Update: Mamasita’s Cantina is now (sadly) closed
I was both excited and nervous when I heard a new Mexican restaurant was coming to Central. Excited because apart from Calimex, Little Burro and Brickhouse, there haven’t been many Mexican spots opening up in the recent few years (have there..?). Nervous because I heard it was under the same group as My Tai Tai – which I honestly feel serves mediocre chain restaurant-like Thai food a few floors down. Ok, My Tai Tai is not that bad, but because we have Kowloon City and a whole lot of other new Thai restaurants flooding the city lately, My Tai Tai just doesn’t live up to Hong Kong Thai food standards.
Mamasita’s Cantina is cute and very colourfully decorated – it’s home to the perfect ambience if you’re looking for casual good vibes with a group of friends. In fact, there were at least four big groups dining there when we went on a Thursday night.
Guacamole Dip – HK$88 *must order*
Starting with some guacamole and chips is an unspoken must if you’re having Mexican food, so I relentlessly started putting ice cream scoops of guac onto the chip in my hand. Their homemade chips were relatively thick and therefore were really appropriate for sustaining the weight of the amount of guac I needed in each bite! The guac was also addictively tasty. I liked that it was the type with chunky bits in it, rather than being overly smooth.
Corn Esquites – HK$78 *must order*
Mexican street corn is always a favourite. It’s done pretty well in most places I’ve tried (Brickhouse, Yardbird…), but this was equally delicious in its own right. It was super saucy and lathered with flavours.
Mushroom Quesadillas – HK$108
The mushroom quesadillas looked a tad uninspiring when it arrived but the strong truffle aroma immediately caught our attention. It’s a staple item that’s definitely good for sharing.
Fish Tacos – HK$88 *must order*
The fish taco was hands down the winner for me. The fish was perfectly deep fried and meshed together with the perfect portion of every sauce and piece of veggie. The ones pictured above were mini sampler sizes; the real one is about 2.5x the size.
Beef Cheek Tacos – HK$78
Not everyone was a fan of the beef cheek tacos, but it was close to favourite for me. It may have been because it was a little bean-y and stew-like, but I thought these were tender and flavourful.
Beef Carne Asada – HK$268
When dining in a group, I tend to prefer having a lot of small bites (like tacos and chips) rather than indulge in the dreaded process of splitting big dishes. But there was still an interesting selection of much more filling main course dishes here – necessary if you have men dining with you, I suppose.
The beef was beautifully presented as it arrived at our table. It was also nicely cooked to medium/medium-rare. Lather each piece with the sauce and you’ll get a good comfort mesh of flavours. My only complain would be that the beef was a tad chewy and not majorly beefily flavourful.
BBQ Pork Ribs “Pibil” – HK$228 *must order*
I think I preferred the bbq pork ribs more, even though ribs would never ever be a dish I voluntarily order. The pork ribs are slow cooked for 16 hours and the meat is extremely tender, effortlessly falling off the bones as you dig in. At the same time, the meat retained a lot of juice and moisture. What was equally impressive was the apple slaw salad. I never eat coleslaw but I had three helpings of this one – it was refreshing, crispy and not sour.
Casual, Fun, Mexican Food
While the dishes at Mamasita’s Cantina were not the most unforgettable or inventive, the restaurant is really going for the Mexican street food affair, something we don’t have a lot of in Hong Kong – especially in a proper restaurant setting. There were many satisfying options on the menu and I especially enjoyed the tacos.
The vibe is perfect if you want to comfortably sit down for dinner, yet still feel like you’re in a casual social setting.
5/F & 6/F 8 Lyndhurst Terrace
Phone: 2896 6188
Spend per person: HK$300-400