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Maria's Cantina in Wilton Manors is a tribute to owner's parents



Maria's Cantina

2400 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, 954-314-7703,

Maria Flores opened this Mexican eatery this spring in the former Cupcake Sushi in memory of her parents.

“My mother always had restaurants in Mexico,” she says. “My father built a barbacoa oven by the highway. I remember my parents waking up at 4 a.m. to ground the boiled corn for tortillas, my mother making three salsas and the rooster singing at 5 a.m. We would open at 6 a.m. and be sold out by noon. Cars would line up to buy our slowly cooked lamb, blue-corn tortillas, avocado salad, fresh salsas and coffee made with cinnamon sticks.”

Avocado salad tossed in olive oil and lemon juice ($8.25) reappears on her menu, and the mole recipe for beef or chicken enchiladas ($12.95) is handed down from her grandmother. Other highlights include beef flautas ($7.95); chicken or steak burrito with chili sauce ($10.95); beef or chicken tostadas with green sauce ($11.95) ;and chicken- or beef-stuffed grilled poblano peppers, called cheese chile rellenos ($12.95).

Frozen margarita and pina coladas are ready from machines, alongside red sangria (all $6.95).

Lunch and dinner are served daily amid homey, rustic Mexican decor with yellow walls, red floor, wood-tiled tables and pendant lighting wrapped around suspended wood beams.

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