The Pier Cantina and Sandbar Jacksonville Restaurant Review

The Pier Cantina and Sandbar Jacksonville Restaurant Review

Why do all my favorite Mexican Restaurants have to be so far from Downtown? Right now, besides this restaurant review of The Pier, TacoLu is my other favorite (TacoLu Restaurant Review) This place was a pleasant surprise and it is now going to be in my normal rotation … when I get out to the beaches that is.

412 1st Street North
Jacksonville Beach, FL. 32250

The Location: I’m not familiar enough with the area to give you specifics. But as far as parking is concerned, there is a lot right next to it. It costs $5 to park but when you leave, just show the attendant your meal receipt and they refund your $5 on the spot. Awesome if you ask me, because that is the one thing I dread about going to the beach…the dreaded parking situation.

The Food: I have failed as your food critic. I forgot to bring my giant…overcompensating….camera. Yep, I have failed you and I apologize. The pictures attached are from an iPhone :( . Now, on to the restaurant review. After parking, we entered via the beach/sand side of the restaurant. That entrance takes you to bottom floor, of course, which appeared to be mostly a bar type atmosphere.

It had a pretty good crowd, I saw people sitting outside in the patio area as well. It seemed to be jumping. When we walked through the bar area, we arrived at the host/hostess podium and put our name on the wait list. After a short time, we were seated upstairs in what appears to be the main dinning area. First off, good lord, what a view! We were being seated right at sunset and it was awesome. That picture above is from our table inside the restaurant! Ok, the food now.

We started off with a couple drinks, the wifey got the House Margarita for $5.99 and I went with the Red Sangria for $7.00. Her margarita was very strong, they don’t skimp on the good stuff! They forgot the salt on the rim after they confirmed that we wanted salt, but no big deal, it happens. The sangria was packed with fresh fruit and was perfect. One of the better ones I have had anywhere. Back to the food –> First off, let me say this. Get something with the skirt steak in it. That was some of the best meat I have ever had. It was so tender and flavorful.

I got the Cantina Fajitas for $16.99. It is kind of pricey but the portion is huge. It came with fresh grilled veggies, chicken, SKIRT STEAK!, and shrimp on the sizzling platter. You get the traditional tortilla, refried beans, cheese/lettuce/sour cream you are accustomed to. It was all very fresh and everything on the meat part of the platter had great flavor, no one type of meat/seafood was over cooked (which happens at other places). The wife ordered the Fish Tacos for $10.99.

Very fresh tasting and the fish was done perfectly. This was my wife’s first fish taco and I think she is hooked now. I’m worried that The Pier kind of set the bar high though for her lol. I don’t have any complaints about The Pier. Like I said above, this will now be one of two places I think of when I’m in the mood for Mexican food, it’s worth the drive out to the beaches.

Extras: Ok, I heard this place was struggling with it’s previous menu but it appears, now that they have switched to Mexican food, they are on track to recovering their name. While I was there, I saw 3 of the 4 owners working in some form or another. One was even working the attendant position in the parking lot! It appears these guys are committed to make this work and are on hand to address any problems. I heard one of the owners is related to the La Nopalera family (La Nopalera Restaurant Review) He appears to be have stepped up the game and taken it to a higher level than La Nopalera. If you go here…agree or disagree…post a comment and let me know, I’m interested in knowing what you thought.

The Good:
– Parking is super easy for once (beach wise)
– Outstanding view
– Everything is fresh
– Skirt steak is/was amazing

The Bad:
– They missed the margarita salt (can’t imagine that happens often)
– It’s 30 minutes from my house! Come on guys, bring that menu downtown!