Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cantina Beach

When I think of a summer night, I envision listening to the waves crashing against the sand, and watching the moon gently lighting the night sky. I imagine catching glimpses of the beach as far as my eye can see as I sit back in a comfortable, plush chair, listening to live music and sipping a cold, refreshing cocktail. How about living all this in Miami, but feeling like you've been whisked away to the coast of Mexico; your senses enticed through a cool summer breeze, tropical ambiance, authentic food and an incomparable view? That is what I experienced at the Caliente Summer Fiesta; one of the monthly events held at Cantina Beach,  in the Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, located at 455 Grand Bay Dr.

Cantina Beach

85 Premium Tequilas
Covered Dining Area
Cantina Beach is the only oceanfront, coastal Mexican restaurant in Miami. While it is perfect for an appetizing lunch and a cooling drink after a swim in the ocean; at night it transforms into a sultry paradise retreat.  Featuring  authentic dishes, infused with distinct innovations typical to the different regions in Mexico, Cantina Beach also offers 85 premium tequila selections. All this, set in a casual, yet refined ambiance signature to the Ritz Carlton. The restaurant, a Palapa structure with a thatched roof built by the Miccosukee Indians, is filled with colorful furnishings surrounding a center table. The table is crowned with tequila bottles and graced by an elegant chandelier. Overlooking the oceanfront, spacious lounge chairs and tiki torches add to the tropical feel; while a rustic fire pit welcomes guests to the outside dining area.

Yesenia Preparing the Delicious Guacamole

Guacamole Station
Guacamole Samplings
Caliente Summer Fiesta promised to be a night to remember and it didn't disappoint. The event featured music from their resident DJ, complimentary samplings of their irresistible guacamole, and tastes of their special Margarita of the evening. To satisfy the appetite,  Cantina Beach's renowned Tacos de Carnitas de Cerdo were served in a fun culinary display, while others enjoyed creations from the regular dinner menu. Later in the evening, an exciting presentation of fire performers set against the backdrop of the hotel's luxurious pool, heated up the night and stirred the desire to dance.

Jason and I
Chef's Savory Bites
When you visit Cantina Beach, you must have their Guacamole. It is prepared table side and you can choose how spicy you want it. Creamy and tangy, it wouldn't be a true visit for me if I didn't indulge in it. After we had several samplings, we ordered the Margarita, made with Casa Noble's Organic Tequila, lime juice and Grand Marnier. It was refreshing and smooth. To start, we had their Chef's Savory Bites, a sampler of tasty finger foods including Mini Crab Tacos, Chicken Flautas and Carnitas de Cerdo. They were all delectable. The Mini Crab Tacos were tasty and sweet; made with crab meat salad and avocado salsa, in a crispy shell.  The seasoning in the Chicken Flautas was very flavorful, with a robust achiote taste. The Carnitas de Cerdo...oh the Carnitas de Cerdo...they were divine. The meat on the slowly braised pork rib was juicy and tender and fell right off the bone. We had them with fresh, warm tortillas, and the experience was heavenly. You'll be happy to know these are also sold as a main dish as well, and I highly recommend them.

Fajitas Al Carbon
Huachinango Al Mojo
For the entrees, we chose the Fajitas al Carbon and the Huachinango Al Mojo. The Fajitas al Carbon were made with marinated Skirt Steak, and served with Mexican Rice, Beans, Poblano Peppers and Queso Fresco. The steak was perfectly grilled; maximizing its tenderness and retaining its delicious flavor. The accompanying sauces added the finishing touch to each flour tortilla I filled. The Huachinango Al Mojo was a Pan Seared Snapper, sitting on a bed of Cilantro Rice. It was seasoned with roasted garlic and lime sauce, giving it a unique, pleasant flavor. The fish was delicate and moist, and paired very well with the delicious rice.

Checking out the Taco Station

After such an exceptional meal, we were excited about dessert.  They have four different ones and you can order a choice of two or three for a very reasonable price. Being the chocolate lover I am, I chose the Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse (twice) and the Cream Cheese Flan. The Chocolate Mousse was excellent. It was luscious and cool; a pure delight of rich chocolate and dark chocolate glaze, topped by a dollop of fluffy whipped cream.  The Cream Cheese Flan was a different, original take on flan. It was layered with slices of oranges swimming in a vanilla and cinammon caramel sauce. The consistency was thinner than traditional custard, but gave the treat a burst of flavor that was fun and light.

Bittersweet Chocolate Mouse & Cream Cheese Flan

Fire Performer
Here's a tip. If you stay at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, Cantina Beach's Tequilier offers resort guests complimentary tequila tastings each day at 6 P.M. That is definitely something interesting to enjoy when treating yourself to an unforgettable vacation there. For more information on Cantina Beach, you can contact them at 305 365-4500 or visit them online at: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KeyBiscayne/Dining/CantinaBeach/Default.htm.

Cantina Beach on Urbanspoon


  1. Hey guys I can way to go visit your place it looks fantastic,the Fajitas Al Carbon looks very appetizing, that will be my first choice.

    1. They're delicious! And don't forget to order their guacamole too! Divine... :)