Restaurant Review: Cantina Laredo Nashville and a GIVEAWAY

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Cantina Laredo treated me to a lovely dinner, and gave me a gift card to give away, but all opinions are CLEARLY my own.

Being a member of the Nashville Food Bloggers has its perks, and recently, we were guests at a dinner hosted by Nashville’s local branch of the Mexican food chain, Cantina Laredo. Cantina Laredo serves modern Mexican cuisine, in a sophisticated atmosphere. We were invited to meet and taste the cuisine of their new executive chef, Roy Batista. This young executive chef, who hails originally from New York City (his mom is from the Dominican Republic, and his father is Italian) is passionate about his work. It was a delight to talk with him about his food, and his career. He has worked his way up through the kitchen at there at Cantina Laredo, and has earned his place at the top. I was super impressed by his commitment to take advantage of the wonderful produce we have here in Middle Tennessee, and by his desire to keep his ingredients as fresh as possible. Chef Roy prepared for us a four course dinner, and each course was paired with a fall cocktail.

Isn’t Chef Roy cute? He could be my son, if I were from the Dominican Republic, and Lindsey were Italian.

 And lest you think, “She’s just talking about herself”: hang on, and there might be a little something in this review for you.

There were two starters, a Pumpkin Soup, and a Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño. The Pumpkin Soup, my favorite dish of the evening, was paired with a Blood Orange Sangria. I liked that soup so much that I talked pretty extensively with Chef Roy on how he made it, and I’ll be giving you my version of it in a post that I’ll be sharing very soon.  

The Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño was paired with a Tengo Calor Margarita. The Tengo Calor Margarita was my favorite cocktail of the evening. I just now googled “Tengo Calor” to find out what it means, and Google told me it means “I’m hot”. After thanking Google very much for the lovely compliment, I realized that the name of the cocktail might be implying that my drink had a small kick of cayenne, and was garnished with a jalapeño, rather than it being a statement about my physical appearance that night. Whatever. It was delicious, and, of course…if you’re hot, you’re hot, and really, why not have a drink that tells you so?

Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass: so yummy!

Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass: so yummy!

Such a pretty, pretty cocktail for a fall-themed evening.

Such a pretty, pretty cocktail for a fall-themed evening.

For an entrée, I very much enjoyed my Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass, which was topped with creamy jalapeño sauce, and served with grilled asparagus, and cilantro lime rice. Chef Batista prepared the sea bass perfectly! It  was lusciously moist and tender. Given that I was eating a fish served in a landlocked state, at a chain restaurant, the dish was nothing short of amazing. He paired the sea bass with a gorgeous cocktail, called a Sunset Tini. Not sure what was in the cocktail, but wasn’t it lovely?


 Dessert was a Dulce de Leches Cheesecake, paired with Mexican Coffee. I am a bit of a cheesecake snob, so for me, it was too sweet and heavy, but I brought it home to my daughter, who gobbled it down without complaint. 


Dulce de Leches Cheesecake

Dulce de Leches Cheesecake served with Mexican Coffee

And now, the reason why you scrolled to the bottom of the page, the GIVEAWAY
If you live in the Nashville area, I have a treat for one of you!
I have one and only one gift card to give away to one lucky local person, good for $25.00 at Cantina Laredo at their 12th & Division location, in the Gulch, in Nashville. Leave me a comment, local peeps, and I’ll draw a name, and send the winner an email, whereby said winner can reply to me with your snail mail address. I’m keeping this as a local giveaway, so that someone in town can enjoy the cuisine of Chef Roy, and his manager, the very warm and hospitable Matt Langston. 

I’ll do the drawing on Sunday night, November 23rd. Good luck!


  1. the sea bass sounds delightful! I love seafood but do tend to hesitate a bit ordering it at a chain restaurant. I will look forward to trying it.

    • I didn't even know it was a chain, till that evening, while listening to the manager tell us about the company.
      I think Chef Roy really capitalizes on local ingredients, and his cooking shows it.

  2. Diane Barlow says

    Well yes please, I would love to be the first to comment on this. The foods sounds wonderful and I would eat every bite of that cheesecake. Nothing is too sweet for me. However, those cocktails might have me salsa dancing on the tables.

  3. First of all, you look gorgeous. Where's that blouse from?
    Second, fish in a landlocked state? Did my crab cake incident in Chicago in '12 teach you nothing? 😉
    That chef is a cutie. Let's go to the Cantina, when next I find myself in Nashville.

    • The blouse is from Chicos.
      I think it was the shrimp you had at Cracker Barrel in Aught Nine that was my initial tipoff.
      I think we should take a group from BAM!, the Blogging Conference, to see Chef Roy!

  4. chilean sea bass!!! Yum. And yes, you are hot. Google for the win. I, too, prefer my cheesecake a bit lighter…which is why I generally opt for one that has a (vanilla bean, most times) mousse incorporated in it. I find many resteraunts cheesecakes that have the mousse involved find their way into my heart.

  5. MaryHLovesLucy says

    Sounds YUM! I've seen it but haven't been yet!

  6. Lisa Kersey says

    Your review makes me want to go right now- if you pick my name it will be a bonus because Sunday is Bill’s 50th birthday!!!!

  7. I'm in need of Gulch run and a margarita. Love Cantina Laredo, it's awesome guac and its proximity to my favorite tile supplier. Hmm…seems like a great opportunity to finally meet in person!
    My recent post Fabrics And Fillies And Failures:: Oh…My

  8. Martha Franco says

    I love Mexican food! These all sound wonderful! I don't live in your area, but my "seester" does! I'll be passing along the info to her, for sure! 😀

  9. I'm a Nashville local that's been wanting to try Cantina Laredo for a long time! Would love to win a gift card. 🙂

  10. tbellkindred says

    I want to visit! Take me there, Susan! Can't wait to meet you and would love to have dinner with you sometime. I'm about 2 hours away but make the drive often.
    Teresa from NanaHood

  11. I'd love to win this!

  12. Thanks for posting about this, Susan! It's great to have elevated Mexican food from time to time (although I do love the classics as well). Anything that will make Nashville into a far more diverse and interesting food lovers' paradise is a welcome event! I'd be delighted to try them out!
    My recent post Too Much is Never Enough in Food Network Land

  13. I love Cantina Loredo! 🙂

  14. I love this restaurant!

  15. Elizabeth Lee says

    I'm not local, but I'm local enough! I'd love an excuse to visit Nashvegas again and I love Mexican food. Hope I win!

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