Mazatlan is rightly praised for its shrimp dishes, but as I discovered, that is not the only seafood to enjoy in this culinary wonderland.
I was lucky enough to be part of a group who got to watch the chef at La Costa Marinera prepare ceviche and aguachile. Though similar these two dishes are distinguished by the length of the pieces of shrimp as well as the ingredients – the aguachile tasted spicier to me.
The variety of seafood choices boggles the mind at La Costa Marinera — all good according to the twenty of us eating lunch there — but were the food mediocre, I would put this restaurant on my must visit list. Diners sit on a covered porch by the beach, and periodically a four piece band serenades diners. Good food and lots of it, picturesque view and traditional Mexican music. Wow!!
Another shrimp dish graces most of the menus in Mazatlan restaurants – shrimp pate. As served by Mariscos La Puntilla, it consists of ground shrimp mixed with mayonnaise, queso crema and chipotle chiles. On a warm day, this dish, eaten on saltine crackers and washed down by chilled Pacifico beers right out of the bottle, hits the bliss button big time. Mariscos La Puntilla fronts the water at Mazatlan’s large port, and even mid-afternoon when we visited, the place was packed.
While in Mazatlan, I got the chance to feast on lobster, calamari and other fresh fish and shellfish dishes, but two menu items stand out for me.
I had barely gotten to Mazatlan before being whisked to dinner at Topolo, a restaurant in the historic district. Not having much of an appetite, I ordered the tuna tartar appetizer for my main course. What arrived was a truly massive serving as delicious as any raw tuna I’ve had. It went down wonderfully well with the Los Osuna blanca tequila I enjoyed that night.
At Mariscos La Puntilla, I got to go into the kitchen to watch Chef Arturo prepare the restaurant’s signature Sarandeado grilled fish. He took a butterflied red snapper, lightly seasoned it, added some peppers and tomatoes and cooked the fish over an open flame until done. Once the fish arrived at our table, we pulled off pieces of snapper to eat alone or wrapped in warm tortillas with fresh salsa. I can’t imagine eating fish any other way now.
I am happy to report that, with seafood as fresh and tasty as that of Mazatlan, local chefs have the good sense to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Amazing!