Baja Cantina

Bar / Mexican Restaurant
Baja Cantina Baja Cantina is a Venice institution & popular Los Angeles bar for margaritas, Mexican food, & outdoor drinking. Cross the border into LA with Party Earth. Los Angeles United States 33.9805528 -118.464261
3.8 12
Baja Cantina - Bar | Mexican Restaurant in Los Angeles.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Since first opening in 1974, Baja Cantina has been dishing out Mexican food and margaritas to surf bums, tourists, and rowdy sports fans from the minute doors open till the last free bowl of chips and salsa spills on the... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–F 11am–2am, Sa–Su 10am–2am
    Venue opens earlier during football season

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Baja Cantina Review

The Scene

Baja Cantina is a Venice institution & popular Los Angeles bar for margaritas, Mexican food, & outdoor drinking. Cross the border into LA with Party Earth.

Since first opening in 1974, Baja Cantina has been dishing out Mexican food and margaritas to surf bums, tourists, and rowdy sports fans from the minute doors open till the last free bowl of chips and salsa spills on the floor.

Considered a local landmark by many liquored-up locals, “The Baja” oozes history – from the vintage surfboard décor and the rusted wheelbarrow that somehow ended up on the roof to the Friday nights many patrons no longer remember.

The sprawling restaurant benefits from its location just two blocks from the ocean, but weekly tequila tastings, lobster, and barbecue nights certainly don’t hurt business, either.

Packs of dudes pile in at the central bar for cheap beer and whatever game is on the flat-screens, while the main dining area, swimming in beach scenes and photos from 80s volleyball tournaments, brims with twenty-somethings slinging pitchers of fruity cocktails and families recouping from an afternoon on the sand.

The expansive Grill Patio and Bar in back is the real draw for the party crowd, offering loads of outdoor seating, a big fireplace, and another bar where day drinking is celebrated and, on busy weekends, even three bartenders can’t keep up with the margarita orders.

Pretty cocktail waitresses and guests in bikinis and tank tops are the norm at Baja Cantina, a Venice cultural landmark that’s wonderfully worlds away from cultured.

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Tip from Lucas:

Curious how the wheelbarrow ended up on the roof? Ask owner Pat Phinny, who’s usually there. Hint: it involved a lot of alcohol.

  • Crowd

    Mix of relaxed area business types, casual Venice locals, and beachgoers of all stripes by day, and a clamorous young party crowd at night, especially on the Grill Patio, 20s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    More than a dozen TVs tuned to sports.

    Live indie rock music most Thursday nights, ambient rock and surfer hits other times.

    Barbecue night on Mondays, lobster night on Tuesdays, prime rib night on Wednesdays, and tequila tastings on Thursdays.

    Special events for Cinco de Mayo.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Menu of traditional Mexican and Oaxacan cuisine including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tamales, seafood, and free chips and salsa with every meal. Brunch on weekends. Happy Hour M–F 3:30–6:30pm.

  • Prices

    Brunch menu $6–$10, appetizers and bar snacks $4–$11, entrées $9–$22, desserts $4–$5.50. Beer $6–$8, wine $7–$12, margaritas $7–$26, tequila $9–$65, brunch cocktails $4+. Valet $4 after 5:30pm.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: tank tops, board shorts, flip-flops, sundresses, bikini tops, shades.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Warm days to booze it up under the sun on the patio, or Friday and Saturday nights, especially in the summer, for a rowdy singles scene packed with young partiers pounding margaritas.

  • Close By

    Even closer to the beach is The Venice Whaler (10 Washington Boulevard), which offers loud music, karaoke, and a similar young crowd.

Baja Cantina User Reviews

Average rating:
A Little Taste of Mexico
Gerard Nash G. Jun 3, 2013
If you're like me and only tried Mexican food through Taco Bell, then boy are you missing out. I didn't think there was anything beyond tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, but they definitely serve an assortment of Mexican dishes that are absolutely delicious because of all the different spices they add. They have a large selection of cocktails and large TV screens that you can use to watch various sporting events. You also meet a lot of the locals since the place is "down to Earth" and centrally located in L.A. so you experience people from all walks of life. Furthermore, the menu is quite affordable and you can get a lot of great dishes with only a few bucks. If you're craving any delicious Mexican food, then go no further and there's even a Venice Beach nearby, so come try it out.
A little piece of Mexico in the Golden State!
Rachel G. May 9, 2013
If you love a chilled atmosphere, having a few beers, meeting new people and having fun, you'll absolutely love Baja California! Located in the heart of Venice this cantina bar offers a variety of entertainment and food from their free chips and salsa with every meal, their large selection of cocktails including the famous Margarita to the indie rock music played almost every Thursday night and the TV screens which show all major sporting events. The menu is affordable and the atmosphere is vibrant attracting the locals, surfers and people who are looking for a party scene in the evenings. The menu offers a variety of authentic Mexican favorites from Burritos to Quesadillas which are all highly recommended. This place is definitely worth a visit, so what are you waiting for!
Nice atmosphere and endless chips & salsa... no reason to ever leave!
Alexis R. Apr 2, 2013
When the Islands down the street just won't cut it, try Baja Cantina. In fact, try Baja Cantina BEFORE you even bother with Islands, especially on game day! Baja Cantina is in a prime location just blocks away from the beach and wedged between Washington Blvd. and the Venice Canals. The interior is sprawling, spacious and especially accommodating if you come with a big group.There are plenty of flat screen televisions placed all over the restaurant and the staff are more than willing to put on whatever game you ask for, which makes this place optimal for watching football! If you are lucky enough to arrive early in the day, you may even get the best seat in the house, which consists of several big, comfy chairs right next to their supply of endless chips and salsa which welcomes you to serve yourself. The waitstaff and bartenders are fast, efficient and friendly. The food is reasonably priced (especially considering the location) and very tasty. I would recommend their omelets if you happen to end up there for brunch. While Baja Cantina can get crowded on game days and during high beach season, it is definitely worth checking out. The casual atmosphere and the laid back clientele make for a nice dining experience that you wont regret. When you decide to stop by, remember that parking in their lot is limited and the meters on Washington Blvd. need to be plugged every hour. If you're lucky you will get a spot in their lot, or be able to find parking on a side street. If you're a high roller you will just pay to valet!
Leaves you satisfied, but won't blow your mind
Adrian H. Mar 30, 2013
Billed as an authentic Mexican dining experience, Baja Cantina is a fun, casual, restaurant/bar located a short (but noticeable) distance away from Venice beach. The atmosphere is vibrant yet cosy, and the interior has a nice rustic feel thanks to the Cantina's 29 years of history. The servers are, for the most part, excellent; the food was delivered quickly, drinks were refilled, and a somewhat rowdy and disgruntled customer seated behind me was dealt with quietly and professionally. The food itself had more going for it in terms of quantity rather than quality, but the prices were reasonable, so you get what you pay for, if maybe a little less than you hoped. All in all, it's definitely worth checking out, but don't be surprised if it doesn't become an instant favourite. Pros - Good service, decent prices, excellent happy hour, fun atmosphere, UNLIMITED CHIPS Cons - Away from the beach, food is nothing to write home about
If you like unlimited chips and salsa, you'll love Baja Cantina
Alex N. Mar 4, 2013
Baja Cantina was the first Mexican restaurant I went to after I moved to the Westside. Other then it being close to my apartment, the atmosphere of this laid back hot spot seemed like the perfect place to grab lunch. Ever since then this is my go to place if I'm in the mood for reasonably priced authentic Mexican food, or a giant margarita. The Happy Hour deals are unbeatable and the chip dispenser in the front is enough to bring me back time and time again. Also, Washington Blvd is beyond chaotic especially on an ideal SoCal weekends so their $5 valet is extremely reasonable. Wether you've had a rough day at work and are dying for a giant icy margarita or want to kick back on the patio and watch ESPN on a sunny weekend, Baja Cantina is hands down the place to be.
why do i have such a weakness for this place...?!
Brent L. Oct 5, 2012
The foods not that great. The parking situations a bit rugged. The service is just fine. BUT I DONT CARE. The foods greasy and good, the small space somehow makes it feel cozy, and i like that its got a local bar feel to it despite being in the heart of tourist/strip central! Go all out man--order the nachos, dont worry about how they will make you feel then next day. In the day and age of organic, home fed, line caught--this is just good old fashion bad for you. THE BEST!
Great Place!
Ross S. Sep 7, 2012
Only a few blocks from the beach. Tons of seating indoors & outdoors. Full bar with drink specials/cocktails. Delicious chips which are unlimited & a delicious (and affordable) menu!
Love, Love, Love! In love.
Aisha M. Aug 29, 2012
Baja Cantina is just one link in a chain of Mexican Restaurants near Venice Beach, but it just so happens to be one of my favorite places for Sunday Brunch and Margaritas! The menu is riddled with just about every authentic Mexican dish out there – but it’s the homemade chips and salsa that get me every time! The atmosphere is casual and peak hours tend to linger around the evenings and mid-day on the weekends. Parking can be a bit adventurous, but luckily they provide Valet if you’re willing to shell out a few dollars. Good people, good crowds, good food! Settled next to the beach under a slew of palm trees is where you’ll find this gem of a place. Order the Coconut Prawns, Blackened Burrito, and a spicy Bloody Mary… You’ll thank me later.
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