FOOD REVIEW: Chela's Mexican Grill

Chela's Mexican Grill offers a menu of tasty Mexican favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with appealing specials such as Happy Hour and Taco Tuesdays.

It is always fun to find another good place for Mexican food. This week we tried Chela’s Mexican Grill located at 29975 Alicia Pkwy., near Pacific Island Drive. The restaurant is fairly small, and has a nice look with muted green and rust-colored walls. On one wall there are mounted posters, which highlight meal specials, their salsa options, happy hour offerings, etc. On the opposite wall are black and white photos of scenes from old Mexico.

The ceiling is purposely unfinished with exposed ducts and is painted black. From the ceiling hang a variety of paper lanterns. The night we visited, Techno-Pop music played in the background and college football was on the television. It was a quirky, but fun atmosphere.

Along the back wall, the menu is displayed above the counter where customers place their orders. Taco options include: La Calle, “an authentic street taco,” a crispy taco, fish tacos, and the La Gringa taco. They have one entrée salad, called the California. It can be served without meat, or with chicken or steak and comes with Romaine lettuce, corn, black beans, Cotija cheese, salsa and fresh avocado slices.

There are seven different burritos, such as the fajita burrito, the el macho, and the chili verde. Any burrito can be served “naked” meaning no tortilla, and all of the contents placed on a bed of rice or cabbage.

There are quesadillas and nachos and taquitos. You can make anything into a combination plate by adding rice and beans or rice or beans, which is a nice option. There is a small kid's menu, including a mini quesadilla, two taquitos or a bean cheese burrito served with chips and a cookie.

Chela’s has Happy Hour on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 3-7 p.m. featuring $2 tacos, $2 16-ounce draft beer, $2 taquitos, and $2 chips and salsa. On Taco Tuesdays, look for $1.50 crispy chicken tacos, $2 16-ounce draft beers, and $3.50 glasses of wine all day. On Thursdays, customers can get $1 La Calle tacos, and $2 16-ounce beers all day.

I decided on the La Gringa taco with rib-eye steak. These can be served on a flour or corn tortilla and are topped with guacamole, sour cream, cabbage, onion, cilantro and freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese. Jim chose the original burrito with rib-eye steak.  Chela’s does not have a salsa bar; instead, customers select the salsa to be served with their meal from the salsa menu, which includes red, green, chipotle, habanero or la famosa. We went with the red.

Our food came quickly and both meals were served with some chips and a small cup of our salsa selection. The La Gringa taco was great, with lots of white onion, cabbage and just enough sour cream and guacamole. Because of the veggies in the taco, the whole thing tasted fresh and light and not at all heavy or greasy.

Jim’s burrito, was quite large, making me wonder how big the larger burritos must be?  He also noticed the fresh onion and cilantro, really liked the addition. The salsa was spicy, tasty and the chips, fresh and crispy. We enjoyed our meals and decided Chela’s is a nice choice for a quick meal out or to order take-out.

For those who like a spicy start to their day, Chela’s serves breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They have breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos, quesadillas, and breakfast nachos.

Chela’s Mexican Grill is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

I give Chela’s 3 ½ Patches out of 5.


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