Cantina Tortilla Grill, located in Pepper Place, has been dishing out authentic Mexican food for 15 years. The flavors of Chef and Owner Jorge Castro’s tacos and entree platters will transport you to Mexico, whether you’re enjoying your food in the restaurant or in the comfort of your home. That’s right — thanks to The TakeOut Bham, you can get Cantina’s food delivered. And we’ve got a discount code for you.
Let TakeOut Bham Do the Holiday Work for You
This holiday season, don’t fuss with cooking for a large group of friends and family. Let everyone pick their favorite dish from a local favorite like Cantina Tortilla Grill, and have The TakeOut Bham deliver. Choose from tacos, quesadillas, cubanos and more for your family. You can have it delivered and waiting on the table just in time for everyone’s arrival.
If this sounds good to you, you’re in luck! The TakeOut Bham is offering Bham Now audience $3 off their next order and delivery! Use code “BHAMNOW” at checkout to redeem.
Cantina Tortilla Grill — A Birmingham Staple for 15 Years and Counting
When Cantina opened 15 years ago, they had a goal: bring authentic Mexican food to the city of Birmingham. They use as much fresh produce and meat as they can (Castro estimated about 80 percent), and their salmon, steak and chicken are never frozen. Plus, they have a majorly successful food truck.
The setup in the restaurant is laid-back and casual. They pride themselves on fast service, which is why they don’t have table service. When you walk in, you order at the counter and immediately receive your drinks. Then, find a table either inside or on the great patio to wait for your food—which will be ready quickly! If you’d like another drink, you can head up to bar and order one. This setup allows patrons to relax and eat or drink at their own pace. It also fosters conversation and a family-style atmosphere.
Tacos, Quesadillas and Cuban Sandwiches, Oh My!
Yes, the atmosphere is wonderful, but the shining star is the food. Castro brings authentic flavors to his dishes by using only authentic ingredients.
“You won’t find monterey-jack cheese in any of our dishes. We use authentic chihuahua cheese or queso fresco. People often ask for sour cream, but we don’t use that. We use authentic Mexican crema instead. This gives our dishes a fresh flavor.” -Castro
What are Castro’s favorite dishes? Well, it appears he has a bit of a schedule when it comes to his dinners. His favorite item is the Grilled Salmon Filet plate. Grilled salmon is served with poblano peppers, corn, garlic mashed potatoes and queso fresco. However, he has a cubano sandwich every Friday night. The El Cubano is a sandwich made with serrano ham, roasted pork, manchego cheese and pickles. It is griddled until toasty and served with Cantina’s famous garlic fries. YUM. He also notes the Churrasco Steak as one of his favorite dishes.
I asked Castro what the community’s favorite dishes were, and his answers surprised me. He said that the top 3 dishes are the Shrimp Quesadilla, the El Cubano and the Fish Taco. Even more interesting? The Fish Taco was never on the original menu.
Cantina’s Famous Fish Taco
The story of Cantina’s fish taco goes like this: Castro and his brother were invited to do a chef demo at the Market at Pepper Place years ago, and they decided to make a fish taco. Was it on their menu? No. Did people come asking for it after that chef demo? Oh yeah.
And so, the fish taco became a menu staple for the people of Birmingham.
Jorge Castro, Chef and Owner
Castro is passionate about bringing these authentic Mexican flavors to the people of Birmingham. He is excited about food and tequila, and wants to encourage patrons of his restaurant to step outside their comfort zone and try something new when they have the chance. He hopes to educate more people about the food and drinks of Mexico and to increase awareness about the South American food scene in Birmingham. He is an advocate for all the taco trucks and Mexican supermarkets, like Mi Pueblo, in the area and fosters community over competition. One day soon, he hopes to set up a place where he can make authentic barbacoa, but it is not easy and requires so much time and space. However, he stays true to his roots and continues to make genuine Mexican fare. Lucky us!
Upcoming at Cantina
Cantina is participating in the Pepper Place Holiday Open House December 4-6! The shops and restaurants will be open later on these days and will have sales and specials. Cantina is celebrating with traditional dishes and drinks from Mexico that are not usually on the menu. Here’s what to expect:
Tuesday, December 4: Ponche; a traditional hot drink made with sugarcane, apple, orange, peaches and a splash of rum
Wednesday, December 5: Tamales and Atole; a drink made with vanilla, cornmeal, cinnamon and sugarcane
Thursday, December 6: Chile Ennogada; a stuffed poblano pepper with walnut sauce—a dish made famous by the movie “Like Water for Chocolate”
Happy Hour and Weekly Specials
Taco Tuesday: Your choice of 3 tacos for $10
Happy Hour: 3-6pm Monday-Friday, all margaritas $6.50 and $1 off beers
Hours: Open Monday through Saturday 11am-9pm, and 11am-10pm on Fridays
Address: 2901 2nd Avenue South, Suite 110 in Pepper Place Birmingham