Coral Beach Cantina: Best Mexican food in Malibu

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Coral Beach Cantina owner Peter Andrew Soli, who purchased the restaurant in 1982, serves up fresh south-of-the-border fare at the longtime local eatery. 

Just a few miles past Pepperdine and Malibu Cove Colony, you’ll find a leafy and private hideaway with homemade salsa, crispy, crackling fresh chips, magnificent margaritas and some of the best south-of-the-border food in town. 

For years, the Coral Beach Cantina has been a hot spot for everyone from A-list actors like George Clooney, Pamela Anderson and Lakers legend coach Pat Riley to local hardworking firefighters and first responders, not to mention longtime local Malibu folks and overseas tourists. 

As a 20-year resident, it was news to me that the place first opened in the old Beau Rivage location from the ’70s and early ’80s. 

The fiesta moved to its current location at 29350 Pacific Coast Highway between Bonsall Drive and Heathercliff Road in 1982, according to Peter Andrew Soli. For Soli, the timing made all the difference in the world. 

“I have been the owner since 1982,” he explains. “I worked in the restaurant and really enjoyed the experience, so in 1982, I borrowed some money from my uncle and started the business at its present location.” 

For a special weekend brunch, you’ll find locals kicking back with a freshly brewed cup of coffee along with a satisfying platter of huevos rancheros served with two perfectly fried eggs, beans, tortillas and a mild tomato sauce. 

Lunch or dinner might start off with any of their half-dozen margarita choices, everything from classic to Midori with melon, peach and mango to Strawberry Silver Patron. Fresh guacamole is a must and Soli describes the taquitos as “super good.” Another good starter is the tasty ceviche, a traditional mix of seafood marinated in citrus juice with cilantro, onions and peppers or Roberto’s famed nachos with crunchy chips, pinto beans, sour cream, guacamole and ripe tomatoes along with jalapeno peppers to your liking. 

Salad lovers might drool over the Santa Fe with Romaine, corn, black beans, tomato, onions, olives served up with a special salsa ranch dressing. Want a little chicken? No problem. Some sautéed shrimp? You got it. 

Other favorites include power-packed tostados and burritos with everything from a simple bean and cheese, to veggie to carnitas. Soli’s personal favorite is also a mainstay done right. “I love the chili rellenos which are hand-crafted each day,” he says. “The green chili is just excellent.” 

So what’s the secret to their success? “Consistency!” Soli says with pride. “We have strived to be consistent in the quality of our food and service.” 

The Mexican maestro adds that his business in the local community has gone the distance, adding, “We have been accepted in the community for over 30 years. People feel a certain level of comfort. We are a garden oasis off the highway for locals and travelers alike.”