Located in Barrio Viejo (real name San Jose Ixtapa), a quiet town not far from Ixtapa's resort hotels, El Tiburón is noted for seafood. Rick Bayless ate there when he came to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo for Food & Wine magazine's recent gastronomic festival.
"The seafood is impeccable, all of it prepared with a sure hand," he said.
Bayless was intrigued by cucaracha del mar, a crustacean that grows on rocks in this area. It tastes like West Coast sea urchin, he said, slightly creamy and a little firm.
For lunch following the Bayless demo, El Tiburón put a few pieces in a botana, an appetizer plate that also included sea scallops, shrimp and abalone (right). This dish won an award in a local restaurant contest. To me, the cucaracha had a rich, scallopy taste, but the pieces were cut so small it was hard to tell.
My group also ordered camarones a la diabla (deviled shrimp), which Bayless ate at El Tiburón before demonstrating his own version at the festival. El Tiburón's sauce was very spicy and a little sweet. One of the ingredients was pineapple.
The kitchen sent out the classic local fish dish tiritas, raw fish strips mixed with lime juice, red onion and, in this example, plenty of hot chile. The fish was swordfish.
One of the reasons seafood tastes so good at El Tiburón is that it is very fresh, like the components of aguachile mixto, a spicy lime juice treatment of assorted shellfish.
Of all the main dishes ordered that day, I liked mine the best. It was camarones sarandeados (right), big, butterflied shrimp soaked with red adobo, grilled and then topped with sliced guajillo chiles and garlic. Even the mashed potatoes on the plate were good. The rice included corn kernels.
El Tiburón's namesake, shark, isn't on the menu, because it's rarely available. If the restaurant does get some, it is likely to go into ceviche which, I hear, is really good.
The peaked roof is lined with pine boards and beams of palm wood, like a log cabin. White plastic "Corona" chairs surround tables covered with blue and white checked oilcloth. The decorations are sea-inspired.
Your hosts, says the menu, are the owners, the Camarena brothers. There's no formal street address. If traveling from Ixtapa, you turn from the highway onto the main street of Barrio Viejo and look for it on the left.
El Tiburón de la Costa, Avenida Principal, San Jose Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico. Tel: (755) 552 6234.