Nearly two million tourists visit Mazatlán, Mexico, annually. Golden sand beaches, first class fishing, warm surf and seafood are the primary attractions. Excellent restaurants are found all along Mazatlán's 15-mile peninsula, but blue-ribbon pastries are much harder to find.
Mazatlán, in Sinaloa, Mexico
Mazatlán, in the state of Sinaloa, lies just 800 miles south of Arizona. This popular coastal resort lies below the Tropic of Cancer, and enjoys balmy year-round weather. Soft breezes caress the golden beaches, and offshore, the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez.
Mazatlán has long been a destination for fishermen, beach-lovers and birders. Mazatlán extends along fifteen miles of sandy beaches, and continues to expand with new hotels and condominiums north of the metropolitan area. The Zona Dorada, or Golden Zone, lies close to the middle of this peninsula, and is the heart of the tourist business, with hotels, nightclubs and restaurants. At the south end of the peninsula is the historic district, with nineteenth century architecture, the 110-year old central Pino Suárez market, the Basilica de la Purisma Concepcion (The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception) and the original Panamá Restaurant and Pasteleria.
The Panamá Restaurant and Pasteleria in Mazatln's Historic District
The Panamá Restaurant and Pasteleria lies directly across from the historic cathedral, the Basilica de la Purisma Concepcion. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and displays a mouth-watering showcase of refrigerated pies, cakes and specialty pastries. These pastries, probably the best in Mazatlán, are also available at the main bakery, just a block from the Historic District's popular Plazuela Machado, at the corner of Calle Belasario Dominguez and Sixto Osuna
The main restaurant is six blocks north and east of Plazuela Machado. The restaurant is spotless and bright, with a well-trained staff dedicated to satisfying their guests. This is not an upscale restaurant for a formal meal, but rather a friendly place to take a lunch break from shopping, meet someone for breakfast or to have a fabulous mid-afternoon dessert. Meal specials are displayed as culinary works of art, and the tempting dessert cart that is rolled to your table after a meal is irresistible. Trip Advisor feedback rates the Panamá Restaurant at 4.5 stars out of 5, and lists the restaurant's popularity ranking at 14th of 73 restaurants in all of Mazatlán.
The refrigerated pastry and cake case takes up most of one wall, and is kept filled with beautiful cakes, pies, cheesecakes, ice-cream pies and French pastries. Many of these are filled with tropical and other fruits including guava, pineapple, mango and strawberries. Prices range from 110 to 145 pesos (about $9 to $11 U.S.) for smaller, Chico, versions, and from 185-260 pesos (about $14 to $20 U.S.) for full-sized desserts.
Other Panamá Restaurant Locations in Mazatlán
Two other Panamá Restaurants are conveniently located in primary tourist areas, one in the Olas Altas district and one in the Zona Dorada, or Golden Zone. Both are located along the primary waterfront drive, which is called Camaron Sábalo in the Golden Zone …
Before Kaori came to be, the restaurant was an Outback, and as such, the decor still has a Down Under feel. Aside from the paper screens and lanterns, wooden booths surround the dining room while a sushi bar in the middle allows patrons to watch their food being prepared. The dining area is large, the seating is comfortable and diners do not feel rushed through their meals. Buttons are located on each table so that servers can be summoned, and private rooms of any size can be reserved, thanks to sliding panels used as dividers.
The Meaning of Sharing
In another example of the unusual service of Kaori, only two menus were offered to a party of 10. Additional menus were never provided, making for a lengthy process when preparing to order. And yet, for smaller parties of three or four, menus are provided for each and every person. If menus were in short supply, would it not have been more efficient to leave two menus for smaller parties and provide four or five for larger ones? However, the restaurant seeks to make up for this inefficiency with such gestures as complimentary edamame and flavourful mackerel and turnip offered as appetizers. In addition, the food arrives promptly and the cup is always full of hot tea.
The menu describes an extremely large variety of dishes, including a wide selection of well-made seafood. A donburi dinner ranges from $10 to $13 CDN while sushi and sashimi dinners range from $15 to $20 CDN. Specialty rolls, though not particularly abundant in choice, also range from $10 to $13 CDN. The miso soup is a little on the salty side and the sashimi is cut into large, fresh, but veiny slices. The kalbi is extremely tender and succulent, while the tempura, which comes in either a large basket or as part of combination courses, is light and crispy without being too oily.
Plenty of Fish
One issue that should be noted by all patrons is the size of the portions offered at Kaori. Though the food is delicious, the meals are very large in size. For example, the tempura and sashimi combination is described according to the menu as containing 5 pieces of nigiri sushi and 8 pieces of sashimi, but the actual meal comes with 6 pieces of nigiri sushi and 16 pieces of sashimi, not to mention the large amount of tempura. This small example of false advertising would seem generous in nature, but in actuality leads to overspending on the part of the diner. Had patrons been accurately informed, they could have shared meals, which are certainly large enough for two. After diners have eaten their fill, it is not uncommon to see half the food still remaining on the table, with everyone looking on wearily and wishing they had ordered less. Complimentary ice cream is also provided at the end of the meal.
Kaori Restaurant is located at 30 High Tech Road in Richmond Hill, …