Cha Cha Cha

Bar / Restaurant
Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha in San Francisco’s Mission is a lively Latin restaurant with great sangria & a party vibe. Feast, drink, & drink some more in SF with Party Earth. San Francisco United States 37.7597417 -122.4191886
4.18 13
Cha Cha Cha - Bar | Restaurant in San Francisco.
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Party Earth Review Santeria altars, shrimp, and lots of sangria coexist at Cha Cha Cha, an über-popular Cuban/Caribbean joint that draws a mixed bag of fun-loving patrons all week long. Open at 5pm daily, the venue features an island-shaped... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    BART: 16th St Mission; MUNI F, J Lines: Right Of Way/20th Street

  • Phone:


  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–Th, Su 5–11pm, F–Sa 5pm–1am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Cha Cha Cha Review

The Scene

Cha Cha Cha in San Francisco’s Mission is a lively Latin restaurant with great sangria & a party vibe. Feast, drink, & drink some more in SF with Party Earth.

Santeria altars, shrimp, and lots of sangria coexist at Cha Cha Cha, an über-popular Cuban/Caribbean joint that draws a mixed bag of fun-loving patrons all week long.

Open at 5pm daily, the venue features an island-shaped bar that fills up quickly with festive Happy Hour seekers vying for discount fruity cocktails, and it’s not long before the colorfully patterned tables that line the exposed brick walls are laden with small plates of calamari, jerk chicken, and signature Cajun shrimp.

The menu is mostly small plates but the crowds can get big, so half-hour-plus waits for a table are routine on weekend nights for those without reservations.

Of course, regulars know a pitcher of sangria tastes as good standing up as sitting down, so groups of unpretentious friends cram in around the bar to clink glasses and try to hear each other over booming conversation and Caribbean beats.

Noise levels makes the place less than desirable for first dates, but packs of friends prepping for a night of Mission barhopping are perpetually in attendance, chowing and chugging amid the scattered décor of jalapeño-shaped fairy lights, Cuban posters, and an azure Santeria altar, fake skull and all.

Whether for catching up with friends during a brief window of calm or sharing dishes in a boisterous atmosphere, Cha Cha Cha offers tapas and fruity booze that leave guests without a care(ibbean) in the world and free from the (Cu)banalities of life.

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Tip from Emma:

Love the food and want to try it at home? Ask about the Cha Cookbook, which for $19 will give you the lowdown on everything on the menu and a whole lot more.

  • Crowd

    Festive college kids, creative young professionals, savvy tourists, sangria seekers, packs of birthday and other celebratory groups, fans of the original (and equally busy) Haight Street location, early 20s to 40s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Flat-screens above the bar usually tuned to muted ESPN. Caribbean music played all day, every day.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Caribbean/Cuban menu of mostly small plates like roasted leg of pork, mussels, jerk chicken, and Cajun shrimp.

    Private area in back available for party rental. Catering available.

    Parking in this area of the Mission is notoriously difficult, especially on weekends.

    Happy Hour daily 5–7pm.

  • Prices

    Salads and tapas $7–$9, entrées $12–$15.

    Beer $4–$5, wine $5–$8/glass or $20–$30/bottle, cocktails $5–$8, sangria $5/glass or $14–$25/pitcher, mojitos $8/glass or $40/pitcher. Corkage fee for outside wine $10.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: t-shirts, jeans, shorts, dresses, sandals, flip-flops, come as you are.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Friday and Saturday nights for the craziest scene, with a large crowd and a long wait during and after regular dinner hours, or early in the week for a more relaxed atmosphere but still very lively experience.

  • Close By

    Latin American Club (3286 22nd Street) is a quick walk away and attracts a similarly energetic crowd with its large selection of strong, budget-friendly drinks and dangling piñatas.

Cha Cha Cha User Reviews

Average rating:
As a lonely Cubanita in the city, I love Cha Cha Cha for their downhome food and beyond yummy sangria!
Ashley I. Jul 14, 2013
I would come to Cha Cha Cha when i really needed platanos fritos with a mound-full of arroz con pollo. Although as a more Latin-fusion restaurant rather than just straight up Cuban, I always recommend Cha Cha Cha to anyone looking for some close-to-home Cuban and Latin cuisine. I even brought my beyond traditional Cuban father here and he loved it! Since it is awesomely located in the middle of the Mission District (it's sister restaurant is in the Haight-Ashbury,) get ready for a packed house on most days and people walking into you if you are the unlucky one sitting in the walkway as the restaurant's seating kind of sucks. The bar is where you want to be! Service is decent when it's a busy night (most of the time) but if you get there early, you'll be seated right away. They even have an upstairs and backroom if you are hosting a big party. Loud music, great food and drinks, and an awesome vibe? What else could make it awesome?! Oh Yea! It has Cuban Food! One of the only restaurants I know of in the City to have it, without having to travel to San Jose!
Plantains and Sangria: A taste of home!!!!
Melissa M. Apr 10, 2013
Cha Cha Cha is one of those places that just remind me of the food from back home. The best fried plantains I've had in a while besides my own. The atmosphere is fun with plastic tablecloths that reminds me of clear plastic surrounding my aunt's couch and crazy decor but the food is amazing. I went there with three good friends as we ordered calamari for an appetizer the sauce that accompanied it was divine. A friend and I both ordered lemonade as well as a pitcher of Sangria, and let me tell you if you don't get the lemonade, which is the perfect mix of sweet goodness, you definitely have to get the Sangria, it's the best I've had. My entree was a delicious salmon sandwich with plantain fries and the perfect dipping sauce. Normally I am very skeptical about fish, being that I am very particular how my fish is cooked and seasoned, but this was amazing. Cooked to perfection, the salmon was not cooked too much but was done. The seasoning was light because the salmon and sauce spoke for itself. The dish was light and I was very satisfied with my meal. All in all, I can't wait to go back here!
Out of all three locations, this one is the ONE!!!
Sean P. Apr 1, 2013
A few years ago, my girlfriend and I went on a date night to Cha Cha Cha's in the Mission and we haven't stopped going back. If you 're looking for a great time with your significant other or with just your friends Chax3 is the place to be Aside from a full bar with an excellent staff, this restaurant offers decent portioned Tapas at a very reasonable price. I urge you to try their steamed mussels. Everything in the bowl besides the shells should be eaten, broth included. Say you're a first timer to the Tapas experience. No worries, full entrees range from seared Ahi to a classic burger cooked to perfection. Don't forget to have a pitcher of their house Sangria for an additional kick All in all Chax3 is a great place to east and drink.
One Restaurant...Two Experiences
Eric C. Mar 28, 2013
There's a certain amount of consistency that restaurants with various locations like to keep. I mean, look at In-N-Out. You could be at a In-N-Out in friggin' Bangladesh, and it would STILL look like you were ordering a double double in Daly City. Why? It makes people happy, especially those creatures of habit we all seem to know. Ask any well-to-do chef/restaurateur how much "consistency" contributes to their overall success, and they will tell you unequivocally: "YES." This idea stems from the French phrase mise en place; "everything in place." While it seems this industry standard may work for many establishments in San Francisco, it doesn't seem to have any gravity on the way Cha Cha Cha's does things. In terms of their food, Cha Cha Cha's provides a variety of ample sized tapas that are perfect to share with a big group of people. The sangria also follows suit. The huge pitchers of fruit mixed with cheap wine hits the table almost as fast as its finished. Here are a few of my favorite things: The warm spinach salad: Sounds like a nice vegetarian dish right? Sorry, no. The bacon vinaigrette that is tossed with the spinach is very savory, beckoning even the most reluctant of eaters of greens. Friend new potatoes: Personally, I can't get enough of sauces. I love to dip, and I love to sauce. The chili pasilla aioli is delicious. If you're going with a few people, order another ramekin of the aioli, as it will go very fast. Fried Platanos Maduros: I'm a little biased. Fried plantains remind me of my grandmothers cooking. The sweet, delicate, crispy flavors met with the creamy black beans and sour cream are great for those who are feeling a little adventurous. After visiting both locations various times, I've found that each experience was different than the last. While both locations have the same menu items, I find that each location does each dish differently. The wait time on a Friday or Saturday night for both locations can prove to be a long one, but the difference lies within the location itself. The one on Haight looks like something straight out of Disneyland's "A Small World". Hispanic trinkets and dolls line the walls and ceiling, while the leaves of large green plans serve as a screen, separating the tables that are already close to each other. I've seen the back bar many times, but have never been lucky enough to touch it, as there is always a constant sea of people, thirsty for the sweet ruby nectar. Like Disneyland, this location always seems packed with tourists who want to see what all the hype is about. Now let's juxtapose it with the location in the Mission. Previously Original McCarthy's sports bar, this location is huge. The extremely long bar is in the center of the restaurant; something you don't usually see in the city. On a Friday or Saturday, the roar of the crowd resonates off the exposed brick. Even with its huge bar, the place can easily seem just as packed as the Haight location. The bottom line is Cha Cha Cha's isn't consistent. And that's okay. The idea that both locations are vastly different from each other really widens the restaurants target market. People who visit both of Cha Cha Cha's locations will instantly recognize the differences, but probably wont care. But hey... don't take my word for it...
One Word: SANGRIA!
Azucena R. Mar 15, 2013
You can’t end a visit to San Francisco until you visit Cha Cha Cha. Not only do they serve scrumptious tapas, but their sangria is simply to die for! I like the Mission location - If you are coming from the East Bay, taking BART is just best bet, get off at the 16th St exit, walk a few blocks, and by the time you get there, you will be starving and ready to down a pitcher of sangria. If you decide to drive, there is a fairly cheap parking garage across the street. If you go on the weekend, get there early, they don’t take reservations, and if you get there after 8PM, you will be looking at a one plus hour wait. During the week, the wait is about 45 minutes or so. Now, let’s talk about their finger licking food! Mouth-watering-where have-theses-tapas-been-all-my-life! Sautéed mushrooms, cajun shrimp, fried platanos maduros, fried new potatoes with chile pasilla aioli (or the creamy orange sauce as I like to call it.) Don’t be fooled by the portion size, like the name says it, tapas are meant to be shared. And while devouring the food, start enjoying the sangria, getting a pitcher is a must! Cha Cha Cha’s is a great spot to mingle with friends, there is music playing on the background, but it is not too loud, it is perfect to still enjoy a conversation. Once you are done drinking an eating, you will definitely want to burn off some calories, and thankfully, since this location is in the heart of the mission, you are a cab ride away from the many lounges around the Mission and Valencia area – trust me, you’ll want to come back even after you burn off the calories.
One of La Mision's finest
Kaytie S. Feb 18, 2013
Sangria, one of a dozen cocktails served at Cha cha cha's, sets the tone for the entire evening: it’s sweet, rich, vibrant and a little intoxicating — a real party. It and other cocktails (a classic basic mojito if you dare) introduce some of the traditional Cuban dishes that follow. Wait until you try the rice and beans. Before you are seated, however, take some time to take in the décor while you wait. Not a huge venue but very warm and intimate, equipped with a bar and a large dining areas beyond it. (for reserved parties) The walls in this smartly outfitted joint are busy and covered in mirrors, and they radiate a flattering glow; wherever you sit inside, you’ll look good. You’ll also feel good as you sample the traditional tropical Caribbean dishes that have been updated with an eye toward contemporary diners. Arroz con pollo, fried calamari, potatoes, and the ox tails are always must haves when me and my friends dine out. The tapas are filling while you can mix and match and order entrees to share family style at your table. Trust me, it makes the night quite festive. The ambiance is lively, the food and drinks are the brilliant. This is a great local spot to go any night of the week (Parking and seating can be a bit wearing so give yourself some time if you didn't make a reservation) overall, this is one of my favorites in La Mision. Enjoy!
Gotta Love Tapas
Daphne W. Feb 12, 2013
This is a great restaurant for spanish caribbean infused tapas. The sangria is amazing! Perfect place to bring a group of friends, a very lively restaurant. Make sure to go early with a large group, it gets crowded during dinnertime.
Cha Cha Cha's is a fun and hip restaurant located in 2 locations, the Mission and the Haight districts.
Courtney L. Feb 10, 2013
Serving a mix of Latin American food, Cha Cha Cha's is the ideal place to go to fulfill your comfort food craving. Whether you enjoy chicken quesadillas, barbecue chicken, or just rice and beans, your whole party is bound to find something everyone likes. I went to the Haight St location for my 16th birthday party with a group of 8 girlfriends, and we ordered a bunch of plates to share family style leaving everyone satisfied at the end of the meai. Not only is the food delicious, but this restaurant has a really cool vibe with colorful photos tacked to the walls and fun music playing in the background. I definitely want to go back when all my friends and I are 21 because it seems like a fun party scene especially at night. Recently last year I went to the one located in the Mission with my family, and again the food was delicious but this time our eyes were focused on the TV screens as we watched the 49ers game. A bit of a different experience than my last time at the restaurant, but it comes to show how you can come to Cha Cha Cha's on many different occasions and find what you're looking for. The only problem with this restaurant is that it's sometimes hard to get a reservation because the venue is pretty small. This just means you have to plan early and/or go at a time when it is less crowded. Overall I definitely recommend this place! Perfect for a night out with the girls or a chill night eating good food with your family.
Rachel G. Nov 7, 2012
I fell in love with tapas when I visited Spain, so Cha Cha Cha filled my void for fantastic tapas in the city! Another great thing about this place is their sangria! You can get a whole pitcher for $25 that will hold yourself and at least 4 other people. I love going to the one in the Mission for a wild night and the one of Haight for a more mellow night.
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