The first time I went to La Corriente Cevicheria Nais was around five years ago, one of the first restaurants I visited in Tijuana. Back then, the sign that says how many red snapper tostadas they have sold was less than ten thousand. On my last visit, the sign read 179,107 red snapper tostadas served.
When you walk in, the restaurant immediately takes you away from downtown Tijuana and it makes you feel like the beach is around the corner. Alas, it is not. All the decorations, the chandeliers of things you find at sea, the stage with palm trees at dusk painted in the back, the outside patio, the music (curated by DJ Chucuchu), and even the bathrooms are so fantastic that Nortec band, nominated for two Latin Grammy Awards, recommends the restaurant. (I've also spotted other musicians dining there.)
Their menu is gigantic and has changed little through the years, although the prices have gone up. La Corriente offers tacos, tostadas, aguachiles, seafood cocktails, antojitos, main plates, and even a vegetarian option. I took a vegetarian friend once, and the dish was two giant balls of breaded cheese in a molcajete filled with green salsa. The tostadas and tacos go for $2-4, while aguachiles, seafood cocktails and bigger plates go from $5-10.
The restaurant has expanded to include more locations, but the original is in downtown Tijuana on 6th street, on the corner of Avenida Madero (664-685-0555).
This is the restaurant where I take Tijuana newcomers right off the bat. I usually recommend people to try one tostada and one taco instead of their main plates, which tend to be pretty big — and the aguachiles are really spicy hot!
With Bar El Tinieblo in the back, their drink menu is also pretty big. They offer aguas frescas of many different flavors, commercial Mexican beers, specialty Clamatos (beer + clam juice + seafood and spices), their own brand of mezcal and unique cocktails like the “Pulp Friction” which is mezcal with chamoy (tastes like liquid Mexican candy).
They start you out with drinks, a small fish broth, and chips with four different salsas. The mild house salsa is a perfect blend for dipping, but you can also dip your chips in a peanut and chile de arbol mix, chipotle mayo, or an avocado salsa. The table also has your standard bottled hot sauces you find in many seafood places.
The red snapper tostada, which is marked with a red star on the menu, is their signature ceviche dish. Topped with red onions, chipotle mayo, and chile piquin, the tostada tastes citrusy and of delicious fresh fish. The favorite of many of my friends, the ahi tuna tostada with caramelized onions and avocado sauce is some of the best ahi tuna I’ve ever had.
The Mazatlan taco is a shrimp stuffed with marlin and wrapped in bacon. Not much more needs to be said. The downfall is that you have to cut off the tail of the shrimp. The Tako Kalifornia is like an open chile relleno with shrimp and tartar sauce. Simply delicious.
I have tried many other things on the menu (and even some dishes that are not on there), and the only complaint I hear from Americans is about the Cachetada taco, though favored by many locals. This specialty taco is filled with deep fried octopus, giving it the texture of chicharron (pork rinds), which can be too strange for some to handle. Americans usually don't like octopus that tastes like chicharron. Other than that, if you love seafood, I can comfortably vouch that your experience at La Corriente will be a great one.