In Aida Mexican Seafood Restaurant in Coconut Grove a mural of AIDA for which this restaurant is named is what the owner Eduardo Gavilan calls his sea goddess. And sure enough, her blessings for standout seafood have worked. This is a seafood restaurant with not only the freshest fish, but also, exciting preparations inspired by Mexico’s regional cuisines at the direction of the simpatico and talented Chef and Manager Mauricio Hernandez. Never fear if you don’t want fish, there’s also a “not from the sea” section with a to die for pork belly taco, beef tataki and other appealing selections.
AIDA Mexican Seafood Restaurant already has a long list of regulars like a couple sitting next to us for whom it was their fourth visit, devouring a lasagna Azteca as we interviewed them.
The décor is what you could expect to see in an upscale beach resort town in Mexico with its hanging plants, use of natural materials and varied textures, and colorful accents. It’s comfortable, “alegre” (happy) and small, seating 65 indoors including at the bar.
The menu is divided into starters, tacos and tostada, main entrees, vegetarian, not from the sea and dessert. We started with their delicious version of guacamole and the award winning green ceviche with shrimp. Made with pink shrimp, cilantro kimchi, red onion and cucumber, it was perfectly seasoned and had a rich taste, a little like pesto ($20). You can also ask for it with fish instead of shrimp. It’s not to be missed.
We passed on the tuna tostada which, with burnt habanero ponzu marinade and chipotle mayo sounded very appealing, but we opted for something new – a pork belly taco (2 for $18). The fried pork belly which had been booked in habanero xnipec and topped with cilantro was oh so crispy and crunchy I did the unthinkable for me, ate the entire thing!
Another signature dish not to miss which is under consideration for a best dish of the year, the corn crusted Chilean seabass. The fish was moist and flaky, complemented by its crunchy top, resting on butter spinach in a light lemon broth ($49). We also tried the whole red snapper cooked in a Mexican dry pepper emulsion ($49).For dessert the chef insisted we try their specialty apple crumb churro which were top of the line churros topped with dulce de leche ice cream and caramel drizzle.
What’s on my wish list for next time as there will be definitely be not a next time but next times, the lasagna Azteca with pink shrimp ($28), poblano sauce, gouda cheese and corn tortillas, the sliced cactus leaf salad ($15), beef tataki ($22)and chicken confit with fried cilantro ($25).