Have you ever had a meal so memorable you’re still thinking about it the week after? One month later? Three months later? As I woke to a fresh layer of snow on the ground this mid-April morning, I found myself thinking back to a meal I had three months ago in Punta Mita, Nayarit, Mexico.
I shared my one of my special Honeymoon Meals earlier this year, but there was another meal from my honeymoon worth sharing. The owner of the condo we rented recommended to us the first restaurant he stumbled upon when he first went there 10 years ago, so we decided to check it out.
The restaurant is called Margarita’s and it located right in the middle of restaurant row in Punta Mita. We had some friends visiting us for the day, two of them being my sister and her fiancée so we had good company start off. We entered the restaurant which leads to a wide open dining area facing the beach and no flooring. Sand completely covered the ground.
We could see and smell the fresh, salty ocean from the table we sat at. We were directly in front of the popular El Anclote surfing break so we enjoyed watching the surfers throughout our lunch. We could also see fishing boats way out in the distance and we knew we’d be foolish not to take advantage of the seafood offerings at Margarita’s.
The seafood is so fresh that they ran out of some of their usual offering but there was still plenty to choose from. Due to its location and access to seafood, they don’t stock up for more than one day at a time. That day’s catch had yet to arrive.
What made this meal so spectacular was that every single dish exceeded our expectations. They were cooked simply, yet with such expertise. There were no fancy ingredients, the freshness of ingredients and seafood is what stood out in every dish. My husband is allergic to shellfish so we don’t often have it back home so on this trip I indulged as much as I could. Here are the highlights from our meal:
The BEST and freshest scallop ceviche I have ever had!
My friend Katherine ordered the crabs. They were big, meaty and cooked perfectly. On the right is the pico de gallo, a popular accompaniment to seafood in Mexico. El Salvador’s version of pico de gallo is called chimol – see my recipe here.
Fish tacos. Simple yet probably the best I’ve ever had and as healthy as a fish taco can get –I was happy to see they were grilled (opposed to breaded and deep fried) and served on corn tortillas (rather than flour tortillas).
Mussels, that were not steamed, but fried in what tasted like a combination of butter and oil, perhaps a dash of wine, but not much else. The fresh green mussels spoke for themselves. All in company are huge mussel fans and have tried them in a combined eight countries from all our travels. We all agreed these were the very best each of us of have ever had anywhere.
The service was spectacular. The person who’d recommended the place suggested I ask for the owner Hector and my first margarita would be on him. Hector wasn’t around but our server brought us over a round and gave us their 2 for 1 happy hour pricing even though it was not nowhere near happy hour yet. The selection of flavours was as it usually is in Mexico, amazing. I had a -er two- platano margaritas. It turned into three very happy hours. Margarita’s has a sign at the front warning you that their margarita’s are the “strongest in town.” The sign speaks the truth.
Cheers to a wonderful afternoon spent with friends over a three-hour lunch!