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.
Watery, tasteless components in most dishes. Three visits and couldn't find anything worthwhile to travel back. There are so many alternatives (and they can all be healthy if you order that way.) Zia, Santi and looking forward to John Marshall's new spot in Park Circle... Not worth the trip.
Good, but not as good as La Nortena.
caliente's location is out there.. but SO good! the puffy tacos are awesome & the entire menu is reasonably priced. Random- but their fried ice cream is really good too!!
This place isn't bad...the atmosphere is great. The staff (in my experience) are all really nice and accomodating. The food is pretty standard though for a Mexican joint. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it's what I think you would expect from just about any strip-mall type Mexican place. But what do I know?
BEST MEXICAN I HAVE EVER HAD!!! The chicken tostadas were quite tastey. The chicken is juicy and everything else is fresh. At other mexican restaurants is seems like all the dishes are made in the morning and when you order them they just stick the entire dish in a heater and boom...your meal. Definitely not the case at Santi's! Love this place and I've gone back again and again. Great atmosphere and wait staff!
Best "standard" Mexican food in Charleston, hands down. The vegetables and meat seem MUCH more fresh than at La Ha, Senor Tequila, etc. Awesome salsa and MUCH friendlier service than any of these places, as well.
DO NOT EAT AT THIS RESTAURANT! I purchased a restaurant.com coupon on 9-30-10 to eat here. My family and I went there for dinner on 01-15-11. When it got time to pay, I told the waiter I had a $50.00 coupon from restaurant.com. He said that alcohol was excluded. I told him that was not listed in the Terms & Conditions on my gift certificate. He argued with me and came back with a different coupon which stated this. I told him that was all well and good but my certificate was different and did not state that alcohol was excluded. I asked to talk to the manager & was told he was not in, but that I could talk to him on the phone. I explained to the manager what the problem was and all he did was argue with me. At that point, I got so upset and paid the bill but will never go back. I believe that they broke the law by not honoring my coupon. Bottom line is that I cannot believe that a manager of a restaurant would treat a customer this way. I have never been treated so badly in a restaurant in my life. It was extremely embarassing.
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
Zia's is amazing! They often have the pollo verde on special and it is basically shredded, amazingly flavored chicken with I believe a tomatillo sauce. Their margaritas are an exceptional value and they use fresh lime juice. Also, their salsa is the best I have ever had in a restaurant. Just the right amount of spice.... I think I may go there for dinner tonight!
Zia is the best Mexican food in CHARLESTON! The Baja Fish Tacos are ridiculous and the side of rice is the best side of anything in all of the world! Zia is the best restaurant on JI!
I'm back again just making sure I start this New Year off right; I just posted a comment about this little gem of an eatery and somehow forgot to give it the FIVE STAR review it deserves.
So, I just DID give it five stars. If you haven't tried it, you're definitely missing out... and they even have live music by Dangermuffin on Wednesday evenings sometimes... so radddd!
Jadegirl (A.K.A. Greenway Studio)
...On a culinary point, I’ve recently visited a few times at a definitely favorite restaurant. It’s called Zia, which features local and fresh organic Mexican bistro fare; located just off of Maybank Highway next to the Terrace Theatre on James Island, SC. They mix up some authentic Mexican drink concoctions that you may possibly not realize exist, and their homemade sopa de pollo (chicken soup) and carnitas tacos will make you wonder why you hadn’t tried this cozy little Mom an Pop stop sooner. During the holidays the great folks at Zia are offering up a “Tres Leches” chocolate dessert that is absolutely out of this world.
...for more reviews of venues in Charleston: Restaurants and the Arts, go to the greenblog page of www.greenwaystudiollc.com... thanks for stoppin' by!
My husband and I tried Caliente for a meal and found it to be just okay. Our server was friendly and she started us with a basket of thick, fried corn tortilla chips. The salsa was very fresh but thin and heavy on the vinegar without any discernible heat. The wine was fair (fresh, generous pours) but the beer is overpriced ($5 for XX in the bottle!) The food in general was fresh but a bit bland. The shredded chicken in the puffy tacos was tasteless and the ground beef was seasoned very similarly to the rice, (I'm guessing sweet paprika and cumin). The black beans were a tad undercooked and lacking any seasoning at all. The servings are large, not that it is a good thing. I understand the concept - "a fresher/healthier" Mexican food. As for trying to be healthier - they miss the mark. I have been to authentic Mexican restaurants (not in Charleston) that offer alternatives to fried chips and more moderate portion sizes (and prices reflecting that). As for fresh - Caliente certainly is. As for taste - lacking.
Very Comparable to Moe's. Had steak burrito. I did like the options of adding sauteed onions/mushrooms on my burrito. Salsa was tasty, but could use another option on the salsa bar like Moe's.
Plenty of seats, big open room, quiet on the day I went. 12/28/2010 @ 12:45pm.
I would go again.
Have no idea what the other two reviewers are talking about. The food is GREAT and the staff is very friendly and helpful. The portions are generous. This place is definitely worth the 25 minute drive from downtown any day.
Quipe best mexican place eveeer i lov Santis freddi is the bad server ever
This is a really cool spot! My husband and I are now regulars. We have tried almost everything on the menu and are thouroughly satisfied. Things are definately different from your typical Mexican restaurants so don't bring your preconcieved notions about what you think it should be. Instead, be open to trying some great quality, creative food.
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.
Eyethinkialive, Find something productive to say. Quit resenting a business for trying to make money.
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