If you and your amigos love flavoursome Mexican fare and spectacular ocean views (who doesn’t?!), make a beeline for Marina Cantina.
Nestled next to the much-loved Grangers restaurant, Marina Cantina is bright and oh-so cheerful. There are pops of colour in every direction—from the bunting and pot plants to the cushions and walls. A striking Day of the Dead-inspired mural watches on from the wall.
Cosy up in the cushioned seating inside or soak in the sunshine from the courtyard. Overlooking the glistening Half Moon Bay marina, the vibrant eatery oozes ocean vibes. Is this Auckland or are you chilling at a Mexican beachside town? It’s anyone’s guess!
Marina Cantina’s menu is jam-packed with flavour and deliciousness. Start with street food snacks such as jalapeño-spiced fried chicken and ceviche bursting with flavours of coconut, mango and lime. Their signature loaded fries are a meal within themselves, stacked high with pulled pork, jalapeños, cheese, chipotle mayo and a whole lot of yum!
It wouldn’t be Mexican cuisine without a) quesadillas and b) burritos. Marina has both bases covered in exceptional—and tasty—style. We’re talkin’ quesadillas stuffed with your choice of pulled pork, chorizo or a vegetarian-friendly mushroom number. As for the burritos, choose between smoky pork, zucchini with butternut and a crowd-favourite chicken packed with lime mayo, slaw, corn and black beans.
There are also not one, not two but seven tacos up for grabs—and they’re all gluten-free! The options are seemingly endless with popcorn chicken, grilled prawn (our fave!), battered fish…the list goes on! What’s more, they have an ever-changing taco of the day, giving you the perfect excuse to visit on the regular.
No visit is complete without devouring Marina’s los nachos locos aka crazy nachos. What makes them crazy? They’re topped with ALL the things: tender beef brisket chilli, double cheese (mozzarella and nacho cheese), jalapeños, refried beans, salsa, guacamole and an all-important dollop of sour cream. Holy moly, guacamole—now THAT’S what we call nachos!
If you’re after a table for two (ooh la la), Marina Cantina has a special para dos (for two) menu. Stare into your significant other’s eyes as you work your way through ceviche, tacos, a quesadilla and churros for just $50. The way to someone’s heart is through food, after all!
Speaking of churros, the dessert menu is equally epic. Dip said churros in chocolate and/or caramel sauce or go for hibiscus panna cotta. There are also crêpes served with ice cream, pecans and rum-spiked cajeta (Mexico’s take on dulce de leche). Trust us when we say: these crêpes are not to be missed!
All that feasting calls for a drink (or two). There’s an impressive selection of refreshing beers and a wine list that—of course—stars sangria. As for cocktails, we love the delightful mai tai served in a bright tiki cup. Alternatively, throw back a shot of tequila (when in
Rome Mexico) or try their signature margarita on tap. Yes, you read that right—Margarita. on. tap.
There’s no need to fork out on a ticket to Central America, amigos! You can experience a taste of Mexico right here in Auckland—hola!
Image credit: Kellie Blizard