Restaurant Review: Chelas

Chelas Logo

A new restaurant opened just down the hill from my mom’s house in Laguna Niguel. Sis and I have waited for them to open since August. We saw a sign on the vacant space last summer saying “Coming Soon! Chelas Mexican Grill” Yum! We love Mexican food.

When we walked in the door a heavenly aroma enveloped us. Our first impression was a mixture of “this is a fast food place!” and “OMG, it smells incredible!” Chelas menu is posted on the wall and you place your order at the counter. The interior walls are painted a light drab, and the vinyl flooring is black. They have chairs and tables available, and you can order food to go.

This was not what we expected.

The menu was far different from the Mexican restaurants we usually went to. No Enchiladas, Chili Rellaños, Soups, or Salads listed. What was on the menu seemed weird to me. I never had a taco made with shredded cabbage instead of lettuce. Their burritos also had cabbage. My sister wanted a Chimichanga and I wanted a Chili Rellaño, so we felt disappointed. We settled for a ‘La Gringa Taco’ – recommended by Edward, who waited on us. I also ordered a Quesadilla and sis ordered a Chili Verde Burrito.

While waiting for our order, we were a captive audience for Chelas lively background music. It was as jarring as it was unconventional. The volume was too much to suit me – no surprises there. If asked to describe the genre, I would say it was ‘Mexican Polka’. The tempo was crazy fast and the lyrics were in Spanish. I’m embarrassed to admit that I caught myself bobbing my head and dancing my shoulders along with it at times.

So why am I giving Chelas ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4 hearts out of 5)?

The food is that yummy. Period.

I think we will order it to go next time. Unless of course we’re in one of our Mexican Polka moods.