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New Times - Best of Phoenix

"Best Mexican Seafood presented

to Mariscos Playa Hermosa"

"Usually when I visit my family in Phoenix it takes what seems like a lifetime to find a place to eat that is not the tried, true, and tired.  Eating at this modest restaurant was the culinary highlight of my trip to Phoenix. I implore all Phoenicians to frequent this establishment and your taste buds will thank you.

For starters, the chips were wonderfully light and not too oily.  The chips come with two different types of salsa. A red salsa with a little bit of a bite and a green avocado salsa that is mild with just the right hint of avocado.

I ordered the shrimp in garlic sauce and the dish was sublime.  The shrimp were sauteed with red bell peppers and onions. The vegetables were cooked perfectly - not too soft and not too crunchy.  The garlic sauce was wonderfully sweet and garlicky. I couldn't get enough of it.

My dining companions both ordered the Camarones Culichi.  This dish is freaking amazing! It consists of shrimp cooked in a green tomatillo sauce and loaded with melted Manchego cheese.  The sauce is divine and words cannot describe it properly.

The perfect accompaniments to these dishes were Mexican Coca-Colas (Yay!), creamy beans topped with cheese, and white rice with vegetables.  The tortillas were right on and looked to be homemade.

Leave behind the comfort of the fancy pants restaurants that the trendinistas like to go to and try something real.  You will not be sorry." - S.S.


Phoenix Magazine

"Best Mexican seafood in the Valley"

"Wow. I'm embarassed I didn't know about this place earlier. And I call myself a Phoenician?

I came here for dinner last night after reading the review by Sabrina, who ought to be awarded the Nobel Prize for something for discovering this place. I almost don't want to write this review because it'll spoil the surprises you're in store for when you visit.

It begins when you pull into the parking lot and eye the shady looking exterior, but then step inside. The owner has gone to great lengths to decorate with a unique theme of Mexican life on the sea. I was charmed the instant I opened the door.

The menu is your next surprise. Not one item on the first three pages is anything you've ordered before at any other Mexican restaurant. The dishes are all seafood based, including crab, octopus, and lots of shrimp. What says it all is the description on the last page of the menu that offers "Mexican food", where you can get the standard fare of cheese enchiladas etc.

What I say next I do not say lightly. As of right now, this place serves THE BEST, #1, salsa in the state of Arizona. This is based on a lifetime growing up in this state and sampling salsas hundreds upon hundreds of times at our best Mexican restaurants from Ajo to Tucson to Springerville. When my dinner companion told the owner how much she liked the salsa he remarked to us that it was a new recipe. There are actually two salsas that come with the chips, one a reddish green variety and the other being avocado-based. The avocado based one is also excellent, but it's the reddish green one that simply blows me away with its combination of flavor and just the right amount of spiciness. We wolfed it down so quickly he brought us a second bowl within minutes of our sitting down.

Our next surprise came after we ordered our entrees. The owner walked up to our table and put down two small plates of what I can only describe as seafood tostadas. This is evidently yet another free appetizer that comes with all meals. Picture a mini-tostada shell, on top of which is a well-marinated collection of what I think were tiny pieces of salmon, tomato, onion and green peppers. Everything fresh and with just a bit of a kick to it. Again, wow.

My entree was good, though I'll definitely order something new next time. The crab enchiladas come with a unique style of preparing the rice and beans, and a fresh salad as well. I wasn't a huge fan of the crab filling to be honest, but not because of quality or preparation reasons, more so my own personal taste. I'm going for a shrimp dish next time.

The owner was serving customers himself when I was there and he's an extremely friendly and polite Mexican gentleman. He's created a gem in this part of midtown Phoenix which isn't particularly known for its restaurants."

- P.T.

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