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Squamish food beat: Pink Tuna Café brings traditional Mexican cuisine

Owner says the team hopes to bring a variety of dishes with a ‘punch of flavour’ to locals.

A new eatery aims to provide Squamish with more authentic Mexican cuisine.

Located in Valleycliffe on Westway Avenue, Pink Tuna Café is helmed by owner Oscar Araiza Castro. The eatery has been open since mid-November 2023.

Araiza Castro said the team at the café offers a variety of dishes with a “punch of flavour” like the dishes that they grew up on in Mexico.

“We’re doing like Mexico City, a little bit of Puebla,” said Araiza Castro of the dishes.

Right now, the café offers classic Mexican tacos including pastor, carnitas and barbacoa, plus vegan and vegetarian options, such as tacos with vegan chorizo or poblano pepper. 

They also offer a tomato-based tortilla soup, which can be both vegan and non-vegan.

Some of the dishes are inspired by their family, said Araiza Castro, who recalled phoning home to chat with his mom about just exactly how grandma would use the poblano pepper in recipes to get a good flavour.

“It’s been a lot of help from our families,” he said.

Before becoming a full-blown restaurant, Araiza Castro said they could be spotted at local farmers’ markets in the Sea to Sky Corridor serving non-alcoholic beverages like horchata. The colourful, non-alcoholic drinks remain a stalwart at the café with three current flavours: mango mojito, barbie colada and horchata.

After attempting to open the restaurant in 2020, said Araiza Castro, plans were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, the years of ruminating on the desire to open the café is where the name Pink Tuna comes from.

He explained the name comes from the prickly pear, a cactus native to Mexico. He elaborated that the prickly pear grows in some of the toughest conditions with little resources. But with patience, it will develop into a beautiful flower on top often with hues of green, red, purple and pink like the namesake.

“It completely reflects what we’ve been going through these years,” Araiza Castro said of the name.

Araiza Castro said the café is just in the beginning stages with plans to evolve the menu including traditional Mexican seafood dishes, plus having a to-go market with drinks, tortillas and more.

As it stands, the café is open Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Araiza Castro said customers will get a sense of fine dining in the food, but overall, it is a relaxing atmosphere with many walls painted pink plus other colourful artwork and plants.

“Two of my team members are also from fine dining, so we have that touch,” he said. “We don't want it to be like a fine dining space because we're not that. But food-wise, we're gonna give you that; you will see it on the plate.”

So far, he said the customers have been very receptive to the offerings, which he said was a big compliment coming from “well-travelled” locals.

Check out more and keep up with Pink Tuna Café by following its Instagram at

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