La Barcina Seafood & Drinks is new on the Sayulita scene, opening its doors for the first time at the end of March. Owners, and sisters, Alica and Itzel, and their cousin, Adan, originally from Tepic, bring contemporary seafood dishes (and some vegetarian options), based on traditional recipes from the North coast of Nayarit, to Sayulita. With the owners’ meticulous attention to details, the presentation and freshness of the regional flavors shine through at this Sayulita eatery.
The name of the restaurant, La Barcina, is very fitting, given it is a seafood restaurant. Back in the day, fishermen from the Nayarit region would use a “barcina” to transport dried shrimp. A barcina, which basically looks like a ball, was constructed with fabric and palm (the shrimp contained inside) and secured with twine. While barcinas are no longer used to transport shrimp, several are used as decorative pieces in La Barcina Seafood & Drinks.
A complimentary appetizer, a fried shrimp ball served atop a small cup of shrimp broth, a typical dish from Mexcaltitan Island, is a nice touch. A professional mixologist, Oscar, impresses with original cocktails, particularly with the Amores and the Gin and Waves. The Amores is a mix of Mezcal, cranberry juice, sweet lime juice, and in-house fermented apple and pineapple juice. Garnished with sesame seeds and fresh mint, this cocktail is dangerously good and thirst quenching, with a fruit forward flavor followed by a smoky aftertaste. Gin and Waves is made of gin, sweet lime and regular lime juice, and spiced syrup with cinnamon and cloves. The complex flavors of intermingled celery and spices result in a very unique and refreshing taste, leaving you wanting more.
The food at La Barcina Seafood & Drinks, which is served up in good-sized portions, is equally impressive and extremely fresh (never frozen). One aguachile option, Barcina, comes with juicy shrimp and the most tender octopus I’ve ever tasted, served in a dark sauce made from five different smoked chilis, giving it a tasty smoky flavor and a good amount of heat. Another aguachile option, the Aguachile Vegano, consists of thinly sliced jicama and watermelon radishes, served in a green sauce, made from cilantro oil, lime juice, and Serrano chilies, and topped with a creamy avocado paste. Only slightly spicy, the citrus flavor of the sauce really stands out and is excellent with the fresh, crisp jicama and radishes. The Tostado Especial la Barcina is a ceviche of shrimp, octopus, oysters, and clams served in clamshells with a tostado served atop with avocado paste. Very light and refreshing, it tastes as if it’s straight from the sea. And for dessert, the Pan de Platanto with Helado (Banana Bread with Ice Cream) is equally impressive. The banana bread with pecans and dried cranberries, typical of San Blas, is extremely moist and delicious, and is served warm, which is a wonderful contrast to the cold vanilla ice cream.
La Barcina Seafood & Drinks is open Wednesday to Monday, from 1pm – 11pm. Regardless of whether you go for cocktails and lunch on the surprisingly comfortable patio, or do dinner in the modern-chic main dining room, this is one new Sayulita spot that is a must-try!
Written By: Stacey Elkins
Photos By: Camilla Fuchs Photography