When a restaurant takes the time to create a scenery that transports you to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, without actually being near the beach, you know the attention to detail when it comes to its food will take your taste buds on a pleasant journey.

La Costa Mariscos is a Bakersfield favorite that makes you feel at home the moment you walk through its front doors. You’re bound to enter an exciting atmosphere any day of the week while people enjoy authentic Mexican flavors. So take a seat and enjoy the homemade chips and salsa but leave room for La Costa's savory dishes.

Appetizers

Beatris Espericueta Sanders on the chicharrones: They are light and fluffy with just the right amount of salty flavor. The appetizer is served with a cabbage mix salsa that combines cabbage, tomatoes and cilantro with a squeeze of lemon. The crunchy chicharrones and the salsa make the perfect partnership. I dare you to just have one.

Joanie Haenelt on the Jalisco fries: These are fun crisscrossed-shaped potato fries that are crispy and smothered in a bold Colorado sauce. Don’t be alarmed with the sauce. It’s not too spicy; it actually has the right amount of kick to it. The fries have a few added bonuses: diced chicken, pico de gallo and jalapenos. And to top it off, the melted cheese, guacamole and sour cream make this a delicious appetizer for sure.

Holly Bikakis on the ceviche: This was one of my favorite appetizers. The combination of shrimp and fish is served with fresh avocado slices and a lemon wedge that you are encouraged to add to the bowl for an added explosion of flavors. The ceviche is light and refreshing without being filling. It’s so tasty, you almost want to keep ordering bowls and bowls of this savory appetizer.

Entrees

Norma Rojas-Mora on the mi puerto: This is a breaded fish fillet stuffed with mushrooms, octopus and shrimp. It is topped with a creamy white sauce with a side of fresh vegetables, a fresh salad and rice. The creamy white sauce was a pleasant surprise. The fish was very fresh and the breadcrumbs added the right amount of crispiness to the fish.

Holly on the seafood molcajete: We are at a seafood restaurant, so bring it on. This was a bowl of goodness and the presentation makes you want to jump in. What makes this dish almost intimidating is the searing hot molcajete itself and how the seafood medley is actually cooked on this hot stone. Because the stone retains heat, the peppers, onions, seafood and two kinds of melted cheese will continue to sizzle for a while. The sauce that coats the veggies and seafood is creamy and creates the ideal bite every time.

Beatris on the enchiladas poblanas: These enchiladas were stuffed to the max with perfectly cooked chicken. Your taste buds can definitely pick up on the homemade mole sauce that covers every inch of the tortillas. Although the ingredients to the mole can vary, we did get a scoop on a few of those secret elements like chocolate, peppers and black beans.

Joanie on the chili verde: Chili verde is one my favorite go-to Mexican meals. This one did not disappoint. The tender chunks of pork were simmered in a traditional chili verde sauce. I could detect the bold flavors of tomatillos, garlic, jalapenos and roasted green chilies. It was served with rice, pot beans and warm tortillas.

Desserts

Joanie on the flan: This is your traditional Mexican desert. The vanilla custard had a very smooth and creamy texture. The best part was the caramel sauce. It was light, buttery and sweet. La Costa’s homemade flan is the best way to end your experience at this local eatery.

Holly on the fried ice cream: This is chocolate chip ice cream rolled in a combination of crushed cornflakes, honey, cinnamon and sugar. It is then deep-fried and makes the perfect shell for the still-cold ice cream. The way the spoon breaks into the crunchy shell gives the ice cream a moment to be a star. The texture balance between the creamy ice cream and the cornflakes, gives your taste buds a whirlwind of excitement. Good luck putting your spoon down.

Beatris on the churros: One word: wow. I’m not even a fan of churros but I think La Costa has officially made me a churro enthusiast. The sugar-cinnamon coating is not overwhelming. The churros themselves are soft on the inside with just the right amount of crunch on the outside. 

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