By Matt Claborn

Nestled safely within the confines of the Eldorado Polo Club, The Cantina brings forth one of the most inviting, humble, and homey restaurants in the valley.

The anticipation is surely to build upon driving in to the polo fields, up to the entrance of The Cantina. First off, you will notice the astounding western views of the Santa Rosa Mountains, resting delicately on top of what seems like miles of fresh cut grass, ripe and ready for the upcoming polo season. Polo games will be held here Saturday’s and Sunday’s starting in January of the new year, the family friendly atmosphere is sure to be a hit once the season starts. Once inside, I was quickly greeted by the GM Martin Aldana, Head Chef Peter Zimowski, and bar manager Nate Fields, whom I immediately recognized as staff that know just how to treat people as guests in a restaurant, not just a customer. I chose to sit at the bar and admire the views while I browsed over the inviting menu.

I sampled a couple appetizers to start, first being the Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts, I’m going to have to say right off the bat here, that this dish alone is worth visiting The Cantina on a weekly basis. Perfectly cooked to crispy perfection, Chef Peter knows just how to land a winning plate of sprouts on the menu. The white balsamic vinaigrette is buttery and balanced, pickled cherry peppers and lemon zest add freshness and familiarity to the dish. Moving on, I chose to check out the Curry Roasted Cauliflower. With a nice play on a savory roasted cauliflower, flavors of India shine through the curry spices, fried chickpeas, and a wonderful spicy cilantro ranch for dipping. This dish is rich and creamy, however with the limes provided, a dash of citrus is all it needs to lighten and brighten things up on the palate.

For my entree I decided on the Yucatan Chicken Sandwich. While I waited on this dish to be delivered, Nate at the bar recommended a great cocktail by the name of “Sun God”. He informed me that this mixed drink is the second most popular concoction at Coachella Festival every year. Quickly after just a sip I had no doubts on why that is, with large chunks of cucumber floating in the glass, it is super fresh and inviting, making these things potentially dangerous. It’s honestly that good. The Yucatan Chicken Sandwich has a citrus and mellow achiote chili marinated chicken breast, topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, and an avocado mayo, served up on a lightly grilled ciabatta bun. Alongside the crunchy, golden fries, this sandwich offers a well-balanced ratio of goodness.

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The Cantina is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or to just pop in for a festive drink or two. Happy hour runs Tuesday – Friday 3pm to 6pm, Saturday nights offer a special BBQ menu and live music. One thing is for sure, when it comes to atmosphere, service, and menu options here at The Cantina at El Dorado Polo Club, they sure aren’t horsing around!

The Cantina – 50950 Madison Street – Indio CA – 760-775-3336