Hours: Lunch & Dinner. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Located on the international mile of Rivers Avenue — home to H&L Asian Market, Bombay Bazaar and Restaurant, Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant, and Pho #1 — La Norteña is one of the most authentic Mexican joints you’re going to find in the Lowcountry. Yes, the interior isn’t all that different from the Combo No. 1 chains, but the food is decidedly different. In fact, you can credit La Norteña — with its emphasis on fresh ingredients and true-blue South of the Border fare — for many of the new menu items at your neighborhood Speedy Gonzales joint — things like mole and carnitas and ceviche and al pastor tacos and camarones a la diabla. But few manage to top La Norteña. We still go back for the Carnitas Enmoladas (think rich, almost chocolatey, tender pork), the traditional tacos (chorizo, barbacoa, and fish), and the quartet of hot sauces the servers bring to the table (we could put the creamy jalapeño sauce on about anything). We’re still interested in trying their Menudo, a hangover-curing soup with honeycomb and beef tripe. Of course, the señors and señoritas at La Norteña know that Americanized fare brings in a fair number of dinners, so you can expect to find plenty of quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, and nachos. —Chris Haire Dish (Summer 2013)
A fine Mexican feast in a very authentic fashion.