La Cueva: the unrivaled best spot for off-campus lunch

December 14, 2022 — by Neal Malhotra
Photo by Neal Malhotra
La Cueva is located on Prospect Road, right across from the Westgate Center.
This tiny Mexican restaurant just across Westgate Shopping Center is the perfect place for students to go off campus for lunch.

The most important decisions of my school days occur exactly right around noon — the time when I decide where I am going to beg my friends to take me for lunch. The thrill of trying to make it back to school before the tardy bell rings is always exhilarating — especially when coming from La Cueva.

While the obvious off-campus lunch choice is Safeway — it’s close, there’s almost everything and it’s not too expensive — I feel the need to spice it up some days.

As someone who has little regard for nutrition, I am fully content with eating fast food every day: McDonalds, Taco Bell or Chipotle are always viable options. But because of their popularity, there is always a swarm of people rushing to get their lunch, leading to 5 to 10 minutes of precious lunch time being wasted while waiting to order. 

Eventually, all of the nearby food places get bland and repetitive. Despite only having gone off campus during lunch for three months, the adrenaline rush slowly disappears as the food tastes the same every time. 

For these reasons, I’ve learned to love La Cueva because it is one of the best small local businesses and it is just 10 minutes away. It offers, in my opinion, the best Mexican food in the Bay Area.

The immaculate flavors blow my mind every time. While most Mexican restaurants have a small menu, with just a couple variations of rice, beans and tortillas, La Cueva’s extensive menu boasts a variety of California-Mexican dishes that break the mold of standard Mexican cuisine. 

For those who always stick with standard burritos or tacos, they do those dishes amazingly as well. The fish tacos come out to just under $5 and the burritos are all around $11, varying on what type of protein you choose. La Cueva adds its own spices to every dish, such as small pieces of mango to the spicy sea bass.

And don’t even get me started on the tasty, hand fried chips with homemade salsa. The salsa is no less than perfect, with the exact right amount of spice to satisfy my taste buds but not burn my mouth. Moreover, 90% of the reviews rave about the perfection of it, with many people mentioning how they would go there just for the salsa (myself included).

There is also a convenience factor. Once I have convinced my friends to take me, all it takes is a quick phone call, and the food is ready for me after my friends rush all pile into one car and rush over to the store. With the extremely limited lunch time we have, short wait times are essential.

If you are like me, and have teachers that mark you late, even if it’s just a minute or two after the bell, La Cueva is a surprisingly great option.

Everyone has different tastes but, if you haven’t, I highly encourage you to go and try La Cueva. Who knows, I might even see you there!

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