The right blend of Mexican spices turns meals into fiestas and lures droves of grazing piñatas within the reach of a sturdy broomstick. Enjoy south-of-the-border zest with today's Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of Mexican fare and cocktails at Que Pasa Cantina.
Voted Best Mexican Food in Portland in 2010 by Citysearch, Que Pasa Cantina has built a panegyric-earning reputation on a foundation of innovative Mexican menu items forged from locally sourced ingredients. Corn tortillas situated inside the chicken-enchilada casserole serve as edible barriers between layers of green-chili sauce and corn, donning a topping of sour-cream dollops, diced tomatoes, and black-olive bits ($10.95). The kitchen team crowns breaded Alaskan cod—the second-most-recent cod to become a U.S. state—with chopped cabbage, spicy yogurt sauce, and pico de gallo, all of which huddle inside a tortilla ($9.95). Feel free to charge into an appetizer of fresh-made guacamole ($6.95) while wetting your whistle with a margarita crafted from fresh lime juice and jalapeño-infused tequilas ($7.50+), one of Que Pasa Cantina’s sweet and savory cocktails ($6+), or one of eight bottled Mexican beers. A heated patio, open year-round, allows guests to dine amid softly lit lanterns and wooden furniture despite cold temperatures and vociferous picketing from unfed snowmen.
Que Pasa Cantina
When the owners of Que Pasa Cantina renovated the restaurant over a decade ago, they looked to Mexico for inspiration. As a result, the cantina feels like a portal to Mexico itself—tin and glass stars dangle from the ceiling, portraits of poppies decorate walls, and vibrant, striped blankets counterbalance dark woodwork. As for the menu, it strikes a balance between traditional and original. Among traditional options, margaritas contain hand-measured proportions of tequila and fresh lime, and posole brims with hominy, roasted chicken, and spicy tomato broth. A handful of the contemporary entrees rank among the most popular. In particular, the chicken enchilada casserole merges green chilies, corn, and cheese into a stick-to-your-sides entree that’s as comforting as a nap in a bed of mashed potatoes. The restaurant keeps eight Mexican beers on hand and four beers on tap.