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Jan 13, 2010 07:52 PM

A little help in Mazatlan

Hi there. Thanks so much in advance for any help. I have searched the boards and have been able to get some info but was hoping to get some more. I am a Boston chef traveling to Mazatlan for a week at the beginning of March. It is not really a food based trip but I am hoping to get some great eats while we are there. We are staying a little bit out of town at the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay. Not really interested in the tourist zone. From what I can gather, there is a lot to do in the "old town" part of the city with lots of street food (which I love). Probably going to keep it mostly to smaller places but would like to have one or two nice meals possibly with water views. Also any suggestions for good bars that might possibly have interesting tequila and mezcal lists. Lastly, I know that it is a Mexico D.F. specialty but is there anywhere with great al Pastor? Also, any places that people just really love. Thanks so much. Cannot wait to get there and get out of the snow and cold.

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  1. Good grief! Search the archives! Your question has been asked and answered on this Branch dozens of times, included several times in the last two months.

    You are quite wrong that "Old Town" just has street food. Most of the best restaurants in Mazatlán are in the centro historico and there is almost no street food. Don't confuse El Centro with Centro Historico. I would expect several posters will give you their list of favorites (which you don't deserve because you haven't done your homework). I'll just give you a quick four: Restaurant Topolo/Habaneros Wine bar a block from the Plazuela Machado is perhaps the best/most interesting restaurant in Maz and the wine bar has a good selection of wines and Tequilas (they have a website). For excellent fish in a charming old building near Plazuela Machado eat at Mariscos Bahía. Down on the water?: El Puntilla near the docks (not open for dinner). For grilled meats, El Bambú near the Gran Plaza (near the Zona Dorada) is a good choice. (And for an "ethnic treat" take a launch over to Isla de Piedra and eat fresh fish at the various palapa restaurants--some are better than others.)

    And don't be casually dismissive of the "tourist zone": Lots to see and good places to eat in the Zona Dorada, and staying at PB Emerald Bay is more than a "little bit out of town--it's in a world of its own." You have an odd perspective of Maz: The actual "tourist zone" is virtually any place within a couple of blocks of the beach--and the beach stretches for over 20 miles. "Old town" was the tourist zone until the 1970s, and then the building boom began to the north and hasn't stopped.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dlglidden

      Thank you for your reply. I have actually read every post that you have on here regarding Maz prior to your reply though so the condescension was a little thick. I was just hoping to see if anyone wanted to throw out some new ideas especially regarding small local places to eat. I am sorry I confused El Centro with the the Centro Historico. I had read that Mazatlan had good street food and I was pretty excited about it. If anyone has any suggestions for street vendors that would be awesome as well. Thanks again for your time.

      1. re: iloveporkbelly

        OK, sorry. JamesSanders has the best "street food" idea: Go to the central market and the surrounding area and see what looks good from the various food stands/carts. The problem with recommending street food is that the carts usually have no names, no fixed location, no regular hours, and no regular cooks--and they appear and disappear very frequently. Streetgourmetla has the right idea of describing good local dishes, but leaving it to the OP to find places that serve them. Another problem is that street food in Maz varies from really good to really bad (as you would expect) so restaurants are easy to recommend but street food "places" (as above) are not.

        I do have one other suggestion: cenadurias and restaurantes familiar--economical food and patronized almost exclusively by working-class Mazatlecos. You'll find many of them in the area near the central market and the cathedral. A few are well known, but not by me. (The one we always had lunch at closed five years ago.) You should go to the message boards/forums of and/or and search their archives for "cenaduria." I know that one cenaduria has been mentioned favorably several times there. You also might want to post your original query there. There are many Mazatlán expats who enjoy street/economical food and could give you recommendations. MazDee certainly comes to mind.

        Good luck.

        1. re: dlglidden

          Another great idea, around every mercado are a ton of great eats. Cenadurias, comida economicas, or familiares, or comida corridas, are a nice way to enjoy home cooking.

          Well, in regards to street food, the OP will have to use some instinct and judgement which I'm sure will serve well. Take a look around, a popular stand is a good indicator, check out the menus, in general, the more ambitious, the more likely you'll score. Have a look at the plates.

          Look at the condiments, and see if there are specialists, someone for the grill, a cook, someone for raw seafood preparations. Also good indicators. Try an appetizer and a beer, won't cost you much and could be an indicator of the place.

      2. re: dlglidden

        Bahia for food, El Puntilla for water setting. Eat lots of aquachile. Head to the market and look and see where the locals are eating. We had tortas on the sidewalk that were amazing. Look for the guy on the sidewalk selling the barley aqua. That was a new taste.

        Definitely head to Villa Union to eat at Cuchapetas.

      3. There are a bunch of beach stands along the malecon, in front of the Caliente Sports Book. There you will find pescado zarandeado, shrimp albondigas, empanadas of marlin, aguachiles, callo de hacha(scallops), and all sorts of local specialties.

        Mariscos Toro on Raphael Buelna across from the Mega.

        Loof for mignon de camaron in the bigger restaurants, shrimp in a mignon shape, wrapped with bacon, and topped with melted cheese.

        1. Just head to Av Constituion in Centro Historico to the restaurant "Te Amo Lucy" and work your way through their incredibly good menu and talk with the ex-pat owner Tony and get a good local take on the food world of Mazatlan, but you may never want to leave this restaurant. Inspired cuisine, very casual, fresh and local. This is about two blocks heading east off the main Plazuela in the Centro Historico. We were just there over the holidays and this would be one good reason to return to Mazatlan, again and again just to keep eating there.