Thursday, July 10, 2008

Azul Cantina

It would be hard for me to pick out just one ethnic cuisine as my favorite. I think I vacillate depending on the day, the temperature outside, and whatever I'm craving at the moment. However, Mexican food is almost always something I'm willing to eat. When I first moved to Philadelphia there was a severe lack of Mexican food available in the city limits. Now, however, our options in the city have seemed to multiply exponentially. When I heard about Azul Cantina via weeks ago, I immediately marked it down in my "To Eat" book and ventured there as soon as I possibly could.
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Margaritas are served by the glass or the pitcher and come in a plethora of varieties. We adored the mango version. A pitcher served three of us two nice sized drinks each.
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While the presentation was a bit lacking, the guacamole was simple but good. No fancy stuff here, just ripe avocado, lime, garlic and hint of cilantro. The chips were very good, slightly salty and still warm from the fryer.
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On recommendation from our waitress, who was excellent, knowledgeable and friendly, we tried the black bean and goat cheese enchiladas. Filled with creamy goat cheese studded with the occasional black bean and covered in a traditional red Chile sauce, we all really liked the flavor, but thought a bit more texture to the filling would have been nice.
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I was very excited to try the pulled pork enchiladas, but they ended up being the most disappointing dish we sampled. Pork is cheap, especially a cut used to make a slow-cooked pulled pork, therefore the pitiful amount of pork found in these enchiladas was inexcusable, you could barely see the filling, never mind taste it!
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Luckily for every downside there's usually an upside. Azul Cantina's upside was this order of Mahi Mahi tacos. Covered in a spicy BBQ sauce and served with a pineapple salsa, the fish was dense and smokey and was complimented nicely by the sweet salsa and crisp red cabbage slaw.

With a sidewalk full of tables and a beautifully decorated interior, Azul Cantina is a nice place to spend a summer afternoon sipping away on delicious margaritas. As far as the food is concerned, there are hits and there are misses, but it's a good choice for a small plate or some munchie appetizers in a fun and lively part of the city.

Azul Cantina
941 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA

Azul Cantina on Urbanspoon


  1. Ann said...
    I hear ya about Mexican food... In ten years of living in NYC I've only found one or two reliably good Mexican restaurants. Luckily I've taught myself to cook it quite well!
    giz said...
    The mahi mahi tacos look fantastic. I adore mahi mahi.
    kdubz said...
    i could and do eat mexican every day, so i hear ya. the avocado caesar salad is becoming a favorite of mine...i order it every time i go. plus their tequila selection is tops.

    i'm always surprised at how crowded it is, but brunch is usually quiet and you can get an outdoor table with no wait.
    Dee said...
    I love Mexican, but it's next to impossible to find a decent restaurant in Malaysia. Come to think of it, there may not actually be a Mexican restaurant here

    The PB cupcake round-up looks amazing. Thanks for organizing it :)
    Clumbsy Cookie said...
    I love your reviews of the restaurants in Philly! I used to live there and sometimes I recognize some names but are allways happy to see new ones coming up!
    Anonymous said...
    Ha! Here I thought I was reading a typo about the new Cantina dos Segundo that opened on 2nd st in NoLibs where Azure used to be.
    E said...
    Anonymous - It's easy to confuse with all the new Mexican places popping up all over town. I did hit Cantina de Segundos the other night and found some hits and misses there. Look for for the review in the next week or so. I'll give you a sneak preview, too. The guacamole and margaritas are both worth your while.

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