At Casamarte in La Paz, the bounty of Baja takes center stage. Try their recipes.

Casamarte Food and Cocktails
Thomas J. Story

It’s a perfectly still afternoon along the Malecón. Sea salt seasons the warm ocean breeze, and fishing boats bob along the boardwalk overlooking the Sea of Cortez. The vast blue ocean known as the world’s aquarium beckons, and it’s easy to see why countless explorers—from Jacques Cousteau to super-yachters like Steven Spielberg—have made their way to the somewhat off-the-beaten-path locale of La Paz. Me? I’m here for the fish tacos. And there’s no better place to get them than Casamarte.

Helmed by Héctor Palacios, a dynamo of a chef who was both born and raised in La Paz, the kitchen at Casamarte is focused on showcasing the bounty of products from Baja California Sur, from the sustainable seafood to the fresh produce, right down to the art that adorns the walls by talented local printmaker Daniel Amora.

Hector Palacios
Chef Héctor Palacios

Thomas J. Story

Palacios means business when it comes to protecting the oceans and showcasing what the region has to offer. He is an ambassador for COMPESCA, a Mexican organization dedicated to preserving the rich marine resources and aquaculture of the area for future generations. His eyes light up when speaking about gastronomía sudcaliforniano, or Southern Baja Californian cuisine, which he hopes will continue to have a lasting impact on the culinary landscape of Mexico and beyond.

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The young chef is also passionate about a new movement that’s taking the culinary world by storm across the border in the States: aging seafood. Though it might sound counterintuitive, dry-aging fish, or añejando as it’s called locally, actually is known to eliminate the oceanic funk and taste of the meat and gives the fish a more elegant, tender texture. Though the technique has long been used by the Japanese, it’s just now catching on in Western kitchens.

Trussed Fish

Thomas J. Story

In Palacios’ dry aging locker, he cures local kanpachi from Omega Azul Seafood, a local aquaculture farm that’s widely known for having some of the best in the business. While cuts of beef may be aged for several months, fish only need a few days to complete the process. The result is a rich, buttery texture that is an incredible compliment to Palacios’ smoky salsa morita, which is served as an eye-poppingly beautiful base for crudo during lunch and dinner service.

On the menu, you’ll also find bright and briny oysters from Magdalena Bay prepared both grilled and shucked fresh, Baja’s famous chocolata clams served with lemon and salsa, and of course, Baja fish tacos, battered and dressed to perfection. There’s also a selection of fantastic house-made cocktails centered around Mexican spirits and an extensive list of natural wines produced south of the border.

Casamarte Restaurant Interior
Casamarte interior

Thomas J. Story

If it sounds like a feast fit for Poseidon, that’s because it is. Being within close proximity of the ocean is only part of the draw. La Paz, located just two hours north of the raucous Cabo San Lucas, is Baja California Sur’s capital city and is experiencing a bit of a culinary renaissance. Within walking distance of Casamarte is the hip new boutique hotel Baja Club, whose restaurant also focuses on seafood, but with a Greek twist, and several new restaurants and breweries that draw a young, stylish Mexican crowd that you won’t find in the state’s tourist traps.

If that’s not enough of a siren call to draw you into what’s undeniably becoming one of Mexico’s most exciting cities to visit, and you’d rather make the dishes at home, Palacios has shared some of his recipes for you to bring some Baja bliss to your table.

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