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Jan 3, 2011 12:04 PM

It's getting close! Cantina Feliz

Drove by the former Allison Two space in Fort Washington today - the sign for Cantina Feliz is up!!!!

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  1. We'll be trying it.

    You can get on their mailing list

    1 Reply
    1. re: Den

      Thanks Den, for the link. We will definitely be giving it a try.

    2. So that space is reverting to Mexican? Anyone remember when it was Marita's Cantina?

      3 Replies
        1. re: PattiCakes

          Yes! My husband and I were talking about that last night. Terrible food!

        2. I called yesterday. Opens on Thursday 1/13. Will do takeout, too.

          9 Replies
          1. re: knappy123

            And their liquor license has been approved, as well.

            1. re: Kshell

              I'm kinda bummed about the liquor license -- would have preferred BYOB, but then that's cheapy ol' me. Very curious to see their menu!!

                1. re: b1979

                  I have resies for Friday. Can't wait. Will report back.

                    1. re: JanR

                      Cantina Feliz really met our expectations. We went the second night they were open (last night) and the first surprise was that the parking lot was full. (We had a 7:45 resie.) We wound up parking in the deli's lot next door.

                      My husband had been to this location when it was Maritas and he said that it is now even bigger. They apparently tweaked the decor from Alison's II by adding murals on several walls to add color and energy to the place. Anyway, the resaurant was PACKED. We had friends that had a 6:30 reservation and wanted to add another couple, and were told there wasn't space.

                      Anyway, we started with guac and chips. Loved both but it wasn't a huge serving, so really wasn't enough for four. One of us got the vegetable enchilada and was very happy with it. I snuck a bite and the flavor balance was delicious and was fairly portioned. I got the carnitas tacos and my husband agreed to share his steak al carbon tacos. Push came to shove he weaseled out and I got just a bite of steak; it was very good. The Al Carbon dishes come with accompaniments including refried beans, salsa and tortillas and the carnitas didn't, so I got the rice and beans side dish. The carnitas were tender and flavorful and had 3 tacos that were enough food for me (for $9.95!). We added sweet plantains the were quite good. The last dish ordered was a short rib soup (Caldo de Res) which I didn't get to taste, but the owner was very happy and ate every bite.

                      This restaurants prices are surprisingly reasonable. Where we got into trouble was the margaritas. As an experiment, I got the house marg ($7) and my friend tried the $15 one to see if it was twice as good. I liked mine better; more acid and flavor overall.

                      We ended with Tres Leches Cake which I am not a fan of in general, and this one was too dry. I ordered a chocolate pudding type thing with carmel popcorn. Liked the popcorn. The chocolate was OK. They had only 3 desserts and the waiter said that they wanted to have a limited dessert menu, but to have 3 perfect dishes. Seems there is some work to do here. I suggested churros. Would have loved some fried dough with chocolate sauce!!

                      Service was surprising smooth and knowledgeable given it was only the 2nd night. My only complaints aside from dessert was that the refried beans and the salsa was very salty. This from someone with a high tolerance for salt.

                      They are on Open Table and you definitely need reservations, at least on the weekends. I am looking forward to going back. Want to try the roast suckling pig for 4.

                      1. re: alonna Smith

                        Thanks for the review. We went last night (also packed). I had the carnitas too but didn't like them as much as I thought I would. They are advertised as having salsa roja but I didn't notice any. Glad we skipped dessert now that I read your description. I'm eager to try the plantains, and agree totally with you on the great service. Full review here:

                        1. re: JanR

                          Had dinner last night. I have been to Distrito many times and really love it.
                          The menu at Feliz Cantina is certainly similar. We started with Atrichoke Huarache and Cerviche Verde both were excellent. Followed with Calabazza and Corn soup which was delicious.. Elotes Loco ( crazy corn) an ear of grilled corn and a slight spicy mayo and cheese dressing was fantastic.
                          Had Caldo Res short rib in a garbanzo bean stew was good but not
                          my favorite dish of the night.
                          Service was professional. Leah our waitress was very attentive.
                          Brian Sirhal co-owner was working the dining
                          room and came over to our table.
                          Only hiccup was the some how our Caldo Res order got lost temporarily in the
                          kitchen.. When the staff realized they made an error they brought out
                          a complimentary Huarache BBQ chicken which was my wife's favorite dish.
                          Cost for two $75 including two glasses of wine , no desserts and plenty of
                          food. Definitely need to have the whole roast pig...

                          An amazing place , very well run , terrific food all on the fourth night that they
                          were open.
                          Fortunately it is only five minutes from our home.
                          Will be regulars for sure.

                          1. re: cpski

                            So happy to hear this. I love Distrito's food.

            1. re: gaffk

              I am anxious to hear the reviews! My dance card is full until mid February.

              1. re: crazyspice

                1000% improvement over Marita's, but it is extremely noisy. If you've eaten at Distrito, you'll be aware that the dishes don't quite measure up. Even the guacamole with crab isn't quite as good. I'd skip desserts. I still think they will be a great success, because there are so few good places in the burbs. I was just hoping it would be closer to great.

                1. re: DaisyM

                  ...and also beware...contrary to what they posted on their info on facebook....happy hour is NOT on Fridays..we went in last nite for a drink at the bar...we were giving a happy hour menu...but then it was quickly taken away and we were told no happy hour is only tues-thurs.....checked their online info when i got home and definitely stated friday there...oh well...drink prices weren't bad....drinks weren't anything special. Looking forward to trying it for dinner so can compare to distrito!

            2. Went to Cantina last Friday night. First off, the place looks great & bar was hopping already at 5 PM. Service (Matt) was very attentive. Menu is relatively small but focused, which I like. I had the ceviche verde for app, which was excellent! My wife & baby boy chowed down on chips & fresh guac. My wife thought the guac was some of the best she has ever had, although it was a bit spicy for the boy. (The hostess did tell me later they will make the guac to any specifications we have in the future, as all is made to order.) My wife delighted in her fish tacos for entree, which were pan fried grouper. The serving seemed small to me for the price but my one bite was quite good. I had the black bass entree lauded above, and it was very good. It was a large piece of fish & cooked well. We had tres leches cake for dessert, which was tasty but not great. (I prefer the tres leches cake at Avenida, which is to die for.) Overall, the meal cost $100 with drinks (house margaritas for me & a cosmo spinoff for her) which seemed fair. We'll definitely be going back!

              7 Replies
              1. re: knappy123

                I went last night - loved the guac and chips, service was very attentive, and my fish tacos were good, nice fiavor, soft tortillas were perfect. I also liked the house "salsa" which was more like a hot sauce - I put it on my tacos and was quite happy. definitely going back. I like the smaller portions, and the apps sounded really good!

                1. re: knappy123

                  we went a few weeks ago with our toddler, had a 5:00 reservation as well, the place was hopping at 5:00 and by 7:00 it was packed. I completely understand why, the food was fantastic. We had the chorizo tacos and the carnitas tacos, the artichoke and truffle pizza (fabulous!), short ribs, sides of corn and plantains, and the mexican chocolate for dessert. Everything was great, though I completely agree about portion size, we actually had to order an extra plate of tacos because we were still hungry. My husband and I loved it, though I was surprised my toddler who is usually a very adventurous eater barely ate anything, but the atmosphere is so bright and entertaining for kids, and our server ws so nice and attentive to her (in fact all of the servers were) that i think she was having too much fun to eat. Defiinitely an A+ for being kid friendly. Can't wait to go back.

                  1. re: AmblerGirl

                    Going tonight for my birthday dinner with two friends - can't wait! I will report in later.

                    By the way - I went last Friday night, another birthday dinner (I celebrate for a 30 day period), to Ristorante Castello. The food was excellent but, once again, was disappointed in the service. I don't like the concept of "everybody waits on you" and the waiter spilling a glass of wine on me while clearing my salad dish didn't help!

                    1. re: Betharu

                      It is good you celebrate for 30 days! I do as well. I was hoping after this long the service would improve at Castello. I like the spot and we always enjoy the BYOB part. Looking forward to your review of Cantina Feliz.

                      1. re: crazyspice

                        So dinner at Cantina Feliz last night - we had a 7:00 reservation and were seated in a small room - only 2 tables - which was nice. I can see how the main dining room could be noisy.

                        My friends had a drink at the bar while they waited for my arrival. He ordered the mid-range margarita which he liked - she the El Borgo Loco which is a drink with skyy vodka, ginger and basil. It was very sweet and I don't think I could drink more than one.

                        Upon being seated, she ordered a margarita, he a drink special - the blood orange margarita which came in this neon red color that obviously had been enhanced in some way and myself, the Buena Vida which consisted of gin, cucumber and grapefruit. My drink was delicious - very refreshing.

                        For appetizers - he ordered the hamachi ceviche , she a special that was a flatbread with artichokes and mushrooms, and me the ceviche verde. I think my appetizer was the winner as the hirmasa, with thinly sliced kiwi and lime sorbet was flavorful - with the fish flavor in the background. The hamachi ceviche was also tasty, although the fish was overwhelmed by the coconut sauce. The special flatbread was not "special" as the mushrooms totally dominated the dish - not a hint of artichoke.

                        Entrees were fish tacos for him, crab enchilada for her, and carnitas tacos for me. The fish tacos were proclaimed average - and a Baja Fresh is better! My tacos were good - I would have preferred on flour tacos and didn't think to ask if this was an option. They were also very salty. The crab enchilada looked good although my friend didn't comment one way or the other.

                        We did order one of the grilled corn which my friends shared - it did look very rich.

                        Oh - a Cava for me with dinner which was a good complement and he did a tequila tasting which he enjoyed - although I thought a card with some tasting notes for the tequilas might be a nice touch.

                        Not sure what the bill was as my friend's picked up the check in honor of birthday month.

                        Overall a good experience and I would definitely return. Service was excellent and attentive. The menu is rather small and I would have liked to see a few more dessert choices. But, a nice addition to the dining scene in this area.

                    2. re: knappy123

                      We went for a second visit on Friday night. It was our first "date night" since our son arrived. My wife actually picked CFover Blackfish, which is our favorite place. She was craving Mexican, and CF did not disappoint. They now have Pulpa a la plancha on the menu, served very similar to the one @ Distrito. I've had them both & I have to say that CF's is better. The seared edges on the octopus are so very tasty. My only small quibble is they need a few more thin sliced japalenos on the plate so there's a slice for every piece of octopus. We also had the artichoke huarache, which was so very good. BONUS: they have Russian River brewing's Damnation Ale on tap. Do yourself a favor, order a glass with the guac, chips & will thank me later. We split the fish tacos (again) & The short rib stew (Caldo de reys) for dinner. The stew is like a mexican Pho, very hearty & tasty, but not what either one of us expected or was in the mood for. Overall, another great meal. So happy we live 5 minutes away!