This restaurant has been featured before – but has changed so much in five years it deserves a second look. This is our favorite family weekend spot. The place where we kick off the weekend with a yum-o fresh meal to get us ready for a paddle, a bike ride or a day at the beach. Fair warning: there is almost always a line to get in between 8 a.m. and noon, but Zorro’s Café & Cantina epitomizes the statement “worth the wait.”
Since our last review the owner, Cindy, has orchestrated an amazing transformation on the restaurant both inside and out. And I have to admit, at first I was worried that our favorite cozy little cantina might lose its small-town Village feel. Just the opposite is true however, because Cindy and her family have worked tirelessly together to make this place even more amazing. Cindy’s son Eric and daughter-in-law Bailey manage the restaurant so seamlessly that you would hardly know that they are now serving double the patrons. By moving the kitchen completely to the rear of the building this allowed for double the interior tables and added a fun bar area. And of course the outside patio is where we typically like to be soaking up the perfect Shell Beach whether – even in the chillier months with the heaters and authentic blankets for our laps straight from Mexico.
If you’re unfamiliar with my last review, you’ll find this amazing fresh American and Mexican dining experience nestled in the heart of Shell Beach. Originally just open for breakfast and lunch, they now serve dinner … which is always a great place to find yourself on a Saturday afternoon after a walk though town, some play time at Dinosaur Caves Park or maybe even on a return from a trip down the Bob Jones Trail. Although seating is not as limited as it once was, there does always seem to be a short wait – but Eric keeps that list moving! And they are pet-friendly on the patio.
On our short list of regular Sunday Breakfast Stops, my favorite on this menu is the Special Scramble. Made with fresh ingredients, the veggies are always cooked just right and mixed to perfection with the light and fluffy eggs… paired with yummy hash browns and fresh fruit or toast it’s a perfect start to the day. However their authentic Chilaquiles will also light your fire and get your day started with a kick! And always a crowd pleaser at Realtor Open Houses (where it’s the food that brings ’em in) are Zorro’s famous breakfast burritos and yummy homemade salsa. Just mention these burritos to your co-workers and you will be the most popular in any profession.
Zorro’s Café & Cantina
927 Shell Beach Rd
Phone: 805-773-9676 (ZORO)
For lunch, this is a perfect spot for a quick bite with co-workers or for a business lunch with a client. It’s fun, affordable and feels like a welcome break in the middle of the day. My favorite is the fresh tiger shrimp tacos — a fun take on the usual “fish tacos” — from the special sauce, crisp veggies and fresh soft corn tortillas. Perfect size for lunch — not too much or too little so that I don’t feel like having a nap when I get back in front of the laptop.
And of course, don’t miss their Tacarona happy hour with $2.50 tacos and Coronas from 4-6 pm daily … a perfect and delicious dinner that can be as light or as heavy as you want it to be!
All in all, Cindy and her family make this cantina a cornerstone of Shell Beach dining, with a delicious menu and a relaxing and fun atmosphere any time of the day, any day of the week.