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Dec 24, 2006 01:49 PM

Mazatlan's Best Restaurants??


Your expert advice is needed again!

My wife, baby and I are going to Mazatlan for two weeks in March and are staying in the "Golden Zone" where all the resorts are. Does anyone have any experience in this city?

My wife and I are true Chowhounders, so would love to get away from the tourist-type fare and get more into authentic local fare (but safe to eat of course).

A number of TripAdvisor posters have suggested these restaurants, but I do take it with a grain of salt since they may be very happy with chain / tourist type fare. Here are their suggestions:

Carlos & Lucia's
Casa Country
Chili's Pepper
Fat Fish
La Papala
Los Arcos
Minnesota Cafe
Mister A's
Mr. Tilley's
No Name Cafe
Panama Bakery
The Place
The Purple Onion
Tony's on the Beach
Villa Italia

Let us know about your experiences. Thanks in advance! We’ll be sure to post our successes when we get back.

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  1. Some of those are pretty good... if you do a search for Mazatlan you will find a number of detailed recommendations.

    1. We recently visited many mediocre restaurants in Mazatlan. Probably the best and most authentic of the lot was Tunnel at the square in old town. The tortilla soup was fantastic (best ever) and the rest of the apps like marlin tacos were good, but the entrées ended up being rather so-so. I am sorry that I cannot remember the name of the entrées, but they were selected from house specials list.

      1. We enjoyed Fat Fish, the rib dinners were 75 pesos each. Huge order of ribs couldn't even fit on the plate. Very meaty and tasty. If we would have had time, we would have returned.
        Panama - great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We ate there twice. Yum!
        El Memin - for a good local seafood place. Very good shrimp! It is in a shoppincg center located behind the "viejo" Ley grocery store.

        1. We had lots of fantastic meals. We stayed at El Faro and they were all walking distance. Sorry about the names, I can't remember but there's a very pretty steak restaurant across the street. Also we went to Alberto's and had a couple of lunches at the Shrimp Bucket downtown as the people watching there is fun!

          1. Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I'm heading to Mazatlan this Christmas. Roberto (or anyone else) did you find any chow worthy finds. I'm a little worried it's too touristy.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Mila

              All the restaurants on Roberto's list are in the tourist zone and (except the Panama) serve tourist food. I live in the Centro Historico, where there are many good restuarants, but do like to play tourist once in a while. I like going to Panchos, Chili's Pepper, Villa Italia and a few others. Panama is a bakery which also has 2 restaurants, one in the tourist zone and the other downtown. They have very good food, reasonable prices, great service....and lots of local customers. Before I attempt to recommend restuarants (always a chancy thing!) I would like to know what kind of food you like. If it is continental style food, I can't help much. If you like Mexican food, maybe I can! I have lived here for 6 years, and like eating out.

              1. re: MazDee


                I haven't searched Chowhound for any previous posts, but I know that good, local restaurants are usually institutions that have been in place for some time.

                I would love to get your recommendations for non-touristy restaurants with any kind of cuisine, whether it be a taco cart, a shack or whatever; good food being the primary search..

                1. re: MazDee

                  Hi MazDee,

                  I too am absolutely looking for non-touristy, local, mexican restaurants. I would so appreciate your help. Are there any specialites of Mazatlan that I should be on the look out for?

                  Thanks so much,

                  1. re: Mila

                    I will have to give a little time to thinking about your request and Gypsy Jan's. I realize now that I don't know the names of some of the little places I go, or exactly what intersection they are on! I will do a bit of research. Off the top of my head (and these are in Centro, not the GZ), La Copita is one of my favorites for pozole (and good tacos too). It is a tiny family run business which has been there for years. It is located on Belisario Dominguez, a few blocks from the malecon (ocean walkway) but so small a taxi might not know it. Chayitos on Azueta is another great place for pozole, plus carne asada, ribs and more. It is larger than La Copita and very popular with local families on Sunday afternoons. No alcohol, but you can take your own wine or beer. You probably won't see any other gringos in either place. For seafood, La Puntilla, located on the waterfront near the ferry and cruise ship terminals is fun, popular and has really good food. Not many tourists. Really crowded with locals on weekends but popular all the time. They close about 7, but you can order an early dinner and they won't kick you out. Remember that most locals, when they go out, have their main meal midday around 2 or 3, and anyway part of the scene at La Puntilla is watching boats and ships go by. My favorite fish place in Centro is Bahia, located on Mariano Escobedo, a couple blocks from the ocean in Olas Altas. It has been around for 40 years or so. Located in an old colonial building, very attractive. Pricier than the places I mentioned earlier but probably cheaper than your GZ hotel! I usually get the Zarandeado fillet. YUM! Let me get back to you in a few days on some other places.

                    Mila asked about specialties. First thing that came to mind was pescado zarandeado. This was invented in a little beach restaurant quite a few miles south of Maz. They take a whole fish (usually robalo, which has been translated both as sea bass and snook, I have no idea), split it, anoint it with a special mixture which I understand includes garlic, lime, butter and soy sauce) and grill it on charcoal. Messy to eat, you have to pick out/work around the bones, but delicious. I have had it in 2 different small beach places, and each time we were directed to a cooler full of fresh caught fish on ice to choose our fish. You could find one for 2 or many people! La Puntilla (mentioned above) does it, but there, they don't store the fish in a plastic cooler. The zarandeado fillet I mentioned earlier (Bahia) is a thick fillet of dorado or something, bathed with that same mixture and grilled.
                    A seafood place NOT TO MISS is Cuchupetas. This is not in Mazatlán proper, but in the town of Villa Union, a few miles south. Even Presidente Fox loves their food! You won't find tourists there, but the big place is crowded every afternoon and the food is wonderful. If you want to feel like you are really in Mexico, go there by bus, it makes the whole thing more of an adventure. Just put it on your list. Everybody knows where it is, a block or so from where the bus drops you off.

                    This post is so rambling, I am not sure if it is helpful, but send your questions. Dee

                    1. re: MazDee

                      The places in Mazatlan are claiming to have invented Pescado Zarandeado??? Everyone in Mexico knows (should know) that Nayarit has the bragging rights.

                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        Well, Eat Nopal, I didn't say Mazatlán, but quite a ways south of here (heck, pretty close to Nayarit? ;) Nevertheless, wherever it was invented, it is a great dish and often served here in Maz.
                        I got my info from an article from Noroeste, a daily paper here. I couldn't copy the link but here is the article.
                        "Fish and shrimp, El Walamo style
                        Those who like good food agree on one thing: “zarandeado” fish in the pueblo of El Walamo is the best. This is where Jose Alfredo Guardado Ordoñez founded El Alamito 12 years ago, a simple country space specializing in seafood in the middle of a rural zone. He is the creator of fantastically flavored seafood. He is an agronomical engineer by profession, but he learned to cook out of necessity back when he was a student. Along the way he discovered that he loved to cook. As his career as an engineer progressed, he was increasingly invited to fiestas because of his special way of spicing up the seafood. Eventually this knack became his business.
                        “What the people like is the recipe, it is unique. We have given it to a few clients, but they say that it just doesn’t taste the same”, explains Jose Luis as he prepares an order of zarandeado shrimp, another specialty of the house. His helpers are in back and are busy using aluminum foil and metal pans in order to shake (“zarandear”) fish and shrimp. Sea bass and dorado and other fish are the best to use. He adds salt, pepper, lime, soy sauce, onion, celery, tomato, chili pepper and a special sauce made of butter, mayonnaise and mustard.
                        The faithful customers of El Alamito don’t mind traveling from Mazatlan or even the high sierra in order to enjoy this recipe along with the hand made tortillas. Everything is freshly prepared. It is OK to call ahead and order or to hire the place to prepare a special banquet.

                        El Alamito
                        Place: El Walamo
                        Address: 313 Main Street between 6 and 7
                        Telephone: (01669) 967 1076
                        Hours: open everyday from 9:00 to 6:00, open later on weekends(271378) "

                        1. re: MazDee

                          One week countdown to Mazatlan if I can manage to dig my way out of Toronto.

                          A quick question for MazDee or anyone else that might know. I was wondering if there is a farmer's market anywhere in Mazatlan. I would love to pick up some local produce since we have a kitchen where we are staying. Also looking for any tips on where and what kind of vanilla to buy.


                          1. re: Mila

                            The central market is located right in centro, near the cathedral. There is another nice one (slightly smaller) on Nájera, about 2 blocks inland from the Fisherman monument. It is called Mercado Juan Carasco. Sprinkled around town are small "fruterias" which often sell very good produce at very cheap prices.

                            1. re: MazDee

                              Thanks MazDee. I'm really looking forward to enjoying your city.

                  2. re: MazDee

                    Hey Dee, is Te Amo Lucy still there? I used to enjoy their food. Ms Mac

                    1. re: marymac

                      It was in May. Crazy Tony was working the room in all his glory.

                      1. re: SLRossi

                        I see this is an old thread, 2007. I'm not sure it was even open then. He's quite a character.

                        1. re: marymac

                          Loro de Oro Inn opened in 2004 and the restaurant opened about the same time and it's still going strong (as is Tony). Be advised that Te Amo Lucy is currently closed for remodeling and a reopening date has not been announced; check the website for further information.

                          1. re: dlglidden

                            We loved the place last December 2009 and recommend it always to those passing through Mazatlan. His home made ice cream is worth seconds and the food is inspired.