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Where is the chowish food in Zihua?

  • m

We will be visiting for the first time in a few weeks, and I have done some searching on Chowhound and found nothing recent about Zihua, so I was hoping to get some good recommendations. We are looking for good quality food- atmosphere is not as important. I am just as happy (if not more happy!) at a local dive eating tacos al pastor as I am eating at the finest restaurant. Based on my research, the list so far is:

Lety's for coconut shrimp
Anywhere on Pozole Alley on Thursday night pozole
Los Braseros
Don Memo's
Tango (I assumed this place was argentinian, but not so sure since a few people mentioned margaritas here?)
The Tides (for our "fancy" night out)
Paty's Mar y Mar on the beach
Otilia's on Las Gatas Beach

Is La Casa Que Canta overrated? If the best thing about it is the view, then I don't need to go. What are your opinions? Locals and frequent Zihua visitors- please give feedback on the list! Am I missing anything good?

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  1. Our two best meals were at Atoles y Tamales Any, in Centro. I had an excellent mole de olla.
    The other, excellent place was Doña Licha's, on Calle Cocos, east of the mercado. Inexpensive and authentic. Thursday is pozole day. The specialty is pozle verde.

    1. La Casa que Canta is very good, I would definitely go there (and the view is fantastic yes!).

      1. Lety's for sure.

        Los Braseros is great for tacos al pastor. Order "La Ballena" (the whale) great and cheap.

        Paty's and Otilias have good food, but I would say go to these for atmosphere more so than a dining experience.. relax and have a few good drinks and appetizers. IMO. The octopus at Paty's is better than most.

        Bandidos: Get the Molcajete. Always my favorite meal in Z.

        Il Mare on the hill above La Ropa. Great view at night, great food and fair prices.

        Dona Licha for breakfast in town.

        Sirena Gorda near the pier is one of the oldest in Z. It is a bit pricey, but I usually go for a few fish tacos which are excellent.

        And, if you happen to wander over to Ixtapa, Cafe Nueve Zelanda is a must for breakfast. There used to be one in Z, but it closed. The one in Ixtapa is still there. I love the Molletes, and wifes favorite breakfast spot.

        Those are my "don't miss" stops.

        1. OP, thank you for starting this post. We are also heading down to Zihua soon and are in search of some good food.

          Anyplace for the "best" ceviche, huachinango or camarones anything?

          1 Reply
          1. re: comiendosiempre

            If you like ceviche, try the tiritas at Otilias on Las Gatas. Thin slices of fish, red onion and serrano peppers, marinated in lime juice. Very good.

          2. We haven't been there in a few years, but Amuleto has very nice high-end food. It is a small boutique hotel with very few extra tables so reserve ahead. Go around 5 and have a drink at the bar while catching the spectacular view at sunset.


            There was a couple that we saw on a daily basis on La Ropa beach near La Casa Que Canta harvesting fresh oysters out in the bay. We got a dozen fresh shucked oysters for 10 bucks (mind you this was a few years ago)

            1. You don't mention where you're staying and that's kind of important. We always stay on Playa Madera and eat mostly around there and Playa Municapal. We've never dined on La Ropa or anywhere in Ixtapa.

              Here are our favorites.....I don't have addresses handy and will report back later in January as we're heading back there soon. Half the time we don't know the name of the place we're eating. We just wander and see what looks good.

              Tango! has moved from their Playa Municipal location to just above Kau Kan on the road to Ixtapa. I *highly* recommend this place. The margaritas are made from fresh lime juice with not a mix in site. They're wonderful. The crab soup is outstanding. We both ate beef and found it to be the best piece of meat we've had in a long time.

              La Casa Vieja (just down the road from Rufo's in Playa Madera). They serve all three varieties of pozole (green, white and red....the red is not usually found in this area of Mexico but that's another show) and they are all excellent. Their food overall is really good and you probably won't have a bad meal there.

              Bandido's is really a personal choice. We found their food to be blech (read no flavor and not authentic) but the atmosphere is ok. I personally would not recommend it.

              La Gula - I've not eaten here but heard it's really good. Just can't talk myself into spending that kind of cash....maybe this year!

              Our favorite place for breakfast has closed (La Casa Cafe) after many years. Their daughter's husband convinced the staff to work at La Perla Negra and they are now serving breakfast. I've not eaten there but every review I see says it's good. Will let you know after our trip.

              La Panaderia (the pink building in El Centro) has really good baked goods. There's another bakery on the way to Kioto circle that's great as well.

              My best advise is to wander around and try different places. The best food in the world is the food you find on our own. Everyone's tastes vary.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dee S

                Wow, kinda shocked on the Bandido's input.

                Their Molcajete is very authentic, a traditional Aztech dish. Made with cactus, beef or chicken and cheeses served in a molcajete. Served with black corn tortillas Very good, can feed two for the price.

                Also, as a salsa conissuere, their tableside salsa service is excellent.

                Oh well, as you mentioned it is a personal choice, but I have never heard anyone complain about lack of flavor there.

                1. re: john redcorn

                  Don't want to turn this into a Bandido's bashing but what I had a few years ago had pureed tomatoes with no seasoning at all for a sauce. The cheese served was a sauce....from a can. I've heard their burgers are good and folks hang out there all the time for happy hour. It's just not my cuppa tea. If I do find myself back there, I'll look more at the Molcajete, since that sounds right up my alley....especially if it's made with nopales!

                2. re: Dee S

                  "The best food in the world is the food you find on our own. Everyone's tastes vary."

                  I totally agree with that.

                  Too bad Casa Cafe closed. Most of our breakfasts there were very good, and inexpensive.

                3. Terrific, muchas gracias. The places mentioned sound great, and I don't think I have heard of some of them from the "usual" sources. Dee S pls let us know what you find on your upcoming trip.

                  We are staying by La Ropa but certainly will travel. I understand there are some cooking classes offered at various venues/restaurants, and we likely will want to try one of those too. Gracias.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: comiendosiempre

                    if you are interested in taking a cooking class, take monica's. http://www.patiomexica.com/CookingSch...

                    we took her class last year & loved it!! she will take you into the mercado and teach you about the local produce & then you go back & COOK!!!

                  2. I will be returning to Zihua in 3 weeks for my 10th trip in as many years. some of the best food can be found here!!!

                    Make sure you pay in pesos everywhere!! - if you use a credit card, the restaurants will add a surcharge. the cost of using credit cards is obscenely high compared to here in the u.s.

                    I would recommend eating at Elvira's on la Ropa over Paty's - top notch for all meals (B,L,D) Elvira's french toast & pancakes are amazing. She uses mexican vanilla and it takes them to the next level (I bring real maple syrup from home & take it there to use on the french toast & pancakes). The huachinango (any style) is always fresh, great fajitas, ensalada de spinaci, tuna, mushroom soup....i could go on & on.

                    Also on la Ropa which is not on your list is El Manglar. Definitely worth a try!! I think they are closed on Wednesdays...

                    Not on the beach, but on the main road about 1/4 mile past the dolphin fountain (from town) is Jungle Pizza. I never thought I'd ever get pizza in Mexico but went there last year on the recommendation of friends. It was surprisingly Very Good!!! Great margaritas too!

                    For breakfast, in centro, I recommend Doña Licha's and Banana's.

                    For lunch: wherever you land. :-)

                    For sunset cocktails: Enjoy the sunset at the Sunset Bar at the Catalina - 'dos por uno' margaritas and an incredible view.

                    For dinner:

                    I enjoyed Lety's but found the coconut shrimp to rich for my palate....I prefer the fresh fish dishes here.

                    Los Braceros - excellent!!

                    I'd go with Amuleto for the "fancy night out" meal

                    Kau Kan, Casa Que Canta & The Tides - overrated (imho)

                    Someone mentioned Il Mare.....it's okay....I'd go to Puesta del Sol which is near Il Mare, same side of street, a bit closer to Madera. Puesta del sol has been run by the same family for as long as I can remember. They prepare many dishes tableside and have many flambes on the menu. Their caesar salad is quite good.

                    In the Madera 'hood, I'd recommend el Perla Negra, la Gula, Rufo's and la Casa Vieja. note on la Casa Vieja-get there early before the music starts. there have been a lot of complaints about how loud it gets.

                    The Captain's Daughter (in centro) has great burgers!

                    Ricomar for Pozole on Thursday!!! Pozole Verde w/ pork or Pozole rojo w/ chicken is the way to go!!

                    Tango is on my list for this year's visit, along with La Papa Loca. I always end of running out of meals before I get to all of the restaurants!!!

                    You will not go hungry!!

                    feel free to contact me directly for additional info!! have a great trip!!

                    1. I just got back from a week in Zihua. I stayed on Playa la Ropa at Club Intrawest. Here are short rundowns of the restaurants we visited while we were there.

                      Club Intrawest - Surf Club: We had passable fish tacos and ceviche here. The tiritas were okay too, but came out really salty once. Not worth the price.

                      Club Intrawest - Zi: The breakfast was excellent. I had a cuitlacoche and goat cheese omelette, and the regular eggs and bacon breakfast came with a giant fruit plate. Very nice! For dinner, however... well, everything is quite sweet and over priced. I would not recommend it. For example, we had lobster in a whiskey and vanilla sauce with orange slices as a part of a special beachside meal. It's really too much. We did have an amazing Kahlua soufflee for dessert.

                      Dona Lichas - I love their chilaquiles for breakfast. I prefered the green ones, but the red ones were good too. About $5, so fantastic value. Also, fresh squeezed orange juice.

                      Rossys - My parents remembered that beachside dinning in La Ropa was ridiculously affordable when they were last in Zihua, about five years before. Well, that's not exactly the case. We went to Rossys and were bummed out by the prices for what was really simple food. My partner had the shrimp diablo, which, while tasty, the sauce was far too rich. I had the crayfish, which was really enjoyable.

                      Atoles y Tamales Any - We went for green pozole on Thursday. Fantastic! Also, great value for under $10. The pozole even came with two shots of mezcal per person. The broth was rich, and the add-ins (e.g. radish, chicharones, jalapenos) made it even better.

                      El Manglar - Best margarita in Zihua. No mix. Their tiritas were also the best we've had. For $5, it's a meal in its self. We also ordered some fish veracruz and some shrimp. Both were tasty, but again, more expensive than we had anticipated ($18).

                      Tangos - My family was divided by Tangos. My partner and I both had lovely meals - the smoked marlin tostada and the baked seafood shell to start, and the snapper and shrimp for him and the shrimp for me. My mother had the ceviche and it was one of those super tomato-ey ones. Not so keen on those. My father had a fantastic crab bisque. My brother had the ribs, but he wasn't super keen on them. The drinks were amazing, and the view was fantastic.

                      Patys Mar y Mar - We didn't like the ceviche here, but loved the grilled octopus ($10) with garlic. It came with tortillas, and I would ask for pico de gallo on the side. The tiritas and fish tacos were good too.

                      Bandidos - Okay. This place is the most touristy by far. We had the molcajetes and chiles rellenos. I've never had molcajetes before, but I just wasn't that impressed. It's like soupy fajitas. The chile rellenos were not impressive either. My mother had a really nice fish carpaccio, while my father had a terrible lobster bisque that stank up the place. The tableside salsa was okay tasting, but not really that exciting.

                      Lety's - The coconut shrimps were pretty intense, but I couldn't stop eating them. We also had a piece of grilled mahi-mahi with a side of pico de gallo. Very nice!

                      Zihuatanejo Cooking School - Patsy Cummings, who used to run Coconuts, now has a small cooking school in her villa. The meal we made there was pretty awesome. We started with a black bean soup, which I hear is a Coconuts fave. We then made a quesadilla with zucchini flowers and oaxaca cheese. Finally, we made chile rellenos with shrimp, three cheeses and a fruit sauce. Everything was amazing. And for $55 per person for the class, which is really fun, it was a great meal.

                      Coconuts - After our meal at the cooking school, we decided to try out Coconuts. It is definitely not a Mexican restaurant, first of all. We all had fantastic starters - the black bean soup (again), the red snapper sashimi with ponzu (wow!), and the artichoke carpaccio with shrimp. The mains were more hit and miss. My father ordered the fillet mignon, after hearing Patsy talk about how they imported the best steaks from Kansas. She was totally right. Best steak ever! My mother ordered the snapper, which was so delicious. I ordered some kind of crusted steak, which, while passable, was not up to the calibre of the my parents' dishes. Finally, my partner ordered the pork chop, which was rather chewy. For dessert, my parents had the key lime pie, which was more of a cheesecake and was far too sweet. We had the flambed bananas with vanilla ice cream, which was just wonderful.

                      A couple of notes:
                      - Most places give you a litte something to start out with, like chips with pico de gallo, salsa and/or black beans. Don't get too full before the mains show up!
                      - We took grapefruit seed extract throughout the trip and we did not get sick. We did get some serious indigestion, though. Eating chilaquiles for breakfast, tiritas for lunch and pozole for dinner will do that to you.

                      Enjoy Zihua!

                      1. Wow - this is a great list and I'm really looking forward to my trip to Zihua next month! yum!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: christinemsp

                          Just got back from ziuha. Pretty good food anywhere. Watch where the locals eat......important

                          We had a great meal at Di Angelos....kitty corner from Coconuts. We had an awsome seafood platter for two at Puerto Del mar on the city beach. Walk towards the beach on Cinco de Mayo. When you get to the beach walkway its on your right. Say hi to "Heavy Hand" the bartender from Senior G and Linda for us

                        2. Recently returned from Zihua, and these stick out in my mind:

                          Lety's- I am not a huge coconut shrimp person, but we went TWICE. These things are addictive and I found myself craving them at home just last night. My husband had the fish stuffed with octopus and shrimp- also delicious. Absolutely recommend going for dinner.

                          Il Mare- good, but not amazing. Probably the most expensive meal all trip ($60-70 USD, but we did have wine). The view is outstanding though.

                          Los Braseros- Loved the Queso Fundido con Chorizo. Great place to stop for a beer and a snack.

                          Paty's and Elviras: We ate at each once, because our hotel was closeby. In my opinion, they are very similar for food and atmosphere- white plastic tables and chairs in the sand. Nice places to stick your feet in the sand and just enjoy your cerveza and guacamole.

                          Sunday night in town- eat anything and everything from the food carts. We had tostadas, tacos, and churros. Just do it- you will love it!

                          1. We recently had a very good dinner at La Casa Vieja. Excellent sopa de tortialla, bbq ribs and their "special" marinated partridge. We were surprised how good the food actually was. Also had a good huachinango at La Perla on the beach. We stayed at the Tidea and actually ate a number of our meals there, having befriended the chef. The food was excellent. ZIH is a great beach destination.

                            1. We also had a great chowish time in Zia. In a week we never had a bad meal. Following this thread's advice, we ate at:
                              Lety's. Best coconut shrimp ever! Stuffed fish with octopus was also tasty.
                              Amuleto. Outstanding service, ambiance, and food.
                              Elvira's. Tried the french toast but I wasn't crazy about it.
                              Caprichos Grill House. Enchanting courtyard dining. Food and location are tops. Service a little uneven when busy.

                              Great vacation venue.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: DaveN

                                It is a fabulous place to vacation and we'd like to keep it a secret....shhhh! The best places to go are the little holes in the wall. Ask some of the locals where they eat and be prepared for some fine food.

                                It's important to note that a lot of smaller restaurants close down/cut back service during the slow seaon, which will be starting soon. So, if you visit in the middle months of the year (May to November), expect less variety.

                                We *love* Zihua!