The giant rubber shark on the roof of this “beach shack” style Mexican restaurant is a pretty good indicator of their specialty: seafood. Though there’s no shark on the menu, there’s plenty of shrimp, octopus, mussels, and all manner of formerly swimming creatures to keep your mouth happy.
Their shrimp and octopus cocktail featuring tender hunks of fish in spicy tomato sauce is way better than the flat ketchup laden versions you’ll find over on Maxwell Street. Likewise, their limey ceviches studded with a dice of garden fresh cilantro, onion, tomato and hunks of creamy avocado are refreshing. The mussels in Diablo sauce will set your mouth ablaze, while grilled langoustines are smokey and perfumed with garlic.
While throwing back some shellfish and nursing a few Coronas, the hanging palm fronds, festive mariachi music, and sandy patio at La Palapa will transport you seaside, as long as you’re willing to forget the whooshing cars that run nearby on Damen.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant