Baja Westside

Tacos Punta Cabras does Ensenada-worthy fish tacos, Santa Monica-style

It came as tragic news when one of our favorite taco slingers took an indefinite–albeit temporary–hiatus.

But as the saying goes, the world never shuts a door without opening a window.

And in the case of Tacos Punta Cabras, a tiny cash-only cantina in Santa Monica specializing in seafood tacos, that new window comes with an ocean breeze.

Chefs Daniel Snukal and Josh Gil, formerly of the pop-up restaurant Supper Liberation Front, coalesced around a simple concept named for a Baja surf spot: tacos, cócteles, and tostadas cooked with an eye for beachside ingenuity.

Their style tacks closer to Santa Monica than Mexico: The fish taco ($3.50) is a fillet of cod fried in a delicate tempura-style coating, tucked inside a house-made flour tortilla, covered with crunchy slaw and citrus dressing. A side of habanero-pineapple salsa adds a dose of caliente.

But the true innovation lies with TPC's most popular vegetarian option, the cauliflower tostada ($4). Florets are briefly marinated and then shaved into thin, crisp slices and piled over a crunchy tostada with pico de gallo and a schmear of thick-as-paste cashew salsa.

It's enough to make you forget which side of the border you're on.