Following months of anticipation, brothers Miguel and Ramon Villasenor, co-owners of Los Portales Supermarket and Los Portales Taqueria, have opened the doors to Tequila Comida & Cantina at 5607 Carolina Beach Road.
Ramon Villasenor, executive chef at Tequila Comida and Cantina and Los Portales, is serving authentic Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on lighter, healthier options and preparations similar to those that would be found at upscale restaurants in Mexico. While customers will find Mexican staples such as quesadillas and tacos, there are also many entrees featuring fresh seafood, and slow-cooked cuts of pork and beef.
Ramon Villasenor recently attended a two-year culinary program at Cape Fear Community College in order to advance his skills and refine his cooking. He and Miguel Villasenor have also spent a considerable amount of time in Mexico, dining at upscale eateries and researching recipes to incorporate into the menu at the new restaurant.
Instead of receiving chips and salsa upon arrival, guests are offered complimentary bolillo bread and three dipping sauces, a tomatillo sauce, a tomato sauce and olive oil infused with rosemary, garlic and arbol chili peppers.
“This is what would be served at the nicer restaurants in Mexico,” Miguel Villasenor said. “Not chips and salsa.”
Tequila Comida & Cantina does have chips and salsa on the menu, and the chips, or totopos, are created in-house from scratch-made masa tortillas. All of the salsas and sauces are made fresh daily as well, as are the fresh-squeezed juices for the bar.
“We do not use any sour mixes in our cocktails,” said Miguel Villasenor. “Only fresh fruit juices.”
As the restaurant’s name suggests, there are plenty of tequilas to choose from, and many flavors of margaritas as well, from classic to watermelon, hibiscus, tamarind, orange, lime and kiwi. There are also fresh mojitos, wine and craft beer, as well as Mexican beer and domestics, all served at the main interior bar and at the patio bar.
Tequila Comida & Cantina’s modern décor reflects the current trend of incorporating natural elements such as brick and wood, along with high, open ceilings and large windows that allow for plenty of natural light. The Villasenors repurposed wooden palates for the walls and a multi-dimensional structure from which many of the dining room lights are hung. The result is a casual, yet sophisticated, look that welcomes both families and couples or friends enjoying a night out.
Tequila Comida & Cantina is now open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
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