Junction is the place to be! We went to the Indie Ale House a few times already and brought our friends too. This time we were invited to come visit Cantina across the street.
A somewhat smallish storefront is not very noticeable to a passerby if not for the crowd gathered outside. We actually passed it initially ourselves. Once inside, large vintage signs adjoined with neon tubes are everywhere. As we walked in, we realized how large the restaurant is inside. Its prolonged shape is not ideal for large crowds (folks bumping shoulders), but it creates a very lively atmosphere.
We sat right next to the bar. Not the best spot - with someone always rushing behind your back, but we were glad Cantina even took our reservation for eight people on Saturday evening. Long shared tables and vintage aluminum barstools added to the atmosphere and we started looking at the lengthy menu. There were a lot of words there we did not know.. Either way we made our choices with some heavy amounts of reggaeton music in the background.
We had great advise from my friend who is a big fan of this place. The tacos are small and great for testing the flavours before committing to a burrito or tres tacos. We ordered their Piscado Taco, Cantina Chicken burrito, and some guacamole for the table. To accompany all of this goodness, we asked for a couple dark beers and a glass of sangria. Later on we also ordered their Elotes.
We should not have ordered sangria. The expectations was already somewhat low as we were told that it is simply wine infused with syrup and some cut fruits added. That was exactly all unfortunately. Even through it came in a neat jar-glass with a handle, the drink was very flat. Our Negra Modelo beer was more interesting, but not really dark as far as our classification goes. As for the food, we liked the chicken burrito quite a lot. It was juicy, not too large (a minor disappointment since it was $12 or so), loaded with stuff to the point of bursting. The piscado taco came as a small peek of food on top of a soft taco shell. Eating was a disaster. Beers went down quickly to cool down our mouths after the spicy meals. Getting the Elotes at the end was a substantial finish, however they were glossy in a buttery sauce topped with "quest anejo", lime, arbor, etc.
We enjoyed our company in the lively atmosphere, with large bright signs which seemed almost historic. Cantina definitely has its own unique groove.
We would recommend this place for a casual outing with friends. While we did not necessarily find the food too special, but the atmosphere was right, location prime and the staff very friendly. Cantina is an interesting place with a lot of effort put into making it stand out. By the line of people outside, we can tell the crowd is buying in.