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.
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.
We have been to Charlie's cafe about 10 times within the last 2 years. We have always joked about the how bad the service is and have actually found it comical watching "new patrons" experience the service first hand. We have seen 4 groups just plain walk out after sitting 20 minutes without any service and Charlie just seems to take it in stride. The food is quite good but just noticed that the prices have gone up again and portions have gone down. If you want authentic Mexican food, drive down to Bellingham and you won't be dissapointed and the chances are including driving time etc. you would have probably received your meal at Mi Mexico before you would at Charlie's if you stayed.
I go quite often because of the food is great, however, not the service. I find that manager is funny but not at all gracious. I went there with my Dad and I swear we waited for 45 minutes till we got our meals. Do they only have one cook/server or something because they are so slow! And when you ask a question about something on the menu, they seem like they don't want to help you.
The portions are okay. The Mexican restaurant I go to downtown has much bigger portions. And I find some (not all) items on the menu are pricey. Sure I don't mind it being pricey, as long as I get a decent portion but c'mon, sometimes I leave that place not completely full.
The food is delicious but I hate the rude waiters and slow service. Yes, I will still go there but that's because I don't feel like going all the way to Vancouver and it's the closest Mexican restaurant in my area.
I found the food good enough to go there two times. However, both times my friends and I were treated so rudely, I will never go back.
So what happened? Both times friends and I wanted to enjoy a long meal and chat over the food. Well, as soon as put down our forks to take a break, the waitress both times came to ask if she could pack everything up for us. No, we still wanted to eat. Then she came back every few minutes to ask if we were ready to go.
Both times the restaurant was quiet, so there should have been no reason to kick out customers because of a growing line. In fact, the second time, I took out of town friends there specifically for lunch so that we would make sure it wasn't busy. We were the only customers in the restaurant.
Anyhow, I even ordered more food so that the serving staff could see that we were intent on making sure their time was paid for and we weren't just layabouts. On my second visit, the manager even came by to see if everything was alright and if there was anything he could help us with. We told him we liked the food and wanted to eat more.
It's ridiculous to be kicked out of a restaurant when you are a quiet, courteous customer who orders much and tips well. Did they think we were teenagers out to seatwarm? (We were in our thirties.) Do they have a strict 20 minute seating rule? I don't know because I will never go there again. Which is a two-way loss, because I was happy that there was a good Mexican restaurant in my neighbourhood.
Went here yesterday night 'cuz a few of us were feeling like 'Mexican'.
Our server was somethin' to be desired: Young, greasy faced, long haired, guy, with lack of a personality. HE was a bit disappointing.
To start my review: We had reservations for a group of 6, 2 of us arrived on time and were asked if they wanted to start with a basket of chips & salsa while waiting. Thinking it was a great gesture to have something to snack on while perusing the menu and waiting for the group to arrive, they were SURPRISED that they were actually charged for it when we got the bill.
Good was okay. Our plates were overfilled with refried beans, just to make our plates look 'fuller' I guess.
Our server was having a hard time figuring out why he only had 5 orders on his slip and not 6, because there were 6 of us. 4 of us ordered Beef Soft Tacos, 1 order was for chicken soft taco and the other was something else. C'mon, how could you mess that up?!
And then when we got our orders, he couldn't figure out why he had one extra Beef Soft Taco and missing the Chicken soft taco. Well, looking at the plates, you couldn't really tell what was what in the soft shell taco so he made all of us who ordred the Beef Soft Taco to actually look in our taco's to make sure it was beef and not chicken. Well, low 'n behold, he gave the wrong plate to the wrong person. UGH! It was just frustrating having to deal with such an Idiot for a server!!
Otherwise, food was great, lots to choose from on the menu...I'd go again as long as I can ensure I don't get the same server!
I have been looking for a good Mexican restaurant to try in Vancouver. I came across that restaurant while checking this web site and figured I should give it a try one day. That one day came when I was really craving for Mexican and all my friends are busy. So I went and got the take out order. I ordered a Mexican plate (one enchilada, roja, one verde, one beef tostada & one tamal). I had to wait for the food for a while even after I came back 20 minutes later as they suggested. The owner was very friendly, he apologized for the wait and even drew cartoon characters of him and his wife saying "Thanks" on my take out box. The food I found was really good. The salsa was excellent. It is worth the wait. I will definitely try to go back again to try different dishes.
We have been here many times as a couple and with family and friends. Everytime we have had outstanding meals. Everyone we have taken there has returned on their own. The portions are very plentiful and flavourful. This is real authentic HOMEMADE Mexican food! The owner, Charlie, is the main waiter and his wife is the cook. Charlie can be a bit hard to understand with his thick Mexican accent and can come across as a little eccentric but he is very kind. Don't expect a 5 star ambiance but you can expect a nice comfortable, quiet place to enjoy a quality meal. Go to Charlie's!
This needs to written because I was tricked into going here by positive reviews and people deserve to know better.
Service was EXTREMELY slow, a soft shell taco and beef fajita took OVER AN HOUR to make and there was only 3 other couples in the restaurant which already had food and didnt order more; Could have been short staff but not my problem
Food was AWFUL and if given the option I would bold and underscore it. My the fajita came with no more than 6 strips or meat the rest of the pan just being green peppers and onions. Meat was previously frozen as it was extremely tough. The soft shell tacos were frozen for sure as they were cold in the middle and had a bizare taste. Maybe im just picky but if I wait over an hour for two entrees I do expect them to be decently prepared.
Decor; Not bad! Nice and homely in there, nothing fancy but still cozy +1
Overall I felt like I was on a episode of Kitchen Nightmares, it was that bad, probally the worst restaurant ive ever been to, regardless of cuisine.
Take it or leave it but I suggest you just march across the street to the A&W and enjoy yourself because frankly your doing yourself a disservice if you dont
We went there with our kids a few nights ago and found the host/owner quite unfriendly and actually bordering rude. Spent 100 dollars (no booze) and had some very mediocre food at best. It needs the music to maybe be Mexican and a bit louder and needs a new wait staff and a nicer host and a better chef and then I would recommend it
A friend recommend to us to pay a visit for good Mexican food. We took the family the other day to its new location, which by the way is very small, compared to where they used to be, the food was just ok, portion wise was fine but on the pricy side, services was horrible and not family friendly at all. I guess we will still be looking for a good Mexican restaurant.
I love mexican food. My wife is half spanish, and her family lives outside of LA, so I've had my share of really good mexican food. While trying to pass itself off as an authentic Mexican restaurant, Charlie's was disappointing. The prices were pretty high for what we got, but I could have lived with that if a few things were changed. My wife ordered their enchilades and we both agreed they were quite good. I ordered the ceviche, and while on it's own, it was pretty good, they served it with crackers which soured me a bit. The real nail in the coffin for us was what they charged for chips & salsa. I've never paid for chips & salsa at any of the authentic mexican restaurants I've been to, and I certainly wasn't going to start, not for what they wanted to charge.
The place has a lot of potential, so I may try going back their one day, but if they can't serve free chips & salsa and provide chips with their ceviche, I really start to wonder where else they are cutting back.
We have tried other things on the menu but the red beef enchiladas and the chimichangitas are the best!
The cheesy mexican decor is fun and it really feels like you're eating in a good old fashioned family restaurant. Charlie has been there every time and always greets guests with a genuine smile.
We love going for a relaxed night out but their restaurant would be great for a birthday party too, they have a huge room in the back and sombrero's galore!
I have read the other reviews on here regarding Charlie's, and for all those that claim it is the best Mexican food in the Lower Mainland I really have to wonder if they've ever had Mexican food before (despite their claims to the contrary). I'm not even sure if I'd say it was the best Mexican food in Port Moody, and considering it's the ONLY Mexican food in Port Moody that's not saying much for the place!
I moved to Port Moody 9 months ago as of a few days ago I tried Charlie's for the second time. The first time I was there (about 6 months ago) the service was slow (even though we were the only patrons in the restaurant), the chips we got were old tasting and were overcooked (even bordering on burned), the salsa was tasteless, the restaurant decor (although eclectic and could be cute and homey if updated slightly) is in desperate need of a deep cleaning and could be described as almost dingy, and over all the whole experience was a disappointment.
Despite all of this, I was craving Mexican and didn't feel like driving to Poncho's (on Denman Street where the food and service is truly some of the best in the Lower Mainland) so myself and a friend decided to give Charlie's a second chance. Like a bad case of indigestion, my same complaints regurgitated themselves to come back and haunt me, making the second experience worse than the first.
This time when we arrived the place had quite a few people, but other than that everything was the same. Same old-tasting almost burned chips (which, I forgot to mention were cold -- whereas in most Mexican restaurants worth their weight in re-fried beans would serve them warmed). Same bland salsa. Same dirty atmosphere. Same horrible service (it took 20 minutes just flag down a waitress to bring me water and menu's, another 15 minutes to get a watered-down margarita, another 20 to be able to order food, and then another HOUR to actually get the food). When the food did arrive, it was cold (you'd think after an hour waiting for it that it would at least be warm, but you'd think wrong. By the time we actually got the food, we were so disgusted with the experience that we had lost our appetites, which was fine actually because the few bites we did take of the food proved to strengthen my first impressions that while the food it ok it's definitely not good. As well, considering it took the length of time it took to get the food you'd also think that they would let you sit for a spell and actually try to eat it -- but not here. Within 10 minutes our waitress (miracle upon miracles considering we barely saw here for the first 2 painful hours of waiting) was back at the table-side asking if we'd finished and if she could pack anything up. We then had (I'm assuming Charlie) come by and ask the same thing less than 10 minutes after that. We tripped over ourselves trying to accept his gracious offer of release from the culinary nightmare we found ourselves in, paid the over-priced cheque, and ran for our lives --- never to return.
If you have 4 hours to kill, money to waste, want ok Mexican fare and don't want to make the drive into Vancouver, then Charlie's is the place to go. Other than that do yourself a favour and skip it.
We were told by a friend's daughter that this place served great Mexican food. We noticed the many 5 star food ratings here. Some of the reviewers on this site said that they have experienced "real" Mexican food in the US and Mexico and that Charlies is up there with them.
We have also enjoyed Mexican food in the US and Mexico and on our last road trip to Southern California we even asked Latino gas attendants, etc for recommendations for local Mexican restaurants. So we have experienced Mexican fare way beyond the "Taco Bell" variety.
We had a disappointing experience there on a recent weekday evening. First, the chips and salsa are not complimentary (unlike all the Mexican restaurants we have visited in the US and Mexico), you have to pay for them. The chips we received had an old oil taste to them, and the supplied salsa, described as "homemade" was unusually bland, mostly tomatoes and onions with very little zip, mixed with a little oil (house recipe?). I order the Steak Tampiquena. The waiter who delivered my plate held it with towels so I imagined that the plate must have been hot. What a surprise - it wasn't hot at all and everything on my plate was lukewarm. The shredded cheese on the refried beans was not melted. The "guacamole" was largely tomatoes and onions swathed in a greenish "dressing" - was this the avocado? Strangely, the steak with pan fried onions tasted like it had been marinated in soy sauce or Maggi seasoning - and it was cold. I opened the supplied red plastic container of what I thought were soft tortillas and was surprised to see 2 small soft tacos instead, dwarfed by the container. My wife laughed - she also expected the usual larger sized soft tortillas. My wife said that her Chimichanga was bland, so we asked the passing waiter for some "chili sauce" (some Mexican restaurants provide a whole collection of bottled hot sauces for you to choose at your table, but here there was not a single bottle at the table). He clarified that we wanted "hot sauce? " - YES!. He walked away, stepped into the kitchen, came back out and began clearing some tables nearby. After a few minutes, we asked who we assume was Charlie for the hot sauce and received a small dish of something that appeared to have just been mixed in the kitchen. My wife said that the concoction in the dish was "gross." We didn't finish our food and didn't take home the leftovers.
Heres a tip: you can gauge the authenticity of a Mexican restaurant by the presence of beef tripe soup (Menudo) on the menu - and it's not offered here. Maybe we have been spoiled by our travels, but what we had here did not meet 5 star standards.
My husband and I went to Charlie's for the first time on Friday, and after going I am shocked by the complaints I see in the reviews for this Restaurant! I honestly can't say enough good things about the experience I had! The food was amazing, and so was the service! Our server was quick, courteous, and on the ball! The food was the best Mexican food I've had in all of Canada, and definitely one of the best I've had PERIOD, and this is coming from someone whose been to Mexico, and who lived in the U.S for a period of time (in an area heavy with Mexican Immigrants) and delicious authentic Mexican food. Charlie's is at the top of my list, and was in fact, as good as the food I had in Mexico! The restaurant has a fun atmosphere, and the entire staff was extremely attentive and friendly...and this was on a busy Friday night! I don't know if you guys just hit on an off day, or you expect your food to come uncooked, but our service was fast. I would also like to mention that'd I'd rather have well prepared food, and slow service, than fast food and stressed out waiters! Nothing kills the mood and my dinner more than a waitress running back and fourth from my table like a flustered slave. Some of you need to let your hair down and just relax a little, chew your food before you swallow. ;) If you are looking for the only good Mexican food in Canada go to Charlie's, if you are disappointed I'll be shocked...hey, you could always cook your own food and quit complaining! ha ha
I have always gotten great, friendly and problematic service from the servers and staff. Food is Top Notch but I did wish the portions were a bit bigger. I'm such a glutton! Prices very reasonable, excellent menu selections and after trying a variety of dishes on different occasions, I would certainly recommend this place. Great food, great prices, authentic tasting meals yet not too greasy. Nicely decorated to create a comfortable mexican feel. I noted that there are no other Mexican restaraunts around that I am aware of. Highly recommended!
I have been to Carlos or Charlies twice and have been very happy with it! The food is very true to Mexico and I love the atmosphere! Biting in to the pork tacos with ny eyes closed, I feel like I am back in Puerto Vallarta! The waiters seemed to be a little unsure of themselves on BOTH of my visits, though. It did take a while for our drinks and appy's, though our dinners did arrive quickly. Maybe they were new and just nervous. I am definately going back there. Give it a try!
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