Za Za Zá is an added bonus. It's the Andes mint you get with the check. It's the blooper reel during the credits. It's the complimentary tote bag that comes with a New Yorker subscription. Did Loreto, an upscale Mexican seafood spot in Frogtown, need to set up this daytime-only mariscos window in their side alley? No. But we're so happy they did.
Come to Loreto between the hours of noon and 3:30pm and it'll look very closed. Sorry, no butterflied fish for you. But if you loop around the building, you'll find Za Za Zá's Baja seafood menu and a patio that perhaps belongs in a Cabo San Lucas resort. It's still a good idea to wear something breathable and smear on the SPF, sure, but there are no poolside chicken tenders to be found here. Instead, bright ceviche tops tostilocos and micheladas are served colder than Neptune's atmosphere. Picture yourself under a frilly umbrella with both of these items. Even if the seafood sucked, a patio this luxe would be hard to mess up. Fortunately, that isn't the case.
Za Za Zá's casual window set-up doesn't translate to cheap, though. The least expensive dish is a cheesy costra taco that costs $9, which, even adjusted for inflation, comes out to: expensive. Save your Za Za Zá trips for "F*ck it, it's Friday" meals consisting of buttery yellowtail sashimi, sweet and smoky swordfish al pastor with scorched nopales, and a coctel that evidences Clamato's healing properties. And since this mariscos window is only open for lunch, get here promptly at noon to maximize your time on the patio. You won't want to leave until they kick you out to prep for dinner service.
If you’re in the mood for a cold beer, upgrade that feeling with this michelada. Crisp, not too salty, and spicy enough to get your blood flowing without shocking the system.
Tostilocos can get pretty unruly with toppings, but this one proves that simple often works best. Limón, finely chopped ceviche, and little cubes of avocado brighten up the tostitos. Eat this immediately to avoid sad sogginess.
El Coctelito Acapulco
Ignore the -ito. This is a big ol’ mug of seafood that you should order to share. The Clamato-based marinade tastes pleasantly salty and a little spicy, and gets loaded with big chunks of shrimp and octopus. Expect the sinus gates to flood.
The tostada. It’s a whole moment, and rightfully so. Tangy tobiko mayo is rich without weighing down the yellowtail sashimi, and the bonito flakes and capers keep every bite feeling savory but varied.
Una Costra Por Favor
Actually, dos or tres costras por favor. This is the best dish on the menu. Every bite includes chewy flour tortilla, a crackly cheese crust, creamy frijoles, and a gooey shrimp filling that we’d devour as a dip.
Mi Gringa Del Mar
This massive gringa goes down like a kettlebell in a fish tank. Even still, it's hard to stop yourself from eating it. The meaty swordfish soaks up the al pastor smoke and the charred nopales add crunch and squish. Also, a cheese pull from this baby would make an influencer weep.