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Caribbean cocktails, land of the seven moles, and more

Caribbean cocktails, land of the seven moles, and more
May 2019

The latest food-and-bev openings around Charleston


Flush with botanicals in taste and decor, Dalila’s on Spring is a Caribbean-inspired respite for the Eastside. Cocktails are the name of the game here with fragrant, festive, and spirit-forward drinks that tour the tropics. Skillful twists on classics like the Casa Grande (a rum Sazerac), or house concoctions like the Pointe du Bout (rhum agricole, Swedish punsch, allspice dram, and Velvet Falernum) strike a balance of playful finesse. Food options are scant but gratifying, provided by Spanglish Cuban Kitchen. Try the Elvis in Miami (almond butter, sweet plantains, bacon, and media noche bread), an island-y spin on the King’s iconic sandwich. The sipping rums are particularly alluring for those who take their tipples neat. Lagoon blue walls and leafy greenery make a night here feel more like vacation.

Pink Cactus

This Cannonborough newcomer is an ode to one of Mexico’s gastronomic capitals: Oaxaca, known as “land of the seven moles.” Several of these vibrant, savory sauces appear on the menu (verde, negro, and a tropical iteration—manchamanteles, meaning “table-cloth stainer”) that embolden dishes like seared scallops, duck breast, and a superlative version of chicken enchiladas. The menu changes frequently, but if you’re lucky you’ll get to the Pink Cactus on a lamb barbacoa night. Braised for more than 20 hours, the meat is a succulent and flavor-packed feat. Masa—made from imported heirloom Mexican corn, ground in-house via a volcanic stone mill—plays an essential role in clever ways: from dumplings to a chocolate crumble that tops the lime avocado sorbet. Growing pains and service stumbles are worth bearing for lively fare so far unparalleled in the city.