ATXReview

photo credit: Richard Casteel

De Nada Cantina image
8.2

De Nada Cantina

MexicanTacos

GovalleEast Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerLunchBig Groups
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The people who own Sawyer & Co on East Cesar Chavez are no strangers to a good theme, as evidenced by the Jetson’s-esque interior of the diner that we like to visit for brunch on the weekends. And their other venture—in the very same parking lot—is no exception. Stepping into De Nada Cantina might as well be a fast track to an upscale taqueria in Mexico City, complete with an indoor fountain, colorful metal chairs, and enough plants to mistake the dining room for a nursery. But instead of feeling like it relies purely on theme, De Nada avoids the trap of turning into Instagram bait by offering excellent Mexico City-style street tacos and margaritas in a dining room where you just can’t help but snap a mental or physical photo. 

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

De Nada Cantina image
De Nada Cantina image
De Nada Cantina image
De Nada Cantina image

The simple menu at De Nada Cantina on East Cesar Chavez consists of about a dozen lunch and breakfast tacos. And when the tacos are as tasty and reliable as De Nada’s, simple is very good. Flour tortillas aren’t even a consideration here,  where almost everything arrives on housemade blue corn tortillas that provide a warm, savory base for a variety of toppings. We like to get the fish taco—it comes topped with pickled pineapples that provide a sweet and salty balance to the thick slabs of seared gulf fish—and round it out with a carnitas topped with salsa macha. This is also one of the better places in town to get crispy shell tacos outside of your favorite fast food “taqueria,” AKA Taco Bell

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Don’t show up to De Nada expecting to pay Mexico City prices for these tacos—this is East Austin, after all—but don’t expect anything too outlandish either. Margaritas come in at just over $10, and considering their potency and quality, they’re worth testing the “two per person limit” on. Or you can pay a couple of dollars more for a large and take home the pink, plastic souvenir cup to forever remember the mistakes and/or good choices you made that night. 

Food Rundown

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Pescado A La Plancha Taco

One of our favorite fish tacos in town. Pickled pineapple adds a bit of brightness to all the savory fish, and the blue corn tortilla complements everything nicely. This is the priciest taco on the menu, so just consider how much of your margarita budget you’re willing to compromise. We think it’s worth it.

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Barbacoa Taco

Despite being made from slow-braised beef cheeks, the barbacoa here isn’t overly rich by any means. It’s decadent and savory, but all the fat gets balanced out nicely by some fiery habanero salsa.

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Crispy Beef Tacos

Basically the real-life version of the taco emoji, this is a simple crispy shell taco done right. We usually go with the classic tacos here, but if you’ve never had a crunchy taco on a handmade shell, you might want to give this a try.

De Nada Cantina image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Carnitas And Cheese Quesadilla

De Nada Cantina serves “Mexico City-style” quesadillas, which means that unlike the more-common-in-Austin style consisting of a flour tortilla with a ton of cheese and a little meat, here they consist of a fried corn tortilla with a ton of meat and just a little cheese. And they’re excellent. Just make sure you know what you’re getting going in to avoid any confusion when your order arrives.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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