A Taste of the Mexican Riviera at Coyote Grill

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Coyote Grill serves up homemade Baja-style cuisine with a side of epic ocean views.

By Alli Tong | Photos by Jody Tiongco

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The menu includes tasty dishes such as shrimp fajitas and calamari or beef tacos.

With a family history dating back to 1989, it’s no wonder why locals flock to this casual eatery on any given day, whether for Cinco de Mayo or the restaurant’s amazing happy hour deals—who can pass up $4 margaritas?

But Coyote Grill’s place in Laguna goes deeper than tasty food at affordable prices. When founder Kim Bryant opened this seaside “shack” 24 years ago, he worked tireless hours in and out of the kitchen, creating dishes that reflected the cuisine of Baja California, Mexico (a destination he loves to visit), and renovating the space into the welcoming establishment that it is today.

Nowadays, the eatery still holds true to its family roots, with Kim’s daughter, Desiree Gomez, taking ownership and bringing along her brothers and sister to help out with the day-to-day operations and ensure great customer service.

With the whole family ensuring the restaurant’s quality, fresher fare can’t be more enjoyed than sitting on Coyote Grill’s partially enclosed outdoor patio with views overlooking the Pacific. To start, try the ceviche made with plump crabmeat and red snapper mixed with a sweet pico de gallo, and served with sour cream and chips; or the refreshing Baja fruit cup, which includes slices of watermelon, mango, cucumber and jicama. The house guac and chips and salsa could surely jumpstart the taste buds, as well.

If patrons dine during happy hour, they’ll enjoy drink specials, including the Coyote Margarita for $4, a selection of Mexican beers for $3.50 and $1.50 off bloody marys. A little-known secret: Diners can also order an off-the-menu “beergarita”—a margarita with a bottle of Corona placed upside down in the drink.

The seafood is by far the star of the entrees, with dishes ranging from the fish of the day (perhaps a sea bass or swordfish) to shrimp fajitas, which are coated in a finger-licking sauce of garlic, onions and Worcestershire, and served with beans and rice. Meat lovers shouldn’t fret, though—the restaurant also boasts Mexican staples such as chicken enchiladas or shredded beef tacos.

While the sips and apps are reason enough to head down to Coyote Grill, for dessert, diners won’t want to miss the banana chimichanga, made with a cinnamon and sugar-coated fried tortilla stuffed with warm bananas and topped with fudge, walnuts and whip cream, and served with cinnamon ice cream.

“After a long day at work, school or even a day at the beach, we want our guests to come in and feel at ease,” Desiree says. “Drink in the ocean views, sip on a margarita and enjoy good conversation. … I know that’s what I want to do on my day off. ” LBM

Coyote Grill 

31621 S. Coast Hwy.; 949-499-4033; coyotegrill.tv

Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 7 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Tip: Happy hour is every day from 3 – 6:30 p.m., when you can enjoy $4 margaritas and $3 bar appetizers.

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