An open-air eatery on the Malecón, Nohoch Kay (Big Fish in English, Malecón btwn Calles Liza and Cazón, tel. 983/125-6610, 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Tues., 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Wed.–Sun., US$3–7) whips up some of the best fish and shrimp tacos in town. Thick pieces of fish—fried or grilled—are served with small tortillas, onion, cilantro, and plenty of lime. Fish sandwiches cost a bit more but are made with fresh fillets of fish, homemade tartar sauce, and a heaping portion of fries. The place is bustling most days, but the staff tries hard to make each client feel like a longtime customer.
With a sand floor, plastic tables, and palapa roof,
100% Agave (Calle Huachinango btwn Calles Sierra and Cherna, no phone, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$4–10) won’t let you forget that you’re at the beach. Even if you’re a block away. Located one street up from the Malecón, 100% Agave is great little restaurant serving up tasty Mexican classics like enchiladas, chicken mole, and tacos along with monster-size drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic alike). It’s a friendly place with a loyal following—a good place to get a sense of the local scene. If it’s packed, take a whole roasted chicken to go; it comes with tortillas, potatoes, and little onions (US$6).
Red lanterns, sleek wood tables, an enormous TV screen (25 feet!), and spectacular views of the Caribbean make Le Terrazze (Malecón at Calle Martillo, cell. tel. 983/733-1879, www.leterrazzemx.com , 5 p.m.–2 a.m. Tues.–Sun., 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Mon., US$8–25) the snazziest restaurant in town. They specialize in Italian dishes, and every meal is made fresh to order. There are 20 types of pasta dishes on the menu, as well as an assortment of grilled meats and seafood. There also is an admirable selection of wines from Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Chile. On Saturday, the place doubles as a nightclub, too.
Luna de Plata (Av. Mahahual Km. 2, cell. tel. 983/125-3999, www.lunadeplata.info , 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.–midnight daily, US$6–20) serves tasty and well-prepared Italian dishes, from a slice of good, crisp pizza to fresh-made pasta with shrimp or lobster. There are a few international dishes as well, such as veggie curry pasta.
If you’re cooking for yourself, consider buying fresh lobster from the local lobster fisherman’s co-op, Centro de Acopio de Langosta (Calle Huachinango near Calle Almeja, no phone, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily). At this roadside shack, you can take your pick of lobsters; they generally sell for US$30 per kilo (2.2 pounds). Fresh conch also is sold here for about US$16 per kilo.
Travel In’ (Carr. Antigua Km. 6, no phone, 5:30 p.m.–close Mon.–Sat., US$4–18) is a great little restaurant a few kilometers down the coastal road. Pita bread is baked fresh daily and makes for great sandwiches—hamburger, fish, BLT—as well as a curious but tasty “pita pizza.” The curry is popular here, and daily seafood specials vary according to the day’s catch and what’s available in town. Well worth the walk (or ride) down the coast.
In Las Casitas, Aroma (Las Casitas, Av. Paseo del Puerto s/n, tel. 983/834-5740, 7 a.m.–noon and 5 p.m.–midnight Sun.–Fri., US$4–14) is a cool corner bistro with plastic tables and chairs set before an open kitchen. An international menu offers respite from standard Mexican fare, with items such as gazpacho, moussaka, and beef medallions in soy balsamic sauce. It’s worth the trip.
Kitty-corner from Aroma restaurant, Loco Ricky’s (Las Casitas, cell. tel. 983/105-3978, Av. Paseo del Puerto s/n, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$3.50–13) serves up classic American grub, including burgers, onion rings, and pizza. The bar has a large-screen TV for important games and tournaments, and the owner makes everyone feel at home (or at least at their hometown sports bar).
For basic groceries, try Minisuper Noé (Las Casitas, Paseo del Puerto near Calle Kohunlich, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily).