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ART / CULTURE / STYLE / UPCOUNTRY SOUTH CAROLINA

Dining Guide

Fonda Rosalinda

If you’re looking for Mexican food beyond the usual tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, head for this little storefront around the corner from East North Street. Mexican-born chef/owner Rosalinda Sala, who started cooking at her mother’s side when she was a small girl, goes beyond the standard in her menu of South of the Border fare: sea bass with shrimp and scallops comes doused with salsa nopales (cactus sauce); traditional barbacoa (slow-cooked lamb shank) in Rosalinda’s choice of sauces; and chicken choices such as pollo en mole poblano, smothered with a spicy, housemade mole.
$$-$$$, L, D (no dinner Mon & Tues; no lunch Sat). Closed Sunday. 1124 N Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville. (864) 292-7002, mexicanrestaurantgreenville.com

Pita House

Located at the intersection of Pleasantburg and Faris Road, the Pita House has been family-operated since 1989. Inside, it’s bare bones—plastic booths and simple tables—but the cognoscenti come here for good Middle Eastern fare, such as hummus, falafel, kibbeh, and shwarma. The menu is basically the same for lunch and dinner; if you’re having trouble deciding, go for one of the sampler plates (they may set you back a few more bucks). And save room for baklava and other Mediterranean sweets for dessert. Want to cook up some authentic dishes at home? Check out the little grocery in the back of the restaurant.
$, L, D. Closed Sunday. 495 S. Pleasantburg Dr, #B, Greenville. (864) 271-9895, pitahousesc.com

Sacha's Café

Bright walls and a long, inviting bar make a sunny backdrop in which to chow down on Colombian food at Sacha’s. Arepas are available with ingredients like beans, chorizo, avocado, shredded beef, and more stuffed inside (rellenas) or piled on top (encima). The patacones, or deep-fried plantains, are thick and sweet. Hungry groups can order the Fiesta Platter, a sampler that serves six people. To drink, try one of the natural fruit juices, or the imported cervezas.
$, L, D (no dinner Fri & Sat). Closed Sunday & Monday. 1001 N Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville. (864) 232-3232, sachascafe.com

Mekong

Formerly with Stella’s Southern Bistro in Simpsonville, Chef Huy Tran delivers the nuances of fine Vietnamese cuisine at Mekong. Among favorites is a noodle feast, featuring grilled pork, marinated with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, soy, and oyster sauces, and shredded pork simmered in a flavorful broth. Chef grows the herbs that are heaped in the bowl, and finishes the dish with nuoc cham, a Vietnamese sauce. Add a crispy spring roll and take your ’buds to a new dimension.
$, L, D. 2013 Wade Hampton Blvd, Greenville. (864) 244-1314, mekongrestaurantsc.com

Handi Indian Cuisine

This Main Street staple offers the best of northern Indian cuisine. At lunch, sample items from a reasonably priced buffet with plentiful choices that change daily. From the menu, try the Handi Special: a sampler of tandoori chicken, lamb kabobs, lamb or chicken curry, and vegetable korma, served with basmati rice, naan, condiments, and dessert.

$$-$$$, L, D. 18 N Main St. (864) 241-7999, handiindiancuisine.com

Lemongrass

Lemongrass Thai brings flavor to please. Choose from curry, noodles, and fried rice, or vegetarian dishes. The Bangkok Street Cuisine menu includes Siam Chicken (marinated chicken breast, grilled, with pineapple, carrots, bell pepper, cashew nuts, and mushrooms) and Prik King (chicken or pork sautéed in spicy chili sauce), while the chef’s specialties offer even more choices.

$$-$$$, L, D. Closed Sunday. 106 N Main St. (864) 241-9988, lemongrassthai.net

The Pickwick

Pickwick-1_0714The Pickwick began its life as a soda fountain, and though it became strictly a pharmacy, the Greenville institution has returned to its roots. The Odom brothers, owners of the Pickwick, salvaged a 1949 soda fountain (restored to its original glory) from the old Carpenter Bros. soda shop and reopened the Pickwick soda fountain in 2007. Counter seating and a diner menu out of the 1940s compliment the 30 flavors of ice cream, milkshakes, and floats served from this stainless-steel and marble soda fountain.
$, B, L, D (Mon–Fri). Closed Sundays. 3219 Augusta St, Greenville. (864) 277-4180, thepickwick.net

Yogurt Mountain

For those with poor self-restraint, YoMo probably isn’t the best idea. For everyone else, it’s self-serve frozen yogurt heaven. A bank of 16 rotating yogurt flavors lines one wall, while a buffet-style counter contains more than 50 toppings containing everything from the moderately healthy (blueberries) to the monstrous fever dreams of small children (chocolate-covered gummy bears). In addition to the Cherrydale location, YoMo has outposts on Woodruff Road and in Spartanburg.
$-$$, L, D. 3220 N Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville. (864) 232-2505, yogurtmountain.com

Luna Rosa Gelato Café

From the cobbled streets of Italy and the hustle-bustle of New York, gelato has found a home in Greenville. Indulge in this creamier, healthier version of ice cream, in a selection of satisfying flavors made fresh daily.

$-$$, L, D. 9 W Washington St, 241-4040. $-$$; L; lunarosagelato.com

Compadre's

This Mexican grill and cantina in the West End is a good spot to grab a bite and a margarita before a Drive game. Tried-and-true combinations of chalupas, burritos, tacos, and chile rellenos don’t disappoint, but authentic Mexican accents spark dishes such as a ribeye with cactus (nopales) and camarones a la mojo de ajo (grilled shrimp in a garlic-laced marinade).
$, L, D. 929 S Main St, Greenville. (864) 282-8945, compadresmex.com
 

Blueberry Frog

The frozen yogurt artisans on South Main Street pride themselves on being the first and best fro-yo establishment in South Carolina. Pop into the bright, sleek storefront to sample some of their fresh yogurt, prepared daily. Make sure you enhance your cold treat with a plethora of toppings: fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate and caramel chips, chewy mochi, and more.
$, L, D. 624 S Main St. (864) 517-7971, blueberryfrog.com

Bangkok Thai Cuisine

It’s not easy to find pad Thai that has flavor beyond noodles drenched in sweet sauce. Luckily, Bangkok Thai manages to bridge the expectation gap with a fragrant offering. The curries are also a surefire hit, though the green curry is of particular note: it is the only one made from fresh chilies. For a different dining experience, take a seat on the floor pillows in the back room.
$$, L (Mon–Fri), D (Mon–Sat). 1440 Pelham Rd, Ste M. (864) 458-7866, bangkokgreenville.com

Grill Marks

The newest concept in the Larkin’s family, Grill Marks marries old-school charm with creative twists for a modern burger-and-shake joint. Brioche buns sourced from a local baker and 100-percent-certified Angus beef form the base of these succulent burgers. Gourmet cheeses, mushrooms, and bacon round out the list of toppings. Grab a milkshake for the full experience. If you want to experiment, there are also ShakeTails. Familiar flavors—Irish coffee, cherry cola, s’mores, and more—get blended into adult versions of those creamy shakes.
$$, L, D. 209 S Main St, Greenville. (864) 233-5825, marksburgers.com

Saffron Indian Cuisine

Saffron-1_0714The aromas of North Indian spice blends are apparent the moment you step into Saffron’s modern, upscale dining room. The restaurant’s tandoor oven produces a mix of slow-cooked, flavorful meats as well as fresh-baked breads like naan and roti. If the spicy flavors of your dish need taming, try the raita, a blend of cool yogurt and shredded cucumbers. To sample new flavors, go with the lunch buffet’s rotating selection.

$$-$$$, L, D. 1178 Woodruff Rd, Ste 16. (864) 288-7400, saffrongreenville.com

O-CHA Tea Bar

A trip to O-CHA will have you considering tea in an entirely new light. This sleek space, located right on the river in Falls Park, specializes in bubble tea (flavored teas with chewy tapioca pearls), but also has an assortment of mochi ice cream for a more intense cooling experience in the summer. The dessert combines the chewy Japanese confection (a soft, pounded sticky rice cake) with ice cream fillings in fun flavors: tiramisu, green tea chocolate, mango, and more.
$, L, D. 300River St, Ste 122. (864) 283-6702, ochateabaronline.com

Spill the Beans

Whether for post-dinner dessert or a weekend treat in the park, Spill the Beans fits the bill. This Greenville institution has been providing gourmet custom-blended ice cream and coffee to Main Street shoppers for years. A long list of ingredients ensures that it’ll be a time before you’ll taste the same combination twice.
$, B (Mon–Sat), L, D. 531 S Main St, Greenville. (864) 242-6355, stbdowntown.com

Papi's Tacos

PapisTacos_1013

Table 301 plankowner Jorge “Papi” Baralles brings family tradition and the familiar childhood flavors of Cuautla, Mexico, to this walk-up taqueria on the Reedy River. The menu is short and to the point. Get your tacos with shrimp, barbacoa, al pastor, carne asada, carnitas, or chicken and chorizo, or sample some gelato in the display case. Get in, get out, and enjoy Falls Park.

$, L, D. 300 River St, Greenville. (864) 373-7274, eatpapistacos.com

Tortilla Maria

Local, organic, and gluten-free—while a growing number of restaurants check off those boxes, it is still a rarity to find Mexican food that satisfies those requirements. Enter Tortilla Maria. In addition to the innovative takes on enchiladas and tacos, the restaurant offers a colorful selection of healthy smoothies and juices. The Mean Green Juice blends apples, celery, cucumber, ginger, lemon, and spinach together for a refreshing, cleansing beverage.
$, L, D. Closed Sunday & Monday. 115 Pelham Rd, Greenville. (864) 271-0742, tortillamaria.com

Kilwin’s

Who doesn’t like chocolate and ice cream? If Kilwin’s business model is any indication, there aren’t a whole lot of people who fall into that category. The American confectioner has been dishing out every imaginable cause of cavities since 1947, including chocolate, toffee, caramel, fudge, brittles, and salt-water taffy. It only makes sense that there would be ice cream—more than 40 unique flavors of Kilwin’s original recipe—to take advantage of all those sweets lying around.
$-$$, L, D. 220 N Main St, Greenville. (864) 241-2003, kilwins.com

Northgate Soda Shop

This North Main staple doesn’t just have one of the best pimiento cheeseburgers in town (even disregarding its $4 price tag—which just makes it even better)—it’s a hotbed for nostalgia. The old-school counter, vintage ads, and memorabilia are the result of being open for more than 60 years. The soda shop still serves up flavors and smells of a bygone era, including the hand-spun milkshakes in classic chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and peanut butter banana incarnations.
$, L, D. Closed Sunday. 918 N Main St, Greenville. (864) 235-6770, northgatesodashop.com

© TOWN Greenville 2014