March 07, 2012
1302 Meeting St. (Downtown)
Lunch & Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)
Diverse selection of authentic Mexican cuisine in an off-the-beaten path location that has plenty of parking and lots of personality. Voted Best Margaritas and Best Mexican by CP readers.
Guisado de puerca. Tampiquena Camarones a la diabla. At Santi’s it’s best to avoid the burritos and quesadillas and go for the deep cuts on the menu, seeking out dishes you’ve never heard of before and diving into a plate of authentic fare that comes from Santi’s hometown of Puerto Vallarta. Chunks of richly braised pork swimming in a spicy red sauce next to some refried beans and Mexican rice are the perfect foil to the tart margaritas. The enchiladas verdes and chicken mole are solid choices too. The former Huddle House restaurant has morphed over the years into an oasis with a comfortable dining room, a lush patio, and outdoor dining. Granted, you’re looking at Morrison Drive, but diners are happy to ignore that fact as they enjoy their bargain-basement-priced authentic Mexican food. We can’t say we’ve made it out to the Mt. Pleasant location, but we eat at the Santi’s downtown about once a week. Get a pitcher of margaritas, voted Best of Charleston, and pair it with some chips and salsa and you’ll be starting your night off right. —Stephanie Barna Dish (Winter 2014)
Shotgun says... Yuk!! OK, I admit I ate at their Summerville location but one would believe that the food and service should be about the same. Right? Well, I hope not. I'll get right to the point. Went there for lunch and was totally ignored. Finally a waiter told me to sit down anywhere. The music was blaring so loud out of the speaker over my head, I asked my waiter to turn it down which he did. I could not appreciate the Mexican "rap" or whatever it was mixed in with Cindy Lauper and some Boy George...no kidding! The sauce was so generic. It basically was tomato juice with some onions and cilantro thrown in. Also on the table was some pico de gallo that was fresh and quite good. The waiter looked at me funny when I ordered the lunch chile relleno. Then he had to find it on the menu like I was the first person to ever order it. After a 25 minute wait, it came out. How disappointing!! A poblano pepper with some white cheese inside, some thin tasteless sauce, and, guess what, more cheese. Then my waiter left. I could see him walking through the parking lot smoking a cigarette and getting into his car. No service after that. I had to go track somebody down for my check. If this is the BEST Charleston has to offer, I'll stick to seafood! ★★★★★
mapobeancake says... Nasty & massively overrated! I have to concur with the first review and I have eaten now twice at the downtown Charleston location. We were completely ignored and finally seated where no one came to wait on us. We had to go find the manager and practically demand service. We finally received our drinks and food which was horrible, mushy, and dry all at the same time. The music was so loud we couldn't hear each other across the table. We ran out of our margaritas pretty early on (to numb the pain of being there) and our glasses sat empty the rest of the night. A waiter never came back to our table and we had to find the manager again just get our bill. I do not get the appeal of this place. It is a dump, the food and service are horrible and no apologies offered to dissatisfied customers. One of the 3 worst places I have ever eaten, and I travel quite a bit and have seen some bad places! I wish there were a half star rating on here. ★★★★★
factoryconnection says... I've eaten at Santi's (Charleston) about 10 times now, and I really enjoy it. The salsa is fragrant, fresh, and delicious. The food has never disappointed and I've tried many of their dishes. Yes it is more expensive than LaHa or the others, but the quality is higher. The service is kinda cold, but it has never made me mad or consider cutting the tip. Others are entitled to their opinion, but the place is always jumping at lunch and in the evening... and I know why. My rating is relative to casual hangout/eateries in its price range... I'm not putting it on the level of Cypress or anything like that, but I really love eating there. ★★★★★
The key to excellent Mexican food is not just excellent Mexican food — like yummy chicken mole and delicious enchiladas verdes — but also tart margaritas and spicy salsa. Santi's has all that and then some. The vibe is just right for this place, making it an all-around great choice for lunch or dinner any day of the week.
2011 Best Mexican