Tijuana offers both dusty street food lunches for pocket change and white tablecloth lobster for the price of blue-plate specials. La Corriente Cevichería Nais straddles the line between upscale and casual with a beach bungalow decor and a high standard of service and precise seafood cookery. Meals start with a cup of clam consume and end with a shot of a mezcal-mango chamoy (chili seasoning) slush. Everything in between will be delicious.
Large format seafood such as whole fish and an entire char-broiled octopus make festive options for big parties. For small groups, the exciting ceviche and taco menus are enticing enough. Pair them with clamato-laced beer and you’ve got the most fun lunch in Tijuana’s Zona Centro.
Cevichería La Mas Nais is the most attractive and comfortable restaurant in the area: just the right place for fruity drinks and the famous red snapper tostadas. A sign above the kitchen reminds you how many thousands of these tostadas the restaurant has served. They feature gently cooked medallions that aren’t quite ceviche level citrus-cooked, but more like a well-seasoned, barely-cooked fish. The fish is accented with onion, avocado and a bit of (honestly, unnecessary) chili-aioli. These tostadas are indeed excellent. But they aren’t the only must-try dish.
“Kalifornia” Tacos are especially memorable. They’re filled with grilled shrimp and a chile stuffed with cheese. This is a revision of the same old gobernador taco that is ubiquitous on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
A more unusual one is the Shrimp Arabes Taco. This takes the classic Tacos Arabes of Puebla, and substitutes adobe marinated grilled shrimp for spit roasted meat. The shrimp fill a tiny, fluffy flour tortilla with cheese and seasoned mayo before being grilled. These are scrumptious, but could use an extra dose of the chipotle salsa used on tacos Arabes.
On cooler days and hazy mornings, consider seafood pozole. It boasts a rich stock, like the kitchen’s excellent consume but with an abundance of tender shrimp, octopus and poached fish.
Classic Baja-style fish tacos are done well here, but are less extraordinary than the more creative shrimp offerings. If you want to taste a classic of the Baja fish shack, we recommend the smoked marlin taco, which is one of the best versions we’ve ever had. Thanks to a tasty beer marinade, the meaty fish stays juicy even through a heavy smoking. The crunchy tortilla is charred on the grill, giving the taco even more smoke flavor. It’s offset with a creamy dollop of refried beans with chunks of queso fresco.
Eastward border-crossing weekenders can find other branches of this stunning cevicheria out in Mexicali and below he Texas border in Monterrey.