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Cantina: Mexican Street Food Eatery

Home > Adelaide > Bars | Food and Wine | Nightlife | Restaurants
by Natasha Stewart (subscribe)
Food and words.
Published April 25th 2012

Cantina is part of the heritage listed Hotel Tivoli. The menu is a far cry from just regular pub food, instead serving tasty Mexican street food for under $10.

The street food menu is divided into four main sections: antojitos, tostaditos, soft shell tacos, and quesadillas. Antojitos ($4-$9) are basically sides to go with your meal, it's always great to grab a few to share. You can pick from nachos, fresh tortillas with guacamole and salsa, chilli fries, or the tasty corn on the cob. None of these really make a meal on their own, so either add them to another dish or just have them as a snack with a drink or two.

Soft shell tacos and quesadillas are fairly common at most Mexican eateries, but tostaditos ($8) might be a bit more unknown. They're a small and crispy corn tortilla, and they come with a range of toppings. The gambas with prawns, green mango, avocado salsa, and chipotle mayo has a great mix of flavours, and the pollo with grilled chicken, guacamole, and mojo de ago (garlic and olive oil sauce) is also pretty tasty. A serving includes four tostaditos, which isn't quite enough to fill you up if you're really hungry.

The soft shell tacos are probably the best value, they're not huge but they're only $5 and filled to the brim. The slow braised pork, black beans, cactus and jalapeņo salsa is a good choice. It's hard to know whether all the flavour combinations are completely authentic, with quesadillas ($10) like 'spiced lamb, peas, mint, raisons, and almonds' or 'grilled pumpkin, ricotta, chipotle, salsa verde, and pepitas'.

There is a regular pub menu on offer as well, with fish and chips, burgers, schnitzels, stir fry, and a tapas style sharing plate. The food is probably nice, but it's much the same as you'd find at any pub. The street food is definitely something different.

A mexican meal isn't right without some drinks as well. Unfortunately there are no margarita or sangria jugs, but there is a good selection of mexican beer, tequila, and cocktails. The cocktails are all Mexican inspired, and the range of tequilas and beers is pretty extensive.

One of the best things about Cantina, besides how great it looks, is that it's one of those places where you don't feel awkward if your whole group isn't eating. The street food menu is made up of laid back meals that are easily eaten one handed. So if you're a bit peckish at after work drinks, but everyone else just wants a beer or two, you can easily order a dish on the side.

The Hotel Tivoli is at the Eastern end of Pirie Street, and Cantina is open Monday until 10pm, Tuesday & Wednesday till 11pm, Thursday till 12am, and Friday & Saturday until 3am.

The entire menu is available online.
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Why? It's tasty Mexican where you'd least expect it
When: Monday - Saturday: times vary
Where: 265 Pirie Street, Adelaide
Cost: All under $10
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