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Dinner in Zihuatanejo


shelora
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Here are some of the places we sampled last week:

Amuleto - The food was wonderful, though the restaurant (or rather the several tables set up poolside each evening for dinner service) is currently sub-contracted to Kau-Kan. We quickly learned on the first evening that Zihua is not the place for fine wines (with one major exception, to follow), mostly because proper storage is not assured. Sure enough, the first bottle we ordered arrived corked; our second choice was fine.

Casa Bahia - Laid-back, casual, and pleasant. The outside deck is open to the lights of Zihua Bay and the stars. The justly famous spinach salad was ethereal. The Maui Tuna appropriately exotic. Relaxed service.

El Faro - Beautiful hilltop view of Ixtapa. Nice wine list, polished service.

Kau-Kan - Another beautiful rooftop setting (it's easy to take these for granted when staying at Amuleto!), friendly service. The busboy noticed us admiring the view and said in halting English, "I am very pretty!" Assuming he meant, "IT is very pretty," we politely corrected him and all had a good laugh! One strange note: the same bottle of corked wine we sent back at Amuleto a few evenings earlier was being poured by the glass at Kau-Kan. We sent that glass back too.

Coconuts - Delicious local seafood in a beautiful walled garden setting. Get a table away from the outside wall if you don't want to be bothered by the "Chicklets Kids." Delicious desserts, though the house Coconut Cheesecake was rather plain, the only coconut flavor coming from toasted coconut sprinkled on top; delicious cheesecake, however.

Zi - This was the real find of the trip. So good, we ate there twice (we'll typically revisit a favorite restaurant on our last night). Say what you want about the presence of Club Intrawest on La Ropa beach (and the grounds, indeed, are quite "Mexican" in their design, with colorful buildings and lush foliage everywhere), but their restaurant is world-class, with a keen eye to using all local, mostly organic, ingredients. And not one flaming coffee in sight! Highlights inclded fresh huachinango served in a banana leaf with garlicky shrimp and scallop stuffing; "drunken" quail appetizer; medium-rare duck breast with a fresh fig compote; and last but not least, a heavenly Kahlua souffle, cheap at 50 pesos! The wine list, overseen by hands-on manager Yesenia, is adventurous and extensive - and they wines are stored at the right temperatures! Add a beautiful terrace overlooking the property and La Ropa beach and you have a near-perfect dining experience.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am so pleased to hear about your positive experiences at the Club Zi. Thanks for posting.

I am thoroughly disappointed that the exec chef Glen Monk has since left. Hope they can keep the theme of local, seasonal, organic alive.

Shelora

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I am so pleased to hear about your positive experiences at the Club Zi. Thanks for posting.

I am thoroughly disappointed that the exec chef Glen Monk has since left. Hope they can keep the theme of local, seasonal, organic alive.

Shelora

He left after March 11? That IS disappointing. I hope they keep their themes working too. We wrote to Yesenia, the Manager, after returning home to thank her for being so committed to providing a world-class dining environment/experience. I think she got the message that there are people out ther who do appreciate all their hard work.

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  • 1 year later...

In Zihuatanejo, these restaurants make me the happiest (your mileage may vary).

In no particular order:

Los Brazeros, downtown

The tacos al pastor make my mouth water.

La Gaviota, Playa la Ropa

Fond memories of sunsets and family festivities on Day of the Dead.

Coconuts downtown

It’s so much fun to eat at the bar. Friendly staff and great bar service.

Punta Arenas west of downtown

Cross the bridge to the other side of the harbor. I love the help yourself service and the great mole.

El Profe, Coacoyul

Go early to beat the crowds. Thursdays only. The best pozole verde with all the fixin’s.

La Perla, Playa la Ropa

I tend to end up there often as a default. Some days it’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner at La Perla.

Kau Kan Playa la Ropa

I enjoyed it more than I expected. Hushed, upscale ambiance, even on the outdoor terrace.

Otilia Playa las Gatas

Can’t resist Franco’s persuasive service. Pull out all the stops and order the huge seafood platter for lunch.

Caprichos, downtown

Fantastic garden patio and ambiance. Had a great dinner there.

Visit Casa Gregorio :: C A S A G R E G O R I O

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  • 1 month later...

What's a reasonable food budget for one person for a week in Zihuatanejo? I'm not concerned about fine restaurant dining, more like vendors on the streets or in the market during the day, cheap places for dinner. I'm thinking of a trip there on the cheap in mid-February, and am trying to work out my budget.

Thanks!

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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I'm clueless about a food budget in Zihua. Food is relatively inexpensive, so I never really stop to think about prices. But I have some advice for you.

There are many cafes and casual street restaurants in el centro, downtown Zihuatanejo. They are surprisingly inexpensive. Dining along Paseo del Pescador, the beachfront strip downtown, is more expensive, and not really necessary. IMO, I don't think that there are any real restaurant destinations along the Paseo.

The restaurants along Playa la Ropa will be slightly more expensive. Many eateries along La Ropa will require a food/drink minimum, usually not a problem. The food at Playa las Gatas will be slightly higher also.

One way to make your food dollar stretch is to shop for food at the old mercado (food stalls) in downtown. I love to go there and shop. Warning: As tempting as it may seem, try not to eat at the food stalls with prepared food. Trust me.

You could also shop for food at the Comercial Mexicana, a type of Costco supermarket. Very big and very clean. It cuts costs to prepare a simple, small breakfast or lunch at your lodging.

I might suggest that you visit ZihuaRob's restaurant page and peruse some restaurants online. Perhaps you can gain some insight to prices.

You might also pose your question to ZihuaRob's forum. There are lots of experts there that could answer your question about food budget in Zihuatanejo.

Edited by Greg (log)

Visit Casa Gregorio :: C A S A G R E G O R I O

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  • 6 months later...

I'm bumping this thread because my trip to Zih is next week! (I am so excited to get out of the cold, snowy Kansas City weather!) I'm seeking any last minute food related advice.

Greg, thanks for your post, ZihuaRob's whole site is awesome - I used it to schedule some diving and find a hotel. We'll be staying in a one bedroom apartment, so I'll definately take your supermarket advice. I'm printing this thread to take with me as well.

One question - is it pretty likely that we'll suffer some gastrointestinal distress from food/water? Maybe that's just my paranoid freinds talking. What precautions should we take?

Thanks!

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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My trip to Zihua is next week as well, leaving on Friday. The question about food sensitivity is tricky, because it is different for everyone. Some people I know are sensitive, no matter where they travel. I have friends who have stayed in the finest hotel on La Ropa, and took all of their meals there, and came down with serious illness. There is no indication of what is safe and what is not.

This year will be my ninth trip to Zihua and I seem to have built up a tolerance, if that is possible, although I have been through some dire situations during my first few trips.

I think that I have a solution to food-born illness that works for me. The day before I leave for México, I begin my regimen of Pepto Bismal tablets and Pro-Biotica tablets. Pro-Biotica has the enzymes that can be found in yogurt, and helps keep the internal flora and fauna healthy. It is over-the-counter in the US and can be found at most drug stores. I take one of each every morning, and then forget about it. I never get sick.

I don't think that there is any good advice I can give, because it is nearly impossible to determine where food illnesses come from specifically. I think that a person is as likely to become ill from a hot cup of tea served from inside the airplane during your flight, as is likely from anything eaten in México.

I think that all of the precautions are fairly well documented online, as well as a lot of the remedies. And all of it can be subjective. Previously, I was wary of eating at the cooked food or prepared food stalls in the central mercado because of hygiene issues, but others say that the food stalls are very clean. I may try the food stalls again this trip--the food certainly looks delicious.

Edited by Greg (log)

Visit Casa Gregorio :: C A S A G R E G O R I O

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for all the tips in this thread! I was in Zihautanejo for 10 days, and I certainly ate well. Not a lot of fine dining with my budget, just wonderful fresh, local food.

I stayed in an apartment in downtown, up the street from Playa Municipal, so most of my eating was near there. I checked out some of the recommended places - Coconuts (seafood pasta), Banditos (tuna tacos, molcates de pescador), the stalls in the Mercado (chile rejenos for breakfast), a place on Playa Las Gatas (El Pescador?). Casa Arcadia was at the end of my street on the beach, and that was a pleasant default place for lunches, drinks, and snacks.

Mostly I looked for places that looked to be full of locals. My two favorite places ended up being a big green open air bar restaurant near the corner of Nicolas Bravo and Bento Juarez, and a little yellow place next door with very cheap enchiladas verdes. There was also a little food cart on the corner near my apartment that cooked up hamburgers covered in ham, cheese, onions and jalapenos that hit the spot after a few nights of tequila. I also very much enjoyed the beer micheladas style - over ice with lemon juice and salt.

The Mercado was wonderful - I ended up walking there just about every morning, either to eat, or to shop for breakfast supplies.

The worst meal I had the whole trip was (not suprisingly) in an Italian restaurant called Cici's(?) in Ixtapa. I had some freinds staying in a hotel on the beach there who raved about it, and pasta sounded like a good respite from all the atypical food I was eating, but it was truly awful. I didn't like Ixtapa very much - everything was overpriced, and seemed to contain alot of the kind of tourists who want things to be the same wherever they travel.

I avoided the tap water and ate/drank everything else with gusto, and had no problems. I did find Probiotica to take, I don't know if that helped.

Zihua was great. I think I may have left a peice of myself there. I woke up this morning disappointed to find myself in my bed in Kansas City, and not there, getting ready to walk to the Mercado. I even miss finding small lizards in my sink.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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Welcome back and thanks for your trip report. I was in Zihuatanejo at the same, but for seven days. This was a short trip for me, but well worth it. I wasn't able to do, and eat, as much as I am accustomed to, but I made the most of it.

I stayed at Casa Buenaventura, a small, charming hotel across from Villa Carolina near the dolphin fountain on Playa la Ropa. Each morning, breakfast was prepared by a wonderful chef.

I love the food in Zihuatanejo. One morning, I walked down to Playa la Ropa for a swim, and stopped at La Perla restaurant for a big bowl of mariscos, prawns, octopus and conch, with plenty of fresh Mexican limes accompanied by a michelada. I tried the Mexican cervezas Montejo and Leon.

I made a visit to Coconuts to have filet mignon tacos, quesadillas con rajas (poblano chile strips) and tuna sashimi.

I went to El Pueblito on Sunday for the lamb barbacoa, which is wrapped in maguey leaves and cooked in a wood-fired pit oven. The toppings, the salsas, the tortillas, and the fall-off-the-bone lamb were all delicious. To my pleasant surprise, the margaritas were the best I have had in Zihuatanejo in nine years.

On Playa la Ropa, there was a street vendor selling tacos and tamales that I had to check out. I didn't have money with me at the time, but the pork and egg aporradillo looked tempting. Ed Kunze describes aporradillo in the local magazine Another Day in Paradise:

"Tough and lesser cuts of beef can be sliced very thin into two foot long and four inch wide strips. Salt is added, and the strips are then air dried. The resulting jerky is called cesina. It can be either flash cooked over coals or in a skillet, and when accompanied by beans, rice, handmade tortillas, and queso fresco, it makes for an awesome Mexican steak dinner. When shredded and cooked with scrambled eggs and a salsa, cesina becomes a breakfast called aporriadillo."

The best tacos al pastor can be found at Los Braseros. I keep trying, but I haven't found any tacos al pastor that taste better. Stand on the sidewalk, or sit in view of the pastor, and watch how the tacos are made.

The coconut shrimp at Chendo's is good, and highly regarded, but I really enjoy the tender, slightly sweet meat of the filet of marlin, stuffed with shrimp and cheese. The food at Chendo's is a nice respite from some of the usual fare in Zihuatanejo.

There's so much to try and enjoy in Zihuatanejo. I'm looking forward to my next visit.

Visit Casa Gregorio :: C A S A G R E G O R I O

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  • 6 months later...

Bumping this thread up a bit, since we're going back to Zihua in November.

The last time we went, my favorite was Zi, at Club Intrawest. Fresh, local ingredients. Not a "local" place by any means, but serious food (none of that dated tableside presentation stuff) and a good wine list featuring wines that were actually stored correctly, a problem in a lot of places in the area.

Also loved Coconuts and Casa Bahia last time.

Any new recommendations?

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Just noticed you're staying at the Sotavento, that's where we stayed too. . . The only downside is the room is open to the sea, and closed on three sides, so at night the waves crashing is amplified inside the giant drum you're sleeping in to the point where it can get kinda irritating. Sleeping pills + tequila should fix it though.

:laugh: We stayed at the Sotavento, too, and I really just had to laugh at myself for feeling so annoyed by the sound of those waves crashing! It's supposed to be such a soothing sound but the way it gets amplified by both the bay and the construction of the rooms, it's more like an oncoming freight train every 15 seconds. Especially during the three days I spent in the bathroom praying for death to release me . . .

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It's been several years since I was in Zihuat. I happened on Casa Que Canta by accident and poked around uninvited. Those beatiful walls, the wooden stick showers, the stacking salt-water pools...if money was no object I would stay there!

Fun town! The best food I had in Zihuat was on the beaches--Las Gatas, La Ropa, and on the far side of a little island you reach by boat from Ixtapa where the snorkling was great and there were almost no other people. Worth the trip there even if you have to pass by the golf courses of Ixtapa. That local bus ride is an eye-opener. Even the town beach had some good mojo de ajo shrimp, if I am remembering right. Every time we ordered grilled fish it was perfect; really fresh, crispy skinned, succulent. On the main drag in town there was also a wonderful bakery where we picked up the next day's breakfast--cornitos (the horn shaped ones--sp?) to have with black tea liberally sweetened with the requisite condensed milk. Just right!

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