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Anyone Tried Cantina Mayahuel in Normal Heights SD?

A new restaurant caught my eye today in Normal Heights -- Cantina Mayahuel at 2934 Adams Avenue. Has anyone tried this place?

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  1. I ate at this place last night. The menu is really small, they have a daily special and then three types of tacos and three or four types of tortas. First off, we had the chips and salsa, which is not complementary. I have no problem with that, but the chips were not homemade which left me dissapointed. We had the shrimp taco, the tasajo style beef taco and the chicken torta. These were all pretty good, but nothing amazing. I don't know if I'd go back unless I was in the neighborhood, but I still can't get over the store bought chips.

    1. I had dinner at Cantina Mayahuel last night. They have live acoustic music on Sunday during dinner time, a nice touch.

      I tried the Barbacoa stew (the Sunday special). This is a beef stew with just the right kick of spice. It is served in a large bowl over rice. Recommended.

      1. My husband and I had dinner there on Friday, and it was OK. I had the tasajo style beef torta and my husband had the chicken mole, the side of beans and rice along with the chips and salsa. We were unimpressed with the chips and the rice was quite bland, but the mole was very spicy and the rice helped balanced it a bit. The torta was good, it wasn't the greasy messy version that I'm used to from other places.

        I would like to see their menu broadened a bit, but for a place that's just starting out, I see potential. I'd try it again.

        1. I just saw this the other day too, it looks nice and sounds interesting, I'd like to try it. Also nearby (right next door to Air Conditioned) is another new place called Jayne's Gastropub. They are currently open just for lunch and are planning to open for dinner and brunch soon. I had a to go sandwich, just to try it out, and it was pretty good. I am planning to go back as soon as they open for dinner. The interior is really cute and stylish and the owner is very nice. I think it will be a good addition to the neighborhood.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Alice Q

            so you need to try the specials -- fresh tamales wrapped in banana leaves with special mole -- WOW. We had the Sunday Night special tonight -- barbacoa stew -- very nice for a cold night. The atmosphere is great. Authentic! will go back!

          2. well we had high hopes for this neighborhood spot. The decor and vibe is cool, except for my biggest complaint, the service. Our waitress was very cold and unfriendly. She never said hello, and was kind of a robot throughout our whole experience. The food was good (we had the seafood stew), but when she brought our check and just set it down without a smile or thank you, I decided I didnt need to go back. Its too bad, because thats exactly the kind of local place I would love to hang out regularly (nice bar) with friends but not with the service I received. Good luck to them!

            4 Replies
            1. re: jeffandp

              I'm not sure I'd be so quick to judge (or condemn) a restaurant on the behavior of one server. Who knows - maybe she was having a bad day? Do you have any more details or info about the food?

              1. re: jeffandp

                I just discovered this place about a month ago and I Loved it. Iam going tonight. My server was great both times I have been there so far. I agree about the decor. What I liked about the food is that it is clearly from a different region of Mexico than we are used to sampling here in the states. Very fresh food, not all cheese and grease. Yes there was an extra charge for the chips and guac ( but it was great guac). My undiscerning palate didn't catch onto the fact the chips were store bought. Perhaps they have changed since that posting. Anyway, I love the place and will continue to support it. As for Jaynes gastropub, I really wanted to like it because it is ADORABLE. however, I thought it was overpriced for mediocre food. The fish dish I ordered was very fishy and dry.

                1. re: jeffandp

                  "foodie', I actually think service is a huge part of the experience so even if the food were stellar it wouldnt make a difference.

                  1. re: jeffandp

                    I assume you are addressing me with the term "foodie"? Seems a little odd, but ok, we'll go with it. From what you said, it doesn't actually sound like you got bad service, you just thought the server was not solicitous enough. If you waited too long for your food, or if you didn't get your check, if the food were cold or if you weren't seated promptly, etc. I would consider that bad service. Not friendly enough but still doing her job? That's a little different. Obviously you can do whatever you want, and a lot of people feel the same way that you do, but I think even more people would be interested in hearing about the food than a server who was having a bad day or simply wasn't very friendly.

                2. give 'em another chance -- last time we went there, the waitress and owner talked with us for a long time. We've always had a pleasant experience there.

                  1. Does anyone know if Cantina Mayahuel has a liquor license? If so, have you tried their margaritas?

                    1. I just posted about this restaurant at:

                      They only have a beer and wine license I believe.

                      1. I went in today after a few pass-bys, since it's just down the block. Seems to have built up a fairly good repeat business, as I was in not long after opening and there were already six or seven regulars (+/- friends) at the bar and shortly after a large party began trickling in. It had a friendly neighborhood feel.

                        I hadn't seen how large the tacos were, so I ordered a chicken torta. After I ordered, the regulars' food began to come out and a single taco would probably have been enough for a lunch. The torta was well seasoned with treatments of pineapple juice, chipotle, mexican crema, and ancho mayo-- a lot more trouble than most places serving tortas would go through. It paid off with a range of flavors that still didn't overpower the chicken. A very good torta. Most of the taco or torta variations have a similar treatment.

                        Definitely wish I'd stopped in for dinner on friday to try the mole.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipe

                          I went there for lunch yesterday with a friend and thought it was super! Small, neighborhood feeling! We ran into a "foodie" friend there from way across town! We ordered rdered the Caesar salad and Mole to share, but the waitress suggested the house salad rather than the Caesar. Thought it was strange, but went with it and it was very good. Topped with perfectly grilled and seasoned shrimp, a chopped salad with just the right amount of cabbage and cilantro to not be overpowering. The dressing was a light vinegrette that only promoted the freshness of the salad. Mole was good. The light brown sesame kind, not the heavy chocoate based kind. I wonder if they change it out from one day to the next. After lunch we pressed the waitress to see whay she pointed us away from the Caesar, and said that it is good, (very politic) but her boss hadn't hade it that day, so it just wasn't as good as her boss's. I like that kind of honesty in a server!
                          I will definitely go back with my family, as we are always looking for cheap good neighborhood places to go on evenings that no one wants to cook!

                        2. Nice selection of tequilas and mezcals. Food is OUTSTANDING!!!! Totally relaxed atmosphere, so leave your attitudes at home. It's VERY casual. IF you've traveled all over Mexico, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the "elevated difference" in the preparation and spices in the food. I don't know what people are expecting (in the other reviews) when they say, "The menu is limited/small"....because, it's quite adequate for the offering. The rice is "fluffy and FRESH" (not mushy and instant-tasting) the specials ARE "special" and the chips are just a VERY SMALL part of the meal???? Bring-on the Reposado Tequilas and the GREAT FOOD---muy sabroza!!!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: eviavi

                            There is now a separate San Diego board so you may want to continue this topic over there. You guys earned your own separate board a few months ago.