Bites Nearby: Guanachapi's Restaurant
No-frills Central American and Mexican food in a 60s-like dining room.
This Guatemalan-Salvadorian restaurant, at 273 Moody St. in Waltham is the kind of place that some people extol and others find merely so-so. It serves a basic choice of breakfast, lunch and dinners plates, with a single menu listing them all. The breakfasts are lower-priced and focus on eggs and home fries, as well as sausage, salsa and other add-ons. Most of the lunch and dinner dishes feature some kind of meat -- chicken, pork, beef, liver or seafood. The side orders include vegetarian options, such as fried plantains, casaba, rice, beans and guacamole.
This restaurant is not to be confused with Guanachapi's Bar & Grill on River Street
Suggested dish: We had one of the house specials: Tacos Chapines ("chapines" is another term for "Guatemalan"). It came with five taquitos (chicken or beef), sour cream, guacamole and lettuce. We also had one of the Mexican soft drinks (see a "cool factor" below).
The small tacos were very crisp (probably deep fried), warm, and the chicken and seasoning inside tasty. The guacamole, lettuce and sour cream went well with it. The whole dish was mild enough that adding a few drops of the red hot sauce provided on the table made it tangier. It was filling and reasonable at $7.95. For some reason, the service was a bit slow.
The vibe: A casual setting, with an old-fashioned, high-ceiling, spacious room and plastic tablecloths.
Cool factor no. 1: The Mexican soft drinks in the cooler are made with real sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup, and come in mandarin-orange, pineapple, tamarind, grapefruit and sangria (no alcohol).
Cool factor no. 2: The place is open every day, including Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and from 7 a.m. on Fridays through Sundays.
Cool factor no. 3: There's a kid's menu of four different simple plates for $5 each.