Cantina 76 Restaurant Review Article
A group of friends from Columbia with a love for travel and food established Cantina 76 in Columbia, South Carolina. Currently, the restaurant has three locations, two in Columbia and one in Greenville.
Inside, customers can watch TV and dine at the high top and low top tables or sit at the bar. Small lights string around the perimeter; and stars and metal lights hang from the ceiling creating an uncontrived atmosphere. Outside, pansies flow from hanging baskets, and tables flank the restaurant on two sides. Though the tables are under a metal awning, customers can still enjoy the sun. Cantina 76 has a come-as-you-are atmosphere. Casual to dressy attire is acceptable.
Cantina 76 features signature margaritas, tacos, enchiladas, salads and more. They tout an atmosphere where customers can relax and dine on Mexican-influenced cuisine made with fresh ingredients. They pitch premium tequila and creative margaritas. The Cantina 76 menu offers a variety of soft tacos on flour tortillas, but hard corn tacos are also available. Chicken Pesto, Teriyaki Chicken, Peruvian Shrimp, Barbecue Brisket, and Fish are a sampling of their 12 taco creations. In addition, they offer weekly specials.
We sat outside where dogs lay under their owners’ tables, and we began with Tres Hombres Sampler. We dipped crispy salted tortilla chips in queso, salsa, and guacamole. The warm queso’s mild cheese tasted rich and creamy, and a touch of minced green pepper gave it a slight crunch and sweetness. The salsa had a tangy kick with a hint of lime. Small pieces of avocado, onion, tomato and garlic added flavor and interest to the guacamole. It was a great start.
I tried the Barbecue Shrimp Taco. Sautéed onions and feta accompanied perfectly seared shrimp topped with a Chipotle barbecue sauce. The sweet, spicy sauce and the feta’s saltiness added a welcoming punch.
The Barbecue Brisket Taco sweetened with honey barbecue tasted down-home. Pico de gallo lightened the sauce and balanced the sweetness. We loved it.
The Traditional Taco included chili-spiced-ground beef, melted cheese, lettuce, and tomato. There was no sauce. The ground beef tasted lean, and the taco was ordinary.
Everything was fresh and the tacos were not overstuffed which made them easy to handle and not too filling.
Instead of dessert, I tried the Cantina Margarita. Salt rimmed the glass that contained tequila, plenty of fresh lime juice, low-sugar-agave nectar, and a quartered-half lime. Agave nectar blended with lime tasted sweet and refreshing.
I would recommend Cantina 76 because they offer quality food and selection at reasonable prices.
Location: 1301 Main St., Columbia
Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday – Wednesday; 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday; closed Sunday; no reservations
Cost: Tacos start at $2.99.
Info: 803-543-3279 http://www.cantina76.com