After opening one of Santa Monica’s most compelling taco restaurants a few years ago before having to close, Punta Cabras makes a happy return to the Westside beginning May 30. Daniel Snukal (Urasawa, Ludobites) and Mark Mittleman (Polo Lounge, Art’s Table) take the idea of the original Tacos Punta Cabras and add on a much bigger, substantial menu with everything from the classic tostadas and tacos to burgers, raw bar, cocktails, and even large format plates. In essence, Punta Cabras is the grown up, fully realized version of the restaurant it always wanted to be, and it brings a much needed dose of modern Mexican cuisine to Santa Monica.
The multi-faceted space has three elements inside: a larger sitdown dining room with colorful pinata heads; a more casual taqueria optimized for quick meals and even takeaway; and finally a more exclusive and specialized chef’s tasting menu that will change nightly. One of the more unique items includes costras, a Mexico City-style dish that melts chihuahua and gouda cheeses with things like ribeye, squash, or shrimp and places it into a tortilla or lettuce cup. There’s a huge focus on fresh seafood, since this is just a short jaunt from the beach. A mixed seafood ceviche comes with lobster, shrimp, sea urchin, and scallops on a crispy corn tostada, or a sea bream ceviche with mandarin orange, fennel, and bee pollan. A new burger or the half-roasted chicken should appeal to a wider demographic.
The taqueria much resembles their earlier restaurant, with everything from the patented cauliflower tostada to fresh seafood cocteles and ceviches. Meaty items like braised chile chicken and beer marinated beef come on as new additions to the taqueria menu. Former Joe’s Venice barman Zachariah Parks assembles the cocktail, which includes colorful takes on bloody marys, old fashioneds, and tom collins. The Murderous Mary takes yuzu ponzu with mezcal and fennel salt while Aromatherapy mixes Mexican whiskey with palo santo, and lamb-infused mezcal.
Punta Cabras will open May 30 with hours from 11 a.m. to midnight for the taqueria, and starting at 5 p.m. for the full dining room and cocktails.
Punta Cabras. 930 Broadway. Santa Monica, CA.