Stopped by last week. Sat outside. Service was good. No challenges there as there weren't many folks there (Tuesday night). Menu was disappointing. Definitely an app and beer place. If that's what you're looking for then you'll do fine.
Also not so impressed with Mercato! Romantic setting, YES...It's got great ambiance! I was not impressed with the food. I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs as I had been told they were great, but I thought the meatballs tasted a bit like sausage and were too spicy for my liking. I will say that it was a large portion, so if you're hungry this item is a goos option. My husband really enjoyed his dinner, but was left hungry and started in on my leftover spaghetti. The portion on the Potato Gnocchi is very small! They have a large wine selection so my husband asked the waiter to help in pairing our meals with a wine and I am convinced he gave us both the exact same wine even though he said they were different (neither of us could taste the difference!). All in all I was unimpressed with Mercato...for that price I would expect better!
Can't say so much for the sideways crab crawl you have to do to make it through the bar (hence the cutesy bar name), or the cheesy color-changing lights behind the bar (oooh...ahhh!), but I will say that the bathrooms are absolutely, amazingly,5-star hotel quality, which you never see in any bar downtown! "Squeeze" in there to the bathrooms at the back & see for yourself!
Ate here last week, and was delighted at some aspects, disappointed in others.
1) The burger was cooked perfectly (Medium, as I ordered). Awesome.
2) Service was great... attentive.
3) Great beer selection.
4) Great quality meat...
5) The sweet potato fries are a-mazing.
1) Everyone at my table commented that their burger was under-seasoned... and I agree...
2) The bun could be improved...
I was a waitress years ago (1996) when the original owners - who were Jeff, Susan & Ann ran the Cantina.
I still go there to dine and have apps & drinks. The food was great back then. And in years past prior to Jeff subsequently buying out Susan and Ann back in the late 90's/early 2000's; the food actually got better!
The addition to the menu of ribs and a larger breakfast menu have made the Cantina an even better option for dining on IOP.
Since the ownership changed in early 2008 (to Bobby and Roger) the menu has varied slightly and been refined - order the chimichanga entree or the seared tuna appetizer and you will not be displeased.
Have there been missteps in the kitchen...yes. Has it been rectified? In my opinion a solid YES. The shrimp & grits are mouthwatering; the salsa is housemade - full of fresh chopped tomatoes; the wings are meaty, flavorful and have varying degrees of Buffalo heat as well as dry spice wings. Even the chicken tenders and calamari are floured and fried to order - no shortcuts!
The soft tacos and all the mexican dishes are great - way much better than the "pick a # combo" Mexican restaurants that seem to share the same menu that are scattered throughout the Charleston area.
By the way - this is more Baja/Veracruz inspired Mexcian - if you're expecting hard tacos, there's a Taco Bell on the IOP Connector.
Their original house salad dressing should be bottled - it's a fantastic mexican inspired sweet and tangy vinaigrette - spiked with cilantro and jalapenos. The crabcake eggs benedict topped with the green chile hollandaise is truly one of the best ways to start a Sunday at the beach.
So YES - the food at the Acme Cantina is really, really, really good.
Does the 'Cantina have a bar crowd? Sure does. Does the managment & staff treat non-drinkers poorly, rudely, insultingly or inappropriately? Not that I have ever seen in the 13 years I have been a patron. And by the way... I do not have perfect vision and I have always been able to read my bill.
The person who posted under the handle of "Mayor Riley" has some bizarre personal vendetta. Live and let live, I guess.
If he doesn't want to return to the restaurant, that means there will be one less person waiting in line for a table in front me!
Why just 3 stars you ask? I keep my 5 stars for the places white table cloth places. But 3 stars with great food, a comfortable funky beachy atmosphere...heck yes!
Atmosphere is lost; too much lighting; lighting should focus on the band. Please, less light.
The. Service. Blows. But if you don't mind waiting - and maybe not getting what you ordered - it's not bad at all.
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