Dive into the flavors of Mexico at Asada Tacos & Beer, with an extensive menu and all-day breakfast just a block from Heisler Park and the beach.
By Sharon Stello
As the weather warms up this spring, the perfect place for a post-beach snack in north Laguna is Asada Tacos & Beer at Boat Canyon Shopping Center. The long lineup of tasty starters plus all-day breakfast and a menu of tacos, burritos and combination plates will refuel you for the rest of the day’s activities or satisfy your cravings as the sun goes down.
Opened in 2016 by Scott McIntosh, who also owns Reunion Kitchen & Drink around the corner, this popular spot features indoor dining, plenty of patio seating and takeout options. McIntosh had previously owned another Asada restaurant, which served high-end Mexican fare in downtown Laguna, but was forced to close due to issues with the landlords. Asada was revived in the new, cozier space with a wide variety of dishes.
And now, thanks to a liquor license granted in 2019, Asada offers several margaritas and other cocktails—rather than the soju-based libations that were served before. Try a refreshing mango or strawberry margarita or, for some spice, there’s Rosa’s Jalapeno Margarita. For rum lovers, the Watermelon Cooler is a sweet sip with a mix of agua fresca and watermelon syrup, or choose a glass of red or white sangria. There are also 10 beers on draft and chilled bottles of Corona, Coors Light and other brands.
After settling in with a drink, an appetizer is definitely in order. With so many options, it may be difficult to choose, but you can’t go wrong with the short rib nachos, piled high with melty cheese, sliced jalapenos, pico de gallo and a scoop of both sour cream and guacamole on perfectly crisp tortilla chips. Every bite is bursting with flavor, thanks in part to the tender short rib, which is braised for three hours. The Asada Street Corn is also a must-try: Two cobs on sticks come slathered with cotija cheese and Tajín seasoning, a perfect blend of tang and spice.
When it comes time to tuck into a main dish, there are enough options to have something different every day for a few weeks. Of course, make sure to stop by for Taco Tuesday deals. First, choose soft tacos or crispy shells, then fillings such as blackened mahi, salmon or shrimp, crispy calamari, short rib, chicken, steak, carnitas or jalapeno-potato-veggie. Notably, everything here is made in-house, except for the tortillas. The fish tacos are topped with cabbage, mango-pineapple relish and cotija while both the crispy and soft tacos receive a generous helping of jack cheese, queso fresco, lettuce and pico de gallo. And all tacos get a crave-worthy dollop of house-made poblano cream.
And don’t forget about the burritos, enchiladas and favorites like the carne asada plate, crispy carnitas or chimichanga. Family platters are also available to feed your whole crew. Plus, coming this spring, seafood lovers will be excited to hear that Asada is adding crab and shrimp ceviche to the menu as well as ceviche salad. The chile relleno is also making a return with options to add protein like carne asada or chicken. Wash it all down with homemade horchata, which is coming soon, too. And, for something sweet to end the meal, make sure to try the flan butter cake, served with sweet caramel produced during the baking process, or the churro bites—delightful little pieces of cinnamon-sugar goodness.