With a surge of new restaurants and a number of well-established eateries, the culinary scene in this historic Pacific city is experiencing a renaissance. Mazatlan is renowned as the shrimp capital of the world, and innovative chefs are rediscovering the city’s traditional flavours while drawing on the abundance of local products to create new dishes inspired by the past.

2 Must-try Restaurants

Casa 46

Photograph by Victor Elias Photography.

Housed in a grand, 19th-century mansion overlooking Plaza Machado in Old Town, this elegant restaurant is helping to lead the city’s culinary renaissance. Opt for a table on the glass-enclosed terrace and enjoy artfully plated, contemporary takes on classic Mexican dishes. Start your meal by ordering the rave-evoking confit duck enchiladas, which are served with a complex, 30-some-ingredient black mole sauce. After, move on to the mains, such as the sea bass rissole with black risotto in an asparagus emulsion and a dash of guajillo chili pepper aioli.


Topolo Mexican Restaurant & Wine Bar

Photograph courtesy of Topolo Mexican Restaurant & Wine Bar.

Before ordering from a menu of northwest Mexico dishes, take a stroll through the restaurant housed in a Spanish hacienda that dates back more than 200 years. The restaurant features an intimate, lantern-lit courtyard garden. Accompanied by live music, dinner kicks off with roasted tomato salsa prepared tableside, followed by mouth-watering entrees like slow-cooked pork shank in adobo sauce and local shrimp sautéed in a light lime butter and cilantro sauce. Finish with showy bananas foster and and Mexican coffee in flambéed tableside.


Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Breakfast: Panama Restaurant

Panama Restaurant serves Mexican-style desayuno—think chilorio (shredded pork in Mexican adobo) or machaca (spiced, dried, shredded beef) with a corn quesadilla or tamale, scrambled eggs and refried beans.


Lunch: El Parador Español

Photograph courtesy of El Parador Español.

Located in the Golden Zone, El Parador Español is paella paradise. Try the seafood version, bursting with fresh-from-the-ocean shrimp, clams, calamari and lobster on a bed of saffron rice.


Dinner: Water’s Edge Bistro

Photograph courtesy of Water’s Edge Bistro.

Water’s Edge Bistro serves locally sourced comfort food with an Asian twist, such as the Asian tuna salad—crusted tuna served on lettuce, noodles and a white miso vinaigrette.


3 Drink Stops

Places to imbibe are plentiful in Mazatlan. The city boasts an award-winning, home-grown microbrewery and distillery, plus a popular night spot with historic roots.


Photograph courtesy of Onilikan.

Take a free, half-hour guided tour of this artisanal distillery followed by a complimentary tasting of the house liquors made from locally harvested mango and blue agave. Signature products include the alcohol-forward and handcrafted Mango Aguardiente, one of a handful of natural mango liqueurs produced in this hemisphere.


La Bohemia

Photograph courtesy of La Bohemia.

Sip a fresh basil martini while vibing to Tuesday night jazz in this partially ruined 1865 grain warehouse that has been in the owner’s family for four generations.


Cerveceria Tres Islas

Photograph by Daniel Solorzano.

Rub elbows with locals at this cosy craft microbrewery, located on Av. Miguel Alemán and founded by local Edvin Jonsson. He keeps six to eight rotating cervezas on tap.


Sweet Spots

Photograph by Roberto Valdivia.

Indulge your dulce (sweet) tooth with sticky toffee pudding topped with vanilla-bean ice cream, crème brûlée or a chocolate trio at Hector’s Bistro. Nearby, Helarte Sano serves up handmade gelato, sorbet, ice cream bars and paletas (popsicles) in up to 160 innovative flavours—think avocado and white chocolate. Artisanal Eurobakery is a local favourite for its flaky croissants with sweet or savoury fillings and pain au chocolat.

Signature Experience

Photograph courtesy of Flavor Teller.

Take a guided tour with Flavor Teller, which offers a variety of food experiences. Ride in the back of an auriga—a red, truck-taxi—to meet locals and taste foods like taco dorados topped with beef, pork or fish, or opt for the company’s walking tour, which includes a visit to a market where you can try smoked marlin, tostadas and traditional ice cream. The company’s seasonal tour ends at an unassuming wooden cabin plunked curbside where, for generations, locals have ventured for warm sweet corn and cheese tamales.


[This story appears in the January 2020 edition of WestJet Magazine.]