DISH Winter Dining Guide » DISH Dining Guide

MEXICAN/SOUTHWESTERN

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Camarones get the salad treatment at El Mercadito
  • Camarones get the salad treatment at El Mercadito

El Mercadito
Mexican/Southwestern
Entrées $5-$10
Johns Island. 3575 Maybank Hwy. 559-7216
Lunch and Dinner
El Mercadito is quite a trip from town -- nearly halfway to Kiawah and Seabrook -- but worth every inch of the drive for some of the most authentic Mexican cuisine in town. Real tacos, with double layers of soft corn tortillas, plenty of pico de gallo, fresh lime wedges, cilantro, and meat fillings. Mexican shrimp cocktail and a wide variety of burritos, enchiladas, and guacamole salads fill out the rest of the menu, and the typical large mugs of beer and margaritas finish out the selections perfectly. Take it easy on the Dos Equis, though -- it's a long, dark drive back to town.

Moe's Southwest Grill
Mexican/Southwestern
Entrées $5-$10
Downtown. 381 King St. 577-7727; Mt. Pleasant. 900 Houston Northcutt Blvd. 388-2200; 612-A Long Point Road. 216-9885; West Ashley. 1812 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. 225-6637
Lunch and Dinner
Moe's Southwest Grill is the modern-day Taco Bell -- but so, so much better. The updated Southwestern dishes offer much more variety and nutritional value, and the movie-themed dining room is more entertaining, but at the core, they share the same philosophy: people will eat cheap Mexican food until they are stuffed and the owners are rich. Moe's went from one location to four in a flash, so we'd say the idea works.

Santi's Restaurante Mexicano
Mexican/Southwestern
Entrées $5-$10
Downtown. 1302 Meeting St. 722-2633
Lunch and Dinner
Downtown's answer to El Mercadito, Santi's is a freaky little redone Waffle House at the intersection of Morrison and Meeting in the upper reaches of the peninsula. The guacamole is delicious, as is the tortilla bean soup. All the authentic items are there, including crazy sodas that are flavored with everything from grapefruit to mango. The seafood entrées are particularly worth trying and the check will not break your bank. Go early, though, because the downtown professionals who are always looking for the hot lunch spot have definitely discovered Santi's.

Yo Burrito
Mexican/Southwestern
Entrées $5 and under
Mt. Pleasant. 675 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 856-0061
Lunch and Dinner
Yo Burrito made a huge splash downtown when it opened a few years ago, offering the Big Kahuna stuffed with mahi-mahi, the carnitas salad, a huge delight with tangy shredded pork on an enormous pile of fresh greens, and every 'shot and a beer' special a College of Charleston student could want. Renovations are underway at a new Wentworth location, after their original spot closed last year. For now, we're still making do by trekking across the bridge to Mt. P for a big ol' fatty.

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