La Cantina has been a topic of interest among The Bill Check fans for quite some time. It’s exciting when you hear only good things. Not often in our line of work do we find out that an establishment is near perfect. We are bombarded with nasty, inconceivable, vengeful or just plain mediocre pleas from our devoted fans about experiences they or their uncle's nephew's cousin twice removed has had.
A restaurant with perfect food is only as good as its service so we tested them with no reserve. I messaged them on facebook requesting recommended items for a first time diner which was met with a quick response that the General Manager would call me if I left my number. We simply thought that they recognized us as critics and were determined to treat us well. The general manager calls within the hour and the "exceptional” phone service did not permit us to have an uninterrupted conversation. 5 dropped calls later with prompt call backs from the GM, I was more than satisfied with the response.
The time came for us to visit and the excitement was overwhelming. We rarely get like children on Christmas now as the lack lustre service and mediocre food tends to make us look forward to that beer after. La Cantina is located on Victoria Avenue, Woodbrook and for the past two and a half years they’ve been cranking out some of the tastiest and creative pizzas one can find in Trinidad.
On entering we were more than pleased to find our reservation upheld and the hostess made us feel like regulars. Making our way outside to our table we couldn't help but be in awe of the humble style of the restaurant. Simple beauty is how I would describe it, but I'm no design expert. The outdoor, open air area is intimate and comfortable, perfect for a casual date. Our waiter, let me just say that in the time I’ve been doing this, I have never been met with such efficiency, ambition and overall perfection. I almost didn't know how to respond to the service I was getting. With knowledge of the food he was serving, this server can help the average Joe feel comfortable in asking questions and not feel like your server is annoyed with you for not knowing what Foie Gras is. Our order was taken and before we could fully take in our surroundings and jot down some notes, our pizza arrived. The choice of the night, The Salmone, a Smoked Salmon Pizza topped with Arugula. I'm sure you remember eating things that were perfect and to this day you can recall the experience fully; this is one of those times. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's something to remember.
Ingredients were cooked perfectly, a difficult thing when dealing with fish and greens but they achieved it. The salmone pizza is cooked through with sauce, capers and cheese and slices of smoked salmon and arugula are delicately placed on top after. I can recommend this to any food lover. Smoked salmon compliments the flavour achieved from cooking in a wood burning oven and arugula adds freshness.
Vegetarians rejoice! This is another thing to add to your list of non meat, fantastic tasting foods. With eggplant sliced as thin as a silk scarf, bell peppers, spinach and white button mushrooms, fresh and healthy is what comes to mind. However don't be fooled, this pizza is no granola bar. With taste to match appearance it's sure to please even the most ambitious of carnivores.
Greek Salad is a culinary classic but La Cantina adds their own twist. It's so beautifully simple, it allows all ingredients to shine, tossed in balsamic vinegar it comes together with a blue cheese dressing. The dressing tastes like it took days to prepare with well blended flavours, light and fresh greens and chunky feta adds heartiness.
Garlic Shrimp Served With Focaccia.
This chef knows how to do seafood. Shrimp, seasoned in a savoury garlic and herb blend and cooked until they are just juicy and tender. This aromatic dish comes with a chorus of garlic flavours that entices the senses. While it is one of the most difficult of sea foods to prepare, La Cantina owns it.
Mussels In White Wine Sauce
The same can be said for mussels but again they know how to please our taste buds. Delicately cooked in white wine sauce this dish is delectable; the final result is briny, succulent and rich, a little on the salty side but an excellent way to wake the palette for more things to come.
With approximately forty pizzas on their menu and about nine of them being seafood topped, I can't imagine anyone not being able to find an item they absolutely love on this menu.
At this point it's safe to say that we were recognized and the GM that I tortured on the phone came out to ask us if we were The Bill Check. Speaking with him it didn't take long for us to realize that he is the reason for the great service. Darius Carmino has honed his skills in the industry and figured out a way to impart his knowledge to his staff. They are happy, hard working and eager to please, understanding that they are a valuable asset and pride should be taken when performing their duties. Curiosity led me to ask if he figured out who we were from the correspondence but I'm happy to tell you that he didn’t. Mr. Carmino deals with all customer requests as he did ours. If not for an acquaintance being present at the restaurant we would have slipped right by. After our delightful chat, we paid our bill and left with a satisfied palette.
The Bill Check is pleased to tell our readers that we have found that perfect restaurant you seek. With more than fair prices, impeccable customer service, heavenly food and a great atmosphere The Bill Check fully recommends La Cantina.