A 500-year-old method for grilling fish, and other Nayarit food icons

what to eat in sayulita

Editor’s Note: This what to eat in Sayulita list is from our experience living in Sayulita and traveling around Nayarit. Most of the food in the list are original Nayarita dishes. Of course, we only recommend places and food we have experiences in. Let us know your favorite!

Hello, I stumbled upon your blog while looking for things to do in Sayulita. What a helpful and detailed blog! I just arrived in Sayulita and I’m still getting a hold of it. Do you have an article about what to eat in Sayulita? I know the food on the coast is different. I just want to see your suggestions. Thank you so much!

Questions about Sayulita? We always answer reader questions so if you have any, feel free to email us at sayulitainsider[at]gmail[dot]com or send us a message through our channels below:


What to eat in Sayulita: an overview

Sayulita is blessed to be located in the Bay of Banderas, the biggest bay in the Pacific Coast of Mexico. With this, expect to have lots of seafood in Sayulita. The freshness of seafood here is guaranteed as local businesses buy them daily from local fishermen.

In this what to eat in Sayulita list, we included a lot of the typical dishes from the state of Nayarit, which we label as Nayarita dishes. We are not saying that these dishes are exclusive to this state. In fact, you can find all these dishes all over Mexico. The only difference is the Nayarita touch – we do a lot of Mexican dishes tweaking here and make it our own.

Sayulita is abundant with Western food (we have to. We have lots of foreign visitors) but at Sayulita Insider, we encourage visitors to always try local dishes as it supports the individual businesses here. Here is the best food to try in Sayulita. Let us know what’s your favorite in the comment box below!

#1: Fish Taco

Although tacos de pescado is a Baja California original, it is also very big in Sayulita. We do have the Baja-style fish taco here but there are many variants that you can find in different Sayulita restaurants. The most common fished used for fish taco here is the mahi mahi (dorado).

Related: Where to eat in Sayulita
what to eat in Sayulita

Ralph Rubio claimed to have invented the fish taco during the 1980s.

Fish taco is served with lettuce/cabbage, pico de gallo, and sometimes mayonnaise (as a Baja tradition). Check out our article about fish tacos in Sayulita and get to know where to try the best fish taco in town!

#2: Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican breakfast made of lightly fried tortillas. This is normally the hangover cure after a big Sayulita night out. Chilaquiles is a little bit spicy – it will definitely get rid of your hangover! You can easily make chilaquiles by buying corn tortilla.

what to eat in sayulita

Chilaquiles are said to have been first brought to America in a cookbook by Encarnación Pinedo, “The Spanish Cook” in 1898.

While most chilaquiles we’ve tried are vegetarian, there is a lot of protein that can be put in chilaquiles. Some stick to just eggs while others can put ground beef, cochinita pibil, or even milanesa! Read our article best chilaquiles in Sayulita to know where to eat chilaquiles in town!

#3: Aguachile

Aguachile is another typical Mexican favorite. It is made out of shrimp submerged in water with lime, salt, chili peppers, cilantro, and onion. Some aguachiles have slices of cucumber in them. Aguachile is raw and is often cooked by the acid from the lime.

See also: Sayulita Street Food Icons
what to eat in sayulita

Aguachile is said to be a Sinaloa original dish.

Eating raw fish in Sayulita is definitely safe. Remember, we are a beach town so we have a great amount of fresh seafood. All of the restaurants here use fresh-caught fish.

#4: Pescado del dia (fish of the day)

With the abundance of seafood in Sayulita, you will often see pescado del dia in most menus. You might be wondering what ‘fish of the day’ means as it can really change. It depends what the restaurants bought from local fishermen but the most common is the mahi mahi.

what to eat in Sayulita

This dish is very similar to Colombia’s mojarra frita.

Fish of the day is usually served with rice, salad, potatoes, and beans. You can definitely request how you want your fish to be cooked (fried, grilled, etc). In our case, we always have it deep-fried! It’s a very filling meal and usually costs between $7 – $10 USD.

#5: Chile Relleno (de Camaron)

Chile relleno is originally from Puebla. The typical chile relleno is chili stuffed with melted cheese, minced meat or diced pork and then coated with eggs. If you’re wondering how spicy this is, don’t worry – we believe you can take it. It really is not that spicy despite of its name.

what to eat in Sayulita

However, in Sayulita, our chile relleno version is with camaron (shrimp). Often accompanied by rice and salad, chile relleno is definitely not just a favorite in Sayulita but the whole of Mexico!

#6: Coctel de Camaron (Shrimp Cocktail)

More shrimps as we carry on this what to eat in Sayulita list. You might find this rather an ironic choice for a cocktail but this is a very common (and filling) dish in Sayulita. Shrimp cocktail is usually served in a glass.

what to eat in Sayulita

Most Sayulita. beach bars serve coctel de camaron but we have yet to find the best in town. We are currently gathering a list and we will update this post once we have decided which ones are worth-visiting!

#7: Sarandeado

Now this is the most iconic Nayarita dish. Honestly, we never had the chance to try sarandeado in Sayulita. The picture above is from our adventures in Puta de Mita. We do, however, feel that sarandeado is a very important dish in the area and that everyone should know about it!

what to eat in Sayulita

Sarandeado is usually grilled snapper marinated in dried chilli paste. The fish is grilled like a butterfly (cut into half) and then served with rice, vegetables, and beans. As it is a big dish, we recommend this for sharing.

#8: Birria

Birria is an original dish from the state of Jalisco but our close proximity to Puerto Vallarta makes birria an iconic dish of Sayulita, too. You’d be surprised how many birrierias are there in Sayulita. They just keep popping out of nowhere. Our guess is that these people are from Jalisco and have brought the dishes here. Most of the birierrias in Sayulita are family-run.

what to eat in Sayulita

In 1972, Don Bonifacio realized his dream by opening Birrieria Jalisco in Boyle Heights, California.

Birria is a meat stew. The most common meat used is goat meat but some also use beef or mutton. Birria is often served in big celebrations in Mexico like weddings, birthdays, or baptismals. The process of making birria can take up to 10 hours as the meat is slow-cooked. It is served with tortilla, cilantro, lime, and onion. Some eat birria as a soup while others prefer to eat eat like a taco.

Have you been to Sayulita? What did you eat? If you have not been, what do you think about the typical dishes in Nayarit? Is seafood something you try when traveling? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!
what to eat in sayulita

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