Top Four Cantina (Ish) Eateries You Know and Love

Elevate your taco night with grub from one of these restaurants.

Photograph by Chris Pasion

National Taco Day has passed but maybe some drinks and food from these places will help you keep the party going.

Zapata Cantina
Named after famed Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, Zapata Cantina features an eclectic menu that tries to culinarily reflect his rebellious spirit. Drinks range from cocktails like the Hencho En Mexico Margarita to the Faustismo (a rose wine) to beer like Modelo Special. Pair any of these with the Del Mar (tempura shrimp with candied pecans and honey chipotle sauce), the Revolucion (Impossible meat with potatoes, cheese, and avocado), or the Alejandro (a Hibiscus flower birria with rice, guac, and radishes) and watch owner Alex Rodriguez’s vision of Mexican street food in Bourbon Country come to life. 801 Madison Ave., Covington, (859) 212-0427

Nada
“Escape the ordinary” is Nada’s unofficial slogan, in bold lettering on its website. Perhaps no restaurant in the state better lives up to its motto, with dishes that confound and delight in equal measure. Peruvian chicken, jalapeno cornbread, and cumin roasted beets are standouts, alongside inventive beverages like the Sanguina Spritz and Sangria Blanco. Long-time Nada goers already know what they’re in for when they belly up to the bar here. 600 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 721-6232

Gomez Salsa
Gomez Salsa offers homestyle Mexican classics just like your abuelita used to make. Of course, they have tacos (“Not just for Tuesdays!” as its website exclaims), and burritos, made from beef, chicken, fajita, or even tofu, but we’re sure you’ll be more interested in the “turtles.” The dish is a burrito-sized tortilla, stuffed with rice, meat, veggies, or any other addition the customer would like to add, then topped off with a cheesy tostada crunch wrap. Couple that with spicy margarita and you conclude that Gomez Salsa is lo mejor de la ciudad. 2437 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills, (513) 954-8541

La Cantina
Did you catch Crown Republic Gastropub’s Mexican food pop-up over the summer months? The menu featured items like chicken mole, corn elote, and Baja fish tacos as well as drink specials like smoky pineapple margaritas. A little birdie (La Cantina’s Instagram account) told us that the chefs are “continuing to work on our menu and have more coming your way soon.” More pop-up nights? A brick-and-mortar spot? Whatever it ends up being, if you missed it the first time around (the last of the first round of pop-ups happened on Sept. 28), don’t be left in the cold when La Cantina returns. 720 Sycamore St., downtown, (513) 246-4272 

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