You are here

The Dish: Homemade hot sauce, fresh fare set apart Lily’s Café

A serving of Lily’s homemade tamales ($10.50) topped with pico de gallo is accompanied by rice and beans.
A burrito ($7.50) is one of the restaurant’s famed dishes which keep customers coming back. Photos by Barbara Burke/22nd Century Media
Lily’s Cafe’s chicken plate ($10.75) is pictured.
Barbara Burke, Freelance Reporter
11:32 am PDT May 18, 2017

Malibu is fortunate to have Lily’s Café, a little gem in Point Dume Plaza where Lily Castro can be found serving excellent Mexican and American food.

In many ways, Lily’s Café exemplifies the American dream. Originally from El Salvador, Lily Castro was only 18 years old when she opened the café’s doors. She has raised her daughter in Malibu, developed a loyal following of customers and well-wishers, and has succeeded in developing an innovative menu where a hard-earned buck goes a very long way.

Lily’s is a family-oriented place that consistently serves very reasonably priced food for patrons on the go as well as those who like to linger and take in the café’s neighborhood vibe. Generations of Malibuites have grown up on the café’s fare.

“We’re famous for our burritos and our hot sauce,” Castro said. “Everything here is made fresh and to my own taste – I make sure it has the correct flavor.”

Try the carne asada burrito ($7.50) and homemade hot salsa. Made with flavorful beef, the burrito does not disappoint. Many customers are almost addicted to the café’s burritos and return time and again for a burrito fix. They also are happy that one can purchase a jar of Lily’s hot sauce for $7.50

“This café has really good burritos,” Chris Toth said. “It’s the best burrito in Malibu. It’s a good size and the prices are very good.”

Another excellent option is the chile relleno ($10.75), served with rice, beans and corn tortillas. This huge portion will sate any famished customer and can also be made as a chile relleno burrito. 

“Lily’s has very good, fresh food and the service is fast,” said Craig Moore, a regular at the café, as he bit into the delicious dish. 

Yet another delectable option to consider is the chicken plate ($10.75) which has grilled and excellently seasoned chicken with a side of rice, beans and corn tortillas.

Lily’s often offers tamale specials, served with rice and beans and pico de gallo ($10.50). What impresses customers is how fresh the homemade tamales are and how large the portion is for the price paid.

Lily’s offers wheat tortillas for 75 cents extra. The restaurant caters to vegetarians and vegans as well, offering wraps for the health conscious and a veggie tostada and other dishes with vegan rice and beans. Lily’s also has a children’s menu. For those who want traditional American fare, Lily’s serves up bacon and eggs in the morning, barbecue and traditional hamburgers. 

The café offers a wide range of beverage options, including horchata, lemonade, Jarritos sodas, wine, and a variety of beers, including Modelo, Stella Artois, Pacifico and Corona. 

“People come from all over the world to my restaurant when they’re in Malibu,” Castro said. “It’s like a family. I appreciate Malibu and everyone here as well as the many tourists who visit. Sometimes in summer, we serve 1,000 customers a day. At Lily’s we take care of the old and new.”

Lily’s Malibu

29211 Heathercliff Road, Malibu


7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sundays

Phone: (310) 457-3745


Credit card purchases must meet a $10 minimum