Popular Mexican restaurant offers a delicious, upscale dining experience on the MS Coast

I don’t make it across the Pascagoula River very often, but it’s worth it every time.

This time my journey east took me to deMaiz Taco Cantina, a newer Mexican restaurant in Pascagoula that has already expanded its reach into West Mobile.

deMaiz has quickly become a popular spot thanks to a unique menu of offerings and a vibe that combines authenticity with fun. It is located at 3707 Denny Avenue.

The atmosphere is set as soon as you walk in the door. You’re greeted by an Instagram photo op wall branded with “Besos de Mezcal,” which means kisses from Mezcal.

There’s a look-in window to a section of the kitchen where meats are prepared on the grill and deeper into the restaurant is a modern and inviting back-lit bar.

The interior is colorful and does its job in transporting you to Old Mexico with columns and arches and faux window shutters in varying colors. Pink supports shoot across the ceiling with bare light bulbs hanging from ropes attached.

One one wall, the Mississippi state outline is painted over brick with “Pascagoula” darting across in script.

On the opposite wall, a quote that still takes up space in my heart is displayed: “Life isn’t all about tequila and tacos, but it should be.”

deMaiz passes the vibe check, but does it pass the food test?

Right away, the chip test gets an A. They’re warm and crunchy and both the salsa and queso dip are good.

I let the above mentioned quote influence my choice of meal and ordered Camaron Taco and strawberry pop-rita. The pop-rita isn’t on the menu, so you need to be sure you ask about it. And you absolutely must ask about it.

deMaiz and local Mexican dessert shop Heladeria La Frescura recently partnered to create the drink. It’s a traditional margarita that comes in strawberry, mango or lime and arrives with an ice pop made from scratch dipped inside the ice.

It’s every bit as good as it sounds. It also paired well with the taco, which came on a small flour tortilla but was loaded with fillings and toppings. It came with shrimp, purple cabbage, cilantro, garlic aioli, pico de gallo and pickled purple onions. The combination of ingredients creates a well-balanced savory-to-fresh ratio authentic Mexican dishes often feature.

I also ordered the Chilango burrito, which came with steak, refried beans, Mexican rice, grilled onions and pico de gallo. It was filling and left me stumbling out the door.

The rest of the menu offers a la carte tacos, salad bowls, nachos and plenty more. You can also get a torta here, also known as Mexican po’boys.

If you’re looking for a new Mexican restaurant to add to your rotation on the east side of the Coast, you’ll need to be careful. deMaiz Taco Cantina just might become your go-to.

The chilango burrito and camaron taco from deMaiz Taco Cantina in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Scott Watkins/Sun Herald
The chilango burrito and camaron taco from deMaiz Taco Cantina in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Scott Watkins/Sun Herald