For land-locked lovers of seafood, some may say finding fresh and delicious seafood in Phoenix is a big order to fill. Well, they’d be wrong. That’s because Mexican seafood, or mariscos, can be found nearly anywhere in town.
From tantalizing ceviche, to succulent fish, to tender shrimp dishes, these Phoenix restaurants bring authentic tastes of Mexico’s coastal towns straight to the desert.
With four locations in Phoenix, delicious mariscos is never far away thanks to Mariscos Ensenada. Specializing in Baja-style seafood, the quick and friendly restaurant chain offers a wide variety of dishes, from shrimp and scallops, to fish and octopus. Longtime customers, however, come for the ceviche.
Try the pescado (fish), camaron (shrimp) or the verde (green), which features shrimp and scallops served in a tart green sauce. No-fuss dishes include the tostadas and tacos, available with shrimp, fish, smoked marlin and more. There are also a handful of pasta dishes, such as spaghetti with shrimp and chipotle cream sauce, and pasta with your choice of shrimp in Ensenada or Culiacan style.
2019 N. 16th St., Phoenix
4130 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix
3242 W. Van Buren, Phoenix
2919 N. 59th Ave., Phoenix
If you’re in south Phoenix, the spot to see—and be seen—is Sr. Ozzy’s. Owned by Osiel “Ozzy” Perez and his wife Diana, the restaurant serves mariscos inspired by Sinaloa, where Diana is from. While staying true to classic techniques and flavors, the couple puts their own modern spin on signature dishes.
Take the torre mixta, for example. The seafood tower is made up of layers loaded with ceviche, crab, shrimp and vegetables, then topped with aguachile, a mix of raw shrimp, scallops, abalone and octopus, prepared with lime juice, black seafood sauce and chiltepin pepper powder.
1717 W. Southern Ave., Phoenix
Step inside this downtown Phoenix restaurant and you’re immediately greeted by a rainbow of colors, wall to wall, floor to ceiling. The atmosphere is both festive and sea-faring, a colorful ode to the Sinaloa-style seafood owners Jose and Maria Maldonado have been serving for more than 15 years.
Specialties include huachinango (fried red snapper); camarones culichi (shrimp served in a green tomatillo and cilantro sauce); and toritos de camaron (chiles stuffed with shrimp and served in a spicy black sauce). For the fish lover, order the mojarra frita, a whole fried fish available with your favorite salsa.
1605 E. Garfield St., Phoenix
Located on the southern skirts of the city, where Phoenix and Tempe meet, is Guadalupe, a town of about 5,500 residents named after the patron saint of Mexico. The interior is warm and inviting, awash in vibrant colors and tasteful décor—the perfect setting for some of the tastiest authentic Mexican-style seafood around.
A visit isn’t complete without the molcajete de camaron, a stone cauldron filled with fresh shrimp and melted cheese in a bubbling tomato-based broth. Another standout is the pescado empapelado, whole red snapper steamed with onions, leek, celery, olives and peppers.
9201 Avenida Del Yaqui, Guadalupe
Tucked in a quaint blue-and-white building on a stretch of 16th Street in south Phoenix is some of the freshest mariscos you’ll find in town. The restaurant is known for dishes hailing from specific regions, like the caldo de Cahuamanta, a satisfying manta ray stew from northern Mexico; and the mojarra Veracruzana, a whole fish covered in a tomato-based sauce with diced vegetables and spices, said to be the signature dish of Veracruz.
But what will have you coming back for more are the empanadas de camaron, shrimp and cheese hand pies fried to crispy, golden perfection.
4220 S. 16th St., Phoenix
If you’re the type of diner who prefers more options than not, this north Phoenix spot is the place for you. The mariscos offerings are plentiful, from appetizers and seafood cocktails (try the El Sinaloense, brimming with oysters, sea snail and head-on shrimp), to whole fish and specialty soups. And the shrimp? Oh, the shrimp. Grilled, beer-battered, deviled, wrapped in bacon, culichi style…whatever you want.
But for something more unique, try one of their pulpo (octopus) dishes. The pulpo al ajo is topped with a garlic butter sauce, while the pulpo a la diabla is tender octopus sautéed in a special spicy red sauce.
2601 E. Bell Road, Phoenix
45 W. Broadway Rd, Mesa
If you like a little music with your mariscos, head over to this west Phoenix restaurant just blocks from Encanto Golf Course. With live music performed by the Valley’s most popular norteño bands, the restaurant comes alive on weekends when it stays open until the wee hours of the morning. And while the music sizzles, so, too, does the food.
Try the beef and seafood parrilladas served on a tabletop grill; or the discada de mariscos, a sizzling seafood platter of calamari, shrimp, sea snail and octopus with grilled onions and peppers.
3416 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix
Meaning “come back to life,” this restaurant—with two locations in Phoenix and one in Glendale—is sure to breathe new life into your love of mariscos.
Start off your seafood adventure with the eponymous Vuelve a la Vida seafood cocktail made with citrus-laced octopus, oysters, sea snails and scallops. Then order a plate of pata de mula, blood clams served raw on the half shell with shrimp and avocado. Finally, wash it all down with a frosty michelada, a popular mixed drink made with Mexican beer, lime juice, hot sauce and other spices.
2915 N. 43rd Ave., Phoenix
5630 W. Camelback Rd., Glendale
While not an authentic Mexican seafood restaurant—or a Mexican restaurant at that—Buck&Rider in Arcadia offers their take on mariscos with the Coctel de Mariscos, made with generous chunks of lump crab meat, shrimp, scallops, tomato and avocado; and the Baja Shrimp Ceviche, served on a platter brimming with shrimp, cucumber, red onion, heirloom tomato and cilantro.
Enjoy them with a crafted cocktail, such as the Diego Rivera made with tequila, grapefruit and fresh thyme; or the Ace in the Hole, featuring tequila, fresh strawberry and lemon.
4225 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
When chef-owner Bertha Nunez opened her west Phoenix restaurant, she wanted to serve dishes inspired by Los Mochis, a city in Sinaloa where she worked at some of Mexico’s most famous marisquerías. Her skill and passion can be found in such dishes as the smoked marlin tacos, stuffed with meaty chunks of shredded fish, melted cheese, and crisped on the griddle; and the tostada mixta, heaping with shrimp ceviche and fresh avocado.
Nunez also serves mariscos for breakfast, namely the huevos con camaron, eggs with shrimp served with rice and beans.
1212 S. 28th Ave., Phoenix