Lola’s Cantina Mexicana is next to the Canggu Short Cut on the Canggu side of Bali. It has many Mexican Food options such as quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, nachos, breakfast tacos, tortilla soup, ceviche and tostadas. There are even baked hard shell tacos but I wouldn’t call those Mexican. I did meet a few fans of their burritos while I was in Canggu and I kept whizzing by their “Tacos” sign on my scooter so it had to be a stop on my taco tour of Bali.
I came here a couple times to be sure I would be giving this place a fair opinion.
The good: their decor gives you a truly Mexican inspired feel. From their late night tacos sign, the cactus, the Dia de los Muertos decor and their very instagrammable neon sign
“Feed me tacos and tell me I’m pretty”. Why does instagrammable not pick up on spell check by the way? That’s totally a word like vitamin taco, tacogasm & tacolicious.
They also have a decent selection of tequila for Bali.
They serve complimentary tortilla chips and salsa with your order.
Finally their homemade chili sauces are to die for. Their are 4 kinds of house made chili salsas: Fuego which is there spicy, jalapeño which is their mild, their smokey chipotle and finally their pineapple picante which is my favourite. I love their salsas so much I wish they sold them.
Now the not so good. Their service is lacklustre. I had to flag down service even though both times I was there it wasn’t busy.
And their tacos? Well they were disappointingly average. I wanted to like them. I really tried. That is why I went there twice. Their tacos just miss the mark for me. They lacked complexity, flavour, balance in flavour profile and overall just blah.
They are pretty to look at, but it was like being on a date with someone very beautiful but not having anything in common to bind a meaningful conversation. If you're going to tell me I'm pretty then at least feed me good tacos so at least we can talk about how great the tacos are.
I tried their Baja crispy fish and crispy shrimp tacos and their carnitas which all came with a beautifully presented shaving of avocado on top. The battered crispy fish and shrimp were reminiscent of my childhood when we ate Captain High Liner frozen breaded fish on my Mom worked late and didn’t have time to make a real meal.
The carnitas were dry and overpowered by the smokey chipotle sauce which tasted the same as the one on the table.
All the tacos had small cubed tomatoes, shredded purple cabbage and they just lacked imagination and authenticity.
Maybe their pulled chicken, or steak (doesn’t say where the beef comes from), or the grilled fish, or the jackfruit carnitas, refried bean or Mexican Tempe tacos would have been a better choice. Maybe it needed lime? Why were there no limes each time I went?
I think if you’re going to tout yourself as a Mexican Restaurant and serve Mexican food, you can paint yourself Mexican on the outside but if you’re missing the love on the inside it comes out in your food. Or in at least tin my 3 taco choices.
If you’re a cocktail person maybe try them on Taco Tuesday when you get a free taco with every drink and see for yourself. I would not take someone on your 3rd date here.