Best bets for authentic Mexican/Hispanic food in Charleston, SC?
As some of the suburbs of Charleston, especially North Charleston, have developed large immigrant populations from Mexico, Central America, and South America, I'm interested in sampling the best of the many ethic restaurants that have sprung up in these communities, especially the taquerias, which are many. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of info out there to guide a novice other than word of mouth. I've read a couple of recommendations in the local papers, but quite frankly I don't put a lot of stock in our local food critics ever since BOTH the reviewers for "Charleston City Paper" and "The Charleston Post and Courier" labeled vinegar and pepper BBQ (South Carolina's oldest and original style of BBQ) as a North Carolina import. (I'm originally from NC myself, but once I moved down here, it didn't take me too long to figure out the two states share that particular BBQ tradition.)
Outside of a trip to the Amazon Grill in Goose Creek for Brazilian food (good) and an impromptou visit to a panaderia on Ashley-Phosphate (mixed results), I'm in uncharted territory. If anyone has recommendations they'd like to share, please post them here.
I have have heard good things about both El Mercadito and Santi's. I haven't eaten at either, yet, but I would also appreciate a review of any ethnic restaurants you try.
I don't have any recommendations of my own, other than to suggest you might want to take a drive down Remount Rd. in North Charleston.
Maybe instead of using the local paper reviews, you could use the dining guides as a starting off point. Then you could strike up a conversation with your server or another guest, and see if they know any places worth checking out. Sorry I can't be more help.
El Mercadito on John's Island in the Piggly Wiggly shopping center at the corner of Maybank Hwy and the road that goes to Kiawah and Santi's on upper Meeting Street (where East Bay and Meeting St. meet) are genuine Mexican restaurants and our two favorites. These are not the cookie cutter tex mex places and are heavily attended by the local hispanic populations. Great stuff!