Food + Wine

World's Best Beach Food

Grilled Octopus in Mexico

The beach: Sayulita, north of Puerto Vallarta in Nayarit, Mexico

The place: El Costeño, also known as Ruperto's, one of the town's original beachfront restaurants

The dish: Grilled octopus laced with lime juice

The once-sleepy fishing pueblo of Sayulita has officially been discovered: No spot on the Pacific Coast with surfing this good can go incognito for long. But despite the steadily growing influx of foreign visitors and well-to-do Puerto Vallartans buying real estate, the town has retained its eccentric, laid-back vibe. There's one of just about everybody here, from rancheros to retirees, surfer kids to San Francisco expats, drawn by the region's world-class surf and the small-town, sand-between-the-toes beach culture that has evolved here. Sayulita's beach is dotted with sand-floor seafood shacks, but the most established is El Costeño—also one of the friendliest spots in a welcoming town. Settle into a plastic chair in the shade of the palapa for some people-watching and blue-gazing, and order a plate of the tender grilled octopus, charred crispy around the edges but meaty in the middle and made tart with a squeeze of lime juice. Most of the seafood here is fresh-caught, so you can't go wrong with a simple grill-plus-citrus preparation. Wash it down with a cold cerveza, or if you're feeling brave, one of the bathtub-size (and shockingly cheap) margaritas.

Next: Classic boardwalk grub on the New Jersey shore >

El Costeño
Nayarit, Mexico
(329) 291-3045

Photo courtesy of Ramsey Ksar, flickr

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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