Life In La Cruz: La Ballena Blanca Bar & Restaurant Carries on Family Legacy

You may know Katia as the owner of Café Shule’l on the plaza at the opening to the Marina Riviera Nayarit. Her café caters to locals and visitors for breakfast, but this year she’s expanded in more ways than one! She and her man, Arnie, gave birth to beautiful Isabella and Katia and her parents took over the running of La Ballena Blanca Bar and Restaurant.

It was exciting to watch the location that is now La Ballena Blanca [translated to The White Whale] transformed into a restaurant. I marvel at what can be done with a blank, semi-outside space in Mexico. During high season, due to very little rain, a ceiling isn’t necessary as proven with the sail shades hung decoratively yet serving a much-needed function. The delightful bar made from a speedboat gets much attention, but the creativity only starts with the design!

Katia’s parents, Tomas and Connie operate the business with her, fulfilling her mom’s passion of cooking for many! The dream made possible with help from her Uncle Francisco Robles and Aunt Maria Eloisa Robles who own the building. It’s a family tradition to operate La Ballena Blanca. Katia’s grandfather, Rosendo Robles, gave it that name nearly forty years ago when a white whale washed ashore.

La Ballena Blanca’s menu is mostly seafood and always fresh. I so enjoyed the red snapper! Their coconut shrimp are fantastic. They have tacos, filled with your choice of fish, shrimp, octopus or arrachera beef. They also serve ribs and dear aunt Tia Lorena’s tortilla soup. Mom/Chef Connie’s favourite recipe is Chile Rellenos filled with seafood and is only available on Wednesday’s!

Like so many of the restaurants in La Cruz, La Ballena Blanca supports local live music in high season every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Fun fact: Katia’s grandfather was the 53rd person born in Puerto Vallarta. He loved to cook and shared that love with his children. All twelve of his offspring (six girls and six boys) cook and own restaurants. Various members of the family run all the restaurants on the block where Katia’s restaurants are located. Owned by their grandmother, they all use the land. “It is great to have everyone so close and we always know we will have the help we need.”

On one corner is the Green Tomato run by Katia’s cousin, Jose Eduardo, specializing in hamburgers with a fabulous shrimp burger. They also have tacos and other items on the menu;

Then there is Café Shule’l. Between Katia’s two restaurants is Uncle Pita who serves Asada (barbequed meat) tacos. On the corner closest to the marina is La Ballena Blanca.

I highly encourage everyone to visit Katia and her family at Café Shule’l for breakfast or La Ballena Blanca for lunch, dinner and cocktails.

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Cindy Bouchard
Cindy Bouchard, an expat Canadian runs a Boutique Hotel, Villa Amor del Mar, in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. She and her husband Chris are living and lovin’ in Vallarta–Nayarit. If you want more info on La Cruz or desire… A very special vacation contact Cindy via