We were in Puerto Vallarta, looking for lunch — quick, reasonably priced and good — when Russ remembered Marisma Fish Taco behind Plaza Neptuno. Marisma is one of the places we take guests when we want to give them a real Mexican, fish taco-eating time. They are never disappointed.
I can quickly look a place over and see if it is our kind of eating establishment. Plenty of local diners with few or no foreigners. Check. Kitchen area appears clean. Check. Plastic plates don’t match. Check. Paper napkins. Check. Corn tortillas hot off the press.
Double check. You get my drift. I want a real Mexican eating experience, not this week’s tourist hot spot. Marisma qualifies in spades.
The menu is extensive: ceviche on tostadas, pictured above, for 9 pesos each; shrimp tacos, fish tacos (pictured below), crab salpicón tacos (crab stewed with onion, tomato and spices), smoked marlin tacos, and spicy squid tacos, all 15 pesos apiece.
Also shrimp and cheese quesadillas for 24 pesos and shrimp empanadas — like a turn-over — three for 62 pesos.
Marisma is no slouch when it comes to decorating the tacos. A small treatise could be written on their three salsas and two onion condiments. With five ways to go here, no matter how many tacos you order, each one can be different.
The avocado and cilantro salsa, always a favorite, was creamy and mild without any chile heat. The pico de gallo, colorful and popping with jalapeño chile, added brightness without overpowering the other tastes. The cooked salsa roja provided the Mexican jolt of toasted chile de arbol and tomatillos that becomes addictive once you start down that path.
Then there were the onion somethings. Is there a word for relish in Spanish? One was seasoned with soy sauce and what tasted like the ubiquitous Mexican spice, Maggi bouillon powder. Mexican cooks love Maggi bouillon. I don’t understand this. The other onion something was basically Coronado bottled hot sauce and onion slices. The two onion relishes didn’t blow Russ’s hair back, but they added color to the table.
Ana Christina, our waitress, could not have been more friendly and helpful. Service. Check.
For those who don’t care for fish, there are hamburgers with fries and chicken tacos, but you have my sympathy if you don’t understand fish tacos in all their glory.
To get to Marisma Fish Taco, turn off Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio at the big sculpture of the mother and baby whale, onto Avenida Paseo de la Marina. Immediately take a left behind the sculpture and continue one block to the Y intersection. Marisma is in the middle of the Y. A second Marisma Fish Taco is located in Colonio Emiliano Zapata.
Marisma Fish Taco No. 1; Marina Vallarta; Condominios Marina del Rey; open 7 days a week, 10 am-6pm; 322-221-2884
Marisma Fish Taco No. 2; South of the Rio Cuale, Calle Naranjo 320; Colonia Emiliano Zapata; open 7 days a week, 10 am-6pm; 322-222-1395