Handmade Tortillas, Fresh Margaritas: Authentic Mexican in Charleston

Is there anything better than fresh, authentic, affordable Mexican food? The jury is still out on that one, but in the meantime, we highly recommend sampling your favorite traditional dishes from some of Charleston, South Carolina's best Mexican restaurants. You'll find them both off and on the downtown peninsula, with sunny outdoor seating, free bottomless chips and salsa, and a whole lot of variety on the menu.

A meal at one of Charleston's local Mexican restaurants is ideal after a busy day outdoors. Hit up Taco Mamacita's street-front patio after a visit to Sullivan's Island, or sample the Tex-Mex tacos at Taco Boy on Folly Beach, just a few blocks from the ocean. Urban hiking through Charleston's busy downtown streets is enough to make anyone hungry for quesadillas and enchiladas; head to Santi's on the North end of the peninsula or La Hacienda on King Street to fill those Mexican food cravings.

Of course, Mexican eats go well with tequila and rum, particularly in margaritas and mojitos. You'll find these perfect food and drink pairings at the Zia Taqueria happy hour on James Island and among the Mex 1 Coastal Cantina tequila flights and housemade tequila infusions.

The best part about Charleston's local Mexican restaurants? They're ideal for every resident and visitor, with family-friendly menus and seating, dog-friendly patios, and party-starting drink specials.



This popular Upper King Street establishment is of the "Mexican-ish" variety, serving up big portions of nachos, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, salads, and rice bowls. You choose the protein from a selection of bean, tofu, veggie, beef, chicken,...  Read More



Established in 1990, La Hacienda, or "LaHa" as it is known locally, is a Ayala family-owned establishment that has grown to include more than 10 locations across the Southeast. LaHa has become legendary among the Charleston restaurant and...  Read More

James Island


Located just a few steps from the eclectic Terrace Theatre, and across the street from The Pour House music venue on James Island, Zia Taqueria is an ideal spot to start or end your night out. That is, if you're night out involves delicious...  Read More



West Ashley's Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is named for the Mexican Federal Highway 1, which runs from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas and is known for a heavily seafood-influenced style of Mexican food. Mex 1 delivers on this tradition with seafood (and...  Read More

Sullivan's Island


This Taco Mamacita is located on Sullivan's Island, just a few blocks from the beach access stations. It's a no-brainer that you're going to want their chips and salsa, nachos, tacos, and enchiladas after a fun-filled day in the sun! The Taco...  Read More



Like its sister restaurant downtown, the Folly Beach Taco Boy brings in a regular crowd of both visitors and locals with its wide variety of tacos and killer drink menu. It's no accident that Taco Boy is an easy walk from the beach; the menu...  Read More



Established in 2003, this family-owned North Charleston Mexican restaurant is traditional in both cuisine and atmosphere. The La Norteña interior is colorful and comfortable, with booth seating and friendly service. That's a good thing when...  Read More



Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Básico is known for its thoughtfully prepared and beautifully plated Mexican-inspired fare. Many ingredients are sourced from Básico's own patio garden - reflective of Básico's standard of...  Read More



This affordable, casual Mexican restaurant is an unmissable fixture for those looking to dine among the many restaurants of East Bay Street downtown. With James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock at the helm, they've done their research into...  Read More



Though you'll have to catch a ride to Santi's for your fill of fresh Mexican food and margaritas, the drive to this northern part of downtown Charleston is well worth it. For years, Santi's has been known as an iconic hotspot for cheap,...  Read More


Meet Clare Sweeney

A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare is always venturing between traveling abroad and her beloved Lowcountry. 

Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days...  More About Clare