Five Things to Know About Cha Cha Cha
When coming up with a concept for their restaurant, the founders of Cha Cha Cha—one born in Puerto Rico, the other a Cuban resident for 20 years—met in the middle. They blended the cuisines from their homelands into one eclectic spread and opened the first Cha Cha Cha in upper Haight in 1986. Today, Cha Cha Cha continues to dish out Latin and Caribbean tapas at that original location, as well as at an additional spot on Mission Street. Read on to learn more about these popular and festive eateries:
The Mission St. location has a lot of history. Originally, this building was an Irish dive bar established before Prohibition. Wanting to respect that, Cha Cha Cha decided to adopt the “Original McCarthy” as part of its name.
Tapas anchor the menu. The lineup of these small, sharable plates includes the popular cajun shrimp sauteed in a spicy cream sauce and fried patanos maduros, as well as tropical sweet bananas with black beans and sour cream.
Raciones are essentially entrees. Unlike tapas, these larger dishes are usually ordered all at once and make up an entire meal experience. Cha Cha Cha’s line up raciones include the fan-favorite jerk chicken, which features marinated chicken thighs baked with habanero peppers, raisins, garlic, and tomatoes.
Reservations aren’t accepted at the Haight location. That being said,, a member of your group can come and put the group’s name on the waiting list. Otherwise, everyone can just hang out by the bar until a table is ready. Inside tip: you can also dine at the bar, just be sure to mention it to the bartender.
It’s a good idea to save room for drinks. The sangria and mojitos are must-haves.