PAZ Cantina, closed since late 2015, opened again about two weeks ago. The restaurant had to press pause to make way for the construction of new apartments on Roosevelt Row. After a few more holdups than expected, the restaurant is fully open, and chef Johanna Loarte is cooking Mexican favorites once again.
Tortas, tacos, burritos, and salads dominate the menu. Staples like flautas and enchiladas are sprinkled in. You'll find many of the usual suspects, like carne asada, chicken tinga, nopales, and barbacoa.
Though the restaurant describes its food as "traditional Mexican," there are modern touches: tight zigzags of crema, fries in one taco, a horchata cold brew.
These touches befit the dining room. It is long and open and spacious, electric with murals that swirl all the way up to the front bar, where 55 agave spirits await.
PAZ keeps its doors open for the late night crowd. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m. weekdays and midnight on weekends (though the kitchen closes at 10 p.m.). Every night of the week there is some kind of event: trivia, comedy, game night, or live music.
Brunch is offered Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturday, you can eat Mexican sweet breads or a menudo plate while bathing in the tunes of a DJ. A Bloody Mary flight just made its debut on the brunch menu. This features Bloody Marys green (green tomatillo and gin), yellow (heirloom tomato and tequila), and red (red tomato and vodka), each with its own garnishes and salt rim.
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PAZ runs a cafe next to the restaurant. There, you can get Mexican Coke, kombucha tea, and standard coffee drinks and more specialty lattes (churro latte, Mayan mocha) brewed with Espressions Coffee Roastery beans. The cafe also stocks low-maintenance portable morning foods like grab-and-go breakfast burritos, fruit plates with tamarind sauce, and pan dulce.
And yes, the cafe also serves beer, wine, and liquor.
PAZ Cantina. 330 East Roosevelt Street; 602-883-3651.
Sunday 10 a.m. to midnight; Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.