This is by far my favorite Mexican restaurant ever. Maybe I’m biased because they use fresh, local ingredients when possible, but the food speaks for itself. The dishes are bursting with flavor and have a slightly Caribbean twist, making it stand out from other Mexican restaurants. And it doesn’t hurt that Neo Cantina is located in beautiful and historic Biltmore Village, enhancing the dining experience.
This was our last stop before leaving Asheville, and since I’d been before (and enjoyed it), I wanted to go back. The main attraction last time was their fresh, delicious margaritas, but this visit was all about the food. I’ve only recently gotten a taste for guacamole, so we ordered a dish of guac to accompany our salsa. At $5, it was a bit pricey, but the portion was huge. It was also PERFECT. The combination of flavors was balanced and rich. I’d recently had some guacamole that was way too heavy on the lime, but at Neo Cantina, everything blended together to make something really delicious.
For dinner, I ordered the fish tacos, which consisted of two tacos filled with white fish filets (I ordered grilled, but you can get them crispy and fried,) lettuce, and salsa. It comes with a side of Mexican cabbage and mango salsa, as well as a sort of spiced aioli, all of which tastes excellent when mixed up with the taco. I tried eating it like a regular taco in the soft taco shell, but the best way to eat it is to mix all of the ingredients with the cabbage, sauce and salsa along with the rice and black beans. I got some sour cream to add to it too, and the result was something like a seven layer bean dip with chunks of fish and mango. Delicious! I could only finish one, so I took the rest home and had a complete meal the next day. And I NEVER take Mexican food home. But this tasted just as good the second day, making the $10 price a steal.
My boyfriend got the beef tacos, which were 2 for $8 and just as much food as my fish tacos. Even though I couldn’t try them, they looked just as delicious as mine.
In addition to delicious food, the place boasts a great atmosphere as well as a quick, friendly staff. When we walked in, the place was relatively dead because we were between lunch and dinner. The man walking in behind us was actually an employee, and he seated us before he even set his backpack down. He ended up being our waiter and was just as attentive throughout our meal.
If you’re in Asheville, be sure to stop by Neo Cantina for a delicious, Caribbean-inspired Mexican dish.
Bonus: all of the restaurants in Asheville seemed to have at least a score of 95, making them as clean as they are delicious!
Overall Rating: 10/10