Located on Fourth Street in quaint Sidney by the Sea, Carlos Cantina & Gril is a cute little restaurant that serves flavours of Mexico and the Southwest. We previously dined at Carlos Cantina & Grill a few years ago and remember it being quite good. So we decided to make a return visit to see if it was still serving tasty Tex Mex favourites such as quesadillas, nachos, and fajitas – just to name a few. We heard from locals that the restaurant is usually busy, especially on the weekends, and still has limited seating. Instead of taking our chances with snagging a table, we decided on ordering take-out and have a little picnic by the ocean on a rare sunny day.
Upon perusing the menu, we noticed that it offers plenty of vegetarian, vegan and celiac-friendly options, so there’s something to suit everyone’s dietary needs. Taco Salad – Depending of what protein (or lack of) you fancy, this salad has two different prices: $10.95 for either beef, chicken or sauteed vegetables, and $12.45 for marinated steak, marinated chicken, or prawns. Served in Carlos’ homemade ten inch flour tortilla bowls, this tasty salad includes fresh baby greens, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, savoury rice and cheese. It’s a substantial portion that certainly eats like a meal.
Chicken Fajitas ($14.95) – Toppings include cheese, fresh salsa, jalapenos, shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream, tomato salsa, and guacamole. When we had this dish dining-in, it arrived to the table on a sizzling hot platter. On this occasion, we ordered ours with chicken and it was packed with flavour and contained plenty of red and green bell peppers.
They didn’t have any containers left so they kindly gave us the rest of their hot sauce bottle – perfect for our picnic. Flour tortillas were also provided, wrapped up in foil and still retaining their soft texture and warm temperature. There were just enough to utilize all of the up chicken. This dish was also a generous portion size, so it would be difficult to leave this restaurant still hungry.
Overall, prices are on the higher side at Carlos Cantina & Grill, but that seems to be the case at the majority of the restaurants in Sidney. You pay a premium to be in such a lovely part of Vancouver Island!