Jul 11, 2009 - Canada, Restaurants, Travel, Yukon    3 Comments

Sanchez Cantina, Whitehorse

Canada and the northern US are sorely lacking in good Mexican restaurants. Oh, I had some pretty decent Mexican food in Omak and in White Rock, but the last time I had a thoroughly satisfying Mexican meal was in Savannah back in the spring of 2007. When I noticed a sign for Sanchez Cantina, which claims to be the only authentic Mexican restaurant in the Yukon, I had to go just to see if I would be proven right or wrong about the state of comida Mexicana in Canada.

I ordered a chicken burrito with rice and beans and a pina colada.

The burrito was good; filled with vegetables and perfectly seasoned chicken. The rice was pretty bad, tossed with canned vegetables and topped with a fishy tasting pale tomato sauce. The beans were just that, beans, of the black variety. I like black beans well enough, but a little seasoning would have been nice. The plate also had four lone crispy tortilla chips that were very yummy dipped in the bean sauce. All in all, a ho hum meal.

The pina colada, however, was excellent, the best I’ve ever had. You could taste the pineapple, the coconut, and the rum. I wasn’t too sure at first if I liked the liberal sprinkling of cinnamon over the frothy concoction, but it didn’t take long to win me over since I’m a huge fan of cinnamon.

I wouldn’t go back to Sanchez Cantina, not even for a pina colada, because the service was horrendous. I might as well have been invisible once I received my food. No one ever came to see if I needed anything and after several minutes of trying to flag down a server so I could get the check, I ended up going to the cash and standing there for several minutes while the guy at the cash mixed drinks without even acknowledging my presence.

When I was was finally able to pay, I did something I’ve only done three times before in my life at a restaurant: I didn’t tip. I’m normally a very good tipper, 20% to 25% is common for me for good to exellent service while bad to okay service gets 15%. It’s so rare for me to tip poorly, much less not at all, that I actually remember when I haven’t: at the Day’s Inn restaurant in New Jersey where I stayed when I visited NYC in 1996, at the restaurant at the Smithsonian in DC in 1997, and at the Royal Oak (Ottawa U Campus) in Ottawa in 1999!

I cannot recommend Sanchez Cantina. My quest for good Canadian Mexican food continues. Darn.

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  • If you ever find yourself passing through Terrace, BC, give Don Diego’s a try. We enjoyed their Mexican food many times. Of course that was before we experienced REAL Mexican food, but I recall it as being very good!

  • Thanks for the recommendation!

    Sanchez has fish Veracruz on the menu. It’d be interesting for you to come up here and try it so that I can know if their food is truly authentic or not. 🙂

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