A california style mexican restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere.
Having lived in SoCal, I've never had any Cali-Mex food like this -- too heavy. It's more Tex Mex to me. I've been eating here for over 20 years. Favorites like enchiladas have a lot of flavor and spice. Nachos are fun to share and taste pretty good - they don't skimp on cheese. Tacos are a little bland. Burritos are big and simple, smothered in avocado sauce, so not the kind you pick up and eat with your hands. Used to like the crab dishes, but found them dry the last time I was here. Chile relleno was good, although I've had better. Love their cheesy refried beans and even the rice tastes good enough to finish! Chocolate cake is a good finish here, although usually we're too full.
This is a fun place to come in the afternoon before it gets too busy. Order a pitcher of Sangria and munch on some chips and salsa and guac to get you in the mood. Prices have gone up over the years, but the staff don't discourage sharing of entrees.
Service can be up and down. It's been pretty good lately, although some staff are a little testy and forgetful at the end of their shift. However, you can bet the one that just came on shift will make up for it.
Love this place and will continue to come here!
I love this place. It's not fancy, it's a cozy little california style mexican diner. I've been going to topanga for over 25 years on and off. Sometimes I just get a craving and need a softshell taco with rice and beans. Add some nachos and a dos equis...just perfect. They have a good menu but to be honest I always order the same thing, they do it that well.
As a kid I loved this place because they gave you crayons and a mexico scene to colour, if you were lucky your picture might just end up on the wall...
I have been to Topanga twice, and I loved it both times. First and second time there I had a burrito plate with refried beans and Spanish rice.
The quality and authenticity of the food is pretty close to the Mexican food you would get in Texas or California. I can't think of another place in Vancouver ( or western Canada ) that does Mexican food this good.
And the staff is really nice. You want something--just ask. No attitude, just good service in this cozy little place.
I'm looking forward to my next visit!
My husband and I were regulars here when we lived by UBC, and we still try to get out there from Richmond. The restaurant is small, but cozy which adds to the ambiance. The waiters are super friendly without being overbearing. Don't order any appys because your meal will be huge and you get chips and salsa anyway. I usually get the eggplant tostada with rice and beans -- it's huge! I always have leftovers for lunch the next day. It's so nice to sit on the patio on a late summer evening. An inexpensive date night (with gelato nearby for dessert!).
I am one of those regulars too because the food is great and the atmosphere is cozy. The crab burrito is amazing and we always save room for chocolate cake - arguably the best ever. My friend ordered two iced white for her wedding. Yum!
I ordered the Prawn Norteña, which tasted pretty good. The portion size was decent as well. That’s about all the praise I can scrape up. The plate itself was too small, so the presentation suffered. The food appeared to be just piled on in a glop, and the prawns—the feature of the dish—were buried under a heap of salsa rather than highlighted. What was the chef thinking??
Complimentary nachos were served with a watery salsa. If you guys aren’t going to put in an effort with first gustatory impressions, you’re better off just 86ing this altogether.
The ambiance: it’s a family restaurant with old upholstery and walls covered with kitschy coloured versions of their menu cover. Also, the bar/server station is too open, too brightly lit, and imposes too much on the dining space. That screaming industrial blender lets everyone know that someone has ordered a drink. Nobody else in the restaurant seemed to notice. I guess they're all regulars.
The servers, who didn’t look the part, were slow and seemed inexperienced. Our server seemed eager to get us out of the restaurant ASAP.
Hey Topanga Cafe,
A few tips from a 1/2 Mexican native Cal girl 1.Topanga is a FRIENDLY,SMILEY down to earth place-try this!!It's attractive to be happy.2. real mexican food does not use this much garlic!!!yikes!!We use chiles (& unfortun. we like to salt our food a bit 2 much)3.How about a little mexican music like Banda,Mariaci,Ranchero?Bob Marley Lives!!(just not in Mexico)
Having been an avid diner at Topanga Cafe, one would think that although service should be consistent for all who enter the restaurant those that frequent the establishment might just earn a few extra respect points from the servers. But such is hardly the case at Topanga Cafe. Sadly, it is a well known fact that one particular long-time server has continued to treat his customers with, well, a less than welcoming experience as he slings not only the food but his disdain as well. The food is very good, but the flavour left in one's mouth after such abusive service detracts from even the most tasty meal. Unfortunately, other servers who actually make an attempt at service wane in the wake of this individuals preposterous treatment of customers by leaving them alone without noting that their water or beverage is empty, by delivering discouraging looks when you ask for chips and salsa, by rolling his eyes as he slams down your meal without the slightest hello or acknowledgment that you are actually a paying customer. In fact, the vibe given off is so strong that many a fellow diner have confirmed my suspicions. You see, I do like to give an establishment and staff a fair shake when it comes to food and service and will repeatedly venture to such restaurants as Topanga Cafe to ensure that maybe I missed something - but I stand fervently by my first hand experiences - the service is overshadowed by the Ogorish and Boorish behaviour of a solitary and angry individual who persists in taking out his frustrations on the customers.
Last time there, I had the prawn burrito, it was delicious. Prawns were plentiful and garlicky, which is how I like them. The food is very consistent, I've never had reason to complain. If you liked it 25 years ago, you'll like it today, and probably you'll still like it 25 years from now, you should live so long eating all that cheese.
Service is QUITE variable. About half the staff are pros, and half hipsters and teenagers. Lots of male servers, which I guess is nice for the ladies. Don't forget the fellas, Topanga!
Yummy margaritas. Cold beer.
Great value for the money, and the food (they say) is all homemade.