Marina Restaurant's Unlikely Revival

A local fisherman turned business owner has saved La Chatita
BY: CATHY WATKINS

La Chatita, on the marina in Cabo, is not just another place to eat; it’s a family run restaurant, with Cabo's own Beto Nuñez and his three children at the helm. They are well known locals from Los Cabos, and the restaurant is named in honor of Beto’s abuela (grandmother), who was a Periqui Indian from the Baja area. A noted feature of the Piriqui Indians is a flat nose, which is called “chata” in Spanish. Because of her "chata," Beto's family always called her Chatita (adding  ito or ita to the end of a word in Spanish makes the word a term of endearment).

Beto never planned to be in the restaurant business. He owns a few business spots that he rents outs on the marina and is a fisherman by trade. The restaurant Mis Suenos used to rent this spot from him, but they were behind on the rent. One day the owners up and left the business, taking everything with them and leaving the employees without a month’s pay and without a job. The staff, however, continued to report to work and asked Beto to take over the restaurant so that they could keep their jobs. Beto thought to himself, “I’m a fisherman and have managed Beto’s Sports fishing fleet for over 27 years in Cabo. I don’t know anything about the restaurant business.”

But he also knew that the sport fishing business is not what it used to be, and that it’s becoming harder to survive off fishing. The staff wouldn’t give up, and they told Beto that they would help him and train his family. He decided to take a gamble on these employees, not wanting to see them out of work. He took the restaurant back, paid the employees, and reopened it as La Chatita.   

La Chatita is famous for the way it prepares your fresh caught fish.  This tradition is called “La Preparacion” (The Preparation), and there are seven different options to choose from. Your fish can be prepared Veracruz style with white wine and capers, or with panko, garlic, blackened, rockefeller, BBQ, or tempura. It costs $12 USD to prepare your fresh caught fish. Get chunks of your fish cooked all seven ways, you won’t be disappointed.

La Chatita serves a variety of food such as pasta, chicken, and beef, but seafood is their forte. Their “curricanes” are flavorful with a chipotle sauce. A currican is similar to sashimi; it’s a tuna roll stuffed with crab, avocado, veggies, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The waiters think it’s funny that people eat currican, which is what they think of as fish bait.  The chef’s specialty is shrimp scampi, but the shrimp tempura and coconut shrimp are also very popular dishes. The seafood salad is light and fresh, and is served with scallops, fish, shrimp, octopus, and boiled eggs on a bed of lettuce with a special salad dressing.  The presentation of the food is very appealing and professionally done. 

At La Chatita, you can eat your meal in peace since the owner does not allow any timeshare snaggers on the property. The timeshare industry can pay a restaurant owner up to $5000 to $6000 USD each month for allowing a salesperson to snag couples for a timeshare presentation. Beto turns down the money because he doesn’t want his customers to be harassed.

 An added benefit to eating here is that the restaurant has parking. There are at least six parking spaces on the road with La Chatita written on the curb—just be sure to tell the hostess where you parked, so she can give you a card to put on your dashboard so your car won’t get towed.

La Chatita is located on the marina before the Breathless hotel. It is open daily from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Prices range from 110 to 400 pesos (roughly $6 to $22 USD). They offer indoor and outdoor seating and can accommodate up to 200 people. And don't worry, they have air conditioning inside for when it gets really hot. There is also a separate room for meetings or events. 

La Chatita is quickly becoming a popular place. When the restaurant first opened it only had 560 likes on their Facebook page, but thanks to a little marketing and very good food, it has now soared to 11,000. Give it a try today and post your comments.  ,