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“Used to be our favorite, now just standard Mexican fare”
Review of Red Mesa Cantina

Red Mesa Cantina
Ranked #16 of 908 Restaurants in St. Petersburg
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $20
Cuisines: Cuban, Latin, Mexican, Peruvian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Large groups, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: 2nd Avenue South
Transit: Free Public Transportation for Tropicana Field sporting events, i.e., Rays games, one block away. A municipal PTSA bus stop is across the street at Publix. Taxi’s all know Cantina.
Description: With Mexican cuisine at its heart, Red Mesa Cantina blends Latin and Caribbean kitchen traditions to create a menu of exquisite ceviches, tacos, and small plate classics that deliver bold, fresh flavors. An award winning, word-of-mouth favorite among locals and visitors alike with the most extensive selection of Tequilas in the South!
Gainesville, FL
Level 6 Contributor
386 reviews
277 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 389 helpful votes
“Used to be our favorite, now just standard Mexican fare”
Reviewed April 24, 2011

Ever since the Cantina opened a few years ago we've stopped by for dinner before or after Rays games. I guess we would eat there 5-8 times a summer, which is a lot considering we live 2.5 hours away.

Initially the food was quite special - an amazing tostada with a black bean puree, chicken pipal andpickled onions; awesome potato tacos and salmon tacos. We started to notice awhile ago that the food was becoming a little less adventuresome - the tostado disappeared and was repaced with a chicken pibal soft taco; now that is gone as well. Oh - and the chicken tortilla-like soup (it was called something else) that was absolute perfection - delicious broth, big pieces of chicken and avocado. No longer on the menu. What a disappointment when we discovered this had disappeared on our first visit to St. Pete this baseball season.

The menu is now fairly pedestrian, pretty much what you could get at any other southwestern restaurant in Florida (which isn't saying much). It's as if they are not even trying anymore - the last time we went for dinner at 9:30 (the kitchen was supposed to close at 10:00) they had already thrown out the iced tea for the night.

Before all the changes this place was a 5 in our book and we didn't miss it on a trip to St. Pete. Not sure we will return. If the kitchen ever decides to be adventuresome again, we'd give it another try, as the food previously was amazing.

  • Visited March 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank reptileenthusiast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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781 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
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    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Kentucky
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Overpriced and overrated”
Reviewed March 24, 2011

When you charge ($4) for something every other Mexican restaurant gives for free (chips and salsa), it better be good! Our salsa was overly salted and the chips were boring. The meal was not off to a good start.

Unfortunately, lack of value is a theme at Red Mesa/Cantina. The tacos are a la carte, about $4 each, and are very small. The fish on my baja taco was cooked very nicely, and that was by far the best thing I ate. The atmosphere is fun and trendy, but if you want good authentic Mexican, this place is a bit of a ripoff.

  • Visited March 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
1 Thank Underwear_Guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ellenton, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great atmosphere, food was good, service good too, I like this place”
Reviewed November 26, 2010

A friend and I met at the Red Mesa after work for beer and an early dinner. We were both really pleased with the decor and layout -- two water features in the courtyard area, a really attractive space outside (with umbrellas over most tables). We had drinks, chips and salsa and tacos. The salsa was really good and the tacos were great too. Really a good place -- we didn't have big dinners (because Thanksgiving was yesterday), but we will be back. I would bring guests here.

    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jules307
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guelph, Ontario
Level 6 Contributor
294 reviews
205 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
“Over rated and over priced”
Reviewed November 14, 2010

We went to the Red Mesa Cantina on Friday, Nov 12, 2010. We were seated outside which was a nice court yard with nice fountains which was a really nice to have dinner outside in Florida. As it was happy hour the drink prices and drinks were great. As this was our first visit we ordered the fish tacos and quesadia. My fish taco was disappointing as all it was a roll of fish inside a taco. Nothing else. My partners dish was ok but nothing to write home about. Most Mexican restaurants at lease give you a bowl of chips and salsa while you are waiting for your meal. I would give them another try and order something for the dinner dish before I decide if this is just a tourist trap restaurant or not.

    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank goldenboy1947
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
141 reviews
93 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“Great Place, just wish the live music would go away”
Reviewed November 11, 2010

I took a party visiting from Los Angeles to Red Mesa Cantina for dinner last week. The dinner was great, the Yuca fries were awesome, and everybody enjoyed their meal. Jose or Jesus the manager was very helpful and since we were a large group moved some tables for us. The outside is the place to be, it was a warm night, and the strong margaritas were flowing! The only negative, and deal breaker as far as I am concerned was the AWFUL guitar player and drummer near the bar. They managed to destroy a lot of good songs, and quite honestly, were so loud they managed to drown out any conversation I hoped to have with my party. We were seated as far away from him as possible, but all we could hear was his screeching (singing) and the drums. Here's a tip to Red Mesa, play some Sirius/XM on the house speakers and let us eat and talk in peace.

    • Value
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank cubanito1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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