Cantina Laredo

The Village at Gulfstream Park, 501 Silks Run, Hallandale


guacamole   laredo drink

camaron poblano


laredo fish

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By  Jana Soeldner Danger

Mexican cuisine can be much more than tacos and fajitas filled with ground beef. And at Cantina Laredo in Hallandale Beach, it is. Billed as “gourmet Mexican food,” the menu offers sophisticated dishes that go far beyond what you might think of as typical Mexican fare, especially if you have been frequenting fast-food establishments. There is not, however, a bit of stuffiness about this casual-chic restaurant. And tacos and fajitas actually are available for those who want them, although several are complex and unusual versions.

The dining room’s wood-topped tables and banquettes circle all the way around an attractive central bar area, and although the ambience is well-suited to adults, it is also a family-friendly place. Kids should be able to find something appealing on the menu while adults enjoy a grown-up entrée. There is also patio seating.

Manager David Rhodes tells us that the Cantina Laredo concept came about when its two founders, who were working for a typical Tex-Mex cafe, agreed that good Mexican cuisine was much more than what the restaurant offered. So the first Cantina Laredo was born in Dallas, and the restaurants are now in 20 states, as well as London and Dubai. Florida has a second location in Palm Beach Gardens.

At the helm in the kitchen at Hallandale Beach is Arthur “AJ” Mindermann, whose previous work includes stints with chefs Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill in Chicago, Masaharu Morimoto of the Japanese Iron Chef and Iron Chef America shows; and Steven Raichlen of the hit series Primal Grill.

Perfect-for-summer-nights margaritas are mixed individually using fresh fruit juices, and upper-tier tequila flights are available. The wine list is somewhat limited, but a fair number are offered by the glass.

Salsas are made fresh in house. Two kinds – one a mild tomato variety and the other hot and peppery, arrive shortly after you are seated, along with corn chips for dipping.

laredo tablesideStarters

We began with the guacamole ($9.49), which is made table-side using whole avocados and freshly squeezed limes.  It is an excellent version of this classic dip, and there was more than enough to share.

The ceviche ($8.99) was quite delicious; the shrimp, scallops and red tilapia marinated in lime juice and cilantro all tasted very fresh with capers and olives providing an unusual flavor punch, and fresh avocado adding color to this cool, refreshing dish.

Other starters include botanas platter ($13.99) —a combination of tacos, fajitas, chili and stuffed jalapeño ($12.49); cilantro or peanut chicken salad ($10.99 & $11.99)); and honey shrimp salad ($12.99).


Camaron poblano asada is a juicy, tender steak grilled and wrapped around a mixture of sautéed shrimp, mushrooms, onions and poblano pepper stuffed with Monterey jack cheese. The layering of flavors and interesting textures was enhanced by a garlicky chimichurri sauce seasoning a bed of  firm-tender rice and a mix of carrots, peas and tomatoes.

Snapper ($22.99) was the fish of the evening. Lightly breaded and pan-fried till just done, the thick slab of fresh fish was moist and flaky over a cushion of rice fragrant with lime and cilantro.

Other entrees include braised pork shanks with chipotle wine sauce ($19.99); cascabel ribeye ($24.99); Portabello-topped filet ($27.99); shrimp in garlic butter ($18.49); asado steak with bacon-wrapped shrimp filled with Oaxaca cheese and jalapeno ($23.99). There is a similar choice with just shrimp and no steak ($19.99). The menu also offers a variety of tacos, fajitas, enchiladas and chili.


Flan ($5.29) was a rich, creamy custard topped with caramel glaze.  We chose it partly because we were told it is a 100-year-old recipe from one of the founders’ grandmother, and whether it is or not, it is a tasty version. Apple pie, served warm, was quite American--made with tart fruit and a crispy crust topped with cinnamon or vanilla ice cream. Other desserts are a skillet brownie ($6.29); crêpes ($5.99); and chocolate cake ($6.99).

Cantina Laredo is chic enough for date night, yet casual and laid back enough so families with kids can feel comfortable. The menu features sophisticated Mexican-inspired meat and seafood dishes, as well as some creative fajitas,tacos and enchiladas that go well beyond fast-food fare. And it’s a great place to chase the summer heat with a fresh-fruit margarita.

 laredo tablesidedess                            Cantina Laredo

The Village at Gulfstream Park, 501 Silks Run, Hallandale, FL 33009

Phone: 954-457-7662

Cuisine: Gourmet Mexican

Prices: appetizers $5.99-$13.99; entrees $10.29-$25.49; desserts $5.29-$6.29

Liquor: Full bar

Ambience: Casual chic

Credit cards: All major

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