Raleigh >Cantina South Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Lounge
Better Every Time. The reviews for this place seem a bit jaded. I have dined at Cantina South on several occasions with my family and with business clients. I like to choose this place because it is a good mix of upbeat, casual, friendly service and authentic, filling, versatile cuisine. You can very easily make this a $80+ visit for a relaxed date night or just pop in for a quick bite and not spend more than $30-40 for two people. They have had their share of issues both on the service side and food quality side but I have seen major improvements regarding consistency. This is NOT a steakhouse, but not a run of the mill Mexican restaurant either.
Just OK. I was excited about going to this place. A friend and I went out for my birthday and we were seated and told our waiter would be with us. After 15 minutes of no waiter, the manager said he would take our drink order and the hold up was that the waiter was make guacamole at the table. We watched the waiter make the guacamole at the table and it seemed like quite a laborious process that may be better left up to the nice folks in the kitchen. The manager ended up taking our orders and while in the end we could all joke about the experience, the manager was never meant to be waiting on tables. I was also irritated that chips and salsa are extra. It seems to be an annoying trend that "higher end" restaurants want to charge for them. We inquired if there was a salsa/guac combo available and was told there was not. To get an order of chips and salsa with the guac it would have been 20+ dollars. Wow. The tacos did not really taste that different from each other even thought they were supposed to be. I don't need to go back to this place.
A step above the rest.
The pico de gallo served rather than your typical salsa was fresh, chunky and excellent to the taste buds.
The carne asada tacos were fantastic with a generous portion of meat and quality sauce. Cheescake desert was out of this world.
Service was great and mgmt. wanted to know how everything was and wanted to hear our input.
A more upscale Mexican Restaurant was a nice change. My wife is from New Mexico and is a very selective diner, being used to the Southwest style food, she enjoyed our food and experience hear also.
Beautiful decor, not as great food. This place is in a great location and decorated beautifully, so we had to give it a try. The food was disappointing. I ordered three different types of tacos, but they all tasted the same. I didn't taste (or see) lobster at all in the lobster taco. The shrimp taco had the exact same flavor. The vegetarian taco also tasted very similar, and I just didn't even want to finish it after having three tacos that all had the same overly-spicy taste. Raleigh isn't the easiest place to find good Mexican food, but there are definitely better places to go than Cantina South, especially considering that entrees are way over-priced at around $18 each.
Working on it.
The food is pretty good but the drinks are weak. If you want a good marg you need to go somewhere else or go to the other restaurant in town with a similar name.
FYI....actually putting tequila in your margaritas will make them better.
We also had to wait about 15 minutes for service but after complaining to the hostess the manager took care of us.
One more thing....don't charge for chips and salsa if you open a Mexican restaurant. This nicest restaurants in town still give out complimentary bread so you should at least give your customers some free salsa and chips.
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