430 SE Main Street C.
Simpsonville, SC 29681
Hrs: Sun-Tues CLOSED
Perfect for: Authentic Latin cuisine, reasonable pricing, casual lunch
Menu: Authentic Puerto Rican American Cuisine
Bar/drinks: No alcohol
Good to know: You’ll want to drink the sauce out of a cup, limited seating
Parking: Limited parking in front of the building.
Bathroom:: I’ll hold it. (Unisex, shared with barber shop and gas station).
Everyone stop what you’re doing right now. Seriously stop reading this review and go to Latino’s in Simpsonville. Are you still reading? You better not be reading and driving. Regardless, I need you to go to Latinos.
So, full disclosure, the place is very unassuming. It’s situated between a barber shop and a gas station. If you don’t know it’s there, you pretty much don’t know it’s there. My initial thought was, “Ok well I guess we can get a haircut after we eat. That’s convenient.”
Walking in, we are flooded with the smell of freshly prepared food. Seriously the smell hits you like someone gently but aggressively hitting you with a goose down pillow. In the best way possible. It’s a small place, and is sparsely decorated, but you can tell almost immediately that your whole experience is going to be authentic.
Mike was our server, cook, master explainer, and a new favorite person in the world. We asked him what he recommended and he told us we should get the special of the day. It was Tres Mofongo. Tres (for those who are not bilingual at all) means three. Mofongo is a sort of mashed potato-esque paste made from sweet plantains, which are in the banana family (but slightly starchier). Tres Mofongo means it’s made with 3 different kinds of plantains. He used yucca, tostones, and the sweet plantains. It came with chicken boiled with green olives, red bell peppers, and onion.
Let me tell you, I have never said, “Oh yeah” more in my life than I did at Latinos. I could not form actual human sentences because I was so busy inhaling my food. My dear friend that went with me got the Shrimp Crillo which is like Latin shrimp creole. She was kind enough to let me have a taste, and I have never had something so flavorful that didn’t turn my mouth into a fiery inferno. Her plate also came with tostones (and a ballin’ garlic sauce) and rice with black beans. I honestly would go back just for the rice and black beans. After I tried those, everything else was just a bonus.
For dessert, we had the cream cheese flan. I worked in a Cuban restaurant for 7 years and we served the traditional vanilla flan (which is delicious, by the way) but I have never had flan as creamy and smooth as this. It was a delight from sight and with a bite, my mouth was in flight. Man, I’m good at these.
All in all, I give Latinos a 10/10. Amazing overall experience. Food was stellar, Mike was great, and the atmosphere was super authentic. I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t believe small restaurants are worth their time.