An early Sunday night dinner at “Cantina La Veinte” — because I’m a sucker for good Mexican food anytime of day.
You can’t help but be impressed when you walk into “Cantina La Veinte,” — visually it’s just a WOW! It’s grand, fancy and fabulous. I know, I know, flowery adjectives can be annoying, but I’m not kidding.
The main dining room, which features black-lacquered walls with gold trimming, reminds me of something out of the movie, “The Great Gatsby” (the one from 2013, starring Leo DiCaprio), where decadence and intrigue were on display everyday. I love a good romance and I could totally tell, I was about to have one. 😍
When I arrived, just before five PM, a spirited Mariachi band was serenading customers with verve and gusto. The music was so lively, it drifted its way into the rafters and bounced off the restaurant’s gi-normous windows. That’s when I saw it…
The Miami New River sauntering its way into the bay, glistening glamorously in the late day sun. What a view! Also, easy on the eyes…
The big shadow box shelves, displaying some of the coolest Mexican art I’ve seen in South Florida: statues, figurines, ornate boxes and pots.
Just as I was having a “man, I love this place moment”, things got even better, thanks to my attentive & thorough server, Jorge.
He suggested I start “Spotlight” with a customer favorite: “The Golden Margarita” (they have a huge list to choose from.) It was the bomb-dot-com, salted and filled to the brim with swanky tequila, fresh lime, Cointreau and agave nectar. I couldn’t get over the size of the thing. It puts a 7-Eleven Big Gulp to shame.
Served in a mini cantina, I threw back a delicious amuse bouche of Shrimp Bisque. The broth was extra yummy and ended with a spicy kick. Weeping while eating is a way of life when you’re from New Mexico. Yep, I’m a “Land of Enchantment” lady and we like our food extra hot & spicy. 🔥
Like a kid in a candy store, I get totally giddy when chips and guac come to the table, but THIS was a whole other level. “Cantina La Veinte” makes theirs from scratch. Fresh & delicious, it’s a must-try before dinner. Pace yourself, though; pre-dinner shenanigans can take up a lot of tummy room. Take it from me, I have ZERO will power when it comes to Mexican food, but there’s always more to come.
The sweet & minty “Mexican Mojito” (made with Rum, lime juice, mint leaves, and simple syrup.) It was the perfect precursor to “Ceviche de Atun” (fresh tuna, sliced avocado, tomato, mint leaves, red onions and cilantro with smoke chipotle.) The “Aguachile de Callo, Pulpo, Cameron o Mixto” was a light and zesty carnival of seafood (with scallops, octopus and shrimp.) It’s mixed in lime juice, cilantro, serrano chile, cucumber, avocado and olive oil.
Next, I switched up my drink with the “Mezclarita” (made with Mescal, passion fruit puree and other secret ingredients.) I could’ve had another round. From the “Make-Your-Own-Taco” part of the menu, I went with the “Molcajete de Ribeye” (sautéed ribeye served with melted manchego cheese and tostaditas.) 👌🏼
I also wanted to try something on the lighter side, so Jorge recommended “Huachinango y Camarones en Salsa Poblana” (which is pan-seared red snapper with prawns, mushrooms, white asparagus on top of poblano sauce.) Even though a lot goes into the dish, there’s a fresh simplicity to it.
For dessert, I tried two dishes: the sweet and creamy “Panna Cotta de Mango” (made with mango panna cotta covered in white chocolate served with house-made frozen yogurt) and “Explosion de Maiz Dulce.” If you’re an adventurous foodie, this is a total veggie re-imagining (it’s basically sweet corn every which way but loose.)
If you like GREAT Mexican food and a decadent atmosphere, “Cantina La Veinte” is an upscale take on going South of the Border. It has authentic roots with a modern day flair and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things. Cheers!
Catina La Veinte
495 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131
Styling: Jackie Kay
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Verve and Gusto” Auerbach