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Jan 25, 2009 09:11 AM

Mexican restaurant on River St. in Waltham ?

My wife and I were heading west on River St. ( between Newton & Elm I think ) and we passed what I think is a new Mexican restaurant. Didn't get the name; we were driving in the middle of the last big snowstorm and slowing down or stopping was not an option. Any 'hounds know the place ? If so, is it any good? One hint: my wife thought it was "Guadalajara", but we didn't find a listing under that name. She was sure that it began with Guad............

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    1. My first thought was El Amigo, too (incidentally a wonderful taqueria, one of my very favorites in Greater Boston), but it's on Willow St, 3/4 miles further east on River.

      There is/was a Mexican place on Moody called Guanachapi: could it have moved?

      8 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        MC Slim JB, that may be it ! Thanks. When I googled their name, it came up as a listing for their second Waltham location. The building they are in ( 154 River St. ) used to be a Chinese place.

        1. re: TheTrout

          The timing of this thread is great. I happened to be in River Street tonight (I was taking my daughter and her friend to Fiorella's), passed by the old chinese place, and wondered what had taken over the space.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          Yes it is Guanachapi's. They kept the Mood street location too, so now there are TWO Guanachapi's in Waltham. I live very close to the one on River St. but still haven't been yet. There were one or two reports here on chowhound regarding the new one, and the reviews were mediocre.

          They sent us a menu w/pics in the mail, and to be honest, the pics and the prices aren't too attractive, hence the reason why we still haven't tried it yet.

          1. re: y2000k

            My experience with the Moody St. location is that it is serviceable, but nothing special. I am perplexed at their branching out....the Moody St. shop is usually practically empty.

            1. re: Science Chick

              Some thoughts:

              First, unlike the Moody Street location, this location has ample free parking. Also, even though it's essentially around the corner, I think this location will attract more people looking for downscale, family dining that a Moody Street location. Given that this location survived for years and years offering bad Chinese, perhaps it can survive by offering bad Mexican too.

              1. re: Blumie

                Based on its looks, the River St location appears fancier than the Moody St location. The River St location boasts multiple flat-screen TVs and KENO. Both of which are reasons why I have been dragging my feet to go eat there.

                BTW, I wonder if the menus are different at the 2 locations? Can anyone confirm?

                1. re: y2000k

                  Keno sound like a holdover from the previous Chinese regime.

              2. re: Science Chick

                Yeah, I'm surprised the Moody St. place is still open. It is always pretty dead. I'm pretty sure that the River St. location advertises margaritas, so that may draw in a few more people. I don't think the Moody location has an alcohol license.

          2. Just a clarification. Guanachapi's is a Central American and Mexican restaurant (yes, there's a difference). I recommend ordering the Salvadoran dishes, they're delicious and authentic.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lescaret

              Any specific dishes you'd like to recommend? Some of my favorite food is Mexican, Central & South American - all three cuisines are available on a "limited" basis in the Boston area.

              1. re: TheTrout

                Oops, late reply. And geez, no, can't recommend anything specific because it's been a few months since I went and I forgot the exact dishes I ate. Oh, well, one thing does stand out. Something called "salvadoran bacon". It comes with some of the combo platters (which are huge, by the way). It's a THICK chunk of crispy pork fat bacon, my goodness, delicious. Now that I'm thinking about this, the steak I got was delicious as well, very flavorful. One of those pounded-flat, thin Latin American style cuts of beef. Really good. Oh, and finally - the last time I went to the one on Moddy St, we were able to bring our own beer. I recommend running across the street to Watch City Brewing Co, buying a growler, then heading into Guanachapi's for some "pan-latino" food (as I saw it referred to elsewhere).

            2. Went to Guanachapi with some friends on Saturday night to watch the U.S. - Salvador world cup qualifying match. The place is quite the scene! Singer in the dining room area - the bar was packed too - was very much in the minority. Cannot comment on any real chow (did see a round of ceviche go by that looked decent), but the waitress was very nice and kept us happy with guac, salsa and chips. The guac I do not think was fresh-made, but hey, it worked as a great chaser for a little tequila.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                Good timing on the post, Bob, so thanks. I stopped by yesterday on my way home from braving Russo's on a Sunday afternoon and picked up a menu, which looked fine for our weekly Monday night cheap-eats ouitng. Other than the volume of the music being a bit much, it looked fine. We'll hit it up within the next few weeks and report back.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  I was there for a late lunch a few Saturdays ago. Of course it was a whole different scene - nearly empty and Spanish children's TV on all the big screens. I was underwhelmed by the food - had some mediocre, albeit generously portioned, fish. The people were really nice, but I wouldn't hurry back.

                2. I just drove by the new Guanachapi's and was also confused about the move. I haven't been in yet, and will stop by soon, but I have to say that it looks kind of sketchy. Why move to that location? I don't they think look inviting enough to attract drive-by traffic, if that's what they're going for.

                  I've been to the original. The food was pretty good (the date was a disaster) and they had great foot-traffic. I had some form of bistec with a tomato based sauce similar to what I've had at my aunt from Peru's house but distinctly different. I can't imagine that people would venture out to that new location solely with the purpose of going there. I wish them luck, though and will try out the new location soon.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sox_foodie

                    As y2000k says, this is actually a second location for them. Who knows why it was appealing, especially with such great Mexican competition just around the corner at El Amigo. I suppose a full bar could have an allure, but I'd rather get El Amigo takeout and make my own margaritas at home.

                    1. re: Spenbald

                      I live near the River St location, and I can tell you that on Fri/Sat nights when I drive pass the restaurant, their (rather large) lot is always FULL. I think the River St location attracts a different crowd, perhaps with the big-screen TVs and a good-sized bar...