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CABO WABO CANTINA

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Planet Hollywood

3663 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-385-2226

website

$15-$30

Daily from 11am until "late"

Mexican

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

Mexican food and drink in a south of the border spring break atmosphere.

Where is it?

At Planet Hollywood on the Center Strip.

What kind of food is served?

Mexican favorites including some really good fajitas.

What is the atmosphere like?

Loud and boisterous like it should be.

How is the service?

Very good.

What are the prices like?

Surprisingly affordable.

What else do I need to know?

Beware the Cha Cha Slide.

What's the bottom line?

A rowdy good time can be had if you're in the right frame of mind.

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FULL REVIEW

When you think of rocker Sammy Hagar you don't exactly think "subtle." The onetime lead singer of Van Halen has a reputation as a flame-haired party dude, famous for his cheeky pushing the boundaries anthems like "I Can't Drive 55."

So it is with his Cabo Wabo Cantina, a restaurant/nightclub/performance venue that in many ways established Cabo San Lucas as a Spring Break party destination at Planet Hollywood. It's high on the alcoholic, caloric, and sonic inputs, which certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea but is undeniably appealing in a lot of ways that work for Vegas.

Taking over the spot that formerly housed Trader Vic's, the indoor/outdoor multi-level space is located on the north end of Planet Hollywood, right along The Strip. It's got a Mexican cantina vibe with heavy use of dark wood, fiery adobe colors, and some sassy '50s era style artwork that warn of the dangers of loose women and too much drink. It's fun - the kind of place you wish was in whatever college town you lived in.

The menu is Mexican and fairly limited, at least in comparison to some south of the border joints whose menus are longer than some textbooks. But there is still plenty to eat here including appetizers, tacos, burritos, fajitas, and more. We sampled the Cadillac Nachos, each homemade chip loaded up with seasoned meat, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream so that you don't run out of the good stuff when you get to the bottom of the plate. Sizzling plates of fajitas (shrimp, chicken, and steak) came our way next and were greedily devoured (the steak was especially good, moist and flavorful after being tenderized by a special process before being cooked).

An extensive drink menu befits the multiple bars in the facility, all heavily featuring Hagar's Cabo Wabo tequila brand naturally.

Performance spaces will pump up the volume on certain nights and there are even impromptu "performances" from the staff who hop up on the bar and do things like the "Cha Cha Slide" because... well, just because. It's amusing, especially when there's a hapless businessman trying to work on his laptop at the bar while waitresses dance three inches from his keyboard. His fault for bringing work to a place like Cabo Wabo, I'm sure.

Service was great - very friendly and attentive. They even chased me down the street when I had left my notebook on a chair. Thank you for that.

The prices are remarkably affordable especially for a restaurant on The Strip. If you stay away from the not-inexpensive cocktails, you can easily do lunch for under $15 and dinner for a few bucks more.

Cabo Wabo Cantina is one of those places that exists in its own little universe; unapologetic about its simplicity of mission to bring Spring Break to The Strip. Eat, drink, and be merry is a Vegas maxim but now it finally has an official home.

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