Dining Guide--Golden Zone and Downtown (Centro)

There are too many excellent restaurants for us to mention all of them here. Everywhere you go you'll see interesting and delightful little places. Don't be afraid to try them.

A good starting place with with this list compiled from many visitors and locals who submitted comments to the MazInfo yahoogroups list. It will give you plenty of choices for a month's stay in Mazatlan. Restaurant recommendations (non-commercial).

If this is your first trip to Mexico, you may be worried about purified water, ice cubes and cleanliness. All water and ice cubes served in restaurants and bars is purified, and it is generally OK to eat salads, fruits and vegetables in better restaurants. Use your common sense. A street stand selling tacos for three pesos, that only has a bucket of water for washing hands, utensils, etc., is more likely to give you Montezuma's revenge than a permanent restaurant with running water. (I eat often at the stand-up taco bars...but if you’re visiting for just a week, you probably don’t want to chance it.)

Here are some of our favorite places to eat, starting with the most expensive and getting cheaper as you go down the list:

Poncho's (on the beach). My favorite place in the Golden Zone to take visitors for lunch. The view is nice, the prices are reasonable and the food is great. I like the fish prepared Veracruzana style, with tomatoes, onions and other veggies in a sauce on top of the fish, cooked in tin foil.

Panamá. Camarón-Sábalo and Las Garzas. Probably the number one recommended eatery for visitors and is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Everyone will feel comfortable here. Don't worry about cleanliness, etc. The food is great, the place is very clean, the menu is extensive, and the prices are very reasonable. You won't find any friendlier or more service-oriented staff than here! Check out the day's specials which run approximately 40 pesos. Panamá is also one of the best pastry bakeries in town, so check out their goodies for desert! My favorite for breakfast is Huevos Bravos--similar to Eggs Benedict with two eggs on top of pork loin on top of Panama's bread with everything smothered in a yummy cheese sauce. Under 40 pesos and filling!

La Casa Country.  Fun place in the Golden Zone for steaks, ribs, grilled chicken and seafood. The country combo is reasonably priced for the GZ and is delicious. They are now located in a new building across the street from the Holiday Inn Hotel. The waiters take a little break and give you a floor show with white cowboy hats and country/western line dancing. Note, rates have increased the last year. Fine for tourists...bummer for residents!

Señor Frogs. Av. Del Mar halfway between Golden Zone and Downtown. It's hard to not include this place in a guide about Mazatlán. Not necessarily because the food or prices are special, but because no matter where you are in Mazatlán you'll see the official Señor Frog's stores selling all kinds of "souvenir wear." Considering that you are frequenting one of Mazatlán's biggest tourist spots, the menu is good, the party atmosphere is fun, and after dinner, enjoy drinking and dancing in their disco bar.

Gus & Gus (pronounced goose ee goose). Great spot across from the Costa de Oro Hotel. Sidewalk cafe feel to it, although it is mostly covered. Mexican dishes, snacks, reasonably priced beer. Many evenings offer live music. 

The Sheik is in the Valentino's complex and offers a stunning veranda setting complete with waterfall behind you and ocean waves all around you. I haven't eaten here for dinner because it is a bit pricey and I've heard mixed reviews from friends who have. I enjoy breakfast there with out-of-towners because of the view and the prices are reasonable. If you're not expecting the Eggs Benedict or the biscuits to be just like up north, then you will enjoy it. The omelets are great.

Jungle Juice. One block away from the beach from the Sr. Frog's main store. Great breakfasts and lunch specials. I haven't eaten there yet for dinner. Nice people and reasonable prices. 

Villa Italia. I'm including this because I've heard from several people that they loved the pizza here. I wasn't impressed. But I seem to be in the minority on this one. Across the street from El Cid. 

Casa Loma. Most of my friends tell me this is one of the nicest places to eat in Mazatlan. Haven't made it there myself. I hear it's a bit pricey for someone on a budget like me. From the Dairy Queen, turn away from the beach and keep going about ten blocks up into the residential area. 

Eating Out in Historic Downtown Mazatlan (Centro)

El Tunel. Located opposite the Angela Peralta Theatre. Open only in the evening from 6:00 pm (closed Wednesdays), this tiny restaurant offers a limited, but authentic Mexican menu, including the best pozole in town (25 pesos). Pozole is a soup, more like a stew, containing pork and hominy, with cabbage and onions on the side. Very filling! You may want to share an order, to save room for other treats. Favorites here include chicken gorditas (12.00 pesos) and also available with a piece of chicken breast for 18 pesos. The Asada a la Plaza (grilled beef) and Pollo a la Plaza (grilled chicken) are "fantastico"! Try the horchata here (12 pesos). It's a nonalcoholic drink made with rice and flavored with cinnamon, served in a big mug--excellent!

Panamá. Downtown location is on B. Juárez across from the cathedral. For description, see the Panamá listing in the Golden Zone section.

Copa de Leche. Olas Altas area next to Hotel Belmar (within walking distance from the central market). This is a great little terrace-type cafe where you can listen to the ocean waves or enjoy a sunset while you dine. Great place for a variety of breakfast dishes at reasonable prices.

El Shrimp Bucket. Also along Olas Altas below the La Siesta Hotel. This was the first of the Anderson chain restaurants that are now found in many tourist resorts around Mexico. This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner at rates that are usually lower than the Golden Zone and yet pricier than most other "Old Zone" listings. The decor is very pleasing and if you're hungry for shrimp served in a variety of ways, this is one place to go (although touristy and pricey)! Open from 6 am to 12 pm daily.

El Marismeño. Within one block of the Shrimp Bucket, you’ll forgo the decor and receive excellent food at lower prices.

Cafe Pacifico. H. Frias and Constitución, beside the Plaza Machado. We list this cafe more for the ambiance than the menu that is limited. Prices are a little higher for the downtown area, yet lower than the Golden Zone eateries. They offer sports TV, pool table, sidewalk seating, bar, pastries, coffee (including espresso!) and snacks.

Vegetarian Restaurant: Ambrosia. Located just of Plazuela Machado. Even for non-vegetarians, this is very clean, fresh, delicious food at reasonable prices for the quality. My favorites are the spinach cream soup and mushroom fettucine. They offer a special lunch menu for 60 pesos that gives you a starter like soup or salad and a main dish and fresh lemonade. Try the mushroom and cheese quesadillas. 

Also surrounding Plazuela Machado you'll find other great restaurants such as Pedro y Lola. One of the higher priced on the square, but a very enjoyable evening spot to sit outside and people watch, or gather for a glass of wine after a concert a the Angela Peralta Theatre. The square has the best hamburgers in Mazatlan at Beach Burger. Across the square you can get reasonably priced fish tacos.

Midtown: Tacos Martin. Located on Najera about three blocks going away from the ocean from the Fishermen's Monument. By far my favorite place for authentic tacos, carne asada, and other typical Mexican treats at very reasonable prices. You'll have no fewer than 6-8 bowls of condiments in front of you: various salsas, the guacamole that is almost liquid, cilantro, etc. No matter what you order, they'll bring a small free bowl of their famous soupy beans and grilled small green onions. Yum. Try the tacos al pastor where they shave the blended pork off the rotating flame. You can get quesadillas with just cheese, or with cheese and chopped carne asada.

Peso-Stretchers: Edgars. Located on the corner of Aquiles Serdán and Escobedo. This is a bar rather than a restaurant, but deserves mention here. Beer is only 10.00 pesos and at 2:00 pm everyday the waitress brings free botanas (snacks) which are always tasty and range from a bowl of soup with a tortilla to two roast beef tacos, pasta salad and veggies. The botana is free, so drink a couple of beers to be polite (not too difficult at under a buck a bottle). Although many bars will serve a free botana at lunch time, this is a very interesting place to visit, not only for the free lunch, but to see the old photographs of Mazatlán which decorate the walls. It's almost a museum of old Mazatlán!)

You'll find other great "el cheapo" meals at the central market (mercado). Upstairs there are several different restaurants serving "comida corridas" for around 20 to 35 pesos each. Try the chiles rellenos, or a fish filet. On the ground floor of the market, we highly recommend El Tigre for fresh seafood ceviche. My favorite is the ceviche de camarón (shrimp, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cilantro served on crispy tostadas). Current prices are 5 pesos each. Three are perfect! Also recommended are fresh shrimp cocktails and the marlin and sierra ceviche.

Please note that prices are listed as a guide. Prices may vary. Restaurants come and go, and there are many to choose from. I'd suggest checking in on the MazInfo mailing list to see what the current favorites are from other visitors and residents. Free to subscribe. www.yahoogroups.com/group/mazinfo and click the "join this group" button.


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