Saturday Date Night: March 4, 2011 @ 5PM
We were too cold and too lazy to drive to the City. The weather was making me crave huge servings of Mexican comfort food of rice, beans, fish and tortilla. So Enrique and I decided to explore the funky and fun Fruitvale Avenue/International Boulevard in East Oakland.
Being the date night planner, Mariscos La Costa was my venue of choice for this date night.
Not a food truck. Not quite a restaurant.
At first glance, Mariscos La Costa resembles a fastfood takeout joint. Instead of burger and fries, you'll get cocktail seafood in a cup, burritos, tortas and tacos.
Mariscos is as authentic as it gets. The customers consist of immigrant Latino folks and families. Being the only Asian at that moment, I got some curious but friendly glances.
Ordering consists of walking up to the window of this brick building in East Oakland after parking our car in the private parking lot. I am very thankful for my un poquito español, we were able to comfortably order from the Spanish only menu board.
There was really no dining room except for a tarp-covered seating area with the school cafeteria style tables.
There were no big dinner plates on the menu that I was craving but they have a good selection of COCTELES (cocktails). They have all kinds of cocteles: coctel de camarones (shrimp), pescado (fish), pulpo (octopus) or combination of all these. Being a seafoodtarian, I felt like I hit the jackpot!
Except for the cocktails which were $7.50 for regular and $13 for large, everything else on the menu was priced at $1 to $4. Enrique and I were so thrilled to look at the prices and we went crazy!
He went for the meat and I went for the seafood.
FIRST ROUND: ($13 including a Diet Coke and Horchata)
Taco Carne Asada + Quesadilla de Carne Asada + Tostada Ceviche de Camaron+ Tostada Ceviche de Pescado + Horchata
SECOND ROUND: ($15 before tip)
(We were on a mission to stuff our faces. Plus hey, it's super-cheap!)
Coctel de Camaron + Quesadilla de Camaron + Lengua Tacos
COCTEL DE CAMARON: Came with a couple of crunchy tostadas, it was full of plump good-sized shrimp in complex room-temperature broth of tomatoes and chili; came with avocado, chopped onions and cucumber. We shared this dish and we both agreed that this dish is a winner! Cocktail is a simple easy dish but when not done right, it tends to be watered-down. This one is very flavorful with the right spices!
TOSTADAS (CAMARON/PESCADO): The tostadas were packed on top and spilling over with seafood and full of nice spices. I honestly could not tell apart which was which. They tasted the same and I covered mine with hot sauces (my bad!) Yummy and without the fishy taste.
LENGUA TACO/CARNE ASADA TACOS: These tongue and beef tacos were tender and delicious according to my guy.
QUESADILLA DE CAMARON: This was not on the menu. The quesadillas offered are all meat but my guy asked the server to make me this for me and they happily obliged. A hefty quesadilla loaded with shrimp and falling out of the flour tortilla in every bite! Just like what my guy thought about his quesadilla, it was delicious but this resembled a burrito more than a quesadila. Not "tightly" fried, not much cheese but more crema, the fillings were loose. Yummy but I wanted my cheesy, slightly greasy, packed quesadilla.
HORCHATA: I washed my spicy meal down with this traditional Mexican rice drink with cinnamon. Cold with nice hint of cinnamon, it was too sweet for my taste.
FOODIE GIRL'S RATING: 4.75 STARS
1. Super-cheap and the best value in town with free parking.
2. The seafood cocktails are the "MUST ORDER" at Mariscos La Costa.
3. You can go to a restaurant with solid walls and roof but sitting at the tarp-covered dining area adds fun and uniqueness to the dining experience. Some folks ate their food in their car. Now, isn't that romantic?!
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)