Unbeknownst to most, Hussong’s Cantina is one of the oldest, most storied Mexican dining destinations out there. It’s roots date all the way back to the late 1800s, when German emigrant Johann Hussong opened up his first eatery in Ensenada, Mexico. Hussong and his team have been credited with inventing the margarita, and while this and many Mexican favorites have been replicated across the US, Hussong’s Cantina itself has made the jump to Las Vegas.
A humble setup in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, Hussong’s Cantina delivers the laid-back experience you’d hope to find at a beachside eatery in a quiet Mexican fishing village (yes, Ensenada was a quiet place back in the day). But don’t fool yourself: with a margarita recipe that’s more than 125 years old, Hussong’s Cantina knows how to make a mean drink and get the party going. Seriously though, they make a darn good margarita, and many variations of it. If you can’t decide on just one, they also serve them in flights of four.
Tacos are, of course, a specialty. You’ll certainly have your bases covered with your classic carne asada, which boasts a rich meatiness not found in most cuts north of the border, as well as the fish taco, beer battered with excellent texture and consistency. Hussong’s Cantina has gotten inventive over the years, with new creations such as the pork belly taco topped with cabbage and crushed chicharrones. The taco selection is mix and match, so patrons will be able to enjoy a happily satisfy their curiosity.
Enchiladas are another iconic favorite, where guests can customize the selection with their choice of filling from land or sea as well as any of three sauces—red, green, or signature cheese—or they can go with all three for a meal that resembles the Mexican flag.
Quite a bit of American influence has taken over the dessert menu, but with good intention and even better results. Fried ice cream with a Frosted Flake coating and sweet tomatillo glaze is just as decadent as it sounds, and the churros are top notch, served a la mode atop a mountain of candied walnuts.
Hussong’s Cantina is located at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 3930 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Open 11a – 11p 7 days/week. Average out-the-door price for split appetizer, entree, split dessert and 1-2 drinks is ~$55/person. For more information call (702) 632-6450 or visit HussongsLasVegas.com.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.