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Food fight: Local Cantina: serving up handcrafted Mexican goodness

Eating should be an experience and an enjoyable one at that. Whether you’re staying in or going out, the meal before you should be eaten in an environment that makes you feel welcomed and at home. That’s how I feel when I’m at Local Cantina.

Maybe it’s the Polaroid pictures of customers lining the wall behind the bar. Maybe it’s the Christmas lights strung between bottles of tequila and taps that pour local craft beers. Maybe it’s the friendly wait staff and upbeat music. Who can really say? All I know is that is not how I feel when visiting rival taco joint Condado.

Don’t get me wrong –– I am a fan of Condado. I have bought many a taco there. But the whole concept is a little overrated. Condado is loud, drafty, overpriced and crowded.

Food fight. Local Cantina battles Condado for the best taco in Columbus. | Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller Reporter.

While Local Cantina is also pretty loud and sometimes there can be a wait, if it does one thing right, it’s the tacos.

One of the best things about Local Cantina is Taco Tuesday. It has been said that on the first day, God said ‘Let there be light and it was good.’ Then on the second day, God created Taco Tuesday, and it was awesome.

On Taco Tuesday, every taco on the menu  (with the exception of a few premium options) costs only $2 — for the entire day. That’s a dollar less and eight hours longer than Condado’s happy hour. Local Cantina also has a daily happy hour on top of that, featuring discounted margaritas and beer.

Local Cantina knows a thing or two about authentic tacos. For one, tacos come on fresh corn tortillas, not some generic-brand flour pancake excuse of a shell.

As far as the menu goes, Local Cantina offers a variety of handcrafted tacos that suit any palate. From classics like roasted carnitas with mango salsa and carne asada to more creative options like chorizo and egg and tempura shrimp, you can’t go wrong.

Another thing Local Cantina gets right is the unlimited self-serve chips and salsa.

Anywhere I have to pay for chips and salsa is simply insulting. And there is no judgement for how many times you revisit the chip station because at Local Cantina, we’re all friends.

So to my fellow Local Cantina lovers, I’ll see you on Tuesday. To those who have yet to visit this North High Street gem, what are you waiting for?


  1. Hangry in Hagerty

    “It has been said that on the first day, God said ‘Let there be light and it was good.’ Then on the second day, God created Taco Tuesday, and it was awesome.”

    Mm-mmmmm… God is good.

  2. Local Cantina vs Condado vs Bakersfield

    I’ve always loved Mexican food, especially Tacos. Even more so after I lived in Florida for 4 years and was served tacos by my brother in law (from Mexico) who has been a head chef at several restaurants around South Florida and Tampa Bay. When my wife and I moved back to Columbus we wanted to find a place with solid tacos that didn’t break the bank. The 3 places that focuses on tacos that we have tried are Bakersfield, Condado and Local Cantina.

    While I don’t particularly enjoy any of their “inside atmospheres”, Bakersfield wins that because it didnt bug me too much (I enjoy a quieter more intimate setting) Local wins the outdoor seating due to several of their locations having sizable areas. Condado was loud with a decent outdoor seating area.

    Prices/Happy Hour
    The overall prices are best at Local. Local has Taco Tuesday as well as a decent happy hour. Condado and Bakersfield have high prices. Condado didn’t seem to have much of a happy hour and I have not looked into happy hour at Bakersfield.

    Winner is Local Cantina. While not all of their tacos are great many of them are. They have a simple fresh ingredient list that combine traditional flavors as well as a few that aren’t traditional but still tasty. Bakersfield has pretty good tacos as well but their tacos are small and expensive. Condados tacos were not good.

    Bakersfield wins this hands down for their authentic tasty queso using only real cheese that is served hot. Local Cantina uses cheese sauce in their queso but it is still tasty. Condado has terrible queso

    Bakersfield has tasty margs but are expensive. Local has pretty tasty margs for a good price. Condado has pretty tasty margs but are expensive. I’ll give this cat. to Local for the value.

    Chips & Salsa
    Where do I start. Condado has terrible chips that are way too thick and cut the roof of your mouth, they also have to be ordered as a separate appetizer. Bakersfield has good chips but as per usual they are too expensive. Local does it right. Simple salsa with Cantina style chips that are free, unlimited and self serve. Bravo Local Cantina.

    Local is really the only one worth going to (unless you want to specifically try the queso and margs at Bakersfield). Best value, tastiest items and Taco Tuesday is a must. I would honestly just avoid Condado all together

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