Jul 16, 2011

Eddy's Cantina


Address:  新北市淡水區中山路151-1號
                 No. 151-1, ZhōngShān Rd, Danshuei District Xinbei City, Taiwan 251
Phone #: 02-2628-2638
Business Hours: 11:30-14:30, 16:30-21:30
Website: http://www.eddyscantina.com/
Price Range:   $$
Accepts Credit Cards: idk
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  yes
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Recommendation: Pretty good mexican food


Eddy's Cantina is probably the mexican restaurant with the most legitimate mexican roots in Taipei. Nestled on a sloping 3-way intersection of Dansui, Eddy's Cantina brings tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and salsa to a unsuspecting part of Taiwan. Entrees are about 200 NT with the option to upgrade to a meal for 85 NT to add three sides and a drink. The ingredients are kind of authentic, but the flavors seem to be dulled to suit the Taiwanese taste bud. Still, it is probably one of the best mexican restaurants in Taiwan. If you don't feel like making the long ride up to Dansui, Eddy's Cantina has opened a new location in Tien Mu. This is decent place to have some tacos over ice cold brews.

Eddy's Cantina is Mexican and proud. Flags cover the entire dining area and pictures of rancheros in sombreros are framed around the wall. This location is very reminiscent of a divey cantina that sells delicious tacos with an assortment of brews and mixed drinks. The decor certainly fits well. The servers here are helpful, responsive, and very friendly. They don't really cater to you that much, but they got the basics down. I suggest you try an entree set meal and pair it with some sort of Mexican drink.
My mexican drink of choice today was the Margarita. Margaritas are very mexican drink and it's quality should be representative of the cantina. However, I was disappointed by this watery, slightly limey, not very sugary, and noticebly tequilified margarita. Maybe i'm too spoiled with the sweeter and more hidden but potent margaritas in the States, yet this might be more authentic, but whatever the case I did not think this was really drinkable. I think Eddy needs to man his cantina, and not let random Taiwanitos mix his drinks. Maybe you should stick with a familiar cerveza when dining in or try their non-alcoholic drinks like their horchata. I give them a plus on their cactus margarita glass, but they got to find another formula for their margarita.
I got the two taco set, which comes with a carne asada and carnitas taco and 3 sides. The 3 sides I chose were refried beans, spanish rice, and the tortilla chips. The chips were crunchy and went well with their salsa verde and picante. However they really got to step it up with their spanish rice and refried beans. I give them plus points for actually having some sort of rendition of spanish rice, but it was not fragrant and spiced enough. I felt that it had the right texture, but the taste was not as pungent as I remembered spanish rice should be. Maybe they put less oil in it, or sparsely mixed in the seasoning. The color seems lighter than most spanish rice I've had in California, so something was up. The refried beans could have used some cheese on top or some more salt, but it was generally the right texture and fundamental taste. I wasn't very by the sides, and thought they were pandering the Taiwanese taste bud.

I was divided by the tacos themselves. They only serve flour tortillas, but I like the corn ones better. However, the flour tortillas were made very well and held all the ingredients of the taco together well. The only problem is, that there wasn't very many ingredients wrapped in there. I think they should be more generous with the servings. When I was observing my taco I could not help but think: Where's the meat? The quality of the meats weren't bad. The carne asada was tender, moist, and flavorful. There was a lack of charred smokeyness, but the meat was acceptable. The carnitas here are succulent and suffused with flavor. The carnitas here are probably better than those from Macho Tacos.  However, they just didn't have enough to satisfy the right tortilla to filling ratio to make it a savory taco. In affect, the tortilla overwhelmed the ingredients as a whole, and the vegetables overpower the meat. They need to either provide more meat or make smaller tortillas.
That ratio problem was not as bad with their fish tacos. The fish was grilled nice and cripsy and topped with this mayonaisse like sauce. I had to try out the fish tacos here, and was pleasantly surprised. If I had to rank the tacos in order it would be the fish, carnitas, then carne asada. However, even these tacos are still duller than the dirty oily tacos I am used to from taco trucks or even from prim restaurants like El Torito. Yet when viewed in terms of the Taiwan restaurant scene...this might be as good as it gets.

Eddy's Cantina is generally too far for me to eat on a regular basis, and I would not travel to Dansui or Tien Mu for the sake of this restaurant. I could settle for Macho Tacos to fulfil my mexican fix, but if you want a more seatable and enjoyable mexican restaurant to have a fiesta with your hombres. Eddy's Cantina is the place to dine at.
One thing I got a kick out of is the total role-reversal in Taiwanese restaurants with respects to Californian restaurants. Instead of a bunch of mexicans working at a chinese restaurants...you get a bunch of Taiwanese working at a mexican restaurant. This made me chuckle inside. I'm sure the servers were wondering why I was trying so hard to get this shot.

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