Wine Dine and Play: Nueva Cantina

Nueva Cantina

Nueva Cantina Mexican restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida

September 2018 review  /  October 2017 review  /  April 2017 review

The 3rd Nuevo Cantina Review
St. Petersburg, Florida USA
Cuisine Style: Mexican
Average Price: $
Overall Rating: 3/5
Dined in: September 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 Zomato rating:

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

Nueva Cantina Executive Chef:
Paul Daubert (CIA)
Culinary Institute of America Chef Paul Daubert at Nuevo Cantina in St. Petersburg, Florida

This is the third visit and review of Nueva Cantina on Wine Dine And Play, a traditional Mexican restaurant that has several mural paintings of skulls, calaca figures, and Lucha Libre wrestlers with a specials menu next to them. The chef is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and his menu 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 handcrafted with new and assorted flavors from the large 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 previous visits, my wife and I dined for Brunch and lunch having menu items such as the Nuevo sampler of guacamole, queso, and salsa, an eggs Benedicto, served on a jalapeño cheddar biscuit instead of a muffin, topped with ham, poached eggs, and a Tabernero Hollandaise. A Pollo Milanese, and on taco Tuesday with braised short rib tacos mixed with grilled onions, Rojo cabbage, horseradish, habanero sauce, and the house Nuevo sauce plus fish Pescado tacos with red cabbage, salsa fresca, cilantro, queso fresco, and lime. 

On this visit, we sat at the bar instead of at a cocktail table or booth like in previous visits, ordered some Mexican beer and tequila, then enjoyed the Nuevo sampler as we did on our previous visits. My wife had a cup of the chicken tortilla soup, with an intricate blend of seasonings and vegetables mixed with the chicken broth, a nice addition worth sampling. 

Chicken tortilla soup at Nuevo Cantina in St. Petersburg, Florida
Nueva Cantina / Chicken Tortilla Soup

El Rey Chimichanga with chorizo, Cuban picadillo beef, shredded Mexican cheese, pico de gallo, rolled and deep fried. With the dish, I got the rice with queso charro beans. Fried is a comfort food no matter the culture or region you are from, and a chimichanga does qualify in that category for sure. The flavors merged together with dancing delight from one bite to the next. I believe that of all my visits, this dish ranks at the top of personal favorites without any doubt. 

The El Rey Chimichanga at Nuevo Cantina in St. Petersburg, Florida with picadillo beef and chorizo
Nueva Cantina / El Rey Chimichanga

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

Other St. Petersburg restaurants and articles on Wine Dine and Play:

New American, Southern Twist
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Elegant tavern seafood with oysters
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Innovative Finer Seafood and Raw Bar 
At the Sundial 
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

A Few Florida Favorites:

  Cafe for Phở and Bánh Mì
Pinellas Park, Florida USA
Nautically themed eatery with crafted cocktails and raw bar
Sarasota, Florida, USA
The “Last Local Beach Club”
Panama City Beach, Florida, USA

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 Nueva Cantina a 3 out of 5 stars, meaning that they exceeded all my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants.

Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings for Nueva Cantina
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 Before Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage with a bonus for the 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 fees:
Nueva Cantina does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge $25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual dining
Cuisine Style at Nueva Cantina:
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Farm to Fork, Gluten-free, Organic, Pescatarian, Vegetarian Options
Not Required, but Recommended
Dress code:
 Conservative to Casual attire

It’s Florida, everybody wear’s 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! 
Nueva Cantina Experiences:
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
Nueva Cantina has a private lot
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:
Nueva Cantina is a non-smoking restaurant, with a 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 (pricey)
$£€¥ 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:

$12.00 USD

Nueva Cantina:

1625 4th St South
St. Petersburg, Florida 

Contact Information: 

Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+1 727-851-9579
Website Contact:
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
Social Media 
Accolades for Nueva Cantina:
Nueva Cantina 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…
Chain serving Chicago-style deep dish pizza & other Italian eats 
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Acclaimed upmarket classic & innovative Italian
Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE
Classic Mediterranean Cuisine
Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Other Nueva Cantina Pictures:

Keg beer handle for Modelo at Nuevo Cantina in St. Petersburg, Florida
Nuevo Cantina / Modelo Keg beer handles

Potion of the dead sauce at Nuevo Cantina in St. Petersburg, Florida
Nuevo Cantina / Potion of the dead sauce

“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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