When most San Diegans think of Mexican restaurants, they rarely conjure up images of haute cuisine. But that's exactly what you'll find at Cozymel's Mexican Grill, a gourmet dining spot that features fresh seafood and other specialties from coastal Mexico.
Even the familiar sounding items, such as carne asada and quesadilla, have a gourmet twist at Cozymel's. The carne asada is actually a thick, 10-ounce slab of flat iron steak (not the typical thin strip). The meat is marinated and grilled, then topped with ranchero sauce and served with a Mexican potato and sauteed vegetables. The satisfying dish (priced at $17 on the dinner menu and $14 for lunch) is crowned with crispy onion rings. What a spectacular feast this is!
The quesadillas are a cut above as well. Try the spinach-filled quesadillas for a fantastic appetizer. The quesadillas are stuffed with mushrooms, red onions, poblano peppers and cheese - and the fresh spinach is delicious. Order it for lunch for $8 ($9 on the dinner menu). The quesadillas also come in fajita chicken and fajita beef.
The best way to start a Mexican meal is with chips and guacamole. At Cozymel, the guacamole is made tableside (which is almost a lost art) - and you can choose the ingredients for your freshly-made dip. This fabulous starter costs $9.
Among the other terrific "Botanas" on the appetizer menu are Mexican shrimp cocktail ($10), ceviche ($9), and that delicious melted cheese dip known as chile con queso ($5).
There are plenty of home-made soups and salads on both the lunch and dinner menus. The most popular salad is the La Jolla coconut shrimp salad ($13). This house specialty features four jumbo shrimp fried in a coconut batter along with mixed greens and mango salsa. The delicate dressing is a honey-chipotle vinaigrette. You won't want to miss this.
The black and white ahi tuna salad is another spectacular dish - made with ahi tuna steak ($13).
Mole gets the royal treatment at Cozymel's. Try the chicken mole enchiladas ($10 for lunch and $12 on the dinner menu). The sauce (which comes from Oaxaca) is made with pecans. Mole is one of about half a dozen wonderful sauces made fresh at the restaurant.
Cozymel's signature pork rostisado ($13 dinner and $11 on the lunch menu) is a slow-roasted delicacy served with spicy verde sauce, rice, delicious black beans, and fresh vegetables.
Seafood is very popular at Cozymel, and you'll find chile grilled shrimp ($17), Mexican seafood paella ($17), two salmon dishes, including a prize-winning chipotle honey-glazed salmon ($17), and a Yucatan special, made with shrimp and scallops. Some of these outstanding dishes are also available for lunch, and they're less expensive on the lunch menu.
Think of Cozymel's as a Sunday brunch destination. For $17, you get a buffet that includes salads, an omelet station, French toast, a taco station, fajitas and enchiladas, and a fresh catch of the day. The restaurant's mouthwatering tres leches cake, banana pudding, and margarita cheesecake completes the feast.