South of town about two miles on the free road, El Tarapanco is located just past the traffic signal, next to the second OXXO mart, on the ocean side (near the access to the new highway through the hills to the Otay Mesa crossing in Tijuana)
From the same family that owns the El Nido restaurants that are sprinkled across Northern Baja and the Los Pelicancos hotel/restaurant in Rosarito; this small, attractive place is decorated in a rustic style, the walls and ceiling are wallpapered with small, whole tree branches nailed to the structure. Two glass fronted, wood-burning fireplaces dominate the dining room and there is an additional firepit out in the enclosed patio.
ET serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and the large menu features organic beef and lamb from their ranches and there are seafood entrees as well, along with many familiar Mexican dishes; tacos, enchiladas, burritos, eggs with chorizo (Mexican sausage), etc.
The dinner entrees and combinations are all priced around $25, and they come with soup, salad, baked potato and a basket of homemade, grilled-on-the-mesquite-fire tortillas. The salad is delivered in a cart that offers close to a dozen additions (red onions, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seeds, etc., etc.) and three dressings. For the baked potato, choose from an selction of butter, sour cream, chopped green onions and (real) bacon bits
We have tried the rack of lamb and the ribeye steak – both were excellent and cooked as ordered.
Unfortunately, the calamari and shrimp we tried were predictably overcooked, even when requested to be served moist.
There is an extensive cocktail menu: Beer is $3.00; Margaritas are $4.50 and up, Glass of wine, $4.50; a bottle of wine is $20+
The service is excellent and attentive, the premises and facilities are very clean.
The restaurant takes M/C, Visa, and Diners Club (they probably add the standard 6% surcharge as well).
During our last visit, we met two Canadian ladies having lunch there. They had flown into San Diego the night before, unloaded their bikes and hit the road at daybreak. They were heading down south to—well…they planned to bike all the way to Cabo.
We wished them well.