We just got back from a fantastic week in Zihuatanejo! It was our first but definitely won't be our last! I can't say enough about The Tides as a home base there. It was gorgeous with excellent service and provided absolutely everything we were looking for. And, the food there is totally chow-worthy. The day starts with gourmet tea and mini croissants and chocolate croissants at your door, followed by fabulous breakfast on the sand looking out at the sea. We stuck with the continental breakfast and it did us right - homemade jams from pineapple to tomato to guava to papaya, fresh squeezed juices of all of these plus carrot, grapefruit, you name it, toasts, pastries, and delicious fresh fruit. The lunches were completely perfect - be it shrimp quesadillas, fish tacos, sopes, wraps, all were fantastic with fresh hot sauce, salsas and guacamole. We had 2 great dinners on the property, one at each restaurant. At La Villa we got the trio of tamales (chicken, pork and shrimp) and the duck enchiladas and both were delicious. At La Marea, we shared the prawn scampi to start, followed by the seafood spaghetti and the sea bass. The scampi and the seafood spaghetti were both delicious, but the sea bass was out of this world - the best fish I can remember having had for a very long time. It was a whole fish, butterflied and with a crispy crust, stuffed inside with romaine lettuce, baby tomatoes and a vinaigrette, and then drizzled with an olive oil of your choice (Greek, Italian, etc.). Absolutely phenomenal. If you go here - get this. We also had a great meal at Casa que Canta. This is a spot you should definitely go to at least for happy hour, the view is beautiful and there's a nice area to enjoy cocktails. We had only intended to go for happy hour but were enjoying ourselves so much we stuck around. Great guava margaritas by the way - very convincing! For dinner we shared 3 starters and 1 entree - a sashimi, some kind of squid salad, and for the life of us we can't remember the other 2 items! I'll blame the guava margaritas. We do remember both enjoying our food a lot though and loving the setting and service. Definitely recommended. We also loved the view at Amuleto. The food here may not have been the top of the trip but it was good, and the view made it worth coming back every trip regardless. I really liked my entree, the risotto with shrimp and lobster. My husband was feeling seafood-crazed and had to go for the beef with brie and herb sauce. It was good but obviously not amazing - but he knew what he was getting into when he ordered it. We also had a good time at Kau Kan. It was surprising how quickly we were in and out the door there though. I'd read about it over and over before I went but if I had to drop one I would choose Casa que Canta and Amuleto over Kau Kan I think. However we did really enjoy our food - we shared the Maui Maui carpaccio and then both got the baked potato stuffed with shrimp and lobster. This is truly a decadent main and recommended for sure. We couldn't have had only one of us get this or the other would have been jealous. The view at the other 2 just blew this one out of the water so we were a little spoiled.
A couple of places I wouldn't bother with next time -
Sirena Gorda (the Fat Mermaid) - this spot in town was said to have great fish tacos, we had better fish tacos at the Tides honestly. And we really didn't see a reason to leave Playa Ropa. This isn't one of those places like Paris where you necessarily want to find the hole in the wall - you're there for the beautiful beach and you're paying to stay at a nice resort, so venturing out isn't a "need to do" like I feel like it is at most locations. Anyway that was our opinion, we weren't wild about town and wouldn't necessarily bother with it next time. We got seafood empanadas, classic fish tacos, and then garlic seafood tacos. The garlic seafood tacos were best. The hot sauce is HOT.
La Perla - we started the week staying at a different location from the Tides where we needed to go to a restaurant to get beach access. La Perla did the trick. The food was pretty good and the restaurant seemed to do better service/chair service than some others on La Playa Ropa. However, if you're at The Tides, no reason to leave to go here. I also heard from some folks we met that you can pay $20 to go to Tides for the day. Since La Perla is already $4 per person, if you were only in town for a couple of days, I'd pay the $20. Not to beat a dead horse or anything.
La Gaviota - we had our first dinner here because it was convenient to where we were staying to start off. Nothing to write home about in comparison to the other places we loved. I had a good Red Snapper cooked in salsa and my husband had a shrimp stir fry with mixed vegetables. You sit close to the water which is nice. But overall I wouldn't go back.
I had written down to try out Paty's and El Manglar for lunch. Once we saw them we didn't bother.
We did venture out to Las Gatas Beach on a boat from the town pier. This entailed a cab to town, followed by the boat ride. We were told not to try to do the hike along the rocks from La Playa Ropa. First of all, you can totally do the hike, I'm no athlete and managed A-OK coming back (the boat back is included in the price of the boat out but we felt like going for it once we got a closer look). Second of all, I so wouldn't bother going out here if you're staying at La Playa Ropa. More people to harass you trying to sell you something, decrepit beach chairs, nothing to write home about. We drank a couple of beers and took off. We had read rave reviews of a restaurant called Otilia and had no desire to hang out there long enough to eat anything.
I had written down to try Tamales y Atoles Any and Pozole Alley. We didn't make it to either but just weren't feeling venturing out. This trip was about R&R. I also had wanted to try the restaurant at Puerto Mio but it's a further cab ride and we weren't up to it this trip - but we heard great things about the view there from a couple we met so it's on the list for next time. They also loved Il Mare, so if you were sick of Mexican food you could go here for Italian. They loved the view and the food. I say when in Mexico eat Mexican food - but I could never get sick of Mexican food. I had also read Casa Vieja was good so that's on the list still potentially. However if you're only in town for a week or less I'd opt to go places with that beautiful water view. Casa Vieja is in a garden setting a block in from Madera beach.
We also didn't make it to Sunset bar for happy hour as we generally just had happy hour on the hammock outside our suite, or at the swim up bar, but that was on the list. I'd also written down to grab drinks at Rick's bar in town. We had the address and still couldn't find it so I think that it closed. We found a little dive bar in town called Barracuda's that did the trick just fine - icy cold beer for a dollar or two if I recall correctly.
All in all a great trip, with lots of great food, and plenty to recommend. Hope to get back again next year. Definitely recommend going there to go somewhere less crowded and touristy than say Cabo, Cancun, etc. I think going off season is definitely the way to go too, we had most of Zihua to ourselves practically and better rates at the hotels. The rain wasn't an issue at all for us, would come late afternoon or in the evening, days were perfectly sunny. Just definitely bring bug spray or plan to buy it there! We certainly did get bitten - A LOT!
Hope this is helpful to those heading to Zihua! I found that there wasn't as much info out there as for some other spots and was really glad to find what I could online.