By: Epicurious Em “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than to follow your passions in a way that serves the world and you.”  --Richard Branson

The playa area always welcomes new restaurants.  The more choices we have, the better.  Caracoles Café is a great addition to our restaurant scene.  It is located in the Coronado Village (Machetazo complex), a creation of William and Matt, both with 30+ years as restaurateurs (even though they don’t look it).  The duo has created a menu that is totally different from what we are accustomed to here, and much thought and creativity has been put into their passion.  Admirably, they started their dream slowly, carefully implementing their food and service.  The result is a wonderful concoction with a well-trained staff, serving fantastic food with unique touches.  The best part--they’re all having fun!

Where to begin?  We have dined there on numerous occasions and are still enthralled.  The only problem we face is, “Should we order what we had before—it was so delicious, or should we try something new?”  Let’s start with the appetizers and lunch menu.  Appetizers begin with a trio of SLIDERS:  Your choice of BBQ cheeseburger, honey mustard fried chicken, or eggplant Parmesan.  They have chicken wings with your choice of five sauces.  Really different are the Coney Island dogs and corn dogs.  Not to be missed are the New Orleans BBQ shrimp, and the Carpaccio (smoked salmon, smoked grouper, or beef).  Also offered are smoked fish bruschettas and meat empanadas.

Soup of the day is on the menu along with a grape salad, Caesar salad, and an eggplant tower (prices $7-$9.75). Then there’s the sandwiches:  BLT (U.S. style), beef Carpaccio with shaved Parmesan in ciabatta bread, grilled chicken, shrimp po’ boy, a sloppy Joe, and a fantastic Philly cheese steak ($5.75-$7.75).  All sandwiches are accompanied by fresh cut French fries, artfully presented.

The dinner menu is rounded out nicely:  Cajun spiced chicken pasta, linguine with sun-dried tomatoes, penne with meatballs in a “Sunday gravy” (tomato sauce), and chicken picatta in a lemon-caper sauce over pasta, served with garlic bread ($10.50-$14.50).  Be sure to try the Guinness Irish stew ($14), a savory beef stew with vegetables and served over mashed potatoes with cornbread. The cast iron tenderloin at $18.50 is excellent, and the pork chop with apple chutney ($16.75) is incredible.  We’ve yet to try the Eurasian pork ribs, Asian fish filets with a trio of roasted bell peppers, and the sautéed Corvina filet in champagne sauce, but I’ve no doubt that they will live up to Matt and William’s standards.

Be sure to save room for Matt’s homemade desserts.  The selection may vary from key lime pie, Cinnabon cheesecake, “death by chocolate” cake, rum cake, and a multitude of other creations along with some really great cookies.  I’m not listing them all, as I’ll leave it to Matt to surprise you.

This team has really worked hard to add some special touches to their restaurant; i.e., the menus are presented on clipboards, the sandwiches are held together with sunglass picks and served on wooden trays, the steak is served in a “too hot to touch” cast iron skillet, and iced tea is served in mason jar glasses, just to mention a few.  They serve cocktails, wines, beers, and coffees.  Every time we dine here, we hear other diners’ exclamations:  “that was scrumptious—ahhhhhhh—delicious--unbelievable.”  Be sure to ask them about their specials of the day.  We just can’t get enough….  They are open every day except Sunday. Hours are from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. on the weekend.  Telephone:  389-5707.  Bienvenidos and gracias, Caracoles Café!

TIP:  Confession time!  I recently had a dinner party and didn’t have the time to make a dessert.  We headed to Caracoles and bought our desserts there.  I’m happy to say, they are better than mine!

Epicurious Em welcomes your comments and suggestions.  As always, the information in this article was accurate at the time of the writing, but restaurant owners have the option of changing prices, menu, and hours at any time.  Feel free to e-mail me at