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Laguna Azul, tasty, unpretentious seafood in Mexicali

As much as we enjoy the Chinese food in Mexicali, last night we decided it was time to try some Mexican seafood here. I turned to the internet for suggestions, and Mariscos Laguna Azul was a place not far from our hotel that was mentioned over and over again.

I liked the ambiance at Laguna Azul right away. It’s a napkin dispensers and condiments on the table kind of place. My kind of place. There were many families and groups of friends having meals and enjoying conversations with one another. We were offered a table by the front window, looking out over a busy boulevard.

Before we could even glance at the menu — which, for what it’s worth, was entirely in Spanish — a server put a plate of hard tortillas, an avocado, and some kind of salsa on our table. I don’t know what was in the salsa, but it tasted good. It got our taste buds activated for the appetizer that would arrive a few minutes later.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed seeing in Mexicali is groups of people drinking large bottles of beer family style. Since neither of us was driving, we decided to try this ourselves. A quart of Tecate, split between the two of us, is a good, inexpensive start to a beer buzz. A language note: I need to remember they distinguish Tecate from Tecate Light here by calling the former roja for its red label.

(Photo by KG7NRB.)

(Photo by KG7NRB.)

Seafood cocktails seem to be the specialty at Laguna Azul. They offered a number of different varieties and sizes, but since Kathryn didn’t show much interest, I got the smallest shrimp-only cocktail. When they put the colorful dish in front of me, she suddenly gained interest. The photo is a bit of an illusion. The shrimp were not the size of my arm. The avocado, however, was very real and a nice touch.

Almost as soon as the shrimp cocktail was finished, our main dishes arrived. Kathryn had two fish tacos, which she enjoyed quite thoroughly. I went for the breaded garlic mystery fish, pictured above, which was very tasty. Honestly, we could have both shared my plate, especially since it came with bread and salad, in addition to the rice on the plate.

The best part was paying the bill. The two of us ate and drank all this for under $20. It’s almost worth the drive from Phoenix.