La Palmera: Cavorting with Clams and Corvina in Tijuana

Restaurant Tijuana

La Palmera specializes in Sinaloa-style grilled and raw seafood preparations.

We made a “Cannonball Run” like break for the border, stampeded into Mexico on foot and all had one question on our minds: Where do we eat first? We all turned to Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA, a man with an insatiable hunger for traditional Mexican cooking. He promptly directed us to La Palmera, a Sinaloan style seafood restaurant located in Tijuana’s fish market district, which owner Eliazar Diaz named for a cluster of palm trees. Diaz opened La Palmera three years ago, patterning the food after dishes from their hometown of Huamuchis, Sinaloa.

When we arrived, the covered patio had light streaming inside, hanging plants and fans on blast. The windows are painted with killer whales, dolphins and manta rays. Sadly, Diaz served none of those sea creatures, but there were still plenty of oceanic treasures.

Restaurant Tijuana

La Palmera’s colorful raw bar offers cocteles y clamatos and counter seats.

Tortillas Tijuana

We started with toasted tortillas and dishes of pico de gallo spiked with Serrano chilies, a spicy tomato-based salsa and halved limes.

Clams Tijuana

We ordered a big plate of Almeja Reyna (1/2 dozen for 120 pesos), large chopped clams dressed with tomato, cucumber and red onion. I dripped on some spicy habanero salsa, but the clams still had an unshakable funkiness.

Clams Tijuana

A dozen Pata de Mula (80 pesos, about $6), Mangrove cockles, featured black jus accented with savory Maggi sauce and an unpleasant crunchiness. Thankfully the rest of the meal was much more satisfying.

Mexican Seafood Tijuana

Our prospects improved with the arrival of Aguachile (100 pesos), an overflowing molcajete that came fully loaded with tangy raw shrimp flash-cooked in lime juice, dried chilies, thin shaved red onion and cucumbers.

Mexican Seafood Tijuana

Callo de Hacha (150 pesos) consisted of silky sliced sea scallops showered with red onion, cucumber and sliced red serranos for kick.

Fish Tijuana

Up front, a charcoal pit grills the specialty of the house, pescado sarandeado. Depending on seasonality, you’ll find seven fish, ranging from Liza (red mullet) (150 pesos/kg) to Salmon (400 pesos/kg).

Fish Tijuana

We ordered two kilos of corvina (150 pesos/kg), a flaky white fish. We folded soft handmade tortillas around the corvina, caramelized onions and fiery chilies. This zarandeado wasn’t as flavorful as the state-of-the-art snook at Mariscos Chente, but it was expertly grilled.

While this wasn’t quite a direct hit by the food seeking missile, and we had better seafood during our second Tijuana stay of 2009, it’s hard to argue with faultless grilled fish and premium ceviche.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

looking yummy!!

a great place for seafood lovers… and I agree with some of the others below butcher is by far the best quality seafood & meat I have found at the best value.

Hi there! Your’s pictures are mouth-watering, and looking at such delicious dishes. Now I wishing to taste Mexican food. And i”ll try after this Covid-19 issues. Thanks a lot. Please keep sharing your experience. Take care. By the way, you can easily Buy Golden Corvina Fish at a reasonable price. Visit this website for further details.

[…] turismo no mundo e vai conseguir isso em alguns anos. Leave a Reply. Name (required) Mail (will …Food GPS La Palmera Tijuana, B.C., Mexico October 16, 2009We ordered a big plate of Almeja Reyna (1/2 dozen for 120 pesos), large chopped clams … Leave a […]

Alright Josh, we gotta get you into the pata de mula. It’s crunchy, funky, and nasty goodness. I’m going to make you a pata de mula believer.


Most of the food that you put in front of us during the recent Tijuana trip was excellent, but I don’t see ever becoming a pata de mula convert.

i need to cross the border and get my fix of good mexican food.

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