Talk about a surprise. During a roadtrip to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, my family stayed in the city of Dinuba. We were originally going to eat at a place called Safari but jumped ship at the last minute to Mariscos across the street because we were intrigued by the sizable line outside.
So glad we did. Until I looked at the menu:
- First thought: fuuuuccck It’s all in Spanish
- Second thought: Well, it must be legit. That and the fact that the venue is a de-wheeled food truck in a gated patio with picnic tables.
- Third thought: FML why’d we do AP Chinese instead of Spanish Q.Q
Luckily there are various applications out there than can provide translation of text in a picture but a lady in line helped us out with figuring out what stuff was.
Ordering was not a problem as the lady at the window was fluent in English, in case you were wondering.
The Food & The Commentary
- Tostada Ceviche Pescado ($4.00) – Fish Ceviche with a packet of Los Pericos Toastadas. Fucking delicious. I could have eaten the toastadas all day by themselves but the ceviche itself was also (of course) fantastic. The fish pieces were a little too small for my liking as they weren’t substantial enough to really sink your teeth into but the texture was great. also perfect salinity and acidity. I totally would have sprung for another order of the version with both fish and shrimp if I still had room at the end.
- Torta Asada ($5.20) – pretty good. Bread was very nice, fluffy but had substance once you mash it in your mouth. The little chnks of meat were just chewy enough to have some texture to be fun, but yielded easily with a few firms chews. I’ve got no complaints and would highly recommend. easily sharable between two people for a lunch or heavier snack. would make a very filling meal for one person
- Wet Burrito w/ Beef Tongue ($7.50) – rice was great, beans were pretty darn good. beef tongue was okay,. could have had more of the beefy flavor that usually smacks you over the head, which is one of the primary reasons I love tongue so much. Could have done with a little more acidity, perfect salinity though.
- Ostiones Estill ($28) – raw oysters on the half shell. We opted to get it “fully loaded” (as explained by the girl taking our order) with fish and shrimp ceviche. Fml, that shrimp was SO excellent. Great taste and fantastic texture, and I normally don’t even like shrimp here in the States! Luckily they were pretty generous with it. We got this item for the oysters and enjoyed the shit out of it due to the shrimp. Not that the oysters weren’t good. They were a little on the smaller side like Kumamoto’s in size despite the expected size belied by the shell. Succulent, fatty, lightly sweet, completely clean, and super fresh. I happily slurped up the remaining “soup”.
- Luckily you can just get a serving of shrimp crevice for only a little more than just the fish civeche if you don’t want to spend so much but this is really worth a try. This was a total splurge but we had had two days of cup ramen and hot dogs leading up to it…
One order of ostiones estilo, two orders of ceviche pescado toastada, one asada tortas and two orders of wet burrito with beef tongue fed a famished family of 4 (that had eaten breakfast at 6AM and skipped lunch) with half a burrito and 10 toastadas to spare (we had two orders of ceviche, but only ate one tostada packet leaving the other one).
The accompanying limes were excellent and aesthetically pleasing to boot.
Flavor here is pretty balanced between being tasty and more than tolerable for “light eaters” (that is you are used to a blade palater from wooing with only a fraction of the recommended salt and seasoning). Nothing was “too much” for us and that’s why I keep mentioning salt, because that was really important. Additionally, the leftover ceviche “soup” at the bottom of the container after we had consumed all the solid contents was a delight to drink. Not too sour, salty, spicy or anything. IMO, it was extremely well balanced. No one ingredient overwhelmed the others. Keep in mind, my family tends to eat much lighter, on the heavily reduced sodium side. Because we TRY to be healthy.
If you choose to eat on the picnic tables instead of doing take out there is a nice selection of tasty hot sauces though two of them have…. questionably vivid coloring
Marcos Los Compadres uses sweet purple onions. the kind that don’t sting and linger forever in your mouth afterwards like regular white onions.
Sodas and drinks were $2 each whether you opted for regular coke, Mexican coke in the glass bottle, Jarritos, Raspberry Ice Tea, etc
Street parking is easy, and right in front of the white gate and fence that surround the eatery and the picnic tables.
Menu (see end of post for a pic of it in full) is in Spanish, but ordering can be done English.
The meal overall felt very light, like it was supposed to be healthy, despite the fact that we stuffed ourselves silly.
A dozen fresh oysters at Safari would have only been 15.99 but the extra $$ for the shrimp and ceviche that topped the ostiones estilo was well worth it.
I never would have expected to find such good seafood so far inland in a small town.
Definitely give this place a try and have Google translate at the ready.
And damn, that Lime Jarritos was good. I’ve only had the tamarind and orange flavors up until now.