When cruising around looking for a place to satisfy our hunger, students often choose the easy way out by stopping by a local fast food restaurant. However, by making this mistake, they limit themselves from the variety of options offered elsewhere. Yes, Taco Bell and Chipotle are ideal places to stop by with a few dollars to spend, but if one is willing to spend those few extra bucks for an authentic Mexican and El Salvadorian food, Chalateco Restaurant is worth a look.
The old Chalateco is located on El Camino Real in Mountain View, hidden in a tiny parking lot surrounded by trees with only Goodwill next door and a small sign to help you find it. After hearing the numerous prayers of hungry loyal customers who often drive miles to eat their food, Chalateco has finally answered them by opening a new restaurant on the same El Camino Real, now in Palo Alto. With the new location, Chalateco should most certainly attract more customers quickly. The new place now replaces the old fashioned Taco Bell that once stood next to the Ace of Sandwiches.
As I walked in, the restaurant immediately welcomed me with its vivid colors and immediately pulled me closer to the counter with the aroma of fresh Mexican and El Salvadorian food. The restaurant also has multiple televisions showing the local sports games to entertain customers as they sit and enjoy their meals.
The hardest part about visiting Chalateco restaurant is during decision-making time. The place offers one of the deepest menus I have come across. Customers might find themselves standing in line for minutes while contemplating what to eat. Chalateco offers just about anything Mexican and Salvadoran one can think of. Different combinations of platos, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, pupusas, tostadas—the list just keeps going on and on.
The service is fast and efficient and the food comes hot and fresh out of the kitchen in massive plates you will find hard to finish. On my most recent trip to Chalateco, I decided to order their famous pupusas, a couple of tacos and a large horchata to wash it all down. The pupusas were just what I expected, with lots of flavor from the chicharron (pork meat inside the pupusa) and the beans and cheese packed up inside. The tacos were simple, yet very authentic and full of flavors coming from the carne asada, cilantro and hot sauce, with a bit of lime to add the extra kick. The horchata was all I could ask for—sweet, cold and refreshing.
One thing that might irk people is how limited the restaurant is when it comes to some drinks they would expect to get in an authentic place; they do not have jarritos or sangria listed in their drinks menu. The restaurant also does not have large tables for groups, which can give a hard time for a large number of customers who come eat together. Also, during the summer, the place can get too hot inside, making it less than stellar experience.
Otherwise, this place is simply close to perfection. The food is authentically outstanding. There is a menu with infinite options to choose from and the place operates from 9:30AM to 11:00PM every day offering breakfast, appetizers, salads, soups and a variety of main dishes. Honestly, what else could a hungry customer ask for?
So the next time you’re thinking of finding a place to eat, seriously consider looking out for the new Chalateco restaurant in Palo Alto, an authentic restaurant that offers fine Salvadoran and Mexico City-style food.