Contramar

 

Contramar in Mexico City, Mexico expertly lures the jet set with its quality garb.  Be sure to reserve a table in advance.

Rise Rating: 80%

The Obsidian Rise diagram above provides a visual for the rating explained in writing, below.  From left to right—

Story (3/3): The power of Contramar’s Story is in its simplicity.  In truth, there is little to read about the restaurant beyond raving review after raving review.  However, after over two decades in business, these powerful trains of word of mouth begin to stand for themselves, and rightly so.  Contramar has the vibe of a local institution gained from years of equally outstanding service and cuisine, and as a result is a testament to the benefits of operating a business with respect and care.  Knowing that the now-star chef Gabriela Cámara had founded Contramar as her first restaurant while still a student adds further context to the glowing eatery.

Sustainability (1/3): Contramar’s dealings with Sustainability appear to be centered on offering the best of national products.

Experience (3/3): Our first arrival at Contramar was slightly shocking, for on a Friday evening, it felt more like arriving to a film premiere than to a pit stop before dinner. The surrounding street and sidewalk were lanes deep with pick-ups and drop-offs, and aptly prime for people watching.  Understanding that the wait for a table was going to be several hours long, we instead reserved ahead for a weekday lunch, to return welcomed and seated exactly on time a number of days later.  From there, we were served instantly and with warmth for the entirety of our meal.  Although always clamoring with clients, Contramar is clearly a well oiled machine that leaves no customer unattended.

Cuisine (3/3): The food at Contramar is as good as it would ever need to be, for its long menu of seafood-based favorites is executed with perfected recipes and with what are obviously only fresh and high quality ingredients.  The restaurant’s trademark tuna tostadas (thin slices of the raw fish and sliced avocado, paired with a rich sauce and lightly fried onions) were served simply.  Its Aguachile de camaron was similarly pure in its aesthetic yet distinct in flavor.   Here, large bites of shrimp and pink, pickled onions were swimming in a shallow mixture of green chili broth and marinated cucumbers.  When paired with a Mexican white wine and bottle of local mineral water, the quick meal was fully satisfying and a great way to start off the week in Mexico City.

Diversity (2/3): While Cámara and her long-time partnering chef, Andrés Barragán, set a strong precedent for Diversity at Contramar years ago, the restaurant’s staff falls into the unfortunately usual male-only category.  Plates, while nearly all seafood-based, range in size, spice and form.  For vegetarians or especially vegans: beware that there may not be any on-menu options for you to choose from at this eatery.

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