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When you're visiting a coastal town, how can you resist dining at a restaurant that overlooks the waterfront, and features a panoramic view of the bay?  I can't resist, so I couldn't resist a visit to La Palapa, located near the foot of Calle Indenpendencia, on the bluff overlooking Bahia Tortugas, proper.  This restaurant was recommended to me by my gracious host Ernie, at Motel Nanci where I was staying during the three days I was visiting town.

Photo:  La Palapa is located on the bluffs, just above the water, and commands a panoramic view of the bay.  The photo clearly shows the open to the bay arrangement, that affords diners a million-dollar view.

La Palapa is more than a restaurant, as it features a full-service bar.  It is located on a low bluff, overlooking the bay, with a panoramic view of the harbor and the beach.  The restaurant features comfortable tables and chairs, either in the restaurant, which is open to the bay, or under the shady palapa.  It's a perfect spot to sit in the shade and relax, sip a cold Pacifico beer, and do a bit of people watching on a warm afternoon.  La Palapa is family owned and operated by Carlos and Mara, a friendly husband and wife team, and during the course of my visit, I had the pleasure to meet many of their family members who dropped by to visit.

Photo:  Carlos stands near the counter, where you place your order.  I simply sat down at a table, and they came to me.  Besides his family, I was the only person at the restaurant.

The menu at La Palapa reads like a dimestore seafood novel, as it advertises just about every combination taco, tostada, marisco, and combination seafood dish that your heart could desire.  Carlos explained to me that all of their food comes fresh from local fishermen, and not everything that's on the menu is available all of the time, which is understandable.  He told me that they prefer to deal with fresh, locally caught seafood, because its fresher, and its cheaper, as it doesn't have to be shipped in from Guerro Negro or Cabo San Lucas; both towns are a long ways away from Bahia Tortugas.  As I mentioned the menu choices were nearly endless, but I chose a combination plate of two fish tacos and rice, with all of the fixin's.  Naturally, before placing my order, I had to ponder my choices over a cold Pacifico beer, which is my favorite brand of Mexican beer, and just maybe my favorite beer on the planet.

Photo:  Carlos points to the award that his restaruant received.  Carlos and Mara are very proud of their restaurant, as they should be; their restaurant is a classy establishment, and serves good food.

Carlos and Mara are very proud of their restaurant, and the pride shows, as the place is neat, tidy and immaculate. As Mara prepared my order, Carlos came over to chat, and answered my many questions about the restaurant.  I guessed that La Palapa is family owned and operated, and I guessed correctly, I learned that they have been in the same location for over 20 years, and that they're very involved with the community, such that it is.  Carlos was proud to point out an award that they had received a few years ago, for producing the best fish taco in Bahia Tortugas.  

Photo:  Mara prepares smoky red salsa, in her efficient kitchen.

Photo:  This view of pangas and a yacht in the harbor was taken from my table, as I sipped a cold Pacifico beer.

La Palapa is a pleasant place to sit, in the cool shade, and enjoy a beer or two, and do a bit of people watching.  I told my gracious hosts that there was no need to hurry with my order, as I was quite content to relax, take photos from the open front of their restaurant, and enjoy the ambiance and the scenery.  

Photo:  The family comes to the restaurant.  This photo gives you a good idea of the spacious dining room, the harbor view, and provides a glimsp of the bay, and the municipal pier in the background.

As I was relaxing, and taking in the waterfront scenery, one of Carlos and Mara's daughters showed up, with her children.  The family is quite large, with three boys, and two daughters.  Daughter sat down at a table with the kids, and mom and dad came over to chit-chat, in between cooking my fish, (I was the only customer in the restaurant at the time) and the continual process of making salsa and condiments.  The kids sort of made themselves at home, as they ran around the restaurant, and made their way down to the nearby beach.  Of course I had to get out my camera and take a few photos, and the kids loved every minute of it.

Photo:  While daughter is relaxing, and visiting with mom and dad, the kids take the opportunity to play at the nearby beach.

After visiting with her daughter, and playing with her grandchildren, Mara disappeared into the kitchen, and returned with my order of two fish tacos, and a side dish of rice.  Each taco consisted of a large, corn tortilla, that was perfectly cooked, and somehow she'd managed to cook the tortilla so it wouldn't disentrigrate when you pick it up.  Each taco included three pieces of battered, deep fried fish.  Condiments included shredded cabbage, runny red salsa, the obligatory key lime halves, and a dish of fresh pico de gallo.  The rice was a bit on the red side, but not your stereotype of "Spanish rice."  Unlike in restaurants in Ensenada or San Felipe, runny white sauce was not offered on the side, and I didn't ask why not, and I didn't particularly miss it.  I loaded up my tacos and rice with the fresh condiments, and was immediately transported into fish taco nirvana.

Photo:  Carlos brings salsa and shredded cabbage, and Mara brings my delicious lunch of fish tacos.

Carlos was right, as his tacos are perfectly cooked, and made from fresh ingredients.  The battered fish was light and crispy, and not oily, and the condiments were fresh and delicious, and complimented, but didn't overpower the delicious flavor of the fish, and the corn tortillas.  The rice was cooked perfectly, it wasn't crispy nor was it mush and sticky, as it was cooked perfectly.  The food was delicious, but when you add wonderful scenery, gracious hosts, and a couple of Pacificos, you have a winning combination.  Oh yes, I paid MEX $60.00 for the meal, and MEX $12.00 for each beer... not bad at all.

Photo:  Smoky red salsa, diced cabbage, pico de gallo, and my lunch of fish tacos and rice.  Simply delicious!

Carlos and Mara have every right to proud of La Palapa, as they produce a delicious fish taco, and offer relaxing, family-friendly dining, with a spectacular view, overlooking the harbor of Bahia Tortugas, Baja California Sur, Mexico.


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