Contramar is a large place with additional seats outside. It is all non-smoking. Service is a little rushed but it made sense when I saw how quickly the tables filled and a line formed outside. They take reservations but many tables as well as bar seating are for walk-ins. One side of the indoor area is all windows that look out onto the outside tables. The opposite side is taken up with a long open area into the kitchen. The wall between these two sides is lined with backed stools along a long bar counter. The waiters spoke enough English but the other staff (like those that bring out food) had little bi-lingual ability. Our waiter, Sotero, was really helpful in making our menu selections and pointed out the daily specials that only show up on the menu in Spanish and was happy for us to share everything.
After seating the table is quickly furnished with some green, fairly mild, sauce as well as pickled spicy vegetables. You also get a bowl of limes, chips, bread and spicy herbed onions that are delicious.
We started with the Tuna Tostada, which they are famous for – marinated tuna loin, crispy leeks and chipotle mayonnaise. They were very good and absolutely sang when you added some of the spicy/herbed onions. The crisp chip held up well and the tuna was wonderfully fresh, all enhanced with the tasty crispy leeks. These are not to be missed.
We followed with the special that day, scallop ceviche. It was a gorgeous shade of green decorated with tasty red onions. The dish had just the right amount of tartness and also included cucumbers. It didn’t need anything to make it a flavor explosion in your mouth, the scallops so fresh and tasty.
The Tacos Salteados Compechanos was sautéed shrimp and octopus in a chile adobo sauce and served with small, fresh and warm tortillas. The tortillas alone were enough to make you order this dish – full of corn flavor and a wonderful amount of chew to the texture. Their corny deliciousness combined with the spicy seafood was an amazing treat. The balance seemed to include more of the octopus than the shrimp but it was all wonderful.
Our last savory was “Pescado a la talla Contramar”, a fresh whole grilled fish opened and half covered in red chili adobo rub and the other half with a parsley rub and then broiled. The opened raw fish is brought to the table earlier for your inspection and it looked like red snapper, but I wouldn’t swear. However I would swear that it is an incredibly juicy flavorful fish. It is quite thin so eat quickly as it will dry out as it sits there. Both rubs were very good but I thought the red chili was a bit better. One fish was plenty for two. With the fish they brought creamy black beans dusted with a grating of cheese and more fresh tortillas.
We were on such a roll who could refuse when they bring around the large tray of desserts so you can see each one – and so glad we did, both were amazing. Having read about their fig tart I had to try it and it was as good as all the hype. Sweet tender, and nicely ripe fresh figs topped a cheesecake like interior all on a thick delicious cookie crust. There were also some nuts in the buttery crust that just added more yumminess. While not an in-your-face kind of sweet dessert it was perfect and different as well as visually appealing. The other dessert we tried was a lemon tart. It was really lemony, creamy and yummy. The crust was different than the one on the figs but stayed crisp and was easy to cut through. It was divine.