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Charleston - not the Same'ole

We get enough tourist mentions for the vast array of restaurants downtown that I don't need to add to the same'ole stuff that gets written about the same places over & over.

We rarely go to eat downtown these days. Living in Mount Pleasant we have a number of good spots to dine. We also go to North Charleston for more ethnic choices.

Today...today we ate at a Colombian restaurant on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.

El Sabor Latino

Wow. We had been in the insurance office next door when I pointed out this tiny building that had Spanish writing and an "OPEN" sign. It was lunch time and a few people were strolling in. We actually thought it was going to be a Mexican place, but we were wrong.

What a great decision we made to step in the door of El Sabor Latino!

Meat stuffed Yuca, pork belly, sausage, marinated beef, more pork belly, quail eggs, more yuca, plantains...and that was just OUR lunch. Two of us ate lunch for well under $20.

Much of the menu is in Spanish and the employees don't understand much English. But there is a good portion of the menu written in English and the lady who helped us wasn't offended by us pointing to our choices on the menu (while at the same time butchering the pronunciation).

Everything was good with 95% of it being absolutely excellent.

El Sabor Latino will see us gracing their doorway many more times in the future.

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  1. This sounds like a great find, Jay. It looks like the place is located across from Trident Tech, does that sound right?

    I like that the Latin American food scene in Charleston has expanded well beyond just Mexican. There's a Guatemalan place on Remount Road a couple of blocks from North Rhett called El Chapin that we tried a few weeks ago. I thought the food was quite good, especially the pupusas. I drove by it Saturday night and it looked closed, which seemed odd, but it looked closed the day we ate there, too, so looks may be deceiving.

    El Centro Americano in Goose Creek has a Honduran focus I believe, and Pollo Tropical on Dorchester Road bills itself as Colombian now, too.

    I still lament the closing of the great Brazilian bakery that used to operate in Goose Creek. I think my father-in-law almost single-handedly kept them in business for awhile...and we were often the beneficiaries of his purchases.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Low Country Jon

      Yep...it's across from Trident and next to Hoffman Law Firm.

      We like Pollo Tropical too. They always had a couple of Colombian items on their menu. I absolutely love their tongue sandwich...truthfully.

      1. re: JayL

        Interesting that the P&C featured this restaurant about a week after your initial post (and also name-checked El Chapin): http://www.charlestonscene.com/articl... I wonder if their reporter saw this thread.

        A bit OT but do you have any new BBQ recs in Charleston, Jay? I continue to be amazed by how many BBQ restaurants we have here and how few are actually good.

        1. re: Low Country Jon

          No real recommendations on the bbq front, Jon.

          If you remember, I had opened a place in Summerville. Was told, face-to-face, that people didn't want to eat bbq cooked by an Indian (my wife is Indo-Caribbean)...even though "I" was the one who did the cooking. Also overheard a conversation in a local store between people talking about the bbq restaurant owned by "those Indians". Oh well...such is the ignorant life...

          Maybe another time...definitely another place. Just trying to settle into the new house in MtP at the present.

          About the only "new" place I know of is Pug's inside the Caravel in Town Center. Don't do it. Horrid stuff...vile.

          Mama Brown's reopened, but the bbq is the same as always. We go there for a burger every now & then, but that's it.

          1. re: JayL

            Sorry to hear about your experiences in Summerville, Jay. I wish I'd gotten up there while you were still open.

            We go to Momma Brown's sometimes, mostly for the fried chicken, red rice, chicken purloo, etc. The BBQ is fair at best, but at least it is whole hog.

            Have you tried the Food for the Southern Soul Cue-osk downtown in the City Market? Despite the name and touristy location, the BBQ is pretty good for Charleston. This is the retail face of Tidewater Catering and the Blackjack BBQ Team (who were the SC BBQ champions at one point I believe).

            Also, Jim 'n Nick's does V&P whole hog BBQ on Saturdays. Tried it awhile back at the N. Charleston location. It seemed pretty good, but I had a cold and my taste buds were doing crazy things, so don't hold me to it.

            Such is the state of BBQ in Charleston that we are reduced to talking about kiosks and chain restaurants! On a happier note, we hit McCabe's in Manning again recently, and their BBQ was as good as I remembered. I brought a pound home with me, and it seemed to grow on me even more as leftovers.

            I hope to visit El Sabor Latino soon, BTW.

            1. re: Low Country Jon

              McCabe's continues to be our favorite barbecue in South Carolina.

              We recently found out that El Sabor Latino is closed on Thursdays. Sort of a strange day of the week to take off, but that is indeed the case.

    2. Nice. By the title of your thread I expected something downbeat, but this sounds really good. I have 4 friends in Texas who visit Charleston with some regularity, just for the food. I'll pass this along.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo

        Just to post it up again, El Sabor Latino is closed on Thursdays.

        Don't want anyone else to suffer from the same disappointment as we did last week! LoL

      2. Unless it relocated somewhere else, El Sabor Latino appears to have closed. I stopped by today only to discover a Mexican restaurant in its place.

        On the brighter side, I drove by El Chapin and it was open.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Low Country Jon

          We actually passed by there a week or so ago to find the same...forgot I had this post here.

          Thanks for updating.