11151 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, SC, • 1-866-679-2514

With a large outdoor tiki deck and patio, Habaneros screams “fiesta!” – whether it’s lunch time, happy hour or dinner time.

Of course you can sit inside (perhaps if the weather isn’t cooperating), but feeling the cool Pawleys breeze whipping through your hair while sipping on a house margarita (made with Tequila Degollado) is top notch. Approximately half of the al fresco space is covered, accessible via a long walk-up ramp that also leads to the front door, or curved staircase at the front of the deck. The bright red-roofed tiki bar that stands out as a beacon appears to be undergoing renovations, judging from recent activity we observed on-site; but that didn’t stop patio diners from enjoying the sun and a mid-day bite.

Inside, the space feels a little cramped because of a zig-zaggy conjoining room layout, but there’s plenty of table seating, and the bar sits in the back right-hand corner near the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. The decor is bright with yellows, oranges and reds – muted with some earth tones, reflecting a Southwestern theme.

Habaneros has much of the typical authentic Mexican fare (i.e. not Americanized) with lunch plate combos, ala carte offerings, entrees, house specials, and a section of the menu dedicated to vegetarian fare. The only concession is the kids menu ($5.50), which in addition to munchkin-sized proportions of popular Mexican dishes (burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas) also offers chicken tenders, shrimp and corn dogs, all served with French fries.

If you want to try something outside-the-box, look toward the Habaneros  House Special section of the menu, which includes the monstrous Molcajete ($16.99), a shareable mash-up of grilled chicken, chorizo, steak and shrimp with onions, peppers and cactus (yes, cactus), cheese, rice, beans, gaucamole and tortillas, served in a large, odd-looking piping hot, primitive stone bowl with legs.

When savoring a Mexican dish, you want to wash it down with cerveza, right? Habanero’s serves a lineup of Mexican beers including Corona, Corona Light, Modelo Negra, Dos Equis, Pacifico, Sol, and Bohemia. If beer is not your thing, the Margaritas are $20 per pitcher, if you want to get the most bang for your buck. Domestic brews are also available.

As with most Mexican restaurants, complimentary tortilla chips and salsa are served here.

Habaneros is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.