As the weeks become days leading up to my visits to Mexico City, it’s not tacos I crave, but a desire to explore the ever-growing mariscos (seafood) scene. Don’t get me wrong, my CDMX “must list” is filled with tacos, tortas and tetelas, but when the heat of the day hits, my strongest desire is to seek out one of the many mariscos restaurants in the city.
Contramar is the first (and often only) place that gets mentioned when people talk about mariscos in CDMX. I don’t want to discount it as a place to go, because as a visitor, it’s quite a unique Mexico City dining experience. But seeing it’s listed on everyone’s must list, I wanted my list to dive deeper from the surface.
If you do go to Contramar, book yourself into a late lunch and be ready to eat an extraordinary feast in a lovely space, surrounded by the beautiful people of Mexico City. Chef Gabriela Cámara’s dishes will transport you away from the bustling city to a beachside restaurant in a non-touristy coastal town.
The tuna tostadas are a must as well as an aguachile of your choosing. If you’re lucky enough to go in a group, be sure to order the Contramar Pescado a la talla (grilled whole fish, with a red & green sauces). Make sure you leave room for dessert, which gets presented at the end of a meal on a tray to tempt you. I’m usually too full for dessert, but can’t resist their fluffy strawberry meringue dessert.
La Docena is on the corner of the busy Av. Álvaro Obregón & Frontera in Roma Norte, which is great for people watching. This oyster bar tries to be less Baja/Sinaloa-mariscos, and more New Orleans-inspired oyster bar although I feel like the vibe is purely Mexico City. This is the perfect place to pull up to the bar solo (or on a date) for a gin and tonic and a selection from their raw sheet.
La Docena in Roma is always busy, but I’ve never had a problem getting a bar seat with a bit of a wait or if plan ahead and with a group, you can make a reservation for a table. I haven’t been, but am told their bigger Polanco location is buzzier and a great scene (if you’re into that kind of thing).
Mi Compa Chava is a bustling, open-air industrial space located also located in Roma Norte. It’s always busy but I’ve been lucky to get a table without a reservation on both my visits by beating the 1pm rush. The atmosphere is fun, almost like a party with corridos playing in the background and the servers performing a dance with their quick and efficient service. The must orders are the raw chocolate clams and a callo de hacho (scallop) tostada. Be warned that their portions are huge, as are some of their raw oysters.
I rarely venture to Centro, but sometimes I feel like gazing at magnificent architecture in the area. When I am in the neighbourhood, a visit to Itacate Del Mar is a great choice to get away from the frenzy. Located in a renovated 19th century building turned hotel, the Hotel Circulo sits in the shadow of the Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de Mexico. Itacate Del Mar is the little sister to Gabriel Cámara’s Contramar, and I love it as a casual stop for a small bite. Go after 1pm to enjoy one of their delicious tostadas or tortas. I savoured the scallop tostada on my visit, but can’t wait to return for a fried calamari or tuna tostada. The ground floor marketplace inside Circulo Mexicana is a worthwhile shopping adventure after your meal to check out a lovely variety of artisanal Mexican goods.
I’ll keep this post updated as there are a few other mariscos places on my list that I haven’t checked out yet. Can’t wait to try Campobaja, Mariscos Don Vergas, Con Vista Al Mar and La Guerrerense (which I went to and loved in Ensenada) on my next visits to CDMX. If there are others you think I should try, please reach out and recommend!
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