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Architecturally stunning Pacifica Taco Bell remodeled

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“The world’s most beautiful Taco Bell”

A seaside Taco Bell on the beach in Pacifica.
The seaside Taco Bell on the beach in Pacifica.
Photo courtesy of Edelman

Pacifica boasts one of the strangest unofficial landmarks in Northern California, a seaside Taco Bell famed for its oceanic views and late-’60s modernist vibe a la the homes inside the Sea Ranch.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently deemed it “the world’s most beautiful Taco Bell”—a singular laurel but technically impressive nevertheless—and even highlighted the quasi-Mexican fast food joint at 5200 Coast Highway as a summer destination.

Now the casual eatery has reopened as a beachside “cantina.” That means, yes, this is one of the Taco Bell locations that serves beer and wine.

The franchisee also sprang for a remodel that includes a new interior with a mural created by San Francisco street artist Nora Bruhn and an indoor/outdoor fireplace.

The renovation has been in the works since last November but only now are the finishing touches ready. From the outside the restaurant looks much the same as it has for years, although a new walk-up window from the beach has been added.

The interiors, previously interchangeable with most other Taco Bell stores, now put an emphasis on wood slat flooring, tiled ceilings, and exposed beams.

While it’s not exactly the Decorator Showcase, it is a net improvement on an already popular location. And the combination indoor-outdoor fireplace—picture an aquarium filled with flames—is a winner.

The famed structure, which started out as an A&W hamburger franchise, was built on Pacifica State Beach sometime in the late 1960s.

The location reopens to the public on Saturday, July 13, coinciding with the 20th annual Kahuna Kupuna Benefit Surf Contest.