Living in Southern California has its serious perks, and I mean like… hello food.
So many funky, different and authentic fusion celebrations of food all over the place, and it keeps getting better. I try my hardest to share some of the absolute gems that I run into, so I hope you fall in love with my newest discovery, Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen located at the Marketplace in Irvine.
Now, if I could fan girl (which I damn well am) over food, this would be the place. Not only is the menu modern and fresh, the atmosphere follows right in line. With a super sleek and clean interior design, a bit of an industrial-chic vibe, Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen creates a chill and welcoming environment. Open concept, trendy, and 100% insta worthy.
On top of all of that, the service has been seriously lovely. All of the servers, hostesses, bartenders and managers are nothing short but a family. They make you feel right at home and comfortable.
Now to the fun part. THE FOOD.
The food here is seriously top-notch… SO GOOD. I do not eat meat (besides seafood!) and this place gives so many options for the vegetarian, or seafood lover along with the meat-eater. The pesca veg options don’t feel like cop outs either, which is ALWAYS a good thing. So, personal points + 10.
The drinks are pretty delicious. They have a few signature cocktails like Mexican Lemonade and of course a few margarita options. One margarita option is the Watermelon Margarita, and lemme tell you girl. YES.
If you are a mojito fan, which hi, yes thassss me, you’re so in luck. They have their signature frozen mojito and it is *heaven* in a glass. Super fresh, not too sweet; it is the perfect little mix.
I also love a place that offers sparkling water along with regular water, and Cha Cha’s does! It’s refreshing to be able to opt in for some bubbles. Chips and salsa is offered upon seating; there are three salsas that are all equally delicious. The ‘spicier’ salsa that they let you know of is an option for them to bring out, and it is not as spicy as you think, so I say bring on the spicy.
They have a pretty decent selection of appetizers and main courses. The ceviche is killer. It is a shrimp ceviche served with their crispy chips. The manila clams though, that is where it is at. A bowl full of garlic sautéed clams, fresh herbs, white wine and buttery deliciousness is a literal melt in your mouth moment. There is chorizo in it as well, so be warned for my vegs out there! The clams comes with a toasted tortilla on the side so you can sop up that delicious goodness.
Cha Cha’s has a really great assortment of tacos and they are all DELICIOUS. I opt in for the wild mushroom and shrimp tacos when I go. Like literally, just look at them. I like the taco portions and size. I also REALLY like that they don’t over fill the tacos that they break and fall apart. So they only thing thats feelin’ stuffed is your belly.
The wild mushroom tacos are seriously to die for. As a Peaca Veg myself, it’s the perfect plate and portion. The best part is they have a three or six taco plate. So grab the six tacos and taste test all of em! (Sharing is optional).
My boyfriend and I opted in to share the taco plate and grab another delicious morsel to expand our Cha Cha’s taste buds, and we were not disappointed.
If you are not feeling delish tacos, I recommend the crab and shrimp enchilada because girl…. mmmmmm. This thing is so damn good. Creamy soft crab, bite sized shrimp, smothered in a creamy habanero pesto sauce, it is literally the enchilada of your dreams. The sauce is really what does it; it is so perfect and creamy and just a touch spicy/sweet. It does everything right to your taste buds.
All entrees come with black beans and rice, which they are both equally delicious, I just wish the rice was a tab bit less dry than it is. I have a thing with rice, I love it, but don’t give me dry rice. Mix in a bit of that spicy salsa though, and you got it goin’ on.
Don’t forget the CHURROS. They were delicious. Little bite sized churros covered in caramel, with a vanilla bean cream and raspberry sauce to dip it in. So SO *soooo* good.
Overall, I absolutely adore the atmosphere that Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen has. The food and drinks are really great, the staff is wonderful, the location is perfect and it is just the place to be.
I am sad I didn’t think of snapping pictures of the inside! But check them out on Yelp to see some other photos. I hope you go check this place out one weekend, or even on Tuesdays for their Taco Tuesdays!
Cheers to you Cha Cha!