A mere 20 miles away from Shippensburg University is a little slice of Central America called Las Palmeras. Tucked away in Chambersburg’s Southgate shopping center, Las Palmeras is a locally owned and operated restaurant specializing in Salvadoran and Mexican cuisine. Having gone there at least one dozen times before, I knew exactly what I wanted when I arrived last Thursday with my boyfriend, a fellow Mexican food aficionado.
Soon after being seated, we received our complimentary chips and salsa. The salsa was chunky, colorful and smelled extremely fresh. We also ordered a side of guacamole for our chips.
I ordered the Taco Palmeras platter, which is an order of three tacos with your choice of meat, along with a side of yellow rice and frijoles churros (pinto beans stewed with onion, spices and bacon). Since I do not eat pork, I opted for a side of refried beans instead, at no additional charge. My boyfriend ordered one of Las Palmeras crossover dishes, a Tex-Mex burrito.
We did not wait long for our food. I have been to popular Mexican restaurants in Chambersburg where the food comes out on a sizzling hot plate in five minutes, which makes me suspicious of the quality of preparation. This was not the case at Las Palmeras because Las Palmeras is not fast food in disguise. It is quality cuisine.
My chicken tacos were amazing per my expectations. They came on three adorable soft corn tortilla shells, garnished with a slice of avocado on each, a little bit of onion and cilantro. According to Cosmopolitan.com, “authentic tacos come with a little onion, cilantro, and lime — not wilted lettuce and tomato,” and corn tortillas (not flour) are a staple of authentic Mexican cuisine.
My boyfriend’s Tex-Mex burrito was huge and filling. Being true to his indecisive nature, he ordered two kinds of meat to fill it, pork and chicken. The size was on par with one from Chipotle, but more filling. He can scarf down Chipotle burritos wanting more, however was left stuffed and satisfied from this one.
Las Palmeras is also budget-friendly, making it ideal for college students on a budget. Many of the appetizers are under $5, including fried plantains, tamales and cheese pupusas (a traditional Salvadoran snack made out of thick soft tortilla shells and filled with lots of cheese). Many of the entrees are under $10 and almost all are under $20. My boyfriend and I’s bill totaled $22. This included our meals, side of guacamole and two drinks.
I highly recommend Las Palmeras to anyone looking for an authentic Mexican or Salvadoran dining experience. Las Palmeras is located at 209 Southgate Mall in Chambersburg.