Mariscos Chente: Marrying Sinaloa and Nayarit in Mar Vista

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Restaurant Sign Los Angeles

Drop anchor at Mariscos Chente for some of L.A.'s best Mexican seafood.

Mariscos Chente set the standard for Mexican seafood in Los Angeles, but owner Magdalena Garcia and chef/son-in-law Sergio Penuelas aren’t satisfied with a stack of accolades. They recently rolled out a new slate of winter-friendly dishes, and longtime Chente booster Bill Esparza arranged a complimentary sampling for a small group of food bloggers, including me.

To keep the seafood fresh, Nayarit native Magdalena Garcia frequently travels by bus to Mazatlan and her home state of Nayarit to procure authentic seafood. Penuelas is from a neighboring state that’s also known for its seafood, Sinaloa. When Garcia can’t make it all the way to Nayarit, she’ll meet family members halfway, in Tijuana. That commitment level shows on the plate and in the bowl at Mariscos Chente.

Mexican Food Los Angeles

We started with a small bowl of soup. Spicy tomato and shrimp broth was spiked with lip stinging jalapeño and chock full of celery, bell pepper and cilantro. Floating in the broth: firm shrimp meatballs (albondigas).

Taco Los Angeles

Each Sinaloan style fried shrimp taco featured a grilled flour tortilla, squiggles of homemade 1000 island dressing, crunchy shredded cabbage and diced tomatoes. Shrimp were a little overcooked, and the batter wasn’t as crispy as L.A.’s best Baja style fish tacos.

Fish Taco Los Angeles

Sea bass was better suited to the Sinaloa-style preparation, with each taco topped with a thick, juicy fillet.

Mexican Food Los Angeles

Halibut soup was loaded with skin-on fillets. The milder, tomato-based broth shoed no hint of jalapeño.

Mexican Food Los Angeles

Mixto incorporated the same mild broth and was absolutely loaded with sweet head-on shrimp, tender cross-sections of octopus tentacle and more of that halibut, including bone and firm, gelatinous fin.

Tacos Los Angeles

Gobernador was the dish of the night, folded-over flour tortillas packed with shrimp, molten Monterey jack cheese and sweet grilled onions. These grilled tacos were absolutely addictive.

Salsas Los Angeles

Mariscos Chente also provides complimentary tortilla chips and salsa: mild tomato-based and a lip-stinging jalapeño slurry.

Cocktail Los Angeles

Señora Garcia topped off our meal with a pitcher of Palomas. The sweet drink was loaded with Squirt, citrus, salt and ice. The drink is known as a Jarritos in Nayarit and is available with or without tequila.

Gobernador and the shrimp albondigas soup are both instant classics that don’t quite rate with Mariscos Chente’s prized dish, pescado zarandeado, but certainly qualify as must-order items.


Joshua Lurie

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

Blog Comments

Could you believe it? He just added langostinos zarandeados, and we didn’t get to try it. Well, I will be checking these out soon.

Langostinos zarandeados?! My parents are coming to town. Now I know where we’re stopping for lunch.

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