There is a new amigo in town.
Amigos Restaurant & Cantina, a new Mexican restaurant in Rotonda West, opened Oct. 18 to help address a yawning Gasparilla Island dining option void.
Mexican food is hard to find around Boca Grande after Habaneros folded. Pepper-heads now must travel 10 miles or more to Prime Time in Rotonda or 20 miles to the Taco Shop on U.S. 41 in north Port Charlotte or Dean's in Punta Gorda.
Server Kelley Baldwin handles a tray filled with margaritas on its way to thirsty Amigos customers.
Amigo's is the newest of the bunch. This charming little restaurant is owned and operated by the Laigle family from Torrington Conn., where they have owned other restaurants.
Manager Rebecca Laigle also waits tables while operating under her father's direction.
"My father is retired but he could not sit still," she said. "He had a good friend in Connecticut who owned and operated a Mexican restaurant that we ate at least once a week. Florida is where we wanted to open a Mexican restaurant."
Amigos Restaurant & Cantina
Opened: Oct. 18, 2011
Manager: Rebecca Laigle
Hours: 2 to 9 p.m. Monday; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; closed Sunday.
Specialties: Chile rellenoss, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, chimichangas, quesadillas and tacos.
Address: 3745 Cape Haze Drive
Call: (941) 698-2446
Having family friends in Southwest Florida helped narrow location options for the Laigles.
"Once we realized the property in Rotonda was available it quickly became the perfect fit," she said.
Mexican food flair abounds at Amigos with the requisite nachos, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas accompanying their No. 1 seller: chiles rellenos. The pepper level of most dishes is relatively tame unless additional flame is requested.
Diners should be aware some appies are reheated frozen food like the jalapeno poppers. But the handmade sea scallops in green chile sauce are outstanding as is the shrimp sauted in wine, butter and garlic sauce. Choose wisely.
Prices for appetizers range from $5.95 to $10.95. Entre prices range from $9.95 to $14.95. House specialties such as grilled marinated chicken breast with veggies, rice and beans start at $14.95 running up to a max of $19.95 for shrimp and scallops sauted in saffron sauce with fresh veggies on a bed of rice.
Entre presentation is artistic. Amigos wait staff, extremely friendly and quick to serve, runs happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. All drinks are hand-made, including outstanding margaritas.
Most Amigos desserts are made by Laigle, including a dessert cup family recipe filled with vanilla cream puff filling and chocolate cake in addition to the frozen tequila lime pie.
Monday is wing night, Tuesdays and Thursdays are taco nights, Wednesdays is fajita night and Fridays and Saturdays are chef's choice.