In our family there is and has always been a quest to find what qualifies as “good Mexican food” for my mother. She can eat Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She will try hole-in-the-wall Tacquerias and taco bars in the rear of grocery stores. She has even been known to purchase and eat off taco wagons in Mexico.
So it is with great relief that I can say we welcome
to the Village of Arroyo Grande. With a lengthy remodel the much-anticipated restaurant opened last December in one-half of the previous “Taco Loco” location. With exposed brick and enormous black-and-white photos depicting the running of the bulls in Spain we immediately enjoyed the atmosphere. One long bar skirts the side of the room with a significant scattering of my favorite pub-height tables seating two or four in the center and some lower tables around the edges it offers something for everyone. There are even a couple of TVs for the sports enthusiasts. Possibly my favorite are the three or four tables on the outside veranda that afford you a great view of the Village and all that pass by.
106 E Branch St
Our search for Mexican food that meets mom’s expectations is now, thankfully, satisfied. The Chile Relleno and the enchilada with spicy red sauce are her favorites — and she is NOT easy to please. My favorites are the appetizer size Street Taco Trio. Delicious Carne Asada topped with just the right amount of a crema-style sauce. Fresh pico de gallo. Yum! I have also tried their full plate tacos and they are good as well — but the trio is a perfect lunch size. My son is a Taquito critic and loves these fresh-made taquitos. I found them to be moist and delicious when I stole one from his plate.
Despite not having a full liquor license Villa Cantina’s mixologist has managed to make some very interesting and tasty concoctions with rice wine. Their regular rocks margarita with salt fits the bill — during Strawberry Festival their strawberry mojito was perfect for sipping and noshing chips and ridiculously tasty house-made salsa. The beer menu also satisfies my picky hubby. His favorite dish being the Carne Asada platter — no carbs if you omit the rice.
Did I mention the cilantro-lime rice? My favorite as I am not particularly a Spanish Rice fan — so fresh and light. A perfect side dish.
I would highly recommend popping in and seeing for yourself — the service has always been friendly and timely. Even when it appears it will be a bit of a wait for seating it has not — and even during the Festival we were served and attended to swiftly. Visit the “Cantina” and see if mom is right!