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Cantina Avenida

4.0
319 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Latin American
Perfect For:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Great for Outdoor Dining

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About

Dine on flavorful dishes from Central and South America at Cantina Avenida. This neighborhood gem is set inside of a charming house that also offers outdoor seating for guests to take-in the sun as they dine. Owners Ken Alvarez, who's also a chef, along with his wife Kim opened this cozy spot for locals and travelers to enjoy Latin American fare. A plate of chili chicken wings or crab nachos are ideal appetizers for sharing with the entire family at Cantina Avenida Pork tacos with a cilantro mint onion salsa, turkey meatballs or a Latin noodle soup make for satisfying entrées.

Cantina Avenida was voted Best Kids Menu 2010 by Philadelphia Magazine. It offers brunch and provides catering service. This restaurant also serves cocktails like tasty margaritas and other libations.

Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Latin American, Latin / Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
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Hours of operation
Brunch: Sunday: 11:00am - 3:00pm;

Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm,

Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
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Phone number
(267) 385-6857
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Edgar Alvarez
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Catering
Catering options are available, please inquire with the restaurant directly.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Gowen Ave
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Parking details
We have plenty of street parking available on Germantown Avenue
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Public transit
Allen"s Lane train station, Gowen Avenue train station. Septa
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Delivery, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 319 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.0based on all time ratings
4.1
food
4.0
service
3.9
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined on October 11, 2014

Of the many Mexican restaurants I've visited both in Mexico and the United States, this is among the best. Everything on the menu is fresh and expertly prepared. Avenida has tasty selection of tacos and standard fried fare if you want it, but the menu also features creative variations on authentic Mexican cuisine. The atmosphere is lively, and the wait staff friendly and engaged. My wife and I will be returning soon.

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5.0Dined on October 10, 2014

Great food, supper service and fun. Try the paella and the steamed yuca, wow!.

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3.0Dined on October 2, 2014

The new iteration of Avendia was a disappointment. The food was delicious, thankfully; but the portions were just too small. Yes, it said small plates and tapas, but I left very hungry. The price tag was pretty high for being hungry. Only one person in our party was satisfied but she only eats a little. But again, what we did eat was wonderful. The paella was the best I have had in years. The skirt steak wasn't cooked as rare as I requested but still delicious with teeny potatoes. And the salad was just kissed with dressing.

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4.0Dined on September 27, 2014

Realizing it was small plate meals some meals were too expensive for the taste u got. Either lower prices or add a few more meatballs. Otherwise delicious!!

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4.0Dined on September 24, 2014

Great place. Food was delicious. I recommend getting an appetizer because the tapas are small which obviously they should be. The blood orange mojito was great. Can't wait to go back and have dessert.

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5.0Dined on September 17, 2014

We were looking for a place to have a very early dinner when we stumbled upon Cantina Avenida. What a find! It turns out it was happy hour so we were able to enjoy $3 tacos and $5 drinks on the patio before going off to a 7 pm meeting. The service was excellent, as was the food, and we agreed that we would add this restaurant to our list of places to go.

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4.0Dined on August 24, 2014

Very good, but very expensive if you're hungry. Could us a little more on the menu.

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5.0Dined on August 15, 2014

New menu is great, small plates are perfect for sharing. Best margarita in town. Must try cheese buns!

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5.0Dined on July 27, 2014

This was my first visit since their rebranding as Cantina Avenida & I wasn't sure what to expect. The change seems to reflect a shift from Mexican haute cuisine to awesome Latin cuisine (not sure how this is "street fare"), but except for some awesome evolution of the menu, the place looks the same - maybe some new paint colors, and the wait staff remains attentive and very friendly. Most importantly, the food is still out of this world, unique, and leaves me looking forward to my next visit! I miss the spare ribs (hope they return!), but really enjoyed the Pollo a la Brasa and the Chicken Tacos. For dessert, do not miss the White Chocolate Burnt Caramel Pudding - out of this world!!

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4.0Dined on July 23, 2014

Food was good, although not quite as menu selections as before. Although we were there on a Wednesday night and relatively early, it was still quite noisy. Difficult for people with hearing difficulties to carry on a conversation.
My husband missed the Pinot Noir they used to have.

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4.0Dined on July 23, 2014

We were six people for a celebratory dinner. We ordered a wide variety of dishes from the interesting menu, including three type of tacos, and all were tasty and filling. The calamari with spinach, onions and jalapenos was a standout, as was the chopped salaadd with blueberries, corn, and avocado, and the crab nachos. We downed three pitchers of golden margaritas, which some drinkers later said were watery, but apparently it took them several glasses to come to that conclusion! Service was attentive without being cloying. All in all, a fine evening, and we will return.

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4.0Dined on July 15, 2014

I had driven past this restaurant a number of times, but my wife and I decided to check it out on our date night one night. The food was really good. Very tasty. I would have liked a few more options but the options that we did have were excellent. It is a nice looking restaurant and the service is excellent. Great Latin food!

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4.0Dined on July 13, 2014

The new menu is delightful -- lighter, more casual, just as tasty as ever. We love it! The new, brighter colors in the space are wonderful. Happy to see the slightly lower price points - makes it easy to choose to eat here more often. The chef was kind enough to make my kids' Pasta con Queso special for them (please bring it back, along with plain fried calamari, the two staples my children enjoy). A winning re-imagining, well done!

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4.0Dined on July 11, 2014

We really enjoyed our evening and will return often. Service was friendly but a bit disorganized. Food is very good and inexpensive. Wonderful salads and tacos.

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5.0Dined on July 5, 2014

The new tapas / small-plate menu keeps the flavors and variety of the old Avenida, adds great new tastes, and the lower prices means we will visit more often. Particular highlights on this visit: lingua soft taco, calamari salad, and carnitas. I'm not normally a fan of sangria, but it was the perfect addition to a festive dinner on this sunny summer evening!

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4.0Dined on July 4, 2014

Food is amazing and fun. Server was nice, but food came out reaaalllyyy slowly. Bus boy was a hard worker and really friendly and helpful. Like the restaurant a lot despite the slow service!

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5.0Dined on June 29, 2014

Went for Sunday brunch and each of us had three small plates that were absolutely awesome. Chicken empanadas, cactus salad, and taco de carnitas were mine and all delicious. Great service and really nice outdoor patio for early Sunday brunch. Highly recommend

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5.0Dined on June 26, 2014

Fun menu, delicious food, great service, lively atmosphere, attractive decor.

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1.0Dined on June 20, 2014

We were told that they recently changed their menu entirely. I hope the last version was a lot better. First, chips and salsa-basic fare at a Mexican restaurant, right? Wrong. They gave us about 7 small chips that paired in quantity with a stingy stepmother portion of salsa. We also had the guacamole-to give it a fair rating would be generous. My wife was astonished at how anyone could mess up the taste of refried beans. We tried three of their "small plate tacos". The carnita had just enough pork to be the highlight of an extremely lowlight experience. The fish taco....I wasn't convinced that it was really fish in there. As far as I'm concerned, bring back the Creshem Cottage. This place was terrible.

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5.0Dined on June 20, 2014

New menu is great; nice selection of small plate options. Was surprised to see the caesar salad on the menu. After ordering it, I understand why the owners decided to keep it on the menu. Best caesar salad in town! Try the mole fries or cheese balls... They are both brilliant additions to the menu.

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2.0Dined on June 18, 2014

My friends and I wanted to love this restaurant so much. The food was good overall - a few tapas misses but mostly hits.
The service made a negative impact. If you are eating tapas, you'd hope that the wait staff would check in regularly to find out if you want to order more. Not so, we had to grab their attention with difficulty when we wanted to order more and there was definitely a sour attitude. Not the friendliest staff at all. Bad enough that even though we'd LIKE to go back for the food, we probably won't because of the staff.

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3.0Dined on June 15, 2014

Went to celebrate my birthday and specifically picked the restaurant because of its outdoor seating. On arrival, we were informed the garden area was full. When we asked how long a wait it would be the hostess seemed to hem and haw, finally coming up with "25 minutes". We reluctantly chose to sit inside, but rather than taking us to the lovely sun room, she led us to a table behind a door in the dark back room. With what seemed like displeasure, she finally consented to seat us in the sun room. After this incredibly irritating introduction, I had little faith in the restaurant, but was pleasantly surprised by the food and the friendliness of the wait staff, however, through our entire meal there were always 6-8 open tables on the patio.

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5.0Dined on June 15, 2014

We've always loved the patio garden in back, and with the current owners and menu, good food has returned also. Small plates and tacos were just unusual enough to be interesting. Everything was delicious. Interesting selection of beer and mixed drinks, including a tasty blood orange mojito. One of our new instant favorite places in Chestnut Hill. We went twice in the same weekend since our first visit was so enjoyable.

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5.0Dined on June 14, 2014

Wonderful place to sit outside and enjoy a first class margarita; food is excellent and different and not too much; staff couldn't be friendlier; plenty of parking. The perfect place to spend a summer evening!

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2.0Dined on June 13, 2014

Was hoping the rebirth into a taqueria would help this restaurant, but the night we were there, we got stale chips, watery margaritas and boring tacos. Caipirinhas were great, as well as the gazpacho. Bummed b/c we live in the neighborhood and are desperate for decent restaurants..,

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5.0Dined on June 1, 2014

Had a wonderful time at the new Avenida Cantina! The new decor is lighter, brighter, and comfortable. The food on the new menu was light, fresh, and delicious. We ordered the Mescal and the Blood Orange Mojito cocktails, and those were great, too. Can't wait to go back!

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4.0Dined on May 30, 2014

First time at this restaurant. Was very happy with our choices. It was a beautiful night and we sat outside in a sweet garden area. The food was very good. I am a vegan and it is tough to find restaurants that have food options/choices and they had many! :) Our waitress was wonderful and very helpful. The staff was so nice, attentive, and friendly.
Would certainly recommend and would eat here again. My friend said she had a wonderful meal as well.

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3.0Dined on May 29, 2014

Your change of menu was disappointing. Your Caesar salad with those soft croutons used to be awesome and best Caesar in the area, I actually came to have that the other night and was disappointed, none...I also loved the, I can't think of the name now, chicken with the red or green mole? That was off the menu. We brought guests with us, we were raving about the menu....very disappointing and kind of embarrassing. The service was terrific, warm and friendly staff.

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2.0Dined on May 11, 2014

Nice staff and very friendly people but the food just wasn't that great. Anybody can cook chicken.....except Avenida. I'm sorry but if you are looking for a good meal this just isn't the place.

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5.0Dined on May 3, 2014

Nice people who own and the food is outstanding. I would return and would recommend anyone who wants a very cool night.

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5.0Dined on May 3, 2014

We found this on open table just scanning through what was available for last minute dinning on Saturday night. It sounded like it would be a fun experience. We were not disappointed. We were seated immediately and our service person was there in a flash with a great big smile and full of enthusiasm.
We prefer to order a lot of things from the appetizers and salads rather than dinner. Especially when we are eating somewhere for the 1st time. This strategy was impressed by the service person and she made several excellent suggestions we would not have spotted ourselves. We ordered sever dishes. Everything had an unusual combination of flavors and we had just enough room left to share 3 desserts.
Try it yourself!

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5.0Dined on May 2, 2014

I absolutely loved the Guatemalan vegetarian tamales with tomatillo sauce paired with some yucca fries and a delicious margarita. What topped it all off was a talented 4-piece Mariachi band that took requests and was very personable with all of the guests. Please bring the Mariachi band back often!!

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4.0Dined on May 1, 2014

For a Thursday evening in May we were fortunate to dine outside during the sunset. The margaritas were quick and tasteful and the service attentive. The appetizers led comfortably to two winning entree's of steamed mussels and pork spare ribs followed by ice cream flanked by a set of wonderfully baked brownies. Affordable and good time was had by all. I'll certainly return for another meal.

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4.0Dined on April 26, 2014

Casual restaurant with an interesting Latin American inspired menu. They serve delicious gazpacho and ceviche. Pleasant waitstaff.

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4.0Dined on April 12, 2014

Great restaurant! We went on a Saturday night, so it was a little bit loud but still a great experience. Staff are very friendly and accommodate dietary restrictions/allergies well. My boyfriend has celiac disease and so really appreciated the gluten free menu. Our waitress even pointed out what on my plate was and wasn't gluten free, just in case!
I had the ceviche of the day, which was OK, and the grilled octopus which was fantastic! My boyfriend had a chicken dish which he really enjoyed (portion size was large for that one -- a surprise at such a sophisticated restaurant).
Avenida is both a romantic, intimate spot, and a place totally welcoming to kids.
Parking was easy even on a Saturday night.

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4.0Dined on April 6, 2014

It's been a while since we last ate at Avenida. This time we went for the prix fix brunch special. Well, let me tell you, everything was fabulous. Even in early April, the salads tasted farden fresh - not a wilted leaf to be had.

Between the friendly and diverse wait staff, the hostess who lends them a hand without looking bothered, the ambiance of restaurant (I felt like I was in a small villa's dining room), and the great food, my family and I will keep this rediscovered gem on our radar.

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5.0Dined on March 26, 2014

I particularly enjoyed the spare ribs and the skirt steak. They had ginger carrot soup that was excellent. Service was terrific, prompt but not overbearing. Great choice for dinner.

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1.0Dined on March 15, 2014

Chicken was not tender. Soup was tasteless. Last time here for us.

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4.0Dined on March 13, 2014

We enjoyed everything we ordered with one exception. My vegetarian husband ordered the vegetable tamale which was described as having zucchini but contained none and very little other veggies. It mostly consisted of corn meal made into a steamed loaf, which was disappointing to him. Our appetizer nachos with guacamole, pico de gallo and salsa, all house-made, was delicious. My roasted chicken with fired yucca and steamed broccoli with aoili mayo all tasted delicious. The vegan ice cream sandwich, which we shared, was amazing. We will definitely go there again.

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5.0Dined on March 8, 2014

Treat yourself to an evening out at this terrific little Chestnut Hill gem. The food is absolutely delectable and the margaritas are too. Like octopus? They've got it and it's nicely grilled -- served on a bed of fresh spinach with grilled avocado. The flank steak was nicely seasoned. Portions are just right and so are the prices. Can't wait to return.

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