Francisco’s Cantina, Manuka – Review


I work in Forrest so I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out for lunch. My team and I decided to check out Francisco’s Mexican Cantina. It’s in the middle of an arcade, not so much a restaurant but an area, with a bar in the middle and the kitchen in the Cantina behind it.

We managed to scooch into the banquette bench seat and ordered drinks. It was Friday afternoon and I thought, what the heck, its Friday arvo, I’ll have a Sangria.


The sangria was fresh and really tasty. Not like sangria I’ve had before, this had quite a strong taste of cinnamon. Not knowing if this was normal, and no one else at the table was a sangria connoisseur, so I googled it. Apparently, the traditional Mexican recipes call for cinnamon, the Anglicised ones don’t. There you go. I think I’ll add cinnamon to my sangria from now on, as its delicious. It also really works with the spiciness of my tostadas.

My colleagues had a strawberry daiquiri, not a fan, and lime margheritas, yum.


And a mudslide.


There was a specials board and the normal menu.


Quite a few things were similar on both. I chose the tostadas, you get to choose between the spicy shredded chicken and spiced shredded beef. I asked the waitress which was the better choice and she said she preferred the beef, but I could choose one of each if I wanted to try both. Two crispy flat corn crisps, topped with your choice of meat, frijoles (refried beans), lettuce, feta cheese and sour cream. I also ordered the chipotle mayonnaise, not knowing that the meat was already quite spicy.


It looked good, but I found the meat was warm not hot, and there wasn’t enough feta or sour cream to provide a cooling element to the spiciness of the meat. I loved the chipotle mayo, and asked for the recipe, but the waitress wouldn’t tell me! Should’ve ordered two beef, as that was lovely. Smokey, spicy and tender. It was good.


I got to try my colleagues ribs, as I’m a fan of good ribs, and was at first going to order them. The sauce was good, but as I watched her struggle to cut them with a sharp knife, I knew I’d made the right lunch order. These were not fall off the bone tender, but quite tough, tasty but tough. As result, my friend wore most of the BBQ sauce. Bit disappointing as they looked great.

Here are some pictures of my colleagues meals.

Lunch special tostada and rice.




Our tight fit. Lucky we like each other.


I was pretty full by the end of my meal, so I though it was good value, not the best Mexican I’ve had, but it was a fun lunch. I’d definitely go back for a jug of that sangria, it was luscious.

Francisco's Mexican Cantina on Urbanspoon

3 thoughts on “Francisco’s Cantina, Manuka – Review

  1. I have been meaning to check out this joint for years, totally dig Mexican tucka, and dont even get me started on my love for Sangria. 🙂 What a treat you all spoiled yourselves with a cheeky lunch time cocktail, its nice to see people enjoying their lives and seizing the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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