On a recent trip to Mexico City (CDMX), I had a lot of places I’d wanted to visit, but there was one that almost every person I asked, recommended. Contramar is a seafood restaurant located in the Roma Norte district of CDMX. Its popularity is evident when you see how quickly the restaurant fills up, even during mid-week.
We arrived 15 minutes prior to opening (at noon) and were the first in line. The staff were having family meal and it was heartwarming to see that the staff were co-mingling like one big family before service.
At noon, the doors opened and we were the first to be seated. We were super excited. It took us forever to decide what we wanted. In the end, we ordered waaaay too much food, but I was glad I did.
I’m only going to feature the dishes we were totally enamored by. The salads we ordered were nothing special and don’t deserve a mention, and it’s best to leave room for the abundance of gorgeous seafood on offer. But first, order a couple of cocktails because they are VERY good! We tried the Mezcalito Tamarindo (MXD 195/$11) as well as the Jamaica Mezcal (MXD 195/$11). Both beverages were well balanced with fresh, tart flavors from tamarind and hibiscus.
Before the food arrived, three dishes of condiments: limes, onions and chile, and salsa verde, were placed on the table.
While I’ve had tiradito all over the world, I still like to try it whenever I see it on a menu. The Fish Tiradito (MXN 310/$17) was very fresh even though it needed just a splash more citrus, which we were able to manage with the lime wedges on the table.
I’m not usually a fan of croquettes, and was going to forego these, but one of my dining companions was swayed and ordered them. Croquetas de Atún (MXN 149/$8.25) turned out to be incredibly delicious. They were bite sized, crunchy on the outside, with a soft interior. Texturally, they were magical.
I’m always a sucker when it comes to octopus, so when I saw Pulpo de Gallega (MXN 335/$18.60) on the menu, it was a no-brainer. The octopus was perfectly cooked, super tender, and delightful. A tad salty, but hey, it’s all good.
I was about to skip these as I’d over indulged the previous nights on aguachile. But my son ordered the Green Shrimp Aguachile (MXN 323/$18.50) and of course, when it arrives, I didn’t hesitate. Perfect balance of acidity and freshness.
My favorite cold item was the Almeja Roja or Chocolate Clams, a special of the day (MXN 435/$24).
A salsa verde was served alongside, but I preferred to eat it with just a squeeze of lime. They were chewy without being rubbery, and simply delectable.
Another not-to-be-missed item is Jaiba Suave or Soft Shell Crab (MXN 720/ $40), These were lightly fried and so filled with umami. I took the leftovers back to our Airbnb and enjoyed them the next day with some tortillas.
But of course, the piece de resistance was the signature Pescado, a whole fish (MXN 1009.80/$56) with your choice of sauce. We chose the Contramar, which offered both of the sauces: the red which is chile and the green, parsley. The fish uses colors depicting the Mexican flag, and is quite the sight when it arrives. Absolutely not to be missed. The fish is sold by weight, and it was well worth the price! We took the remainder with us, and I enjoyed it for breakfast for several days.
If you have time while in Mexico City, I highly suggest visiting Contramar. While it says they take reservations on OpenTable, you’ll find it difficult to actually get one (I tried!). Simply arrive a few minutes before they open at noon, and unless it’s the weekend, you should be able to snag a seat. The seafood is super fresh, cocktails pretty on point, and service very attentive. Staff speaks English so if your Spanish isn’t up to par, you’ll be just fine.
Calle de Durango 200, Roma Nte.
Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México
Tel: +52 55 5514 3169