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Taco Cantamar In Cantamar between Rosarito and Ensenada, Baja California Norte

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While getting gas (the automobile kind) at the Cantamar Pemex today, I also got lunch to go from Tacos Cantamar, the stand that is between the Pemex and the lighthouse, next to Ruben's Palm Grill.

They have been here for maybe five years. Great food, consistently good. The kitchen is kept immaculately clean and the food handling is meticulous - everything is visible.

The battered fish and shrimp tacos are prepared to order. The carne asada is grilled over charcoal.

They have fish bouillon (cuahuamata) that locals from Tijuana (thirty plus miles away) drive down to enjoy.

While I was waiting, one guy that was there told the cooks, "Soy chilango". Whether that is a compliment or a boast, or a bit of both, I don't know, but he kept ordering taco after taco and smacking his lips loudly.

If you go, don't forget to ask for the complimentary "cebollitas asado", lightly charcoal grilled green onions - delish!

Sometimes they have "rellenos" - jalapenos stuffed with crab meat.

The family has a restaurant in Puerto Nuevo, Restaurante Sandra's. We haven't tried it yet, but I asked our cocinero at the taco stand today if they served "langosta vive" and he replied with an emphatic, "Si!"

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  1. I expect that the term "Soy Chilango" was the highest form of a compliment to the Chefs.
    It is slang for, " I am from Mexico city." Many Mexicans feel that the pinnacle of Taco perfection is achieved there, so the fact that a person from there is smacking his lips and chowing down on the local tacos is a form of flattery.
    I wish I could have been there with you and have enjoyed a double order of "cebollitas
    asado"
    If you are ever in San Miguel de Allende look behind the San Francisco church
    in the evening and find the Taco stand of Don Thomas. It might bring tears to your
    eyes.

    9 Replies
    1. re: paul balbin

      Hey Paul,

      See you and want to visit you. A long time, very treasured friend is a high profile resident of San Miguel de A (the fellow with the Basset hounds).

      E-mail me at ohanahui@yahoo.com and I will provide more info.

      1. re: Gypsy Jan

        Oh how things have changed :-). In the early 80s I dated, and almost married, a man who had a house in Cantamar (2nd or 3rd row back from the beach IIRC). All that was there was the Pemex station some very small businesses and a not always very well stocked Consupo (talk about blast from teh past). I'm glad to hear there are much better options now

        Puerto Nuevo was a cluster of small homes with hand printed signs out front advertising their menu. We used to stop by and get lobsters trapped that morning and take them back to the house in Cantamar and cook them. Pure heaven. I would dearly love to find a reliable rental in Cantamar, weekend or otherwise.

        Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Senor Borja, who established the seaside development and whose wife named it Cantamar (Singing Ocean or "Song of the Sea") celebrated his 86th birthday recently. Greg Niemann wrote a terrific book about the "good old party days" in Cantamar called "Baja Fever".

          DD. write to me at ohanahui@yahoo.com and I will give you the email address(es) for people who can help you out with a rental at Cantamar.

          1. re: Gypsy Jan

            GJ, thanks for the offer. I'll contact you shortly for the referral

          2. re: DiningDiva

            lol DD..did we date the same guy?

            1. re: Beach Chick

              Was his name Tom :-) ?

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Not Tom..
                I remembered the gorgeous home was oceanfront but wouldn't that of been a hoot if it was the same guy..
                I so miss the lobster houses at Puerto Nuevo..freshly made huge flour tortillas with the freshly caught lobster with the melted butter, best beans and rice and fold those bad boys into the best lobster burritos, slamming down Pacificos with the Mariachi's playing..before the $2 a song..

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  I am REALLY going to date myself here....

                  WE used to buy whole lobsters right from the fishermen at PN when there were no restaurants. PN was a wide spot in the road (well, I guess it sort of still is <gg>) with a few houses. The men fished, their wives fed the occasional stray tourist that wandered in looking for lobster. It was amazingly good because it was absolutely spot on fresh, home cooked and you got more than your share of rustic ambiance. I knwo people think that griddling a lobster is sacrilige, but once you've tasted a fresh spiny perfectly done that way? Hard to beat, and as you say, add in those great beans and tortillas and what's not to love.

                  Ah memories...

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Last time I was in PN was Sept. 2001 and we always would go to the first house on the left the original Ortega's across from the darling church.
                    Nothing like fresh spiny lobster grilled and when they would catch the large lobster and charge $5 more than the small..those were the days!
                    Total was about $15 pp for a huge lobster dinner and beers were .50cents and I can still taste the melted butter..dripping from the handmade tortillas and the bowls that served the rice and beans...it was mostly us native SD.
                    Seeing that stacked high plate of lobster cut in half..salivating as I write this.

                    Dang, is there any place like that here?

      2. Hey Gypsy Jan. Great pit stop find.

        The cahuamanta is a manta ray soup, popular in Sonora and Sinaloa; Baja too with all the Sonorenses and Sinaloenses.