Sunday, November 22, 2020

Our Current Top 11 Favorite Restaurants in Sayulita, Nayarit, MX

 Some of Our Favorites Have Closed This Year

Sayulita's "Selfie Street" View from Ruben's Deli

     It’s time to update our list of favorite restaurants. Sadly, many of our favorites have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period last spring. But the village is coming alive again now that the restaurants have opened for dine-in service.

     I’ve listed our favorites in no particular order—they’re all favorites for different reasons and we rotate through them every couple of weeks. I’ve included each restaurant’s Tripadvisor link if you want to check their rating. Keep in mind that there are a few new restaurants we haven’t tried yet.

1.     Don Pedro’s Restaurant and Bar: (Tripadvisor Rating)

     Don Pedro’s is our first choice when we want good food, good wine or Margaritas, excellent service, and a great ocean view. We go there often and recommend this restaurant for people new to Sayulita—you can’t go wrong sitting in the restaurant for dinner, lunch, or breakfast. Once in a while, we rent two of their lounge chairs and a sun umbrella on the beach for a couple of hours while enjoying lunch and drinks near a great part of the bay, perfect for swimming, boogie-boarding, and Stand-up Paddleboarding.
Lounging Under a Sunbrella at Don Pedro's, Well Distanced
Chicken Provencale is One of Jon's Favorite Dishes

I enjoy the Mahi Mahi

Half Order of Pasta Puttanesca, Split in the Kitchen (We Share)
Jon Sprinkles Grated Fresh Parmesan On His Pasta

2. Don Juan's Sayulita: (Tripadvisor Rating)

Jon and Terry Share Don Juan's Mahi Mahi

     If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican restaurant, good food and drinks at a reasonable price, good service, and a pleasant dining room with good airflow, Don Juan’s is our recommendation. We enjoy the Don Juan’s Salad and Don Juan’s Mahi Mahi so much that we order it almost every time we go there for dinner, one order of each and share the generous portions. Everything else on the menu we’ve tried has been delicious as well. The only downside this time of year when the sun sets earlier, is that we have to drive our golf cart to the restaurant on the Punta Mita highway rather than walking. We haven’t been there for lunch or breakfast but have heard those menus are very good, too.

Don Juan's Mexican Restaurant

3.     Marcolino Pasta and Vino (Ex Mamma Mia): Tripadvisor Rating

Marcolino's Pizza

     When we’re hungry for Italian food and wine, Marcolino’s is where we go most often. We still refer to it as Mamma Mia since that was its name until recently. Though the name has changed, the delicious food and wonderful service have only gotten better. They expanded the size of the restaurant this summer and added a pizza oven. The pizza is very good, but we still often order our favorites, one Ensalada Rossi which the kitchen splits onto two plates for us to share, and the best Pollo Parmigiana we’ve found. We share one order of the chicken with Fettucine Alfredo as the side dish. Sometimes we change our salad order—their Ensalada Cesar is delicious with slices of fresh Parmesan cheese.

Marcolino's New Personalized Pizza Oven

I Love to Watch Them Make Fresh Pasta!

My Half of One Ensalada Cesar, Split in the Kitchen

4.     Tierra Viva: Tripadvisor Rating

     We go to Tierra Viva often, sometimes to watch American Football and have dinner on Sundays, sometimes for dinner on a weekday when it’s less busy, often for the delicious Eggs Benedict at breakfast, and many times we pick up an order to-go and dine on our fancy paper plates at home. The food, drinks, service, and food are always very good. The variety of menu choices is great, so we can enjoy this restaurant often and order something different every time. Their seafood is always very fresh, their sushi good. 

We Enjoy Tierra Viva's Take-Out Sushi at Home

5. Achara Thai Restaurant: Tripadvisor Rating

     Asian dishes are the flavors that I've missed most living in Mexico, but now we have Achara Thai. This is the restaurant that we order delivery from most often (we always tip 100 pesos for deliveries regardless of the size of the bill—we’re so grateful that some of our restaurants continued to deliver this year). Their Crispy Spring Rolls are our favorite appetizer in Sayulita! Then we usually order Pad Thai (with a side order of their chili oil). The Chicken Satay and Green Papaya Salad are excellent also. Serving it on our fancy paper plates from Costco with a glass of wine, dining in the refreshing jungle breeze that wafts into our garden oasis while Bella, our doxy, waits for a bite of chicken and we listen to the sounds of our barrio makes it a perfect evening.

We Shared One Order of Pad Thai and One Green Papaya Salad

6. Barracuda: Tripadvisor Rating

     When Barracuda was a small taco shop, it was one of our favorite places to go for fish tacos. Once they expanded to a larger, nicer restaurant with a full dinner and bar menu, we were slow to warm up to it, but it’s now one of our new favorites. The food and drinks are very good and the atmosphere and entertainment on “Selfie Street” is an added bonus. We sit in the raised-level restaurant rather than at a street table to distance ourselves from the vendors and others walking by. The Ensalada Palmito was delicious—the kitchen split one order for us, and a half salad was a generous amount. The Molcajete was wonderful and appears to be one of their most popular dishes.

My Half of Baraacuda's Palmito Salad--Delicious!

The Entertainment on "Selfie Street" is Half the Fun

La Catrina on Selfie Street

7. Rubens Restaurant: Tripadvisor Rating

     We loooove Ruben’s, for sitting at the bar above street level at lunchtime, people watching on “Selfie Street” or for take-out. Our favorites are the Ruben Sandwich with fries or salad, the Turkey, Avocado, Bacon sandwich (unbelievably good!) with fries or salad, and the Ensalada China con Pollo (another opportunity to get my Asian-flavor fix). As a side note, Ruben keeps “Selfie Street” decorated with flags, flowers, and signs—we appreciate the beauty it adds to our downtown area.

8. Si Señor Sayulita: Tripadvisor Rating

     Si Señor’s is where we go when we want a nice view of Sayulita bay and the main beach with a more quiet atmosphere, including the sound of the waves lapping on the rocks and a gentle sea breeze. Their guacamole made fresh and to our desired spiciness at the table is delicious. 

9.  La Isla Beach Club: Tripadvisor Rating

     A beachfront open-air restaurant, La Isla is a quiet place to enjoy a view of the ocean. We usually order guacamole or battered, fried shrimp as an appetizer and Mahi Mahi Empanizado—always fresh and well-prepared. The wine is not top quality, but good enough. If you order your Margaritas made with Don Julio Setente tequila, and pay a little extra, they are excellent. Service is sometimes slow, but we go there for the soothing ocean sound and view and we're on Mexico time, so we're in no hurry.

10.     Alas Blancas: Tripadvisor Rating

     Alas Blancas beachfront restaurant has chairs and umbrellas near the ocean as well as a roped-off dining area with tables. We prefer the roped-off area at this time during the pandemic as it keeps the vendors away from the tables. I enjoy their shrimp tacos and shrimp cocktail. Occasionally they have a pork shank special that is delicious!

11.     Mariscos Purillo’s: Tripadvisor Rating

Mariscos Purillo's Streetside Restaurant
Purillo's Fried Shrimp Tacos--Delicious!

     We haven’t tried too many items on the menu at Purillo's because we are stuck on their delicious fried Shrimp Tacos (we order them extra frito, extra crispy) served on the best home-made tortillas in town. The spicy marinated onions are good and hot, just the way we like them, so don’t add too many to your tacos. The Agua de Jamaica is the best we’ve found in town. We have lunch at Purillo’s every week or two, but they are open for breakfast and dinner as well.

Other Restaurants We Enjoy

     As you can see, we lean toward restaurants on the beach—it’s one of the best things about living in a beach town. We also gravitate to restaurants with dining rooms and avoid taco stands where there is no running water or bathroom. Plus, wine with our dinner is important. We use some restaurants mostly for their home delivery service. Here are a few that we frequent and enjoy about once a month.

Coco’s Beach Club—Good Fish and Chips with a beach view from upstairs.

Prieto’s—For their delicious carnitas tacos.

El Metro Tortas—For their Milanesa de Pollo Tortas (request canned jalapeños to add)—we order to go and take it to the north beach for a picnic.

La Rustica Sayulita—For their home delivery of pizza and salad.

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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Living in Mexico: Another Lesson Learned! DON'T TOUCH WITHOUT LOOKING! SCORPION!

We were doing yoga on our outside patio in Sayulita. It's hot here right now, so I asked Jon to bring me a "sweat cloth". We keep a basket of cloth napkins out on our patio table to use when we exercise. I didn't look at it when he handed it to me while I sat relaxing on my yoga mat. But my lizard brain registered that my thumb was lightly resting on a small coiled object--like the tail of my dried seahorse I keep in a shadow box.

I looked down at the cloth and, in a flash, realized my thumb was on the coiled tail of this scorpion, screamed, and threw it on the ground! I called Jon over and together we studied it closely. Of course, neither of us had our glasses on as we were doing yoga, but we agreed that he was dead.

I said, "This is worth a photo," and I picked up the cloth by the corner, set it on my computer keyboard, and went to grab my phone for a shot. As soon as I had taken the photo, that scorpion came to life and scrambled between the folds of the cloth, trying to hide. I screamed again, "Jon, he's NOT dead! Get your flip-flop! I'm going to pull him down onto the ground and you hit him."

As soon as Jon was in position (and I had checked that Bella, our doxy was nowhere near), I grabbed the corner of the cloth, pulled it off the keyboard, and let it drop to the floor. That scorpion started running across the tile floor toward Jon and he was FAST! It took two whacks with Jon's size 10 flip-flops to flatten that bugger.

We knew the rainy season brings the scorpions out, but I had sprayed the perimeter of the patio 3 months ago with a new insect repellent called H24 ProGarden Casa y Jardin because Home Depot was out of Home Defense. Reading the label today, it says it only works for TWO months.

I found out that Home Depot doesn't carry Home Defense any longer. It's time to put it on my calendar to spray every two months, as much as I hate spraying pesticides. We don't want those poisonous scorpions in our home. If one stung our dog, it could kill her. If we were stung, it would mean a trip to the hospital for a shot of anti-venom. It's just not worth the risk!


MY GRATITUDE FOR THE DAY: I am thankful that the scorpion did not sting Jon while he was handling the cloth, nor me while I had my thumb on the scorpion's coiled tail!

For more true tales of expat life, check out my book, "LIVING IN MEXICO, LESSONS LEARNED: Healthy Living in Mexico #3". 

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Terry L Turrell, Author