A winding drive into the hills near Tecnologico – the Tijuana technical college – once again led us to Mariscos de Mazateno, a nine-year-old restaurant that showcases Sinaloa-style seafood from Mazatlan. A 2009 visit sparked my interest, and it was only a matter of time before we experienced a full-force foray. The return trip, which was part of a culinary tour that centered on Baja Culinary Fest, has me convinced that El Mazateno is a damn near unbeatable seafood taqueria.
We each received a complimentary cup of spicy, herb-flecked shrimp consomme, which was especially generous given all the flavor from tomato, chile, cilantro, celery, green olive and more.
Perron Especial (40 pesos) was a “badass special” combination of camarones enchilados and chicharron de pargo, deep fried chunks of sea bream redolent of spice, but still juicy within. The combination of crusty chicharron and sweet chile’d shrimp was outstanding.
People passed around squeeze bottles filled with spicy, tangy green sauce that resembled Peruvian aji and combined jalapeno, cilantro, tomatillo and garlic. They also had a tiny molcajete of pico de gallo, but the sauce in the squeeze bottle was especially addicting.
Our two-day trip spanned the spectrum from late night seafood soup on a desolate street corner to the most haute cuisine the city has to offer, and while we had plenty of good plates in plenty of good places, Mariscos El Mazateno was the one establishment that left me longing for Tijuana.