Wine Dine and Play: Nueva Cantina

Nueva Cantina

September 2018 Review / October 2017 review  /  April 2017 review

Taco Tuesday
St. Petersburg, Florida USA
Cuisine Style: Mexican
Average Price: $
Overall Rating: 3/5
Dined in: October 2017
Updated in: October 2018
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Nueva Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Executive Chef:
Chef Paul Daubert (CIA)

Restaurant Owner:
Louie Spetrini

Authentic Mexican cooking has remained virtually unchanged by the outside world, and that being said there is a great difference between authentic and Gringo Mexican food. What you know as enchiladas, fajitas and such is considered ‘poor mans food’ in Mexico, and with the poor and lower class populations it is consumed, but they like the higher class, the palate is much different.  Nueva Cantina is a relaxed, and very affordable neighborhood spot that caters to the ‘poor man’ favorites, as well as exciting contemporary higher, classed Mexican cuisine. 

The chef, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America blends the authenticity of creative urban poor or ‘Tex-Mex’ styles, with the contemporary flavors that distinguish the food of native Mexico. The tortillas are hand-pressed, the guacamole is made to order, and the margaritas are thoughtfully crafted with bold flavors from their larger tequila list. They feature homemade, authentic sauces and locally sourced ingredients with many texture and flavors.

Nuevo Menu:
    • Starters
    • Burritos
    • Tacos
    • Salads
    • Tortas
    • Fajitas
    • Entrees
    • Regional Favorites
    • Sides
    • Nueva Postres (Desserts)
    • Sunday Brunch

Daily specials:
Monday kids eat free
Taco Tuesday
Margarita Wednesday
Fajita Thursday
Saturday all day happy hour
Sunday Bloody Mary/Maria bar

On a previous visit, my wife and I enjoyed their brunch menu with the Bloody Mary Bar, the Pollo Milanese dish, the Nuevo sampler, and the Eggs Benedicto. On this visit, we enjoyed Taco Tuesday. We began with the Nuevo sampler of guacamole, queso, and salsa. It was not as good as the last time we had it but still decent. I had a Dos Equis beer followed up with a Negra Modelo for the entree.

Nuevo Sampler
We each had a taco Tuesday special with my wife choosing the fish Pescado tacos with red cabbage, salsa fresca, cilantro, queso fresco, and lime. The dish also came the traditional accompaniment of rice and beans.

Fish Tacos
The second entree that I enjoyed was the braised short rib tacos with grilled onions, Rojo cabbage, horseradish, habanero sauce, and the house Nuevo sauce. These tacos melted in my mouth, and if time was not passing us by, I would have ordered a second plate.

Braised Short Rib Tacos
Like our first visit the folks here at Nueva Cantina exceeded my expectations in a dining experience and were far above the typical average of most restaurants around the Tampa Bay.

We did not have dessert on this visit, however they do have some items of interest that I would love to try such as churros and ice cream, a guava and cream cheese flan, a Key Lime pie brûlé (brûlée - to burn or scorch) and the signature dessert of S’morchos for two.

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

Other noteworthy Mexican cuisine articles and restaurants similar to Nueva Cantina:
Mexican cuisine is primarily a fusion of indigenous Mesoamerican cooking with European, especially Spanish, with elements added after their conquest of the Aztec Empire in the sixteenth century. The staples are native foods, such as corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, and chili peppers, expanded greatly after the European occupation which introduced rice, cheese, and domesticated animals. African and Asian influences were also introduced into the mixture during this era as a result of African slavery in New Spain and the Manila-Acapulco Galleons. Over the centuries, regional cuisines based on local customs reverted back to ancient ways while incorporating the new European foods, and areas such as those in Oaxaca, Veracruz, and the Yucatán Peninsula took on a new identity which resulted in traditional Mexican cuisine being inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010.

Benji’s Cantina An innovative approach to Tex-Mex cuisine in Austin, Texas
Besito Mexican Restaurant Creative Mexican-blend eats chain; reviewed in Tampa, Florida
Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant A casual local chain for traditional meals in Pinellas Park, Florida
Grand Hacienda Mexican Cuisine A recreation of Mexican comfort foods in St. Petersburg, Florida
Güero's Taco Bar Landmark Mexican restaurant on Congress Ave. in Austin, Texas
Hablo Taco Mexican-blend joint known for tacos and margaritas in Tampa, Florida
Nitally’s A Fusion of Thai and Mexican Cuisine from a husband and wife team in St. Petersburg, Florida 
Poppo's Taqueria Gourmet organic Taqueria Street Food, City of Anna Maria Island, Florida
Wipeout Bar and Grill Surf shack theme with California and Mexican cuisine in San Francisco, California

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

A few St. Petersburg reviews and articles on Wine Dine and Play:

Modern contemporary Italian and Southern dishes
Innovative Finer Seafood & Raw Bar 
At the Sundial 
New American, Southern Twist

A Few Florida Favorites:

Native American Cuisine w/Barbacoa Grilling
Upscale Pan Asian Fare w/sushi
Waterfront upscale new American cuisine
Sanibel Island

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country

Final notes, review basics, observations, and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience, and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give Nuevo Cantina a 3 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded my expectations but they were also far above the average dining experience of most restaurants. The first review score was 3 of 5 stars, so they have maintained there standing from my last visit.
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Food quality
Plate presentation
Customer service
Alcohol and other beverages
Total regular points awarded
Total percentage — less the Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating


Stars Awarded (see chart below)
0 - 5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


Overall Star Rating:
3 of 5 Stars: 
82% Rating with a 3 point “wow” bonus
Far Above the Average Dining Experience
Corkage fee’s:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Cuisine Style:
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Farm to Fork, Gluten Free, Organic, Pescatarian, Vegetarian
Not Required, But Recommended
Dress code:
casual attire, Casual or Conservative attire
It’s Florida, everyone wears flip flops
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Place for foodies, Trendy, Great bar, Great outdoor dining, Good for special occasions, Rustic, Great brunch, Tourist grabber, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Public lot Street meter parking
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant, and nonsmoking patio
Patio or terrace:

Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricy)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)

**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

United States Dollar (USD)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)

 Alcohol prices:

$9.00 USD

Nuevo Cantina:

1625 4th St South
St. Petersburg, Florida 

Contact Information: 
Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+1 727-851-9579
Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - 5:00)
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Email Contact:
Social Media 
Facebook link                

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…

Swanky French-American Steakhouse chain, reviewed in Atlanta, GA.
New York, New York, USA
Sustainable & regional German cuisine 
Hilton, Berlin, Germany
Seafood and sushi with panorama views 
Cape Point, South Africa

Other Nueva Cantina Pictures:

Bloody Mary Bar

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


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