Charlie's is a small Mexican restaurant in the tri-cities serving traditional home made Mexican Food in a cozy atmosphere. Charlie's serves lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm on.
There is indeed a paucity of decent Mexican eateries in the Greater Vancouver area and Charlie's in Port Moody does, I hesitate to say, nothing to change that impression.
Upon entering the establishment this evening we were greeted reasonably soon by an affable gentleman whom I presume to have been Charlie. At any rate, he promptly seated us and took our drink and appetizer orders. We ordered beef and cheese nachos which arrived warm, not hot, and desperately lacking in sufficient cheese, a deficiency which seems to consistently plague Vancouver restaurants advertising themselves as 'Mexican" eateries. The beef was of adequate quality but insufficiently spiced. Overall, the offering was but mediocre.
I ordered a fish dish and my wife a Mexican platter. Both were mediocre although my fish dish was somewhat better. As a saving grace, the accompanying salsa was good.
We ordered a pitcher of sangria and if there was any alcohol whatsoever in the sangria that would be news to me, so watered down it was.
I have eaten Mexican cuisine in Mexico, California and Texas and the various eateries in the Vancouver area which bill themselves as such simply do not measure up. What's more, they are consistently and uniformly mediocre to bad. I have yet to find one which could be actually called good although I am anxious to try Poncho's on Denman to see if it lives up to a decent standard.
Even the chain restaurants in Texas such as El Fenix and El Chico are worlds ahead of the local fare, not to mention the truly exemplary Cantina Laredo. What is wrong with these local joints that they simply cannot deliver on decent Mexican food???
If a really authentic Mexican restaurant ever does come to Vancouver it will make a killing because it will have no competition!
My wife and I dine at Charlie's on a regular basis. The food is consistently very good. Chicken enchiladas verdes are my favourite, and my wife gets the vegetarian soft tacos. The guacamole is really good, as is the salsa, and they always come with fresh home-made tortilla chips. Charlie is very entertaining and helpful in the restaurant, and Isabel is always busy in the kitchen. I'm surprised by the negative reviews, but they are from a while ago. We have never had a problem there. Check it out!
Ok, I have a confession...I used to work at Charlies. Although I am very fond of both Charlie & Islabel, Im going to give an honest review. The great thing about my review is that I have heard every from so many different customers.
First off the food. Charlie's wife Isabel is the cook & a damn good one, I might add. My favorite dish was the Enchilades Verde with Chicken. Her salsa is to die for and completely home made as are her chips & guacamole. Can you say yummy?! The Mole Poblano was a big customer favorite & I actually with shocked eyes witnessed a woman licking the plate once. OMG, right? I swear I saw it. Anyhow, we need to talk about dessert. The churros are good, but I am in love with the deep friend ice cream. It beyond good & so filling. Make sure you save room for some!! OH!! I forgot! Try the tortilla soup. Soo good!
Service is great. Im not just saying that bcs I was a server, but bcs Charlie tries very hard to speak to everyone of his customers & make them feel welcome & extend his gratitude for their business. I have heard complaints before that it takes too long to get the food. What you need to understand is Isabel is in the back making you your delicious dinner from scratch, not microwaving a soggy premade dish. She puts love & care into the dish & if you can show a bit of patience, the food is coming & is well worth the wait!
Value: I think Chalie's is well priced. There are several dishes until $15 & my favorite ( the Enchildas Verde) was...$12, I think. Its a very filly delicious plate.
Ambiance : They are tried their best with such a small place to decorate it well. They had a ton of decorations brought over from the other address, but you can only put things where you have space, right? Beautiful Sombreros, etc.
I highly recommend Charlie`s. Its so awesome to support `mom & pop` restaurants, so please check them out I know you wont regret it! :)
I was born and raised in Mexico so I know good Mexican food when I taste it. I have been searching for an authentic restaurant since my arrival here in Canada in 2009 and let me say I think I found the one. Every dish from the taquitos de bistec appitizer to the mole I had and the enchiladas verdes my husband had were excellent, very authentic, and definitely worth what we paid for. I didn't mind paying for the salsa and chips at all because it was real salsa, not just that nasty canned stuff you get at other "mexican" restaurants. The service was very good Our server was very attentive as well. We were seated promptly and were in and out of there in about an hour on a busy night.
We had the pleasure of meeting Charlie and his wife Isabel (the chef) who are from Mexico themselves and heard their story of how Isabel learned all of her recipes from her grandmother in Mexico and decided to open a restaurant when they came to Canada. They've been open for over 15 years which is a lot for any small restaurant, especially in their area. Overall, I would definitely recommend Charlies if you are looking for an authentic Mexican dining experience.
My friend suggested we meet here for dinner. I read some reviews and was a bit worried about the service. I must say that part of the dining event was great. The owner was friendly, the server was prompt and friendly as well.
My friend and I both complained about how salty the food was.
I am also so confused as to why mexican places here cover everything is sauce. In Mexico when I lived there, food was simple, sauce or salsa was served on the side.
I had a salty gloppy mess last night. I could not tell one thing from another.
Chicken chimichanga is usually what I order and when I'm craving Mexican this is the place I like best in Lower Mainland. Portions are decent and prices are reasonable. Quaint interior with tiled floors, wood hand made chairs and tables, yellow walls and very clean. Family owned so care goes into the food and service.
Charlie's had to move to a new location, the new address is 2517 St. John's Street, it is on the south side of the street and is directly across from the Point Pub.
We have waited 8 months for Charlie's to reopen! It is much smaller now, only 12 tables, the menu looks like it has been simplified to just one large sheet double sided (instead of that booklet of 8 pages that they had before), the decor has been toned down to just sombreros on the walls (which is too bad. what happened to all those slightly cheesy dresses, flags, blankets, donkeys, gauchos?)
We had Enchiladas with salsa verde and shrimp and Mole Poblanos with chicken. They were delicious just like we remembered! Service was on "Mexican time" as usual, but the food and the jokes and smiles from Carlos make up for it.
I'm not sure if the prices have changed, the Enchiladas were $14.95, Mole was $13.95. And well, if my restaurant was closed down for 8 months instead of the few weeks that were planned due to renovation problems and then being told that they couldn't move into the new space and having to find a new one, I'd probably raise the price a couple of bucks too.
A great place to go in the Tri-Cities for some delicious Mexican fare, friendly owners, cozy venue, just be patient if it takes a while to get your drink order.
Had a great meal with my wife tonight. Its like a little Mexican oasis in Port Moody. Authentic Mexican dishes and servers. The food was delicious and the service was friendly.
I will go back for sure. The red and green enchiladas are great !
The decor is very colourful and makes you feel like you're in Mexico.
We love Charlie's and think that it is some of the best Mexican food to be had throughout the lower mainland. My guy loves Mexican and since there are not too many restaurants around the lower mainland we have pretty much eaten at all of them. The decor is authentic Mexican and the owners are extremely nice and cordial - they always stop by to chat at our table when we're in.
I have to say that this is some of the best guacamole that I've had and it's worth paying for. Also, their refried beens are good - we've been to some Mexican places where they beans have a weird, burnt or bland taste to them - but not at Charlie's.
The one down fall of Charlie's is their service. It can be slow at times and good help is hard to come by. There are some servers that know their stuff and others who don't but over all we've always received what we've ordered and everyone was pleasant. Honestly, with the speed - we just joke and say that when you walk into Charlie's you're on Mexican time. Anyone who has been to Mexico or South American will understand what that means.
The food is quite good, and the prices are very fair.
Charlies is fun loving and laid back, and this is how he handles the front of house running of the restaurant - Service as a result can be weak.
If you are uptight and demanding, I suggest you visit on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
My wife and I ate here Wednesday night last week, Feb 20. It was reasonably busy mid week and we got to know why; the food IS good!
Seems like a family run place and the service was pretty good and attentive. The quality of the food was excellent, everything fresh and yummy. We can chimichangas for main course and they really filled us up.
Will definitely make this our regular Mexican place to eat. Value for money was excellent too.
I was hesitant to try this place after seeing some of the reviews. The place is pretty small but very cute. Our appy was out within minutes and our meal followed shortly, even though the place was packed! Our server was really nice and the owner (I'm guessing?) came back many times to see how things were and joke around. I'm very glad to have tried this place and so happy to not have to drive to Vancouver for some delicious Mexican!
Food 4/10 Ordered Enchilada Verde with Chicken, and found the food to be very blah. Enchilada, lukewarm and little flavour. Same goes for the Refried Beans and Spanish Rice. Not terrible, but just lacking in any flavour.
Service 5/10 I was the only person there at lunch time mid week, so I would expect to be looked after. Order taken, food brought, not much else. Spilled food from the plate on the table as he brought it, and was very difficult to understand what he was saying (see value)
Value 3/10 Would have thought the value kind of poor based on the quality of the food as it was, even moreso when overcharged. When I got the bill I was thinking that the menu said $7.95 but the bill said $8.95. When I was given the bill he mumbled twice something about price (the only word I could make out) while pointing at the candy that came with the bill? Thought maybe I was mistaken, but read the menu posted on the window on the way out and it WAS $7.95. Not a huge menu, hard for me to accept he just charged me the wrong price. Felt cheated.
Ambiance 5/10 Quaint little place, actually feels modestly Mexican inside, but being the only one there I could clearly hear not only traffic noise but also the Mexican music in the diningroom AND what sounded to be opera coming loudly from the kitchen at the same time, and the frequent opening, closing and pushing buttons of the microwave that they were obviously using to make my lunch.
Not impressed. My first and last visit. Check your bill folks.
This is my first time trying Charlie's and didn't have much expectations. As we went in, the service was very casual. Our table had not been cleaned and we had to pointed it out to the waitress.
We ordered 2 entrees with chicken as the main item. The dishes were good and portions were more than generous.
Overall the restaurant was fairly clean and the atmosphere was good. We had a fairly good experience. As long as you don't mind the lack of service, then it's worth trying.
I visited Charlies for the first time. I ordered Cesar Salad but instead I got iceberg lettuce with minimum dressing. Everyone knows Ceasar salad is made with Romaine, croutons and enough dressing. First dissapointment. The rest of the meal was bland and very tasteless. You had to ad salsa to the food to make it taste at all! The server, a man who I assumed to be Charlie was rather sarcastic. I won't be going back.
I was thrilled to spy the new incarnation of Charlies across the street and a block east of where they were last. We were there early and were among the first seated for the evening. The menu is quite a bit smaller, in terms of selection, but still hits all the high spots. The mole and the verde is as good as I ever remember. Things have gotten a bit more expensive with the large platters coming in at 18 bucks plus apiece. Somewhat more than I want to pay for a single meal. No shredded beef on the menu either, just ground. The only dissappointment of the evening was the service. A couple of very pretty young women who obviously hadn't had that much experience. Charlie was a bit flustered too I think. Only a single high chair available and hardly room for that either. Still good solid food though. We'll be back once they have a chance to iron out some of the kinks.
We have been eating here for years and LOVE the food....I don't know what everyone means when they say it isn't authentic. We've been to Mexico a ton of times and depending where you go, the food is different all over. You get the same type of food I have had in Mexico at this restaurant..food I have even only had at Mexican homes (not restaurants) so it doesn't get much more authentic then that.
The service could be a bit faster...but hey....pretend you're in Mexico and it won't seem so bad..... In my opinion the food is worth the wait and the prices are excellent as well.
Sure beats having to go all the way in to Vancouver for some chain mexican restaurant that is definitely not authentic at all....
My husband and I have been going to Charlie's since it was a little hole in the wall across the street from where they now reside. I was raised in Southern California and LOVE Mexican food and I spend a great deal of time in Mexico each year. My opinion, Charlie's has the best Mexican food I have ever tasted! A great restaurant, no one ever rushes you, you can stay all evening, good place to go with friends because you can sit and visit. Charlie's is not a restaurant to go to if you're in a rush!
My wife and I have been regulars at Charlie's since they opened across the street over a decade ago. My wife and I have spent considerable time in Mexico, my wife is from Southern california, and we've tried every Mexican place in the Lower Mainland so needlesss to say we like mexican food. The food is the best in this area, the food is authentic, most of rhe recipes are family recipes, and the inside of the place looks like a lot of eateries you'd find in Mexico. Service has always been iffy, especially now with the problems getting help, the help wanted sign has been out for a couple years now. Isabel, Charlie's wife works in the kitchen so the food is always consistent. If you're in a hurry though don't go. We go a lot with friends and have NEVER been rushed or seen anyone be rushed. See you there.
I was at this restaurant last night with 2 other people. We decided to try it ourselves even after reading the reviews here. Our son loves the place and encouraged us to go. I must say the owners were so pleasant and fun. They made a real effort to engage the customers and service was quite good. The food came quickly (it was only 5:30 p.m.) starting with an appetizer...of course you would have to pay for chips and salsa...why wouldn't you? The servings were fine, my husband even left some of his and he is a big eater too. This is a Mom and Pop venture and it takes time in the kitchen to prepare good food, not just some microwaved junk. They have a sign up in the window to hire staff so maybe things will speed up even more when they find someone. I would recommend this place. I am sure things took longer as the restaurant filled up but if you want fast food there are many drive -thrus to choose from. Go, relax and enjoy.
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