World English Dictionary
cantina (kænˈtiːnə) — n.
a bar or wine shop, esp in a Spanish-speaking country [from Spanish]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
The renovation of storefronts and restaurants on Main Street occurs regularly. So the construction at the short-lived former Olive Tree Café on Main Street only seemed natural. However, the sign for the new space, “Tequila Cantina,” caught my attention. With two other Main Street Mexican restaurants, Two Senoritas and Azteca, all within a few blocks of one another, was there really room for a third?
Tequila Cantina, now open for more than three months, is not your standard Mexican restaurant. With a selection of over 100 tequilas (the largest in Sarasota), a large bar space, weekday happy hours and weekend entertainment, Tequila Cantina is really a tequila bar that happens to serve food.
Even though Tequila Cantina’s emphasis might be on tequila, the food menu offers a range of creative, upscale variations of Latin fusion cuisine. For our meals we chose the following:
- Stuffed Jalapeños: Homemade using fresh jalapenos stuffed with cheese and batter dipped. $8.00
Crunchy and tasty, with a little pop to it; a filling appetizer.
- Guacamole: Honeycrisp apple, mango and chile verde, made to order. $9.00
Delicious chunks of apple and mango. Small portion for the price.
- Chilled Roasted Beet Salad: Red beets marinated and topped with queso cheese. $9.00
Served over salad greens, nice-sized portion, tasty.
All tacos served with roasted cactus-lime crema, tomatillo sauce, charro beans and a stack of flour tortillas.
- Shrimp Taco: Caribbean-dusted and served with avocado salsa and pickled red onions. $16.00
A good-sized portion. The avocado and onions gave it a nice mix of texture and flavor, and the tortillas were warm and fresh.
- Grilled Mahi Mahi Taco: With lime zest and served with cucumber-citrus relish. $16.00
A fresh, flavorful combination of textures and flavors.
- Tequila Duck Taco: Tequila-honey braised ground duck served with chipotle aioli and jicama-avocado slaw. $15.00
Very tasty, with a little kick to it.
- Grilled Mahi Mahi, “Taco Style” Lettuce Wrap: Served with bib lettuce. $17.00
This dish did not meet our expectations; we were expecting something light and fresh but the fish did not taste fresh — it was just okay.
Tequila Cantina offers full bar service, beer, wine and soft drinks to accompany your meal. We found the wait staff to be very friendly and helpful, but at times unavailable and somewhat slow. The menu is creative, but on a number of occasions certain dishes were unavailable.
We think this is a great spot to meet friends for drinks, enjoy happy hour or to further your knowledge in fermented agave spirits. “Tequila Cantina:” the name says it all.
1454 Main Street
Sarasota, FL 34236