We first visited Cantina La Mexicana back in October when one of our Texan friends recommended this place to us. Our initial impressions were quite positive. We have since visited this restaurant quite frequently - almost once a month, if not more.
Some background, first . . .
The restaurant is called Cantina La Mexicana. The take out counter next door is called Taqueria La Mexicana. I believe the food comes out of the same kitchen, and therefore both taste equally good. The great benefit of the Cantina is that it has a liquor license, and therefore you can order Coronas ($4), margaritas ($7-$9) or sangrias ($6) to your heart's content.
What have we learned from eating there so often?
Over all, the food is excellent, and you won't go wrong in ordering most things. If you ever ask them which meat they recommend, they will almost always say "the beef." It's true - the beef is really good. They use Brandt beef, which is naturally raised, antibiotic-free beef raised by a single family owned business that serves high end restaurants, such as Grill 23. I don't even like beef that much, but I always order beef whenever I have a choice.
One of our favorite dishes is the Gorditas Mixtas ($7.95) little cornbread "tarts" topped with avocado, marinated shrimp, and meat (pork, chicken, or beef). Ha ha, my favorite gordita is actually the shrimp one . . although the beef is good too. I like the shrimp one because the addition of sour cream makes that gordita more moist. I rectify this issue for the chicken and beef gorditas by dumping a ton of the excellent free salsa on top. Yum!
Another all time favorite is the Chiles Rellenos ($3.75) with beef, of course. I am by no means an expert on Mexican food, but these are the best chiles rellenos I've had in Boston.
My third favorite, Coctel a la Campechana ($8.95), is a cold ceviche-like dish served in a martini glass. It consisted of Maine shrimp, calamari, crabmeat, and chunks of avocado tossed with a citrus dressing over avocado crema. Sorry, no picture of this.
This is definitely a place off the beaten path that's worth checking out! You can go there on your way to Target in Somerville or Costco in Everett next time.
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