Cantina 1910 was our favorite restaurant to not eat at when it first opened. That's because the two-story Mexican restaurant in Andersonville was the subject of an internet review war between Yelpers and traditional Chicago food media. Yelpers complained that Cantina 1910 charged for chips and salsa and didn't serve margaritas, and the food media responded by calling the Yelpers a bunch of idiots. We were happy watching from the sidelines, and thought it best to give Cantina 1910 time to settle in.
We'll never know what Cantina 1910 was like in the beginning, because the original team of chefs walked away after three months due to disagreements with ownership. But we know what Cantina 1910 is now, and it's nothing special.
The food is self-proclaimed farm-to-table Mexican with Midwest ingredients, something they call "Mexican Reinvented." We'll call that a stretch. Yes, they use some non-traditional ingredients in otherwise traditional Mexican dishes, but unless you get super excited about substituting a strand of wheat grass for cilantro in an al pastor taco, then Cantina isn't reinventing the wheel.
You'll find plenty of familiar things to eat like ceviches, tacos, or a big steak. The tacos are all average, and the rest of the menu can be hit or miss. It doesn't help that the layout leaves a lot of dead space in an already massive restaurant, which makes the place feel emptier than it should.
Cantina 1910 is a fine choice if you need space for a big group or are specifically looking for Mexican food and drinks in an upscale Andersonville environment, but consider it more a crutch to lean on for immediate help than a destination spot. You won't find us getting in heated arguments over this restaurant anytime soon.
Yes, you have to pay for it, but we find that appropriate considering this is a restaurant and all. Start off with some. The bowl of chips they bring out is tiny, but they'll willingly refill it for no extra charge.
One of the more basic ceviches is a good idea for another small plate.
Generally speaking, all of the tacos are fine but not that exciting. They're good to mix into any meal as fillers, but but that's about it.
Black rice with squid, corn, and crema. A good side dish to have around.
A large piece of steak with carrots and a side of fries. The steak is good, although basic, and the fries may just be the best part of the meal.