A friend and I arrived on a Monday at 1 for lunch with no reservation. We were seated quickly in the left section of the restaurant which has 2 rows of booths with Parisian blue leather, upholstery and wood, and a center line of marble topped tables with wood cafe chairs. Our server guided us through the menu (also helping me identify the gluten-free options), which is a mix of both Italian and Mediterranean dishes, borrowing a few old favorites from Asti and Fino with some new additions. We kept it light and both ordered large salads. I had the Nizza Salad with oil cured Spanish tuna, spinach, green beans, potato, white beans, fried capers, and a soft-cooked farm egg, plus I added white anchovies on top for an extra $2. The fresh tuna and accompanying produce were perfectly married in balance and contrasts. Like the creaminess of the egg yolk compared to the unctuousness of the anchovy; a very pleasing combination. My friend ordered the Grilled Salmon Salad with mixed greens, beets, oranges, radish, almonds, and sherry vinaigrette. The bite I had was extremely fresh with the flavor of tomato and beets bursting through. The salmon was tender and moist, and added to the gorgeous color palette on the plate.
Cantine has an extensive bar program and offers happy hour 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. In addition to nightly dinner service, there is Sunday brunch, a narrow front patio for sidewalk watching, and complimentary valet parking (this might come in handy during the evening hours when I have heard the parking garage can get crowded). Cantine is a wonderful addition to South Lamar and I so look forward to a return visit.
Please note: Cantine has closed since the publication of this post.