I recently had a girls date at a new restaurant near Midtown Carmel where the tacos and margaritas were plentiful and flavorful! Social Cantina is a modern take on traditional Mexican street fare. Whether it’s girl’s night, date night, or family night, there is something for everyone at Social Cantina.
The Social Cantina Experience
This is not your typical Mexican restaurant experience. From the first moment you walk in, you feel the “be social” theme. The giant “SOCIAL” sign at the bar, is a beacon for good time. The décor is modern, with unique statement pieces throughout the restaurant. Check out one of the many selfie walls—my favorite was the wall of cacti by the bathrooms!
Every seat in the house has a distinctive touch. Bright colors and interesting patterns fill the restaurant with energy. There are several places to have a more intimate dining experience, but also plenty of room for larger parties as well—ncluding a back room for a really large group.
Salsa and Margaritas For the Win
For starters, we ordered a round of margaritas. Social Cantina serves more than 100 bottles of Tequila and Mezcal and offers several flavors to add like Strawberry, Blood Orange, and Coconut Pomegranate. I’m a traditionalist, so I almost ordered their standard house “Social” margarita. But the waiter pointed out the spicy version that uses a tequila infused with jalapeños. Delicious! If margaritas aren’t your thing they have a great selection of craft cocktails, sangrias, beers, and wine. I want to go back every season just to try the seasonal sangria on rotation.
Salsa is the main reason I go to any Mexican restaurant, so obviously our party started with the chips and salsa flight. The flight comes with two salsa selections—roasted red, salsa verde, chile de arbol, or mango habanero and two of of the following: white cheese queso, house-made guacamole, house-made Cali guacamole, or house-made pico de gallo. We also ordered the queso fundido with gringo beef—pure, cheesy perfection. We ordered enough to sample all the things! It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if you like it hot, check out the mango habanero salsa. The house-made guacamole and chips were another clear winner, and you can never go wrong with melty cheese!
Mexican Street Fare at its Finest
Social Cantina is known for their delicious, street-style tacos and with 10 options to choose from, you’re sure to find something you crave. I love tacos, but they also have traditional enchiladas and tamales, so I had to opt for tamales. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, you have to try the cantina bowl. It’s basically a burrito in a bowl, but you can also make any of the bowls an actual burrito. I also just have to mention the Mexican-style street corn and the bacon-wrapped jalapenos.
Social Cantina Kids Menu
Although I was at Social Cantina sans kids, I always like to check out the kid’s menu anytime I visit new restaurant. At $5 per meal—including an entrée, side, and drink—it’s a bargain! Kids can choose from a cheese quesadilla, beef or chicken tacos, chicken tenders, or side taco salad. I know my kids would also appreciate the queso fundido and the house-made chips.
Desserts at Social Cantina
While we stuffed ourselves silly with salsa, chips, and our favorite Mexican fare, we absolutely saved room for dessert. The Tres Leches is a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk. If that sounds decadent, it is! They serve it with fresh cut berries and sauce, although you could eat the cake all by itself! They also have churros and a sundae served with cinnamon sugar-coated tostadas and choice of strawberry or chocolate sauce.
More about Social Cantina
Social Cantina is part of the Finney Hospitability group founded by Nathan Finney in Bloomington, Indiana. The group has three restaurants in addition to Social Cantina—the tap with locations in Indy, Bloomington, and West Lafayette, and Smokeworks and Yogis, both located in Bloomington. This is the second Social Cantina location in Indiana, the original is located in Bloomington. Two more Social Cantina locations are opening in 2022—Downtown in the former Mikado location on the corner of Illinois and Georgia Streets and another at the Indianapolis Airport.
350 Monon Boulevard
Midtown Carmel has definitely become a destination people all over the Indy area. The next time you’re headed north, check out the Social Cantina. Eat, drink, and BE SOCIAL!