Baja Cantina - Carmel
Baja Cantina - Carmel

Baja Cantina - Carmel

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.bajacantina.com/
  • Phone: 8316252252
  • Hours of Operation:
    Weekend Brunch: 11:00am - 2:00pm; Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 4:00pm, Saturday - Sunday: 11:00am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Nightly: 4:00pm - 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican / Southwestern, Contemporary Mexican
  • Executive Chef: Mauro Cuevas
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Dancing, Entertainment, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: We offer a full range of catering options from simple deliveries to buffets. Have one of our uniformed chefs come to your location and prepare our famous tacos and quesadillas on our custom built comal. We cater groups as small as 10 guests, or groups upward of 600 guests.
  • Entertainment: Live music Thursday through Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoons (during summer months). We have a classic car gathering every Thursday night (also during summer months). All the best NFL matchups are shown on our multiple big screen televisions.
  • Special Events: We have the biggest Super Bowl party on the Peninsula, featuring a tailgate buffet, HD big screens, as well as beer promotions. We have the best Cinco de Mayo party in town. Our classic car gathering on Thursday nights in the summer time are a locals favorite. We celebrate St. Patrick's day with live music, Guinness on draft, and traditional Irish cuisine. We specialize in having a good time, so call about any holiday or special event because most likely we have a party going on at the Baja

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Valley Greens Drive
  • Public Transit: Monterey-Salinas Transit stops at Valley Hills Center.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: We have both a private lot and plenty of street parking as well.
A word from Baja Cantina - Carmel
Baja Cantina is a fun and energetic place that is known for its exceptional automotive memorabilia collection and excellent food. We have a large outdoor patio that is perfect to sit and relax on a sunny afternoon with one of our award winning margaritas. We have special events all year round, including our famous classic car gatherings, holiday parties, tequila tastings, and sporting events.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
  • Diners' Choice WinnerKid Friendly
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
Baja Cantina - Carmel reviews from OpenTable diners
17 reviews since May 20, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.4
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance4.3
    Noise LevelModerate
87% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (12)good for groups (9)great for lunch (8)kid-friendly (7)vibrant bar scene (6)great for brunch (5)special occasion (4)neighborhood gem (3)hot spot (3)scenic view (3)late-night find (2)romantic (2)fit for foodies (1)Show More
  • Always wonderful
    FarashaVIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Even on one of their busiest nights, the staff of the restaurant make everyone feel welcome and important. We had a last minute change to our party number, but they still did everything they could so we could all have fun and enjoy the music. We always make it a point to take our grandson here every year, as it is one of his favorite places EVER, and he loves the Money Band. We always recommend Baja Cantina to our friends and guests.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best for the Area
    GaryMc
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    I have found over the years that when in the Carmel area it is difficult to find good Mexican cuisine. Baja Cantina seems to be the answer. It has great ambiance and lots of character with their decor. The food is middle of the road considering what is available in other parts of California, but very good for what I've found in Carmel/Monterey.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Outdoor Dining
    Bobz
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    I saw the reviews for this retaurant and thought we would give it a try since it was not that far from Carmel and we wanted to avoid the hectic Carmel atmosphere. We arrived between lunch and dinner and we had most of the outdoor patio to ourselves which was nice. It is a beautiful spot with nice flowers and trees, a brick fireplace, and views of the surrounding hills. We ordered the chile rellanos with enchiladas and both were very good. Our son ordered the mango enchiladas and he thought they were excellent. They had a good selection of beers on tap and my wife thought her cadillac margarita was very good. We would come back for sure. Nice shops to browse around in too.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Tex Mex
    DoubleAceVIP
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Fantastic restaurant that has upped its game in the last few years. Margaritas are smooth - not too tangy, just right. Enchiladas are a house specialty and highly recommended. If you want to sit outside, you have to request early - the seats go fast especially on the weekend when they have music on the deck.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • service ...........................
    bmac250SC
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    1. Our waiter skipped us and took the order of a table that came in after us. 2. One of three orders came to the table with the wrong garnish request. 3. I had to remind the server to bring an ordered beer. Most significantly all with a very unfriendly and "don't bother me attitude" Overall "F" grade for customer service.
    Special Features:
    scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • RoRo
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    We have been to Baja Cantina a few times. The food is always good but the service was very slow this time. We were there on a Sunday at 11:00 am so maybe they were not fully staffed. Nice & quiet in the dining room, the bar area was busy.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love Baja Cantina!
    Doodle
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    We come from Aptos to dine here.really good drinks, food, and very nice servers and hostess. Food is special.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Awesome food and vintage signs...
    signguy
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    Great drive from the Silicon Valley on a Saturday for a fantastic lunch. Food is some of the best Mexican food our party of four has ever had. For those who are collectors of vintage and antique oil and gas and automotive signs, this place has one of the best collections on the west coast... very camera worthy for pictures. Would have loved to buy several signs to add to my collection, but they are not for sale. Regardless, was a pleasure to look at them as well as enjoy fantastic food. Will be back soon and often. It is a gem.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food2love
    Dined on 6/2/2014
    Went on Monday which is rib night..the best BBQ ribs I have ever gotten...anywhere. Had guacamole and also the seafood cocktail appetizer...wonderful. Service started out poorly, but manager intervened and from then on great service. My wife got the tomales wrapped in corn shucks which were authentically wonderful as were my daughter's burritos. Lively atmosphere, reasonably priced, and a fun place to go to.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 8 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 20, 2014
    • Overall Rating4
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 61 reviews are from the Baja Cantina - Carmel reviews archive.
  • 1st Timer
    Highlander
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Excellent. Exactly what we wanted. Will Be back. Close by and fun to enjoy.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cinco de Mayo
    SanDiegoFoodie
    Dined on 5/5/2014
    We were from out of town and this place was recommended for a good Cinco de Mayo place. It did not disappoint. My one complaint was that there was a $10.00 cover charge even though we were eating dinner and that the band only played until 10:00PM. Beyond that the food was very good and I thought the service was great considering the crowd.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Mexican Food
    lorlaskin
    Dined on 3/10/2014
    Food is tasty. Service was great. Portions are small. I ordered Shrimp Fajitas and there were only 4 shrimp and cost was $20.00. There should be a minimum of 6 shrimp to an order. The soft tacos for the fajitas are much to small to hold food. Everything falls out and is messy to eat even when only putting 1 shrimp and veggies in taco.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food, so-so service.
    RalphTVIP
    Dined on 1/26/2014
    Food was excellent. Service lacking. We had to ask for things several times including tortillas for our friends fajitas. Wrong liquor order. Must have been a bad day for both servers. Yes we had two. Maybe that was the problem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food for '14
    Bruce
    Dined on 1/24/2014
    Great supper.. I judge Mexican restaurants by their dinners of enchiladas, a good standard for comparison. Baja Cantina has the best ever. Many thanks....
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Over Priced
    Onadate2
    Dined on 12/21/2013
    The restaurant has been around for years so they are doing something right. But for a couple with kids on a date night out, cost was the sour taste. The meal we had is twice as good and half the price in Monterey. I guess you pay to say you ate in Carmel.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nina's Special Day
    Ninasretirement
    Dined on 11/24/2013
    We did the outdoor dining. The food was hot and delicious. Most of us had the fish tacos.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Mexican food
    Cecili
    Dined on 11/14/2013
    Food was yummy, service excellent. Great place to go for quality Mexican food
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food but...
    FoodieVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2013
    This is one of my favorite places for Mexican food. Food and Margaritas are great, the service was fast and servers wrere attentive. However, we dined at 8:30pm on a Friday night and finished our entree at 9pm and we wanted desert. The server politely said that the kitchen closes at 9pm and we couldn't order dessert. Really??? On a Friday night??? That really turned me off left me very disappointed.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Last minute
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/31/2013
    Service is always good & always friendly. It was great to go for a late dinner after getting off the plane. Food was served hot.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • "Drive in" for a great meal
    VactioninginCarmel
    Dined on 10/18/2013
    Off the beaten track, a few miles outside of Carmel on Carmel Valley Rd (keep driving even when you think you have gone too far), the Baja Cantina turned out to be a great Mexican restaurant. Our server was very attentive. Decor was a little over the top with an automotive theme. We ate inside due to the chill but there is a large area for outside dining. Menu offered traditional and alternative variations on Mexican food and has an extensive drink list. Dinnertime was already booked so we went early, before the crowd. Recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Baja Cantina
    DeeDee
    Dined on 10/15/2013
    The lobster was delicious. The service was great! & it should have been since we were the only ones there at that time. The only problem was the reservation thro Open Table said their first available table was at 8:30pm. When we got there the place was empty & the staff were cleaning up for the night. I think in the future, I'll call the restaurant directly because they apparently aren't on top of their Open Table listings.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A great place to dine outdoors
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 9/17/2013
    We had a lovely lunch outdoors at Baja Cantina. We shared the Santa Fe Chicken Salad a Chicken Enchilada with side salad. All were excellent. There is no where quite like Baja on a nice sunny day....very festive and lovely views! The Santa Fe Chicken salad is the best.....a great combo of flavors & nicely spiced dressing!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • lots of fun
    NYMomVIP
    Dined on 8/24/2013
    Set inside an old gas station, Baja Cantina serves Americanized Mexican food with a slight kick. The menu is diverse and can appeal to many different palates. If you are in area nad tired of fancy food and wine, head over to this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great!
    olfroxVIP
    Dined on 8/24/2013
    Good food, service and ambiance contributed greatly to our evening.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Monterey Car Week
    Geordie
    Dined on 8/14/2013
    My kids and I visited the Baja Cantina for dinner during Monterey Car Week, good job we booked in advance. It was very busy, however, we got seated on time, food was great, ambience was energetic (loud). Great cars in the car park. Great place for car guys and gals.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, kid-friendly, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience!
    Peruana
    Dined on 7/15/2013
    First time there and we had a great time! Although our first server was a little off... She only went to our table 2 times but we told them and the second server was more attentive... Other than that everything was great!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great ambiance!
    AZmomVIP
    Dined on 7/11/2013
    Cool place with tons of car memorabilia. Classic car show on Thursday and great band. Cozy fireplace and lively bar. Decent food. Make reservations- very busy!!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Well, the chips were ok!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 6/25/2013
    This place is obviously meant to have a laid-back vibe, with the americana on the walls and the general decor. But the service wasn't laid back or friendly, pretty rushed. (One guy was attentive, but my waiter was rushed with too many tables.) Also, their dining room was roped off with a chain *even when people were eating there*!! I had to climb over the chain to get out once I'd paid! The food was meh to bad. The chips and salsa were ok but not great. I got the blackened burrito, which is supposed to be a star dish. It tasted bland, even the "blackened" chicken and shrimp. The best thing was the black beans, and I'm betting those were pre-made. Overall, ok, but not good.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yummy!
    MissMegs
    Dined on 6/15/2013
    Have always loved the Baja Cantina. Great food and ambience for a dinner with family or a date night. Service is always friendly and with a smile. They can get very busy, but the service is still excellent.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome Food
    Maryc1944
    Dined on 6/8/2013
    Great Mexican food. I had the chicken mango enchilada. They where great!! Defiantly a must have again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Mexican around!!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/8/2013
    Best Mexican around plus you are in the sunshine only 5 minutes from Carmel.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Family Favorite
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 5/31/2013
    Whenever we don't feel like cooking or are in the mood for some Mexican...we go here. Never had a bad meal or bad service. Don't forget to swing by COSTCO and pick up some gift cards ($100.00 worth for $70.00)
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Carnitas
    CGMPCA
    Dined on 5/26/2013
    Stopped in with the kids for lunch when in Carmel for the weekend. A definite local favorite and huge menu. Kids were treated very well-service great and overall lots of fun. We will be back next time we are in for the weekend.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Horrible service bathroom peep show
    MontereyMomma
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    Well it was not busy and our server acted as if we were a major inconvience to her!!! She didn't check back on us, was short and rude when we ask for her suggestions, didn't refill our water or drinks or chips or salsa. Took forever to cash us out even with me standing holding my fussy baby. ........And then there is the issue in the men's restroom. My hubby was very disgusted with the pictures in the bathroom stalls of the unclothed women in body paint!! He walked in to a 7yr old boy staring at them then running out embarrassed (without washing his hands) because my hubs "caught him". This is not a bar! It's distasteful and disrespectful to perhaps introduce that image to boys above the toilet...way to NOT be classy!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A place for all Racers at heart
    TeamUSA2013
    Dined on 5/8/2013
    If you love racing, and want to dine where all the great drives & teams have fueled up over the years after a long day at the track, you'll certainly enjoy the special collection of decorations , Pat and Gina Phinny ( owners) have instilled on the walls. Artifacts and photos of current and days gone by of motor racing and their new addition of motorcycles. If your in the Monterey / Carmel area or just coming from an event at Laguna Seca , there's no better place to finish the day and " Fuel Up " at the Baja Cantina in Carmel Valley. The food is excellent and the hospitality is the best.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Love Baja Cantina. We bring
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/8/2013
    Love Baja Cantina. We bring all our visiting family here and it's a great place to meet up with our friends. Their salsa is the best and the main dishes aren't bad either. Love it even more now that I can buy gift cards at COSTCO ($100 worth for $80). I'll be eating here more often now.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Baja Cantina is always fabulous.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/27/2012
    Baja Cantina is always fabulous. Great food, drinks and atmosphere. Interested in sports - they have you covered. Like to dance - got you covered. A great destination for a car club drive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Best Pork Carnitas in the area.
    FarashaVIP
    Dined on 10/27/2012
    The pork carnitas are excellent. We also enjoyed the special spicy menu offered that evening and had the super spicy prawns, which were as promised! We also love that they offer live music at a reasonable hour so families can enjoy the music.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • waiter never introduced himself,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/29/2012
    waiter never introduced himself, by name. When my meal came, it was not what I ordered. It looked good to my wife so we traded!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • It was a great day to sit
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/9/2012
    It was a great day to sit out on the deck. The Margarita was fine, the service was attentive and the food was very good. Some things on the menu seemed pricey but others were reasonable. We will definitely be back. I really liked the salsa.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate