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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Munchie Monday Food Review: Exotic flavors delight at Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen

For an enveloping and unique taste of traditional Mexican food, Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen gives a modern sensibility to centuries-old dishes. Pairing the old with the new, the traditional with the exotic, the fun with the flavorful; this award winning restaurant has it all.

Located on 110 W Birch Street in the heart of downtown Brea, it is a popular local haunt for foodies and social lovers. Further enticing are the restaurant’s daily events and special deals offered throughout the week.

The restaurant is bustling and for good reason, the food is good, very good.

Cha Cha’s does a great service to the complexity of Mexican cuisine, highlighting the rich ingredients that many restaurants overlook. From guajillo and habanero chile, to wood-oven cooked marinated pork, its creativity is deeply rooted in Latin American tradition.

One of the most flavorful and distinctly unique entrees are the enchiladas. While far from what a typical restaurant this side of the border would serve, the flavors, ingredients and presentation are distinctly Mexican.

Covered in a creamy habanero and pesto sauce and topped with tomatoes and a light sprinkling of cheese, it invokes enviable flavors. With a choice of cheese, chicken or lobster and shrimp, each is smothered it’s own unique sauce, and they are one of the best items Cha Cha’s has to offer.

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Enchiladas from Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen Photo credit: Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen

The restaurant pays homage to the various street influences of Mexican food. From tortas, tostadas and ceviche, each is a fusion of classic ingredients cooked with new flavors. Cha Cha’s also does their own spin on the iconic Mexican dish: tacos.

With a choice of mushroom, steak, chicken, fish, shrimp or carnitas, topped with salsa, vegetable garnish and wrapped in organic tortillas, it is a high brow culinary take on a Mexican classic. While still flavorful, their tacos do lack some of the luster from other dishes. However, they still impress.

Among their wide variety of cocktails, sangria is offered at a discounted rate on Thursdays, often paired with the restaurant’s signature tapas. Their sangria, house made and filled with sliced oranges, berries, pineapples and other citrus fruits is a popular beverage to both refresh and revitalize.

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Sangria from Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen. Photo credit: Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen

The advantage of Cha Cha’s is that is provides the taste and quality of fine dining while still providing ample portions. While not the cheapest restaurant, it’s daily specials allow a much lower price for those who are concerned about budget.

Cha Cha’s also offers various forms of interactive dining, including live bands on weekends, screenings of classic Mexican films, and social activities for dining guests.

The food is very rich with intense flavors that may turn away some who prefer a lighter palette. Some may question the cultural authenticity of the food, as its style is so unique comparative to most other Latin-American restaurants. Despite appearances, the food is authentic in all the right ways.

For those who want a bold, sophisticated and delicious taste of Mexico, one need not travel much further from their own neighborhood.

To view their menu, Cha Cha’s website can be accessed here. A second establishment is located at the Irvine Marketplace.