For those of you who have a robust appetite and a taste for outstanding Mexican food, I highly recommend that you drive Carmel Valley Road to the Baja Cantina in the Valley Hills Center, adjacent to the Quail Lodge.
The Baja Cantina owned by Patrick and Gina Phinny is a "car guys" institution-car memorabilia adorns every square inch of the outside and the inside of the restaurant. Here people come to have a good time as well as extremely entertaining food.
I have fond memories of the Grilled Prawn Fajitas and the Chicken Mango Enchiladas. The menu is very extensive, a well-balanced combination of Mexican and American cuisine. The smiling and bubbly Sandy took care of us at our last visit to the Baja Cantina, the dining room was full, and the atmosphere definitely yuppie.
On Thursday nights between 6 and 9pm, the Baja Cantina becomes a Classic Car meeting ground. It's not unusual to see between 30 - 100 cars of local stars, hot rods, classic cars and special interest cars outside the "Baja Filling Station". On these Hot Chili Nites, the Baja Cantina serves up a special $7 barbecue accompanied by live Rhythm and Blues bands. On every third Thursday there is a free raffle and hats.
This article was written in the www.CarmelValleyNews.com in the April 3, 2000 issue by Daniel Barduzzi, the Food & Wine critic.
Valley Hills Center
7166 Carmel Valley Road
Carmel, CA 93923