Open M-Th 10AM-10PM, Sa-Su 10AM-11PM
(609) 393-0035 Google Maps
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
(Covid Update Dec 2021 – in business) Restaurante El Mariachi is owned and operated by the husband and wife team who originally opened Taqueria El Mariachi, on N. Olden Ave. For years this was our favorite Latino restaurant in town, and while it’s still good, the best competition is now catching up. That’s why we now rate it 4-hearts. Mariachi prepares outstanding home cooked Guatemalan specialties, yet remains incredibly reasonable ( a dinner/feast for under $10/head, truly, and it’s byob).
Unique to Olga’s cooking is her salsas. They’re home made, and better than any other restaurant’s in town. The salsa verde, in particular, is sublime. As far as I can tell, the recipe is principally tomatillos, green chiles, a lot of lemon juice, and just enough avocado to thicken. Whatever the recipe really is, it’s out of this world. Mariachi also makes a mean red salsa, with onion cilantro, tomatoes, and chiles, and a mild salsa rojo (traditional with pupusas). Depending on the day, the heat of the green and red salas can vary from spicy to fiery. In particular, the chiles seem to settle to the bottom of the storage jar, so if they’ve scooped your bowl of salsa from the bottom it can be SERIOUSLY hot. So be warned.
Speaking of pupusas, Mariachi’s are heavy and greasy and utterly delicious (just don’t eat them if you’re on a low fat diet). Pupusas are a kind of grilled, stuffed tortillas. They’re served with the salsa rojo, and curtido, which is like a pickled cole slaw. I particularly like the ones stuffed with cheese and loroco (an edible flower that tastes like broccoli).
The guacamole is simple, utterly fresh, and delicious. You get a huge portion (all the portion sizes are generous). Combined with the salsas, it’s almost a meal in itself. Vegans will want to try the Guacamole Tostada (just ask them to skip the grated cheese they will normally garnish them with).
My favorite meat dishes are the Chicken Tostadas and Tacos Al Pastor, which will stuff an extremely hungry man, and cost $6. Piscivores will enjoy the fried fish (a whole porgy, fried crispy), and the seafood soup (available weekends).
In addition to the fabulous food, major advantages of “Restaurante” are 1) It’s not a dive. It’s actually kind of cute with newly tiled floors, white table cloths, and pleasant murals. 2) It’s located in a quiet, stable residential neighborhood in the heart of Chambersburg, that’s pleasant to visit. 3) It’s also fairly large, which means you can show up with a group, even on a weekend, and hope to be seated quickly. It’s also conducive to special events, as one or more dining areas can be set aside for a party.
It’s the kind of restaurant you can take your mother to, without having your sanity questioned. Indeed, after eating the food, and especially if mom picks up the tab, she’ll be raving about the experience for the rest of her days.