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Cabo Fish Taco: The Best of Mexican Seafood Fusion in Charlotte

Updated: Apr 16

In 2001, just 1 mile north of Uptown, the area around North Davidson street was pretty quiet compared to today when a couple of surfers from Virginia Beach opened a Baja-inspired taco place. A century earlier, it was pretty quiet there, too, until some wealthy textile owners began to execute on a vision that they had to create a self-contained mill village. It was 1903 when textile mills such as Highland Park, Mecklenburg Mill, Johnston Mill, and others were built along with housing for their mill workers. A dry goods store, pharmacy, several grocery stores, a doctor's office, bank, and two churches provided for the needs of the mill workers.

By 1950, the area started to deteriorate as a result of the Depression followed by closings of many of the mills. Once 1980 came, it was a shadow of its former self. But in 1985, two young artists, Paul Sires and Ruth Ava Lyons came to the area and fell in love with the character of the old mill village. They bought a number of buildings and houses and started the first art gallery, Center of the Earth Gallery, which until its closing in 2010, was one of the leading galleries in the southeast. They offered studio spaces to other artists and lobbied to attract other art-related businesses. Then in1995, artist, Steve Holt, who owned Studio 23 and WrightNow Galleries started calling the district, NoDa (for North Davidson).

Today, NoDa is a vibrant area of galleries, shops, and restaurants, while the area’s old houses continue to be restored or torn down to make way for new homes. NoDa has become a model nationwide for how a rundown area can be revitalized.

With its California surfer theme, Cabo has a laid back and fun atmosphere. It’s located in an old building at the corner of North Davidson and 35th St. Finding myself (Jim) in the area one day at lunchtime, I decided to check Cabo out since it’s been on our places to try for a long time. The restaurant was about half-full when I arrived, and I decided to eat at the bar since I was alone. The bartender brought me some complimentary chips and their homemade salsa while I perused the menu. The salsa is unique - made with a mix of corn, diced tomatoes and onion. I ordered the two Grilled Salmon Tacos (cooked rare) and was not disappointed. Each taco came with a healthy portion of fish on a soft flour tortilla served with guacamole, cheese, cabbage, tomato, and their homemade Cilantro White Sauce. The tacos were so good, that I decided to bring Beth at our earliest opportunity.

So on a recent Tuesday evening, we drove the 30 minutes from South Charlotte with our friends, Sinisa & Sasha Haberle who had also never tried Cabo. After ordering some homemade margaritas, we started with the guacamole appetizer and some of the salsa. Beth ordered the grilled Mahi tacos. Sinisa had 1 steak taco and 1 shrimp taco, while Sasha had 1 salmon & 1 tuna. The salmon tacos that I had previously enjoyed so much were too good to pass up, so I ordered those again.

We are pretty particular about guacamole, since Beth makes it at home, and we rarely find guacamole at a restaurant that we think is as good as hers. Their guac was pretty good, though we thought the dish was kind of small for $8.75.

Parking can be difficult if you try to find a spot on North Davidson, and we would not recommend parking in a lot where the spaces are reserved by a particular business or building. Since parking is at a premium in NoDa, that’s a sure way to have your car towed. But on 35th Street, within 150 feet of Cabo, is a public lot where you can park for $5.

Our conclusion at the end of the evening was that it’s definitely worth the drive to give Cabo a try - partly because it’s fun to experience NoDa if you have never been or you go infrequently. The atmosphere is fun and unlike that which you will find at other taco bars.

However, given the time that it takes to get to NoDa from our house, the next time, we may try their Ballantyne location which is set to open shortly.

mexican dish cabo fish taco charlotte


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