gourmet establishment.

Taco Boy is a great spot for happy hour, lunch, or dinner (sorry--never tried brunch). The general decor is clever and eco-friendly, and the ambience is sort of lively yet laid-back. Yes, there are college kids (because some college kids are old enough to drink and all of them are old enough to eat), but there are also 30-something singles, parents with children, and everything else.

There aren't a ton of tourists (yay!) because it is, admittedly, in a sketchy area. Don't leave anything of value in your car, and don't hang out unnecessarily by the side of the road. Biking to this area at night seems imprudent to me, but I still see people doing it.

The service is generally okay--usually, great; other times, not so much. The food is very consistent. Guac is awesome. Considering you get a vat of it, I don't think it's too expensive. Frankly, every Mexican restaurant I've ever been to has better salsa, so don't feel bad about skipping it.

The Taco Boy Salad (Note: Not to be confused with a Taco Salad, which isn't even on the menu) is fantastic. I order it frequently as a meal, and that's something I never do anywhere else. The slice of Tres Leches is huge, and the michelada (Tex/Mex style beer) is not to be missed.

This is a great place for groups, with ample parking and long tables that can hold quite a crew.

Give it a try. At least go for cocktails. And if you hate it, stay home. I'll be happy to take your place in the courtyard.

3 of 9 people like this.
Posted by CHS_Foodie on October 27, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Re: “Caliente

Tasty, nicely flavoured food, no smoking, good service and nice and clean inside. I do wish the benches had cushions on them.

The chips are too greasy and the salsa is nothing special. Give me Zia's salsa please. But the dishes were delicious and I will be back.

I would like to see a special showing off the chef's talent so I have something to look forward to. I'm happy to pay a bit more for it !!

Posted by coachz on August 19, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Re: “Santi's

I like Santi's a lot. The Camarónes a la Diabla are very good. My only complaint would be that I prefer the salsa at La Hacienda.

0 of 2 people like this.
Posted by Sark on August 10, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Re: “Taco Spot

Delicious fish tacos! At first I was a little hesitant, but the counter girl helped me to make my decision, and I'm so glad she did! I decided to go with the regular fish "on a crunch" (crunchy corn shell) - amazing! Also had a spicy chicken taco on soft flour, which was also very tasty. My boyfriend had 2 steak tacos and said the steak was good, like small bitesize steak pieces - very tender. Great prices too. I really love this place!

3 of 3 people like this.
Posted by Laura Anderson on August 5, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Re: “Pollo Loko Peruvian

Authentic, simple, and delicious.

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by lah on May 13, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Re: “Zia Taqueria

I have got to agree with everyone else on this one...Zia is the bomb. When I went, the chips were crunchy, the salsa was delicious, and the taco's were also great. I had no complaints. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that i'm not that generous :)

1 of 2 people like this.
Posted by joshl725 on April 8, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Re: “Gringo's

A great place for lunch with very large portions of tasty food. I'd compare them directly to Moe's (the chain of burrito places) honestly... airy, kinda noisy, similar menu, salsa bar, you know that old chestnut. The prices are higher at Gringo's but you get larger portions, so that's fair. The salsas are tasty, however limited in selection if you don't like spiciness. The chips were crispy, the ingredients fragrant and flavorful, and the service quick.

It seems popular for Sunday, post-church families as we were far from the only ones with little kids. It is well suited for them, with wide aisles and stimulating surroundings.

Hint: if you want tofu as your "meat," just get the vegetarian version of whatever you want and add tofu as a vegetable. They have it but it wasn't on the menu.

Posted by factoryconnection on January 15, 2010 at 9:53 AM
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