Now called La Catrina Tapas & Cantina, the new Baja-inspired restaurant replaces Tostadas on University Avenue and opens this Friday, October 19. It’s a partnership between City Tacos owner Gerry Torres and Roger Canez, who owns Sonora Express Meat Boutique in Tijuana and runs Burrology in North Park. Canez is a native of Sonora, Mexico, and a fervent supporter of the chefs and restaurants of the Valle de Guadalupe. With La Catrina, he hopes to transport a taste of the Valle to San Diego and provide a showcase for its culinary community.
Brandon Rodriguez, a chef at Animalón by Javier Plascencia, consulted on the menu and will be on hand to launch the 40-seat restaurant, which will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and until 1 a.m. on weekends. And lauded chef Omar Ramirez, formerly of Pujol, will be cooking there every Friday for its first month of business.
The dishes are mostly seafood focused, starting with shrimp aguachile, fish ceviche, and oysters served with cranberry jelly and bone marrow. There are tacos served in pairs, as well as shareable cazuelas that come with homemade flour tortillas; the signature is a surf and turf combo of octopus with carnitas, wild mushrooms, and caramelized onions. There are also large-format entrees including a 10-ounce ribeye, presented with a piping hot block of Himalayan pink salt on which diners can finish searing their slices of prime steak. The beer and wine selection includes Mexican wineries and craft breweries as well as wine from Temecula and beer from North Park.