Sunday Dining at El Coleguita, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico

A more perfect setting for a Sunday afternoon meal could not have been found anywhere else but at El Coleguita in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. The most beautiful view of the Bay had coupled with an amazing, generous seafood plate. The tequila poured, the ocean breeze wafted and we dined. Please, the next time you are searching for seafood on your plate, and your expectations are high, get yourself to the nearest El Coleguito — there are three in the Banderas Bay area — and really dine. Take your time. Enjoy the company of friends, and a plate of wonderful seafood generously and thoughtfully served.

The first thing I want when eating out is a delicious plate of food at a reasonable price. El Coleguita delivered. Every entrée on the menu was 109 pesos, except for the lobster plates, priced at 300 pesos. For 109 pesos, each plate ordered at our table was decreed excellent and portioned very generously.

Three at our table, who had eaten here before, ordered Coconut Shrimp, pictured at the top. Do you see all that crispy coconut, coating tender, large shrimp? It was accompanied by a pineapple dipping sauce, a sweet-tart, fruity counterpoint to the succulent shrimp. Tip: on a subsequent visit, our coconut shrimp was not cooked enough for the coconut to be crispy. To ensure that yours are, ask for your shrimp to be muy dorado, very golden.

One of our party ordered Camarones al Mojo de Ajo, shrimp cooked in garlic. It, too, was declared wonderful. Often, in restaurants, the shrimp are not de-veined. These were.

The Coconut Shrimp looked very enticing, but for the sake of an additional photo, I ordered Lonja Coleguita, described in the menu as filete de pescado dorado bañados de camarón o pulpo — fillets of mahi mahi “bathed” with shrimp or octopus. I opted to have my mahi mahi bathed in shrimp and did not regret it. By the time I finished the shrimp, I was too full to eat but a few bites of the mahi mahi. My table mates helped me, plus there was enough mahi mahi left over for para llevar — to carry out.

To be honest, I have to make a full disclosure here. To take the kitchen photos, I introduced myself to the manager, telling him I would be writing up a review of his restaurant. Perhaps that is why my plate of Lonja Coleguita was so generous in its serving size, but my friends assured me their Coconut Shrimp had been every bit as generous on previous visits. Perhaps I need to start wearing a wig and huge hat for restaurant review visits incognito.

The rice, salad and toasted bread all looked good, but obviously, the attraction here was the huge amounts of seafood. I can’t comment on the side servings as I didn’t have room to eat any.

Have you ever seen a kitchen that was so messy and disorganized, you wanted to walk out and eat somewhere else? Not this one. With a view open to all, it was clean and efficient, a beehive of activity. Alejandro, our waiter, struck a  pose amidst the motion.

As if these beautiful, huge plates are not enough, El Coleguita throws in extras with each entrée. As soon as we sat down, we were each served a cup of fish broth with pieces of fish. For such a simple appetizer, it was very, very good. Then, a half bottle of house tequila and five small plastic cups were placed in front of us. What! They are giving away tequila? Sí, and it was followed by several more half bottles as long as we kept drinking. Next, two salsas made their appearance, served with tostadas. Very tasty, but the salsa verde will take the roof of your mouth off. I should have taken a picture of Russ turning very red in the face.

If you order a Tecate, it comes with two shrimp (30 pesos); the other beers don’t (25 pesos).  I couldn’t believe how good the shrimp were right off the top of the can, wet with cold beer. I’d go back for this alone, and I’m not even a beer drinker!

Every entrée also includes a complimentary dessert of baked banana with a sweet sauce and a Kahlua after-dinner drink.

El Coleguita is a recent newcomer to La Cruz, with two other sister restaurants in the Puerto Vallarta area, all with the same menu and prices. The La Cruz restaurant seems to be busiest between 2-4:30 pm. Arriving before or after this period will help your chances of getting a front table, the better to view the bay while you savor your meal. Parking is available on the upper level, reached by driving around and up the restaurant’s side closest to the town of La Cruz.

El Coleguita No. 3, La Cruz de Huanacaxatle

El Coleguita No. 1: Ixtapa; Carretera Ixtapa Las Palmas (the highway to Mascota and San Sebastian); open 12 noon until 8 pm every day but Tuesday; tel. 322-198-9727

El Coleguita No. 2: Puerto Vallarta Marina in front of Los Muelles Condominiums; open 1 until 8 pm every day but Tuesday; tel. 322-108-9726

El Coleguita No. 3: La Cruz de Huanacaxtle;  Carretera Punta de Mita (at the north end of town, across from the turn-off to La Manzanilla beach); open every day but Tuesday, 12 noon-8 pm; 322-108-9727

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28 thoughts on “Sunday Dining at El Coleguita, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico

  1. Sandi

    Just got back from the PV area and had a most superb meal at El Coleguita in La Cruz!! Will definitely go back for more next time we are there.

  2. It is amazing when you go to this places the vast variety of shrimp or any other seafood dishes!! I am having a great time here in Mexico and just went to a seafood restaurant where they have around 12 different shrimp dishes!!! Awwww I love MEXICO!

  3. Mexico bound

    This place was recommended to us by our new friends John and Carol (I think you know them) and we tried it a couple of weeks ago. It really is a great casual spot, and the free dessert is fabulous. Great blog!

  4. Vicki in GA

    I think it is time to take a trip to Mexico.
    I actually love being along the coast during the warmer months.
    The food served at the restaurant looks wonderful and the kitchen is very clean.
    Waiter is kinda cute, too!

  5. Bobbie Ward

    Anneke told me to definitely go to El Coleguita and after seeing your pictures of the entrees I do need to go there! Your blog is wonderful and I’m really enjoying the coconut oil!

  6. Pingback: Cooking in Mexico (shoppers, food, kitchen) - City-Data Forum

  7. it is a very pleasure to discover this blog and your special food that j love!!!
    J love also Mexico.I’m sure to return.very good

  8. Lorin Johnson

    It looks so clean and wonderful. I like the prices and the generous proportions. Shall we make a date of it for December? It would be lovely to spend an afternoon there with you and Russ and a great view. We haven’t really been out in La Cruz for a long time other than when Russ is playing music. Not that we don’t love shared meals at both of our homes, but it sure is nice to sit down and be served and have some wonderful conversation and laughter and be able to get up and walk away from any mess or dishes every now and then.
    Love, Lorin

  9. So how do you drink the cerveza con camarones – do you leave the shrimp as you pour the cerveza into a glass? Or, do you drink from the can and nibble on the shrimp? I think I might be more inclined to pour the beer in a glass and use a drink skewer for the shrimp. We could call it a Mexican martini.

    1. I ate the two shrimp immediately with my fingers while they were still cold. Quite a unique and refreshing taste combination. I think a dish of cold shrimp swimming in a little pool of beer would be nice on a hot day.

  10. Karen

    It’s all true, what a wonderful place to eat our way through a Sunday afternoon. Great food and great friends, what more could you ask for?

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