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“Disappointing Mexican Food at Bargain Prices”

San Felipe Mexican Restaurant
Ranked #31 of 82 Restaurants in Southport
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Mexican
Restaurant details
Durham, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Disappointing Mexican Food at Bargain Prices”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

It was the weekend after Labor Day and our usual Mexican restaurant was surprisingly closed. Our neighbor at the beach had previously raved about San Felipe, so we decided to give it a try. The interior is decorated just like most Mexican restaurants with the painted walls that look like stucco buildings. There was Mexican music playing on the house stereo that was not too loud, but you could still hear it above the loud crowd noise. We were promptly seated and the place was packed on a Friday night with families streaming in all night.

We were provided the usual chips and salsa which were an immediate disappointment. The chips were not cooked that day, as they were stale and tasted like cardboard. The salsa was runny and had little in the way of spices or chunks of tomatoes. It definitely looked like something out of a gallon jug.

The menu has all of the standard Mexican dishes and appetizers, but it also has a vegetarian section that was a surprise. Some of the combo dishes cheese enchilada and cheese chalupa with refried beans $6.75, a bean burrito with nacho cheese with one cheese enchilada and a cheese quesadilla $6.75, a bean burrito, spinach enchilada and a mushroom quesadilla $7.25. These are great prices for a lot of food.

We ordered the San Felipe Cheese Chicken $8.99 which is two soft tortillas filled with grilled chicken, grilled onions and nacho cheese served with lettuce, tomatoes and choice of rice or refried beans. We also ordered the Burritos Deluxe $6.99 that is a choice of two beef or chicken burritos topped with lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream. We tried the Fresh Guacamole Salad $3.25 that has chunks of avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and jalapenos.

The plates were coming out of the kitchen fast, and our server provided attentive service with drink refills and getting more chips and salsa. This is a family and kid friendly place as there were children and families at every table. The crowd noise and music made dinner conversation a challenge. The Guacamole Salad was a huge hit with the freshness of the ingredients and the flavors. The San Felipe Cheese Chicken was however another disappointment. There were three small burritos with overcooked tough and chewy chicken strips and onions inside with nacho cheese that had melted into an oily goo on top. The refried beans were dry and there was scarcely any lettuce and sour cream. I had to ask for more sour cream to bring some moisture to the dry beans. The burritos were also a disappointment as they were wrapped in some kind of paper that had become firmly attached due to the melted cheese. This was a mess to deal with and they were also dry with the same overcooked chewy chicken. My guess is they cook the chicken in the morning and then reheat it for the dishes that gets it dry, tough and chewy, I think the burritos were made ahead of dinner with the paper wrapping and then reheated when ordered. The kitchen obviously forgot to remove the paper prior to serving.

Overall the meal was a disappointment from bad chips and salsa, overcooked tough chewy chicken, nacho cheese that turned to oil and burritos glued to a paper wrapper. The Guacamole Salad, the cheap prices and the attentive service were the bright spots. This is not what the other reviewers and my neighbor experienced, so we may give San Felipe another try. The next time however it will be takeout due to the loud noise inside.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Gary C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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81 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Waterford, CT
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Best Mexican and Great Value!!”
Reviewed August 16, 2013

Friendly service, good food and never disappointed. Many locals go to this establishment and once the visitors find it, it is a repeat! Family value :)

Visited July 2013
Thank Sunflower53092
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pocono Mountains Region, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
144 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“STEAK just as great as their Mexican Entrees . . .”
Reviewed October 2, 2012

Although tucked in a strip mall, this place reigns supreme as my choice for island MEXICAN food because of food freshness, presentation, taste and value. The dishes arrive HOT and fast; when I want a ribeye or Tbone this is usually the place I resort to for the $10.99/$12.99 price is quite a value. Margharitas are 99 cents on special Wednesdays and even cerveza specials daily; after a day at the beach this place is just right to stop by and allow the attentive staff to make your vacation SPECIAL!! Ceasar and staff are the BEST!!

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank PApatti915
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Excellent Mexican Food”
Reviewed July 21, 2008

We went to this restaurant two times during our vacation at Southport. Excellent food. Reasonable prices Staff very enjoyable. Clean. Easy access. Safe area.

Thank wesley1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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