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“THE BEST MEX on the Island”
Review of El Mariachi

El Mariachi
Ranked #20 of 131 Restaurants in Kaneohe
Price range: $10 - $20
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Takeout
Reviewed July 23, 2009

I had lunch there with a friend, and simply by far the best Mexican food on the Island! It is a small seating restaurant, and the wait can be long, however, I highly recommend this restaurant.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Aloha92Hawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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61 - 65 of 69 reviews

Reviewed September 24, 2008

Without question this is the best mexican food on the island. It's popularity has increased dramatically recently and the wait can sometimes be long, and the service can sometimes be frazzled. The salsa, guac, and food portions are well worth the drive, well worth the wait, and won't leave you dissapointed.

1  Thank armybmw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 31, 2008

I need a couple more visits to favorite. By far some of the most genuine Mexican food in Hawaii.

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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2008

Like another reviewer of this restaurant, I also was born and raised in Southern California, so Mexican food is a staple in my diet and I have high expectations.

Finding the Place: From the outside, this is really a nondescript, hard-to-find hole in the wall. It took us three tries (three Sundays) to find this place. The first two times, we tried to find it just with the address in our GPS, but couldn't find it and gave up. Today, we actually CALLED the restaurant and asked how to get there. The lady on the phone explained how to find the restaurant BEHIND the Aloha Gas Station, ACROSS the street from the bank. (It's important to note there are TWO Aloha Gas Stations right across the street from each other, so go behind the one that's ACROSS the street from the bank).

Atmosphere: Once you get inside, you'll find about 8 tables crammed into a small place with some Mexican music playing softly in the background. Most hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants share the same decor - paintings of Mexican countryside scenery, a Mexican flag, etc. This place had some of those typical wall-hangings you would expect, but added a coat of textured red paint and some faux-brick wainscoating for a nicer appearance. Plus, it was cleaner than your average hole-in-the-wall type of place.

Food: Although they didn't have my favorite mole poblano on the menu, they did have a good variety of other Mexican dishes that I love like carnitas, chili verde, and carne asada. My wife had the carne asada burrito - I tried a bite and it was excellent. I had the carnitas and it was also superb. The meat was tender, flaking apart, and flavorful. The guacamole was the smooth consistency of the processed stuff you get at other Tex-Mex chain restaurants (i.e. not made from fresh avocados), but it was alright. The drinks are served from a fountain (as opposed to selling you cans of soda). While it wasn't the BEST Mexican food I've had on the island, it was certainly a very tasty meal that I enjoyed very much.

Service: When we got there, all the tables were full. For a place that hard to find, that's a good sign it's a good restaurant. We only had to wait like 5 minutes for someone to finish and leave for them to clear off the table for us to sit. Have you ever played that game Diner Dash on the internet? I felt like I was in a real live version of that game. There was one waitress serving all 8 tables, but I thought she did an excellent job. Given how small the place is, she was never far away from any of us and easy to get her attention. She was working her butt off, but she did a great job.

Kids: They have a kids-meal section on the menu. It's basically you tell them what you want (what type of meat in what type of tortilla in a kid's portion size for a reasonable price - not like you had to order them an adult entree). My sons had a shredded beef and cheese soft taco and a quesadilla, and they both enjoyed it. They have high-chairs, but no crayons or other activities to entertain the kids.

1  Thank blunoz708
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2008

Having been born and raised in Southern California, I have high standards for Mexican food. El Mariachi is tucked away behind a gas station, is often noisy and crowded as it is very small, and parking can be difficult, but is definitely worth the effort. Tamales and chile rellenos are my litmus tests for Mexican restaurants, and theirs are excellent. Highly recommended!!

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

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