Cha Cha's is a creeper. You can walk in to this lost strip mall joint and not expect anything at all. You can walk in and expect the typical American version of "authentic" Mexican. Or, you can just walk in and take it for what it is and then some. They have something special happening there. I've been going since they opened, and that was a rough start to say the least. they've really pulled the quality up by the bootstraps. I once had crappy service from a dum-dumb server at a table in the pool table room, that we kinda got forced to sit at, but never at the bar and never anywhere else with table sized parties.
Just tonight, the bartender smiled at me when I ordered another special cocktail. Like, I genuinely felt as if he was happy to make the drink rather it be an insult to his workload to make a $3 margarita. He was sincerely being gracious and hospitable.
The other major part about this place is the food. (going back to what to expect from authentic or americanized) It is what it is, and it's all good!! Bacon studded guacamole? You really can't go wrong with that. That may have just been a special, but it sincerely shows and proves that there is someone in the kitchen that truely cares about food.
Other than that, three words: Pork Belly Taco.
It will change your life......no really, it will.
(as long as they keep the pork belly portion well off)
cheaper than Taco Boy, comparable to Zia, not quite as original as Taco Spot. Fun atmosphere. Taco list does have room to grow, but doing extremely well so far.
Wonderful experience. Friendly and helpful staff. Great food!
, I'm giving it 4 stars based on my experience. The happy hour is excellent: plentiful free pool tables and $1 Tecates (and when those ran out, they upgraded to a Costa Rican beer called Imperial.) The food is very good, especially for a place that identifies itself as a sports bar. We enjoyed the homemade tortilla chips and salsa and had no trouble getting to an open pool table at 5 pm. It appears as though renovations may not be complete yet...but the Mexican Day of the Dead murals that adorn the walls help set a fun vibe, as do the hand-painted, glowing skulls on the bar. We really enjoyed our appetizer sampler--the surprise hit for me being the fried pita bread. The Bacon-wrapped jalapenos were quite tasty too. My wife, who used to tend bar at a Latin bar, was blown away by her first rocks margarita, but had to ask them to remake the 2nd one...meaning it depends on who makes it. (Nicolette made the best one.)
The most important thing we noticed is that we could truly feel that everyone there is trying very hard to make this something good. Dollar beers and good food will get me in the door once. The attitude and effort being put forth have already brought me back for repeat trips.
Tried it out for the first time this week. Was very impressed with set-up, HH deals, and the tacos were great. Free pool, $1 Tecate, $2 tall boy PBR during HH (4-7pm). My two tacos were a lamb chorizo sausage wrapped in bacon with crispy onions and a spicy sauce, and a tempura baja fish with fresh red cabbage and cilantro n onions. Both huge, both super-tastey, 2 for $7. What's not to like there?
I'm sure some hyper-critical foodie D-bags will have something to say about this place (they always do...) To them I say tuck your Brooks Bro. shirt in, go eat at husk for the 3rd time this week en route to IOP for your beach day. This place is chill, friendly, good F&B at great price points. Should fit in nicely with the JI and FB crowds.
Very good food from a concise menu in an interesting environment. I have recommended this place to others and look forward to eating there again.
Highs: the mole chicken (the best mole I've ever had and the chicken was tender and succulent); the lengua tacos (good enough for a 4-year-old to enjoy); the Dia de la Muerte decor; the frendliness of the staff; the rich and flavorful pork torta.
Lows: the queso fundido (tasted more like a bland alfredo), and the salsa was good enough but didn't have the fresh-herb/ingredient pop that the food did. They do need to tighten up the service routine, but we didn't have anything like the bad experiences described by others.
Miscellaneous: lots of parking, easy to get to, the owner seems well-involved and did come out and talk to us for a while.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
We usually go downtown to meet out in-laws at the other location, but since we live closer to here, we've gone here the past few times. We like the one downtown, we love this one. While the menu is the same (a little variety or daily specials would be a sweet addition to these places), the food in my opinion is slightly better. The space is bigger and you aren't as on top of each other as you are downtown. They bring two salsas, the standard tomato based which has a real nice kick to it, and a raw onion, tomato, cilantro concoction that blows my socks off every time. Recently we went there and had the steak ranchero, tamales, and a taco for the kids. Great stuff, almost more food than we could handle without sacrificing quality, well cooked and plated. Although there is too much meat to be authentic, I'm sure the most will not mind how generous they are. The prices are simply dirt cheap for that type of quality. When I can feed a family of four for 30 bucks and the wife can get a margarita with it (3 bucks from 4-7 Tues - Thurs), this Summerville location is a winner. Service was friendly, loose, and not intrusive. My only comment is that in an open kitchen, hide the microwaves! The effect of the gas stove in the front is lost when you can see them around the corner.
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.
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