The mole is one of the best I have ever had. Raul said it is a 90 year old recipe that has been refined by generations of his family. The carne in su jugo is deliciously soul-satisfying. I also appreciated that the salsa had some heat and wasn't bland. The shrimp ceviche is similar to a Jalisco-style shrimp cocktail and not a traditional Caribbean ceviche. I have been to Guadalajara and really like this, but some people might be put off that it's not like what you would get in, say, Puerto Rico.
There was one table for two when we arrived, and another single person came in while were eating. The kitchen was incredibly slow considering they didn't have much to do, but the food was delicious.
Went there for lunch today and this place really was outstanding. Neat atmosphere on the inside with beautiful, interesting paintings. The service went beyond my expectations. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful. The food was so much better than what you find at most of the Mexican restaurants in this area. It tasted fresh and homemade. This location is super close to 526, so from where I live in West Ashley its considerably closer than going downtown. I was really impressed. I honestly do think that this is the best Mexican in Charleston and won't be going anywhere else.
@Francis - this is not the same Pollo Tropical chain as Miami.
So glad we finally have a Juanita's in Mt. P. Have always loved the downtown restaurant. Went for Happy Hour and Dinner last week and it was awesome! Great food, so inexpensive and a super cool atmosphere.
I was really excited to try this place as my family and I are always looking for good Mexican food and the reviews for Raul's have been good. We went there on a Saturday night and even though the place was only half full, the place was really disappointing. It took about 45 mins. for our food to arrive and we were ignored the whole time except for our initial drink order/chips. My rellenos were cold, my son's nachos had sour cream (which I asked them to leave off) and my husband's chicken enchiladas were dry. We were given all kinds of apologies and reasons as to why things were so screwed up, but who cares! The place has been getting good reviews and they can't have adequate staff at 7pm on a Saturday night? I think Raul's may have potential once they get their act together, but last night was a bummer. We were hungry and drove 15 mins. to get there in the rain and by the time the food came out I just didn't care anymore.
YES!!Excellent food. Don't miss the Chile Rellenos.
Don't miss out on this place! Some of the best Mexican food I have had in a loooong time!
I love Barberitos! I eat there at once or twice a week. Their chips and salsa are the best in town! For those on a diet, you can get a 10 inch wheat tortilla. All fresh ingredients and fast staff for a quick lunch. Prices are reasonable. One of the best Lunch/Dinner places on James island.
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.
Pollo tropical is not usually a Mexican chain. There are more Latino foods to enjoy that are not Mexican. Pollo tropical would be more carribean like Dominican or Cuban cuisine. At least that's what it is in Miami. I haven't visited the one in Charleston but if its anything like the chain in South Florida, then its great latino(not Mexican) cuisine. Much better than the fake Cuban Bohio in James Island.
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.
Zocalo is back open for lunch! just had the braised goat burrito, it was absolutely delicious! The goat was so tender it melted in your mouth. Sat at the bar and Kelly (bartender) was a pleasure to spend an hour with. If you're in park circle i highly recommend Zocalo. And if you're not, i suggest you make the trip. Prices are incredibly reasonable too.
This is the real stuff exactly like I get in Mexico. I don't like menudo but I could actually eat theirs. The coctel de camaron was a touch sweet for my taste, but it was the closest of anywhere in Charleston to what I get in Guadalajara. The huarachas and tacos were outstanding, especially the lengua and cabeza. The two salsas they provided were both delicious. One was a smoky tomato and chili, the other was a tamatillo and jalapeno. Both had a nice amount of heat.
Even though it's Mexican home cooking everything is clearly made with finesse and skill. It makes me so happy having something this delicious and authentic available here.
Lots of staff to be sure and a bartender with social skills were pluses here (no mock on Poes or Home Team).
We got a queso appetizer that was advertised as made in a cast iron skillet. It was not, but it was good and emough for at least 3 people.
Ordered 2 tacos and a side, and a single taco. previous poster mentioned a side with a taco, you do not get a side with a single taco.
Sloppy Jose- cheesy and tasty could use more fritos for the crunch.
Jerk Chicken- salso was good, chicken lacked jerk flavors though
Royale- probably my favorite of the three, standard taco flavors but good and the most filling of the three.
Corn as a side lacked flavor- had some background chipotle flavors, and the cheese was bland. Was expecting more vibbrant flavors from this one. Also, very small portion.
Beer selection is ok, 3 mexicans on a draft and some rotating crafts. Bit expensive on the mexican beers 5.50 for a pacifico, 5 for dos xx.
We will be back to try some of the other menu items. I'd say it is a good start, pricing is a bit high at $3.99 a taco though.
They have a very good tequila selection, I will need to try one next time to check on proper service.
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.
Even though this is not your typical Charleston restaurant it fits right in with the North Charleston "culture". The charcoal cooked chicken was delicious and plentiful, the ribs were perfectly seasoned and fell off the bone, the plantains were delicious. For the amount of food you get, the prices are quite reasonable- a whole chicken plate serves 2 people for $14.99. While the restaurant itself could use some updating, it is the food that will make me want to go back. Also, the waitress was very nice and allowed be to substitute black beans for french fries - and she just kept bringing food out for us to try.
Zia, it's not the lack of service or cilantro-hammered everything that bothers me, it's the piss-poor arrogant attitude of you and your staff. I'm not amused by being treated like an unwelcome disturbance by your self-absorbed, self-impressed bartenders, especially while waiting for food that is mediocre at best.
Zia, I agree with Josh that you need not worry. Your concept is authentic for the Lowcountry in a city that lacks authenticity. Your food continues to shine and that is what will keep you around for a long time. Unlike Josh, I admire your passion and willingness to address what some may view as a hindrance. As a consumer, it is encouraging to see that you take every critique seriously and are not resting on your laurels. Keep doing what you do. You have outlasted many restaurants in the 843.
I've been a Zia "frequenter" since they opened, and while it took me a while to warm up to the "system"...I can now say that it doesn't bother me the least bit and they've gone through many steps to improve it to where I can say it probably works better than it would if it were a more traditional "system." Zia is almost always busy, yet I've rarely every had to wait for a table. Their staff is now at the point where after you've sat down you don't have to get up for extra drinks/food. Everyone can now take your extra drink/food orders after the initial purchase (my order was actually taken BY THE OWNER while I was in line last time...so I didn't even have to go through the initial line...where in Charleston do you see the actual owner busting his ass busing tables and taking orders?!). And as a sign of good business and ownership, they have retained a majority of their same employees since they opened. Poorly run restaurants have high turnover rates. I'd rather go to Zia and know exactly what kind of service experience I'm going to get (which is extremely satisfactory) than suffer through a bad service experience that I get at about 70% of the restaurants in Charleston. Kudos to Zia for bucking the normal Front of House "system" and being successful at it.
relax there "operator of zia". you got props for the food which is all well and deserved but it's true, your system sucks. and now u sound like a douche for putting that post up. I really doubt steph has a personal vendetta against the restaurant.
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