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Ward Center Eats: Mexico Cantina

We celebrated Diner A’s birthday over lunch this past week at Mexico Cantina, located in the former space that was Compadres for a long time in Ward Center, in the heart of Kaka’ako, Honolulu.

Following are photos of our tasty “Fiesta”. Enjoy. ;-)

Mexico Cantina complete menu PDF download <— click here; current as of 10.2015; 4.16MB single file/16 pages

Our lovely server Jamie brings out a huge service tray of complimentary Salsa and Chips for a large party at another table

Mexico Cantina’s complimentary Tortilla Chips and Salsa in two styles

The red salsa and green salsa “Verde” were so fresh-tasting, you could tell it had just been made that morning; in fact so fresh-tasting, you’d swear they had harvested the tomatoes just minutes ago from a nearby garden!

CHIMICHANGA: One huge crispy flour tortilla stuffed with cheese and your choice of shredded chicken, shredded beef, or ground beef. Served with sour cream, guacamole, salsa fresca, spanish rice and beans. $16.95

MACHACA Scrambled egg with shredded beef, salsa fresca, jalapenos, cheese and a side of flour tortillas. Served with Country Style Potatoes ~ $13.50

GRANDE ZOPE: A thick homemade corn masa tortilla piled high with salsa fresca, lettuce, cheese, black beans, sour cream with your choice of shredded chicken, shredded beef, or ground beef. $13.95

SNL’s Taco Town (<—HILARIOUS video!)

Mexico Cantina’s Flan dessert. $6.95

Diner A’s “Popeye sneer” over his Flan dessert… “Ugh-uggh-ugghhh-ugggh-uggg-uggh” lol 


Ambiance as you can see is fantastic, being very clean and “hipster”, with your typical over-the-top, very ornate South-of-the-border theme goin’ on.

Service by our lovely server Jamie was friendly and always greeted with a smile. She started out very attentive and quick, however as the restaurant began to get busy (which it really did) further into peak lunch hour, our wait for checkups got longer. Thankfully our entrees all arrived quickly, within about 10 minutes of placing the order, and all together for our table, with none of us “hanging”. It was the Flan dessert that took way longer than necessary to arrive at the table (about 15 to 20 minutes), considering it was probably premade and sitting in the refrigerator, simply needing to be plated. That alone is the main reason for a deduction in “SPAM Musubi” points.

On the very bright side, Mexico Cantina’s dishes were all for the most part absolutely delicioso! As I always reiterate, I personally am so NOT a Mexican cuisine expert, so won’t even “go there”. All I can say is, in the sum of its parts, having good quality, fresh ingredients, very well seasoned flavor profiles, and overall great recipes, we all thoroughly approved of each of our dishes.

Portions are HUGE (we all had a “doggie bag”), and the prices are also reasonable, especially considering the “premium” location in Ward Center, overlooking Ala Moana Beach Park. Speaking of prices, we also were able to get a 10% discount through a mobile app Diner A frequently uses (I’ll get the name of it later; not sure if it was Groupon), which basically paid for dessert… sweet!

That said, we all agreed we’d definitely return here to Mexico Cantina to try more!

Diner A, Diner E and Diner P ~ 10.2015 @ Mexico Cantina

Mexico Cantina
Ward Center Ala Moana

1200 Ala Moana Blvd 3rd fl
Honolulu, HI 96814

Tel. (808) 596-4964

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

Related links:
Mexico Cantina – Yelp user reviews
Mexico Cantina – Trip Advisor user reviews
Mexico Cantina opens in Honolulu’s Ward Centre – Pacific Business News

The Tasty Island related links:
Kalihi Eats: Mexico Restaurant  (by the same owners, sister restaurant to Mexico Cantina, as well as Mexico Lindo in Kailua)
2015 Hispanic Heritage Festival (coverage)


2 thoughts on “Ward Center Eats: Mexico Cantina

  • October 24, 2015 at 3:48 am

    This place reminded me of somewhere in Mission my cousins took me to

    Mexican lunch.  It was a hole in the wall.  Now I have my bf and other friends

    head to Ward for a lunch there.  Which dish you think best to try out ?

    • October 24, 2015 at 7:52 am


      Being only our first time here, I can’t recommend anything yet. However if I had to choose the best of the three dishes that landed on our table, Diner E’s Machacha would be the one I’d pick. Especially if you’re an egg and/or “breakfast any time of day” fan. The rich flavor and interesting texture of the egg being scrambled together with all the other “Mexican” ingredients was absolutely delicioso!

      And you definitely can’t go wrong with that scrumptious Flan dessert, which for just $7, is easily large enough to share between two to four people (and likely way too big for just one, unless that’s all you’re having!), just to get a little sweetness at the end.


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