With Live Music by David Lane Walsh
Every Friday night, the sounds of flamenco and classical guitar drift over the bas-relief walls of Casa del Pintor. This open-air restaurant, located on the southern end of Punta de Mita, can bring in quite a crowd – those who come to listen to David Lane Walsh while feasting on some of the best BBQ ribs around.
David Lane Walsh is a master guitar player. A local expat, he lives just up the road, but for over two decades he worked in recording studios and on film soundtracks in Los Angeles, New Orleans and London, England. He’s a character too, telling stories and swinging easily between jazz-infused versions of the Beatles to classical guitar to his own originals – many of them drawn from his five studio albums.
David has been a mainstay at the Casa del Pintor for three years, though the place has been around much longer than that, 37 years to be exact – when it was simply a house known to the fishermen who worked these shores. The place has changed a lot since then and when I asked the owner, a gregarious man named Ropi, who’s often out circulating among the tables, he gave a chuckle and said, “I didn’t give it the name. The fishermen did. 23 years ago when I came here to live full-time, I started to paint the names on their boats. So when someone needed to paint a boat, the fishermen said, ‘Go to the Casa del Pintor’, which means the House of the Painter.”
Many years later, the place is a favorite hangout for the expat community – many of whom simply call it Ropi’s – but it’s still the House of the Painter and is home to Ropi’s own art studio. The restaurant features a large mural behind the bar, more bas-reliefs and a number of smaller paintings.
Often on Fridays, this cool, eclectic place can become packed with up to 70 people – margaritas flowing and people dancing to the funky world beats. Other nights there are fewer people and the tone can be more subdued. You never know how the night will turn out, but rest assured it’s always entertaining.
In addition to the incredibly popular BBQ ribs, the menu on Fridays usually includes a number of other local dishes. Ropi told me that the Mexican Lasagna is like no other in the world – a savory medley of ground beef, green peppers, raisins, nuts and a secret ingredient he refused to reveal. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll love the Chile Relleno, a breaded poblano pepper stuffed with soft melted cheese – an island surrounded by a sea of tomato sauce. If you’re a fan of seafood, the Casa del Pintor honors its ties with the local fishermen by offering fresh dorado (mahi-mahi) when available.
Know before you go:
Come early or reserve a table. David plays from 7:00pm to 10:00pm.
Bring cash because the credit card machine may not be working.
Casa del Pintor Restaurant
Calle Hidalgo 16
Col. Emiliano Zapata
63734, Punta de Mita, Nayarit, Mexico
Telephone: 01 329 291 6307
Desiree Bilon is a writer, translator and a surf tour guide. After traveling and living abroad on four continents she now calls Mexico home.
Desiree occasionally manages to use both of her Master’s degrees: International Relations and Translating/Interpreting. Her writing has appeared in surf and action sport magazines in English, Italian, and Spanish.
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Photography by Desiree Bilon.