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San Francisco Bay Area Gilroy

El 7 Mares Restaurant, Gilroy

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El 7 Mares Restaurant, Gilroy

Melanie Wong | May 3, 2003 05:36 AM

Yeah, I know that doesn’t seem quite grammatical, but that’s what the sign on the place says. My brother and I stopped here for dinner on Good Friday on our way down to Salinas, courtesy of the post from “Nestorius” ([BROKEN LINK REMOVED]). William had been here a few times when he still worked in Gilroy.

I was looking forward to trying whatever the specials of the day might be, but they turned out to be chicken flautas or caldo de res, neither of which sounded very exciting to me. So we chose a variety of things from the regular menu board (photos posted above the counter) to get a good sampling.

We had prawns al diablo which were succulent and sweet in a very spicy roasted chili sauce. William added Tapatio hot sauce at the table to give it even more fire. Normally he doesn’t eat much of the rice and beans on the plate, but he finished off all the refritos before I had a chance to sample them. He just shrugged and said, “the beans were really good”. A small campechana (mixed seafood cocktail combination) didn’t have the promised oyster, but the plump prawns and the octopus slices were so good hitting the right point between tender and firm, I didn’t complain. The bit of crab, however, was dried out and probably frozen. The chunks of avocado were rich and buttery. Next time I’d probably go with Nestorius’ rec for the stand-alone octopus cocktail, that was my favorite part. The caldo siete mares had a flavorful and well-balanced broth that came to life with a squeeze of lemon (no limes here) and a little bit of hot sauce. I was impressed by the quantity of seafood crammed into the bowl. Bay shrimp, prawns, octopus (again, especially good), firm rock fish, crab legs, and a couple clams - each was cooked to the right degree. The quesadilla de camarones was a presentation I’d not seen before. A half-moon turnover with crimped edges made of fresh masa encased a filling of cheese, shrimp and savories. This was deep-fried until golden and crunchy on the outside, and served with slices of avocado, sour cream, lettuce and salsa fresca. Both of us really liked the quesadilla and devoured it without stopping to analyze what made the stuffing so tasty. If we hadn’t already ordered so much food, we would have bought another one.

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