The Food and Wine Hedonist

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How to Find a Great Restaurant While on Vacation – La Fisheria

That incredibly lousy dinner was on our first full day in Playa del Carmen. You’d think that it could only get better from there, right?

Only slightly.

We had a couple terrible dinners at what appeared o be generally upscale restaurants.   I won’t go in too many details, because let’s just say it was so bleak that Christmas dinner came from  food carts we had earlier in the day.

PDC carts

 

Not exactly formal or festive, but at least we knew we’d be eating well.

I was determined to find one place that was up to my standards.   I figured that the law of averages dictated there would be at least one.   I know I was on vacation in a foreign country but, dammit, I was determined to have food at a restaurant that I’d actually go to here in the good ol’ USA.   Was that too much to ask?

So I spent hours on The Google, triangulating between Yelp, Trip Advisor, news articles, and blogs to come up with a few candidates.   Of course, Mexican Wifi speeds had more to do with how long I was looking rather than actual research.   List in hand, I walked around for 3 hours visiting the places to see them in person.

pdc sausage

 

OK, there may or may not have been a sausage break somewhere in there.

The winning restaurant was La Fisheria, a restaurant owned by acclaimed chef Aquiles Chavez.

fisheria sign

 

I had never heard of him, but he has a couple television shows on the South American version of Food Network.   He’s like the Latino Anthony Bourdain.   That’s promising, isn’t it?

He also recently opened a La Fisheria in Houston.  I’ve only had a one good meal in the dozens of times I’ve been down there, but opening an acclaimed restaurant in a major US city has to count for something.

And – he’s hipster!

fisheria bar

 

That’s a picture of him on the wall.

I was encouraged that the décor and atmosphere was decidedly modern and minimalist, free of any of tackiness.   One thing I saw in the Trip Advisor reviews were a lot of people with old white faces in their profile pictures complaining about how the place was loud.

PERFECT!! I’ve always loved places that are loud because of conversations (and not because of music).  I find they’re usually full of energy and people enjoying dinner.

But first, some Jalapeno Margaritas.

fisheria jalapeno marg

 

What We Ate

fisheria guac

Of course some Guacamole

Jicama tostada with spicy shrimp

Jicama tostada with spicy shrimp

Grilled octopus served with fresh lime over crispy potato chips and avocado

Grilled octopus served with fresh lime over crispy potato chips and avocado

Green ceviche

Green ceviche

Grilled octopus in Guajillo

Grilled octopus in Guajillo

Grilled ribeye

Grilled ribeye

Pescado al Pibil – roasted fish with Mayan achiote, mashed sweet potatoes, Yucatan-style habanero salsa

Pescado al Pibil – roasted fish with Mayan achiote, mashed sweet potatoes, Yucatan-style habanero salsa

Shrimp in spicy tomato sauce with rice and plantains

Shrimp in spicy tomato sauce with rice and plantains

 

 

Everything was fresh, had beautiful presentations, and bursting with flavor. Nothing bland here. In other words, exactly what I was looking for! And it also pleased the rest of the family, which isn’t always easy to do with fourteen people.

The octopus on potato chips was a great mixture of textures with a nice sharp citrus taste. The green ceviche was also outstanding.   My octopus in guajillo was perfectly cooked, but maybe a tad on the salty side.   But I wasn’t complaining.

It just goes to show that a good restaurant can be found anywhere. All you need is an incredibly horrid dining experience as a reference point, few options, fierce determination, and hours on El Google.

 

 

 

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

5 comments on “How to Find a Great Restaurant While on Vacation – La Fisheria

  1. Go Jules Go
    March 9, 2015

    Oh thank god – food redemption!! This looks rad (if I ironically say “rad” enough times, do I get to be a hipster, too?). I just had my first real jalapeno margarita in Harlem last weekend (hey, stop asking questions) and it was probably the best drink I’ve ever had. Took the poor woman 15 minutes to make it, though.

  2. thefoodandwinehedonist
    March 9, 2015

    Rad?!? Ironically or not, thats hipster circa 1982. Tho drinks in Harlem probably makes you uber Hipster in 2019. So it evens out.

  3. wineandhistory
    March 10, 2015

    Looks superb!

  4. Michelle Williams
    March 11, 2015

    Thank goodness! This place looks delicious!

  5. Mark
    December 16, 2016

    I find the best way to find great restaurants while on vacation is to find them before you go just by using google maps. All you have to do is type in restaurants near and put in either an address or a landmark name and google will give you a map showing all the restaurants near by. By hovering over the restaurant icon google will tell you if they have a website and if they do you can double click it and most often view the menu and prices. By doing this you can see all the restaurants in an ares and can choose the type of place you want to eat.

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2015 by in Dining, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .
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