Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cantina Mexican Restaurant ~ Saratoga NY

Hubby and I had some errands to run late Monday afternoon, the last of which took us into beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs. It was about 6:00 PM by the time we finished our running around and we were both seriously in need of some good grub. It isn't difficult to find excellent food in Saratoga. This lovely city has an abundance of restaurants to choose from, whether you're in the mood for a casual burger and fries or  a five course gourmet meal. Given this plethora of dining choices, it always takes a certain amount of deliberation for Mr B and I to decide just where to go.

After driving around town for about fifteen minutes, we finally agreed on Mexican food. Yay! Well, then came the second part of the decision making process....  which of the Mexican restaurants around Saratoga to choose??? Since we were in the right block of Broadway, and there was an available parking spot not too far from the front door, (it looked like it was going to start pouring any minute) we chose Cantina Mexican Restaurant.  We'd been there once before, sometime in late summer last year, and we both recalled being happy with the choice at the time.

***I did not have my camera with me this time out, so the photos are from Google Images. The photo for the Chicken Enchiladas Verdes and the Chips and Salsa are actually from Cantina and look just like the items that we were served. The photo of the Chili Rellenos however, is the closest I could get (from GI) to what the actual dish looked like. The main difference is that the rice and black beans that show on the enchilada plate are missing, and on his Rellenos plate there was also side of shredded cabbage. There are question marks after the prices because I don't remember exactly what we paid that night, but I know they were slightly higher than the prices listed on their current on-line menu.

I ordered the Chicken Enchiladas Verde ($15.95?)

I have to say that this meal rocked! The two crispy flour tortilla wrapped enchiladas were filled with a perfectly seasoned, not too spicy "Pulled Chicken" and topped with a generous amount of their Salsa Verde and tangy Cojita Cheese. Underneath, was an outstanding sauce that I believe the menu said was a Jalapeno Crema. I am not one for really spicy hot food of any kind, and although there was a definite hit of heat as I finished my first bite, it was tempered quite nicely by the Crema. The rice was well seasoned, but a little dry. The beans however, were a pleasant surprise. I"ve always been a fan of the more traditional "refried" pinto beans that you usually get at most Mexican restaurants, and I was a tad skeptical when I saw "black bean puree" on the menu. So, I decided to give them a taste before trying the rest of the food and much to my delighted surprise, they were really quite delicious.

Mr B ordered the Chili Rellenos ($12.95?)

According to Mr B, the roasted Pablano filled with beef, tomatoes and cheese was one of the better versions of Chili Rellenos that he's had. Now, if you knew Mr B and his obsession with this classic Mexican dish, you'd realize what a compliment that is.  I can pretty much guarantee you that 9 out of every 10 visits to any Mexican restaurant, he'll order the Chili Rellenos. The other 10% of the time, the restaurant we're eating at doesn't have them on the menu. Neither one of us could figure out why there was a pile of unadorned shredded cabbage included with the other sides that he got, but he scarfed it down along with the rest of the meal and had a totally empty plate sitting in front of him when he was finished. He was also impressed with the array of hot sauces that Cantina provides on each table, especially the Cholula with Lime.
Overall, the food was very good, the service was decent and the place is well decorated and clean. That being said, we'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. The Chips and Salsa that were brought to the table after we were seated, were nothing outstanding. I did like the fact that the chips were made from flour tortillas instead of the usual corn, but they were a bit too thick and I got the impression that they'd been sitting under a heat lamp for the better part of the day.  They did come in a cute little spiral thingy, so I suppose that get's them a bit of a bonus point. LOL

The salsa was obviously made in-house, but Mr B was disappointed that it was little more than chopped tomatoes, onions and some cilantro. It was "chunky" with only a tiny bit of the juices from the vegetables in the bottom of the bowl, which I don't mind that much, but Mr B prefers salsa to be more of a blend of chopped ingredients and "saucy" liquid. He also would have preferred that it had more heat. (I swear, the man has an asbestos tongue!) We were both too full for dessert and didn't even look at the menu to see what they had to offer, so I can't say one way or another if any of it was good or bad.

Living in the Capital District Area of upstate NY has several advantages, and one of them is the close proximity to cities and towns like Saratoga Springs and Lake George. (just to name a couple) From Albany you can be in either of these lovely places in one hour or less.  It really is beautiful country up this way.  So.... If you ever have the chance to make a trip to this region, I can highly recommend it. You won't regret it!

***This is an unsolicited review. All opinions are mine or that of my family or friends. I/we were not compensated for this post in any way.


  1. I'm not a big fan of this cuisine, so I never frequented the Mexican restaurants in town. I'm sure it was good, I didn't find too much that wasn't worth the trip in Saratoga.

  2. Oh no! My tummy is growling. I'm making homemade tacos tonight, but they surely can't compare to what you and hubby had! Yum!!!!!

  3. My absolute favorite..Mexican Food! I never get tired of it and could eat it every day. My mouth was watering reading you review..Good Job!

  4. George: Saratoga has plenty of night life for the college crowd too! Some of the old stand-bys are still going strong. The Stadium is still on Broadway and the Parting Glass is still standing proud on the corner of Lake and Henry. (to name just a couple)

    Sweet Bee: Hope your tacos helped to satisfy your tummy rumblings! Taco night was always big when our daughter was growing up. I always seemed to have a lot more kids at the table on those nights!

    Shawn: So good to hear from you girl! I've missed you! Is your computer finally back to normal? I'll bet your area must have a lot of great restaurants to choose from too!


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