Cantina Loca

Denver
Mexican Restaurant
$$$$

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The gist: Three-time James Beard semifinalist—and future Casa Bonita chef—Dana Rodriguez (better known as Loca) brings Mexico City-inspired tacos, enchiladas, and snacks to her first solo-owned restaurant.
The food: It’s all about fun at Cantina Loca, from chicharrones with salsa to the Loca-approved, flavor-filled tacos with barbacoa, house-made chorizo, and tempura fried fish. The tacos are a steal at $4 - $5 a piece, but don’t overlook the large plates like al pastor Colorado lamb and red chile chicken. Wash it all down with Rodriguez’s own Doña Loca mezcal and tequila.

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Yes, there’s definitely a lot for you to love about Dana Rodriguez’s (Work & Class, Super Mega Bien) Mexico City street food eatery if you’re hungry: Charcoal Tempura Cactus; Queso Fundido; Barbacoa Tacos; and Al Pastor Colorado Lamb. But perhaps more importantly, there’s a whole lot to love about Cantina Loca if you’re thirsty. Sip on the palomas and margs on draft. Feeling fancy? Order the tiki-ish Agua de Nopal with prickly pear, pineapple, and cachaca, or the Higo Borracho with fig-infused sotol (the Mexican spirit you should probably be drinking more of), amaro, and grapefruit liqueur. Whatever your mood, there’s a good, stiff drink to be had.

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