“Been there twice. Won't return. Far better Mexican available.”
My husband and I have eaten here on 2 different occasions. The first time was a mediocre experience all the way around. Our server had a difficult time understanding us, and we received things we did not order. And the food was unimpressive. But we let it go since they had just opened a day prior and were undoubtedly working the kinks out. The second time was still mediocre as far as the food (nothing had improved there), and extremely poor with regard to the service. First, the table side guacamole isn't nearly as flavorful as we have had in other Mexican restaurants (e.g., Pancho Villa). The dishes are mediocre. Not at all authentic, as I have tasted truly authentic Mexican food in Arizona, New Mexico & Texas. This does not come close. It is better than Taco Bell, but that is as far as I will rate it. The menu is extensive, but it all tastes very similar.
The second time we took my mother, who is wheelchair bound. They seated us on the upper level near the bar, which was fine, but what we did not know (until told later when we were leaving) was that we were seated in a "closed section" because of the wheelchair. Again, the food was nothing to write home about. The description in the menu sounded delicious, but what I ate was nothing like what I expected...again. Very little flavor, and it all tasted the same. We ordered guacamole, but it never came. After they brought us the food, the waiter NEVER checked back with us to ask if everything was good and if we needed anything else. Because we would have still liked the guacamole, and my mother and I would have liked a refill on our drinks. However, we never got that opportunity. If the waiter had brought the food, we would have asked for the guacamole then, but he did not. My husband had to flag down the waiter by waving his hand so that we could pay and leave - this was LONG after we had finished. Nobody even looked our way, and when the waiter brought the check, he didn't say a word about the guacamole until I mentioned it. Then, he said...brace yourself for this explanation/excuse..."Well, you are seated in a closed section because of the wheelchair, and as you can see, I have many customers down below that I am serving, so it is difficult." Oh. Right. So we received crappy, negligent, unconcerned service because we were unknowingly seated in a closed section. Because my mother was in a wheelchair. So I guess that poor experience was my mother's fault. That surely sounded like the excuse. As we left, our waiter calls out "Thank you so much!!! Come back again!!!" Not an apology in sight. Needless to say, we will not be returning ever again.
Also, when I visited the bathroom, they had just mopped the floor. I nearly slipped on the tiles outside of the bathroom, but I found the warning "Slippery floor" sign INSIDE the bathroom. Unfortunately, that was not so helpful OUTSIDE of the bathroom, where it should have been.
If you want truly good Mexican food when in Charlottesville, go to El Puerto, located across from Barracks Road Shopping Center, and now on the Downtown Mall. THEY have excellent Mexican food. They understand English, they know how to cook, and they have fast, accurate service, and they know how to treat their customers. Forget about Plaza Azteca. The manager there has a lot to improve, and I think since it has been there a while, improvement is not high on the list of priorities. Oh, and check out the tableside guacamole at Pancho Villa (in Fredericksburg & Culpeper, VA - unfortunately, not yet in Charlottesville).
Oh, I almost forgot...the interior decorating is very attractive. But you can't eat it, and it does not enhance the service. So, I am not sure if it helps a great deal. In fact, I know that it does not.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.