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North Banderas Beat - December 09, 2023

After a delightful family filled Pacific northwest summer  we have returned home to the land of peace! Rarely do I hear horns honking.

pg21a copyOthers truly care about your summer tales, the slower pace and ocean breezes have me sighing. The calm emanates as we prepare for the tourist season.

Our guests often call La Cruz a foodie’s mecca and we’re gaining even more great restaurants.


Many know Katia for her Café Shule’l. Along with her family she has now opened the Iguanacaxtle Restaurant in a bright and beautiful new location by the Glorieta (the roundabout). Every person who has eaten there raves: “Fresh ... creative ... yummy!”


The new Tapas bar Augustito brought music to my ears and had me salivating before I even knew that my friend Lorena was the owner. This means the world to me as my love of tapas began in Spain and Lorena is from Spain. Our first visit was with our daughter, and we were delighted that the place was filled with younger folks. We happened to show up on opening night. Tables on the street allowed us to enjoy front row seats to soft jazz and flamenco guitar. We felt like we were in Europe. We returned with other friends three days later and again the vibe was delightful.

Tapas are Spanish appetizers, a bite or two per order, so one can order a few. Traditional tapas include tortillas español. Don’t think Mexican tortillas – this is, for lack of a better explanation, a potato casserole. We also enjoyed other traditional tapas such as the fried baby squid and chorizo. The small plates included Spanish olives and wonderful sauces.

Our favorite drinks: sangria with a Mexican twist and the tasty, unique mezcal.




Cata del Mar

My friend Robinn so enjoyed these new offerings by father and son team, Polo and Orlando, that she wrote this for me: Nestled inside the Mercado “del Mar in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle sits a delicious surprise ... a gourmet dining experience at La Cata Del Mar. Open since 2022, it is quickly becoming a La Cruz favorite for fresh seafood. Polo has over 40 years restaurant experience, and as general manager of Cafe des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta for half of his life, he knows how to deliver an outstanding experience. Simple, honest food in a casual, waterfront setting at reasonable prices. Greeted like family and seated in an intimate lovely outdoor dining room, open to the chef slicing fresh-off -the-boat tuna for their signature dish, Tuna Tartare. Customers say “it’s the best ever!” Setting themselves apart they focus on special species of fish, with sides such as crispy couscous with red mole. If you’re a fan of octopus, you must try theirs! Creme brulee is a sublime ending to a perfect meal. Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.”

Bistro Marina

The father son duo also opened Bistro Marina a few steps away, closer to the fishing fleet, serving an elevated breakfast and lunch menu, featuring regional specialties such as handmade sausage from Toluca, and red mole brought in weekly from Oaxaca. The signature dish; Bistro Marina Platon, includes eggs, chilaquiles and green or red salsa, local beef jerky, and a pork tamale en ballotine. Breakfast is served 8 a.m. to noon, and lunch is noon to 3 p.m.

We’re all excitedly awaiting the opening of El Faro Restaurant; the lighthouse on the bay.

Kudos to the Marina bar and Grill staying open all summer and with the help of Steve Wharton and his band they create a fun place connecting those who live here full time as well as those who visit in the summer.

No one will go hungry in La Cruz!



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