The menu is divided into various categories. Entradas, which include tostadas and quesadillas (all of fish or seafood), are deep-fried but not greasy and seasoned with enough chile and garlic so as not to overwhelm the fish. The quesadillas de cazón (a small shark) were especially good. Several versions of ceviche are listed; the standard de pescado was one of the best I’ve eaten anywhere, full of fresh, firm huachinango (red snapper), lightly marinated in lime juice and olive oil, with just a touch of garlic, onion, cilantro and chili to jazz it up.Under Sopas y Caldos there are several intriguing rice dishes. Arroz a la tumbada, a soupy rice with seafood and tomatoes served in an individual clay cazuela, is a puerto classic and is done here to perfection, the simple, fresh ingredients well balanced, and the rice cooked to just the right firmness. Other rice dishes are prepared with shrimp, octopus, or simply with plátanos machos, as a side dish.You may have trouble choosing among mojarras, salmón and camarones, all menu categories unto themselves, and all tempting. The large whole mojarra (a medium-sized, somewhat oily fish) is offered in several ways: fried, al mojo de ajo (with garlic and chile), a la diabla (with tomato-chile sauce), empapelado (wrapped and steamed with tomato onion and chile). Shrimp and salmon can also be prepared in these ways.Other Veracruzana specialties include filete a la talla (fish grilled with chili sauce), chile relleno de pescado (poblano chile stuffed with ground mixed seafood), and of course, the classic huachinango a la Veracruzana, whose fragrant Spanish-influenced sauce of sautéed tomatoes, onions, capers and olives is expertly prepared here.That said, the sugerencias del chef, seasonal specials, should not be missed.
Manager Sergio Bravo explained that he and his staff comb the Mercado de la Viga, Mexico City’s massive central seafood market, for whatever looks best each day. Caldo de acamayas is a current seasonal offering – plump freshwater shrimp from the waters of Veracruz, known as acamaya , have a sweet, lobster- like taste and luxuriate in a light chile-tomato bisque.A rather ambitious special is shrimp cooked in jamaica and white wine sauce. This is done with a subtle hand, the tart hibiscus flowers and simple wine sauce marrying well with the sweet sautéed shrimp. Desserts, cakes and pies, are artfully presented and well made.La Vercruzana offers full bar service. The torito (a cocktail of aguardiente, fruit and milk) is popular, and there is are small but reasonably priced wine, tequila and rum lists.Speaking of prices, almost everything on the menu is 100 pesos or less, and three changing menus del día are offered, all featuring fish and seafood, for only 60 pesos.With so many flashy, overpriced restaurants opening these days, it’s nice to find a simple, inexpensive place, with friendly service, serving fresh, well-prepared food. La Veracruzana has quickly become one of my favorite choices for seafood in the city.
La Veracruzana – Fonda de Mariscos
Medellín 198-B, corner of Chiapas (behind Plaza Insurgentes), Colonia Roma
Tel. 5574 0474
Open daily 12:30 to 8 PM
All credit cards accepted