Thursday, February 16, 2012

Going Coastal in Zihuatanejo Part 1

Two weeks ago, we escaped the chill mountain air of the Pátzcuaro area by boarding a couple of buses to the Pacific coast city of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. It's an easy 5 hour trip by bus, somewhat less by private vehicle. Our goal was to get some sun and warmth, hang out by the pool and to eat a lot of fresh seafood. We accomplished these goals to our great satisfaction. I was able to last six days at the coast without going coastal in the coco. (I now wish that we hadn't left, for when we returned to Pátzcuaro, it was as though we were having a winter in Northern Ireland.) Above all, we found some very enjoyable restaurants within reasonable walking distance of our hotel.

Friday, the night of our arrival, we stayed close to our hotel, the Villas Miramar, and walked a couple of blocks to Rufo's Grill. Rufo's is an outdoor restaurant under a thatched palapa roof. It's open only at night. I got a very nice ribeye steak and Doña Cuevas had grilled red snapper accompanied by grilled sliced zucchini and mushrooms.

We'd been to Rufo's a couple of times before, and in general, it's a pleasant place to eat.

Food: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: Jungle palapa
Prices: $-$$
Rest Room: Acceptable, but the way to the baño has hazardous drop offs.
Location: Calle Adelita at the corner of Ntra Sra de Los Remedios, Col. La Madera
Open nights from about sunset, closed Sundays

Live Music Advisory: Subdued and soporific guitar player, later joined by a clever saxophonist. Overall, unintrusive and enjoyable.

We make a point to avoid high priced "gourmet" restaurants, not just because we are cheap, but because we prefer fresh, natural ingredients, prepared simply. Thanks to glowing TripAdvisor reviews, we discovered Carmelita's Cafe. It's been in business only 4 years, but has won the hearts and palates of many devoted customers. We enjoyed it so much that we ate there 4 times in our 6 day stay.

Carmelita's is located somewhat out of La Zona Turística, on the north side of Avenida Heroico Colegio Militar, just west of the junction of Paseo del Palmar, between a car wash and a mini super market, "El Cacahuate".

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Carmelita's dining room

You can read my TripAdvisor review here."Carmelita's Cafe: ¡Sabor y Amor!"

The restaurant has a positive, very friendly energy, from the owner, Sra. Ma. del Carmen Ramirez de Gonzales to her working family and employees.

Cocineras bonitas
Of the several dishes we tried, the Filete de Sierra al Mojo de Ajo was delicious and impeccably fresh. Doña Cuevas enjoyed an egg white omelet with vegetables. Another very good dish was the meaty, tender, succulent Costillas de Puerco en Salsa de Jitomate Asado. Look on the blackboard menu for specials of the day. The coffee was decent but the better choice for drinks are the wonderful aguas frescas. We tried pepino y limón, one of sandía, and one of maracuyá on different visits.

Food: *****
Service: *****
Price: $-$ 1/2
Ambience: Garden palapa on a busy street
Restrooms: Very clean and appropriately stocked with paper towels and soap.

Will return for sure!
To be continued


Mike Dunham said...

I love the description of Carmelitas - it sounds like a place I would enjoy. I wish more restaurants would adopt the "blackboard" approach to menus. Not because it is cute, but for any restaurant what it does is frees them from the tryanny of the printed (worse laminated) menu that has items on it that are not available fresh or at a good price all year around. I'd much rather have something that the chef saw in the market got some inspiration from instead of trying to maintain the same thing over and over.

Darn. Now I have to go to the coast.... :)

marie said...

Great, so happy you'll be posting about Zihua! We're headed down there soon, will definitely check out Carmelitas. :)

Don Cuevas said...

Mike Dunham,
There is a printed, laminated menu, but the catch of the day, (selected by Jesús, Carmen's husband), and the specials (they even list special vegetables on offer) are on the blackboard.

Marie, I think you will enjoy it.

Don Cuevas

Calypso said...

"Going Coastal in Zihuatanejo"

Don Cuevas - you are a very clever fellow ;-)

As always a good report - gracias

Michael Dickson said...

Now you've gone and made me yearn for Zihua, especially after our recent weather here.

I'm amazed you went by bus. "Somewhat less by private vehicle"? Try almost 50 percent less, and it's just a straight shot down the autopista.

But you've made me hungry too, so I'm going downstairs to open the fridge.

Don Cuevas said...

Hola, Felipe, we went by bus because our infirmities made driving a bad idea. And the cost by bus was cheap, plus a couple of taxi rides.

Once in Zihua, we just walked around as we wished. No need for a car.

How was your most recent trip to el D.F. on a bus?

Don Cuevas

Michael Dickson said...

Anything that avoids my driving personally in the capital city is a plus. We seem to be making headway on getting the deed to the condo, so in time I won't have to go there ever again. I pray so.