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Rita's Cantina Asheville?

I saw a sign for it today from Biltmore Ave - looks like it is in the old Trevi location? Any word on this place?

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    1. re: Spreadhead

      I agree with nearly everything being stated by the other posters. Nice decor and tortilla chips were made on-site. But other than that, there's not much positive to report. Staff seemed overwhelmed, even though the place wasn't even half full. We had a table of eight, and half our food came out first. While waiting for the rest, we noticed our waitress taking the order from another table, leaving us with our food getting cold and the rest of the food stuck in the kitchen. Ugh!

      The food was marginal- just slightly worse than Don Pablo's and not even remotely comparable to Papas and Beer. The prices were way too high for that sort of quality. I always order the cheese enchiladas since it's a pretty good benchmark for the rest of the menu. What I got was similar to the kid's enchiladas at Don Pablos- no ranchero sauce, just some sort of cheesy sauce on top of cheese enchiladas. Pretty lame.

      Overall the flavor was lacking. Nothing was exciting, nothing stood out as being exceptional. My kids' meals were left half uneaten on the table- I mean, how hard is it to make a tasty cheese quesadilla?

      Save your money and go to Papas and Beer. It's worth the wait. We're definitely not returning.

    2. We ate there last night. The decor was nice and they were crawling with friendly waitstaff. I did not get the fajitas. What I got was a Pollo Blanco and it was average at best. My husband got the enchiladas and he also proclaimed them to be average. We found it to be chain style Mexican food. We actually thought La Paz to be better in the chain Mexican dept. Papa's does a much better job and at half the price. It will do well in the tourist laden Biltmore village, but don't go for anything authentic. We may go back when we want to eat out and not travel far, but I would not stand in line for anything that we tasted last night. I will say the chips were very good, as they make their own tortillas there...but the salsa was very mild and needed a few shakes of hot sauce for it to have any life to it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: carolmoonbeam

        I have to agree with carolmoonbeam. We had lunch there today, and while the decor is beautiful and the service was great, the food was merely okay. I had chicken chimichangas, probably my favorite food on earth, and I would also say that it was very chain-like. (BTW, I absolutely DETEST La Paz, think it's some of the worst Mexican food in the world.) My husband ordered chicken enchiladas, and he said the same thing. The chicken was a little dry, but more importantly, just kind of bland. The "chili con queso" that came with it was orange-colored, like what they used to serve at Don Pablo's or the kind I can buy in a jar on the chip aisle of the grocery store, not like the queso blanco I'm used to getting at local Mexican joints. I knew we were in trouble when the manager approached us and he was as American as we are. It just didn't have that authentically Mexican, hole-in-the-wall feel that you get from the local places. (I think even the salsa came from a jar.) I'll definitely put my money on Papa's and Beer in the future.

        1. re: stephw1

          Do you think it is better than (or compares to Papas and Beer?)

          1. re: jbyoga

            No contest-Papa's and Beer beats them hands down in terms of quality, prices, and freshly prepared food. There is an obvious difference that you can taste between Papa's and Beer, where the food is freshly prepared, and Rita's, where it's either frozen or out of a jar. A good analogy would be going to a place like Ruth's Chris for a steak, then comparing it to one at Ryan's. It's laughable.

          2. re: stephw1

            Count us in the "mediocre at best" group. We had lunch there today and for the food quality, I'd pick Taco Bell every time. At least there, I expect fast food junk Mexican.

            Chips - fairly thick and very lightly salted. I'd not a big salt-adder, but these needed it badly. The salsa tasted like it was out of a jar. Nothing really 'fresh' about it.

            I had fajitas and husband had chalupas. Both on lunch menu - $10.99 and $7.99 respectively. Nice portions, but I'd rather have leff food with better quality.

            Guacamole was fine - but it was (IMO) very similar to the type I can get at the grocery store in the little bag. I forget the brand.

            Truly, we won't go back as they were fairly pricey for packaged quality food. Service was pleasant and speedy, but didn't make up for the bland taste.

        2. Does anyone know if there is a website or menu online for this place? I can't find one using a google search. Thanks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: McChow

            I haven't seen a website yet, but I did find their menu (or at least a good portion of it) last year in the Yellow Book, so if you have one of those, you'll get a fair idea of what they've got.

          2. Last night we were craving Mexican! Papas and Beer had an hour wait, Curras Dom was out of the way, even La Paz needed to be avioded due to exes so Ritas it was. We Went here out of desperation and starvation!

            However, This place is just horrible. We were given chips straight from a bag and salsa out of a jar. I order a margrita which was bottom shelf tequila and lime tang. We started with some queso blanco which tasted like hot plastic and powder. My entree was shrimp fajitas which had to have been cooked for about 30 miniutes and had the consistency or rubber. The shrimp were served on a sizzling platter of just onions, no other veggie. My boyfriend had pork tacos which he said the only way he could tell the pork from the tortilla was texture.

            the worse part of the experience was not the food but he bill. We paid close to $70 for this slop. Thats 2 entrees, cheese dip, 2 margaritas and 2 beers. The only positive thing I can say is the bartender was nice and seemed very appologetic about delivering the horrid food. Also Ritas was donating 15% of sales towards Mission Childrens Hospital.

            Obviously, we will not be back, and all of you should stay way...far away.

            1 Reply
            1. re: caiogirl

              My wife and I just had two really nice plates of Mexican food for lunch ($13 total) at El Pauncho Gringo on Hwy 70 just as you are getting close to Swannanoa. Everything tasted fresh and it wasn't greasy and overly cheesy like lots of cheap Mexican. We'd been meaning to stop in there and I'm really glad we finally did. It is now our favorite Mexican place (we also like Curras Dom but we live too far away to make it a habit).