Wedged into a small, bright blue building on the East side of Montgomery Cross Road, La Canasta Panaderia is easily disregarded by travellers.. but if you’re a fan of authentic, homemade Mexican food, you really can’t afford to miss this hidden gem.
As the name suggests, La Canasta Panaderia y Taqueria is a Mexican bakery first, taco shop second. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a floor-to-ceiling case of sweet breads (pan dulce) and pastries. Coconut, apple, and pineapple flavors are popular, and many treats are dusted with colorful swirls of sugar. Fruity empanadas, cuernos (cream filled horns), and molasses cookies hit the spot with just the right amount of sweetness. Fresh sweet buns with cream filling are dusted with powdered sugar and extremely tender, and at only a buck apiece, they make an excellent take-home snack.
The taqueria menu is small, but what La Canasta serves, they serve well. Tacos are a delicious blend of cilantro, onion, and spiced meat, wedged between traditional soft corn tortillas. Choose between carne asada (grilled strips of beef), tripa (beef belly, perfectly cooked and full of flavor), al pastor (pork), or pollo (chicken – my favorite). A sope is an extra crispy corn fritter underneath a generous helping of meat, avocado, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa.
Aside from their daily offerings, La Canasta also offers weekend specials such as tamales and menudo. From time to time you can catch pozole on the menu, a hot stew with pork and hominy. Even on warm days, it’s worth ordering.
Expect an inexpensive meal. A Jarritos soda, two tacos, and two pastries sets you back around ten dollars. Up until recently La Canasta was a cash-only establishment, but thankfully the restaurant now accepts credit and debit cards as well.
Dining at La Canasta is an authentic Mexican experience, so authentic that you may want to brush up on your Spanish before ordering. On our first visit, a woman waiting in line behind us was happy to translate our order to the server. Since then, we’ve had no problems – the staff works hard to accommodate all patrons, and the menu is simple enough that after a visit or two, it’s easily communicated.
After all, isn’t good food a universal language?
La Canasta Panaderia is located at 1545 East Montgomery Cross Road in Savannah. For more information, give them a call at (912) 352-4800.