Drink with the Dead at Cantina de Los Muertos
It’s Dia De Los Muertos every day of the year at Cantina De Los Muertos in Tequila Restaurant’s Burbank location
Although Mexican restaurants are not traditionally associated with the spirits of the dead, Mexican culture has bequeathed to us their annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration, so perhaps it should not be too big a surprise to find Cantina De Los Muertos tucked quietly inside Tequila’s Restaurant in Burbank. The small bar, just off the main dining area, features shelves stocked with specialty tequilas in bottles shaped like skeletons, tap handles with skulls mounted on them, and three oversized calacas (decorative skulls) painted on the walls.
In keeping with the spirit of Dia De Los Muertos, the decorations are more festive than sinister. The brightly painted skulls are virtually identical in design except for their color schemes, particularly the hues of the three roses beneath each one’s chin. The skeletal tequila bottles are quaint. Though the painted face on the Kah Tequila bottle is a bit intimidating, this is balanced by the luchador-shaped bottle on a lower shelf, reminding us of how Mexican wrestlers used to battle supernatural forces in films like Santo vs. the Vampire Women (1962).
Situated inside a Mexican restaurant, Cantina de los Muertos understandably specializes in tequilas and imported beer (Dos Equis, Corona, Negra Modelo, etc), but there is a full bar stocked with vodka, rum, gin, and wine. High-end brands are Patron Bordeos Extra Anejo and Don Julio Real Extra Anejo, which go for $75 and $50. More affordable brands go for $12 to $15, with the mid-range brands running from $20 to $40.
The drinks menu lists margaritas only, but the friendly bartenders are happy to whip up any cocktail you want, provided they have the ingredients. We ordered a Cazuela that turned out very nice even though it clearly did not contain the usual recipe of sliced fruits and grapefruit soda.
The House Margarita (Gold Tequila, Triple Sec & Sweet and Sour) goes for $10. There is also an oversized Mega Margarita – reputedly forty-eight ounces, which is easy to believe though we have never measured it. Available in strawberry, mango, peach, coconut, or rasberry, it is very good but more appropriate when enjoyed by a couple having dinner. If you are visiting the Cantina de los Muertos specifically, you should sample one of their many twenty-ounce Premium Margaritas, which include such flavors as Ruby Red, Pomegranate, Pineapple-Jalapeno, and Cucumber Habanero. Premium Margaritas cost $20.
Tequila’s Restaurant Burbank offers specials on several weekdays. If you are interested in dinner, we recommend Crunch Taco Tuesday, which features tacos for $2.50 apiece, with your choice of Beef, Chicken, Pork, or Tacos de Papa (tacos with mashed potato), the latter of which we highly recommend. Served a la carte, the tacos come buried in lettuce, tomato, and cheese, turning them into something very like a tostada; the combination is quite filling, so it is easy to make a meal of them, especially if you order a side of rice and/or refried beans (both of which are nicely flavored).
If you a visiting only to enjoy the margaritas, Margarita Mondays provides discount House Margaritas, and Cadillac Wednesdays offers Premium Cadillac Margaritas for the discount price $10, plus draft beer for only $5.
Another option is Happy Hour, which runs from 2pm to 6pm daily. Deals include a twelve-ounce Cadillac Margarita for $10, 1800 Reposado for $5 instead of $12, and House Margaritas for $8, with flavor options of lime, strawberry, mango, raspberry, and peach. Well drinks go for $6, including vodka rum, gin, whisky, and tequila, with in-house mixers added at no extra cost. Snack food options include nachos, quesadillas, tostadas, and Tequila’s Fiesta Platter, with prices ranging from $10 to $15.
Hollywood Gothique's rating of Cantina de los Muertos
Decor & Ambiance
1 – Avoid
2 – Some redeeming features
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
For haunt fans, Cantina de Los Muertos is a bit of a novelty, a small bar with a Dia de los Muertos overlay, situated inside a Mexican restaurant. It is not as spooky as the completely unexpected Haunted Pirate Mansion of the Caribbean inside Kahuna Tiki Tu restaurant in Valley Village; nevertheless, it is worth a visit, not only for the decor but also for the excellent dining and drinking options. With a comfortable seating capacity of fourteen, there may not be room during the dinner rush, so if you are visiting the Cantina specifically, you may want to arrive during off-hours.
Our rating represents an average based on an impression of the location combined with various menu items we have sampled, so it is subject to change should we update it. If we were to provide an overall rating for Cantina de los Muertos, it would rank a solid four stars. Even though the decor is quite colorful and appealing, we are giving it a three-star rating because it is limited to a few painted skulls on the walls and some novelty items behind the bar. Food, service, and cocktails are excellent.
Cantina de los Muertos is located inside Tequila’s Restaurant in Burbank. The address is 4310 W. Magnolia Boulevard. Hours of operation are 11:30am-9pm on weekdays and Sundays, 11:30am-10pm on Fridays and Saturday. Dial (818) 845-7217 to make reservations, or visit their website for more information: tequilascantina.com.