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“Annual go-to restaurant”
Review of El Dinamita

El Dinamita
Ranked #15 of 140 Restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: Mexican, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Families with children, Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Delivery, Reservations
Description: Marisqueria al fresco, owned by the same people who own Fajita Republic on the same lot
Tacoma, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Annual go-to restaurant”
Reviewed July 12, 2014

How many places do you know that can completely please you and your party every time you go there? For me it is a very short list. El Dinamita makes my list. With this being my third visit to this hidden gem I was looking forward to dining here all week. Even though we had 22 of us, that's right 22, I am happy to say I will be returning to see Jorge again next visit. What a great experience...again. Having that many people, and those people ranging from 6 to 80ish I am still in awe that everyone enjoyed it. As an owner of three restaurant/bars I know first hand how difficult that task is.

Tonight we sat at basically two twelve tops. My table had the three six year olds. As is customary at this restaurant Jorge likes to choose your meals for you. This is done by asking basic questions like, "Who likes fish, shrimp, steak, etc.?"; "Does anyone have any allergies?"; "Do you have a budget in mind?"; etc... We all raise our hands or acknowledge accordingly as well as say our usual 200 to 300 pesos per person (for the food portion). Additionally, Jorge mentions a few simple options for the less adventurous children. Meanwhile, someone else is attending to our other table. After what seemed like no time at all, Jorge returns and asks us if a certain price will be acceptable. We agree, and before you know it, food is coming out.

Immediately, the children are taken care of. Which as a parent is paramount and a huge sign of the level of customer service. Next, appetizers start rolling. I honestly don't remember what was first after the chips, salsa, and guacamole. I think it was the amazing cheesy rice dish, one with seafood one with beef (arrachera). Also, the escargot came early of course and it was fantastic. I will say I have had slightly better but not because of the prep/sauce but because of the consistency of the snail. I don't have this dish often but they were not as firm as I have had. Not being bothered by texture I enjoyed it more than my wife. Anyway, we also were served some sautéed shrimp, which were buttery and "garlicky" and a perfect follow to the escargot. Oh, the fresh, and I mean fresh, tuna ceviche was delivered and devoured. Some in our party aren't big on ceviche or tuna so my mother and I got our fill. Thank you!

After all of this we still had some skewered arrachera. Which is probably my favorite marinated meat in the world. Some is definitely better than others and this one was top shelf. Great quality of meat with a very nice sauce. Arrachera can be salty but this was less salty than most. The meat came out with a mixed ensalada that had been dressed with a wonderful vinaigrette (some kind of Italianish type dressing). My brother and I cleaned up that as it was perfect. Next, they brought us a small bowl of coleslaw that I could have eaten a gallon of but unfortunately had to share. I might go get some more of that tomorrow!

Lastly, for food we were treated to one of the best molcajete dishes I have ever had. Jorge gave us each a tortilla which we put on our plate and then asked if he could prepare our tortilla for us. We obliged and quickly received back our tortilla filled perfectly with the appropriate portion of the molcajete bowl contents. I added a little of the orange salsa from the tray and enjoyed. What a pleasure. I could eat just that but why?!?!

As for the other table in our party, I wish I had a bigger stomach and could have eaten with them too. They raved about their coconut prawns, and deep fried fish. They had a type of shrimp, cheese quesadilla (not exactly what it was but close) that was ridiculous. I know they also raved about the enchiladas too. I don't remember what the protein was but they looked fantastic and not what you would receive in the States type of Mexican enchiladas.

After all that we had some fried ice cream. Well, the kids ate most of it. I was too busy enjoying my White Russian so I am not sure how it was but it looked great of course. After which we did a shot called a German Chocolate Cake. If you have never had one, or have, they do them well here. This is not a strong shot and it is perfect as a dessert.

All in all, this is a must do stop if you are in this area and want to try something different. If you are not adventurous or want a 5 star facility this might not be the place for you unless you can open your mind and your mouth and live a little. There can be bugs, it is outside in a tropical climate and near the ocean and a canal. The tables are metal outdoor tables and not going to win any décor awards. They still are not accepting credit cards but more and more places in Mexico are not right now. So bring cash. Having said all that, the service is amazing, the food is delicious, and the setting is quaint and beautiful Mexico. Thank you El Dinamita.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Shawn D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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704 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oakland ca
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Possible food poisoning?”
Reviewed July 6, 2014 via mobile

My bf and I decided to eat here since this place got such good reviews and was rated #8....not really sure how it managed to get such high ratings after our visit there though. We found their system of no menus and customized meals to your liking quite unique. However it seems as though they make the same thing for everyone. Not so unique there.

They seemed very friendly and attentive however it was a bit worrisome that we were the only ones there upon our arrival. I ordered a mojito which they said was very good there...not the case. Way too sweet and overly minty. Jorge decided to make us the el dinimita special which was like an interesting spin on paella that was to be spread on top of garlic bread. I called it our carb on carb appetizer...didn't really need the garlic bread in my opinion. Then we got the tuna tartar which was pretty good but not too sure how fresh it was. Color was very dark and we couldn't taste the freshness since it was so heavily seasoned. Lastly we got the hot lava bowl which was pretty good as well but not something I would order again. After our meal another group sat down and they pretty much got the same exact thing we had. So I'm not convinced that they don't have menus because of the fact that there would be too many options for dishes. In the end we paid the amount we were told from the beginning, but left a bit confused on how we felt about the restaurant in general with our fusion like smorgasbord of a meal and the no menu system. The available bug spray was nice since you definitely need it. I think we must have gotten at least 5 bites each!

I highly doubt that I will ever come back here since there were much better places to eat that we found in nuevo vallarta, and my stomach as well as my bfs has not been the same since our meal there. We've both been having a case of the Hershey squirts ever since our meal here and everything I've eaten since then seems to come right out and it's been almost a week since we ate there! I'm worried we might have gotten a parasite from this place! Kind of wish we had tried the fajita place next door that seemed to be much busier.

Helpful?
3 Thank Sachi81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tempe, Arizona
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“90% of the time i love this place.”
Reviewed June 30, 2014

Great food,owner gets a little full of himself at times,thus service can be a bit spotty,but food always excellant,and prices reasonable,overall a great place.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Acegracey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crown Point, Indiana
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Okay”
Reviewed June 29, 2014

The atmosphere was nice, but bug spray was necessary. Jorge was great, but watch out for the staff. Eight people and the no menus option was okay. Watch the bill. Ours was returned with a missing $20, really?! The waiter pocketed it, three of us counted it. Our $130 promise ended up as $220! Travelers be careful.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Kszymoni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
“Amazing food and even better service”
Reviewed June 27, 2014

What a find! This restaurant made our trip. From the moment we walked in we felt like family. The owner Jorge, took care of us immediately. We never once looked at a menu. He asked us a few questions and then like magic, a meal to remember. My wife who is a picky eater, could not believe how delicious our exotic treats were. You must get the tuna poke and the house special appetizer. Each dish was better than the last. Jorge really cares about his restaurant, diners, and the food. Everything was so great we went back 2 nights later. I can't wait to return in February to see what delicious feast will be cooked up for us next. Oh and the drinks are just as awesome as the food!!

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank David B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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