Fred’s Seafood and Raw Bar (Cancún, Quintana Roo)

One of the major dining attractions of Cancún is seafood; we really enjoyed our first night’s outing to Captain’s Cove, so when looking for another dining option, we decided that a trip to Fred’s Seafood and Raw Bar was in order. Located about a mile north on Avenue Kulkulcan from Captain’s Cove, it’s another restaurant with a pleasant terrace overlooking the lagoon, offering a seafood-centric menu with a wide variety of both raw and cooked seafood.

Like the previous night’s outing to Hacienda Sisal, Fred’s also had the rolling bar service, primarily offering up various margarita and paloma variations. I opted for a muddled raspberry margarita, and the result was a fine cockail: good agave notes, a nice tannic taste from the berries, and not overly sweet.

Since a good part of Fred’s menu is dedicated to a raw bar, Carol and I decided to share an order of oysters. These were simply served, with a simple mignonette and lime, although they had tossed a bit of dry ice into both the mignonette and the ice, keeping it extra cold and adding a cool bit of fog. This is a case of a simple dish done well: the oysters well fresh and well-cleaned, and the mignonette adding some nice briny and vinegar notes without hiding the taste of the oysters. These were probably some of the best seafood I had on the peninsula.

Next up was another appetizer; one I didn’t see at a lot of the other seafood places: a crab cake. This was a solid, traditional crab cake: a good mix of cracker meal and fresh crab, a nice pepper and celery-forward spicing. I’d actually be perfectly happy with this crab cake if it were served to me in Maryland… and that’s a good endorsement.

For the main course, Carol opted for the Caribbean lobster tail. A nice large spiny lobster tail, this was served up with an adobo chili sauce. I didn’t actually try any of her dish, but Carol enjoyed it, and she’s generally pretty picky about lobster.

Keeping with the “every meal needs to have at least one flaming item”, I opted for one of their house specialties, the flaming coconut shrimp, served up tableside, flambéed with rum with a habanero-pineapple sauce on the side. Much like our Cafe Maya experiences, the staff at Fred’s is well-versed in the showmanship, doing several 2-foot pours of flaming rum before tossing it with the freshly-fried coconut shrimp.

While a bit of a novelty, this actually was a well-executed dish: the shrimp was fried perfectly, with a nice crisp breading, and the rum combined with the coconut for a sweet, but not overly cloying note that partnered well with the habanero-pineapple sauce. From both a flavor and a texture perspective, this was quite the enjoyable seafood dish, and one of my more enjoyed indulgences of shrimp during the year.

While it wasn’t part of our all-inclusive package, I still thought both the quality and ambiance of Fred’s made it worth the outing. I enjoyed the food and drink, it’s got one of the better lagoon-side terraces, and they’ve got a fairly unique menu for the Hotel Zone. I’d definitely keep them on my hit list for Cancun.

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