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Evil Penevil

Dave's Cantina on Soi Regional Land

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 Dave's Cantina opened eight months ago and has created quite a stir among Pattaya residents and visitors who enjoy Mexico-inspired food.  It is ranked on TripAdvisor in 21st place among 901 Pattaya restaurants, which is a significant accomplishment for such a new place.  I wrote this review in April, but have updated it.  Dave's is still the top choice in Pattaya for those who want U.S. style Mexican food.


I'll join the chorus of those singing praise for Dave's Cantina: it serves the best Mexican-style food currently available in any restaurant in Pattaya.
I said Mexican-style because it's difficult to pin an all-encompassing label on the items served at Dave's. The menu is a mix of modern Mexican, California Mexican and Tex Mex standards, sprinkled liberally with Dave's own ideas and recipes, then whipped to a peak by meticulous preparation. Dave knows contemporary Mexican cooking and has put a lot of thought into the Cantina's menu.  But it doesn't really matter how you categorize the food at Dave's; it's the taste that counts.  Dave's gets full marks on that score.
Dave's Cantina has only been open a couple of months and the menu is still relatively limited. That's a good idea, as it's much better to offer 10 great dishes than 20 mediocre ones.  So far he has tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos and chimichangas on offer, plus two kinds of soup (chile con carne y frijoles and tortilla) and dessert (apple chimichanga with ice cream and deep-fried ice cream). Pico de gallo (aka salsa fresca) and freshly dried tortilla chips are on the menu as a starter, while red rice, refried beans and pinto beans are the sides
The tortilla soup is something of Dave's signature dish.  Tortilla soup in it's original version is a clear chicken broth flavored with epazote, a Mexican herb, and topped with strips of fried tortilla. The soup served at Dave's is much thicker and filling, with a spicy kick. It has plenty of flavor and not just heat.  It's better than a lot of the tortilla soup you find in North America.  If you're going to taste one dish on Dave's menu, tortilla soup would be it.
 A cup is great as a starter and a full bowl would be meal in itself.
I followed up with two soft corn tortillas filled with shredded pork, pico de gallo and cilantro. 
Again, there was plenty of flavor and just enough heat to keep it interesting.  For those who want more burn,  there are several types of chili sauce on the table.
 The sides were red (Mexican) rice
and refried beans 
In and of themselves, they are pretty unassuming sides, available on combo plates in thousands of Mexican restaurants across the U.S.  They function in part to function as belly-fillers, in part to balance the spiciness of the main dishes. They tend to be very bland, but not at Dave's.  A lack of heat in the sides doesn't mean a lack of flavor and the rice and beans add real accents to the meal.
This goes back to Dave's passion for finding the right flavor profile. then using the best ingredients available and preparing them properly. That's what elevates his food above the majority of Mexican-style restaurants you find outside Mexico.
I rounded out my meal with a dessert that is as Mexican as an apple chimichanga.  A rich apple filling, heavy on the cinnamon, was wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep-fried.  It came with two scoops of ice cream.  It was delicious and the flour tortilla is a great "container" for a fruit pie filling.  The dessert is actually Dave's own invention and I say, "well done!"
Total damage for the meal was about 500 baht, including a Coke Zero, which is a bargain for the quantity and quality of the food.  I also ordered two burritos- one beef, one pork- for takeaway so I wouldn't have to brave the Songkran water-tossing for lunch the following day.
I chose the 8" burritos for 150 baht because they warm up well in a microwave.  Very tasty and strong on flavor but light on heat, exactly as I like them.  
I didn't take pics of the day-after burritos and have lifted the two pics above from Dave's Cantina's Facebook page.
I like the decoration at Dave's, simplicity itself but colorful and attractive.  I didn't have occasion to sample the bar, but it looked well stocked.
I'm very pleased there weren't any sombreros, guitars or Day-of-the-Dead masks on the walls.  The air conditioning works very well and there' are outdoor tables if that's your preference.
This pic is from the Facebook page of Dave's Cantina.
Dave's Cantina punches above its weight when comes to the food and in just two months has gone to the top of the list of Mexican-style restaurants in Pattaya.  I just hope its location on Soi Regional Land won't prove too much of a hinder in attracting customers.  The restaurant s not hard to find, but a pain in the butt to get to if you don't have your own wheels.  Of course, it's just a short haul by moto from Tuk Com, but otherwise, customers face a long walk or taking a taxi to get to Dave's.
Bottom line:  Dave's is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys the type of Mexican food found in restaurants outside Mexico. It's hours are 1.00 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.
Some more pics from Dave's FB page, just to give you a better idea of the types of dishes that are served.







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thanks mate ,ive yet to get to it but i will .

as long as theres plenty of sour cream , guacamole and fresh spicy salsa , not the pico de gallo along with cheese ill be delighted .

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A mate got me a take away Enchilada's from there a couple of times during my trip, have to say I thought it was pretty plain and average. I've had the same at Tigglebitties before and thought it was better.

Haven't tried the rest but it looks ok.


Edited by davethailand

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On 11/10/2017 at 11:22 PM, mulphy said:

thanks mate ,ive yet to get to it but i will .

as long as theres plenty of sour cream , guacamole and fresh spicy salsa , not the pico de gallo along with cheese ill be delighted .

You might be disappointed on the guacamole side.  I don't think Dave has it on the menu because of the problems in getting good avocados in Pattaya.



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