Cantina creates and caters charming cuisine

Kara Willingham

Hidden away in Laguna Niguel is Amber’s Cantina, a quaint, small Mexican restaurant with an authentic and vibrant atmosphere.

Amber’s includes a wide variety of menu items such as shrimp enchiladas and Mexican pizzas. The diversity has a little something for everyone.

The restaurant itself is small yet surprisingly inviting, and the weekends are the busiest according to waitress Ashley Werk, who has been serving at the Cantina for six years. She says that many locals and regulars stop in often, and after experiencing the service and tasting the food, it’s simple to see why.

Appetizers are only around $5 and fresh chips and salsa are served complementarily before each meal.

Patrons can “make their own combo” with up to three different items for under $10. Choices consist of enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, taquitos or a burrito served with rice and beans. Both the appetizer and dinner menus are lengthy and filled with classic dishes as well as not-so-familiar ones.

Amber’s menu is rather different from most Mexican restaurants, which is a pleasant change.

After finishing lunch or dinner, there is a desert menu with items such as flan, fried ice cream and apple burritos.

The Cantina serves many different kinds of beer as well. In one corner of the restaurant, there is a tile bar with decorative birds overlooking the cook while he works.

Although the Cantina is often bustling with hungry customers, there is only one cook at the restaurant and his name is Fernando.

He has been working at the Cantina since it opened with his wife and sister.

The employees all seem to be related somehow or another. Werk is a waitress there and so are her mother and sisters.

Since many families work at the Cantina, the atmosphere is very family-esque and welcoming. The staff is friendly, warm and conscientious.

The restaurant also caters parties and events.

31341 Niguel Road, Suite D, Laguna Niguel, 92677Tel. 949.488.2858

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