La Cabana

Review by: Michael Stern

Years ago, our South Arizona friend Margaret Bond first took us to La Cabana when we asked her and her husband Paul (the estimable boot maker) where to go in Nogales to get a real Roadfood kind of meal. Margaret walked into the inviting little cantina with us in tow and she was greeted warmly by the staff, who knew her as a regular.

Hostess Lupita had a worried look on her face when we sat down around 10:30 in the morning, between breakfast and lunch. Lupita knows what Margaret liked to eat, and she warned us, “The chilies rellenos are not ready yet. Can you wait ten minutes?” Of course we waited. For rellenos like these, we are happy to wait even longer than that. They are packed with deep green-chile flavor, oozing melted cheese, and enrobed in a luscious fried crust.

The meal started with made-to-order guacamole, a bowl of chunky mashed avocado mixed with little bits of cheese and tomato. Margaret advised that we might want to spruce it up with a dab of the hot salsa provided to every table, as well as a spritz of tiny Mexican limes.

We also sampled steamy corn tamales, spicy enchiladas, a crisp-crusted taco, and a beef burrito filled with meat that was moist and pot-roast tender. Among the most memorable flavors on the table were the simple flour tortillas, served in a bread basket: warm, delicate, with an earthy wheat flavor so rich they tasted pre-buttered.

An inconspicuous little adobe restaurant / bar in a cluster of shops on the main drag, La Cabana is outfitted with tables and a couple of comfortable booths. For serious eating, we recommend seats in a booth, where you can lounge like royalty while feasting on four-star, true-Mex food.

What To Eat

chili relleno

flour tortilla



La Cabana Recipes


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