Your Next McAllen Restaurant to Try: El Chin Chin

McAllen restaurant El chin chin fish

Today, we’re setting sail on a culinary voyage unlike any other as we explore the vibrant world of El Chin Chin, nestled at 1303 N. 10th St. McAllen,Tx. Prepare to embark on an adventure filled with tantalizing tastes, rich history, and a crew of characters that will capture your imagination.


Watch the ENTIRE REEL here!


A post shared by Explore McAllen (@exploremcallen)

Legend has it nobody knows his real name; we only know that El Chin Chin is the man everyone wants to be. They say that his pirate ship was lost during one of his trips during a hurricane. People asked him not to go out on his daily expedition, but he refused. After two nights of wandering, he found a small island and went to McAllen, TX, to find trustworthy cronies! To his surprise, he discovered they were half human and half fish! He was never alone again, accompanied by his faithful “Siempre Frescos” crew!

The story of El Chin Chin contines with Juan Garza, hailing from the coastal town of Tampico, Mexico, along with his dedicated partners. Their vision was simple yet profound: to create a welcoming space where food lovers of all ages could come together, share stories, and savor exquisite dishes from the sea. Garza says, “We are not just for one exclusive market – if you want to share, or only come for a drink, or even isolate from work, that is the whole point, that it is a place for everybody.”

Garza shares, “The inspiration behind El Chin Chin is that we are foodies at heart. We wanted to create a place where everyone feels at home, whether morning, noon, or night. Our doors are open to all—from kids enjoying a meal with their families to seasoned veterans looking for a place to unwind.”

IMG 8846 scaled | Explore McAllen

More About the Food

Drawing inspiration from the abundance of seafood in the region, Garza and his team set out to offer a unique twist on coastal cuisine. The result? A menu that celebrates the flavors of the Pacific side of Mexico, with a nod to the culinary treasures of Rivera Maya. Garza noticed the valley’s craving for seafood, and thus, El Chin Chin was born to fulfill that desire while bringing something fresh and innovative to the table. Their menu boasts classics with a distinct Pacific flair that sets them apart:

  • Tacos
  • Tostadas
  • Cocktails
  • Agua chiles

Head Chef Huichol is the mastermind behind the culinary creations at El Chin Chin, infusing each dish with unexpected flavors and textures. One of his standout creations is the “Camatún” tostada, a delightful fusion of shrimp and tuna that has become a house favorite. You can expect something new each week and season.

But it’s not just about the food at El Chin Chin – the drinks are equally exceptional. Crafted by a skilled mixologist, each cocktail is designed to complement the flavors of the cuisine. Take, for example:

  • The signature drink Firma de Sangre, a mezcal concoction inspired by the rituals of pirates past.
  • The specialty champagne of the house at El Chin Chin is the beloved Caguama, served in an iced champagne bucket. That way, you can share at the table.

More About the Vibe

Another goal of the restaurant was to incorporate the legend of El Chin Chin into every part of the restaurant, from the menu and cocktail names to the open-airy windows that match the feeling of being at sea. Even the brick styling was intentionally brought over from Guadalajara, Mexico, to represent windows in a ship, but to guests, it reminds them more of seashells. El Chin Chin has created a tropical ambiance that matches their motto—Frescos de Mar.

El Chin Chin’s commitment to the community sets It apart. Every ingredient is sourced locally, ensuring the freshest flavors and supporting local businesses. Whether partnering with a nearby greenhouse or collaborating with local artist Carlos Guerrero, El Chin Chin is deeply rooted in its surroundings.

20240321 122329 scaled | Explore McAllen

As you explore the restaurant, you’ll encounter a cast of characters from the seafaring tale.

  • The legendary El Rey Fresco
  • The queen of the house Perlita
  • The salty and savory Calambrillo
  • The big-hearted singer El Trovaloco
  • The spirited Los Hermano Malacopa

These characters, brought to life by local artist Carlos Guerrero, adorn the walls and give the space a sense of identity.

So, come aboard and join this culinary adventure with El Chin Chin. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a landlubber looking to explore new horizons, there’s something for everyone at this seaside haven. As Garza wisely puts it, “Our mantra is ‘Fresco de Mar’ – everything is fresh, from our ingredients to our experiences. Quality first, always.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here