Playa de Acapulco has a diverse menu of Mexican food standards like fajitas and burritos, as well as good selection of Mexican beers like Corona and Pacifico. But this restaurant is known for a hard-to-find Mexican specialty dish—Mole´.
Though the sign outside says established in 1962, the current owner's father actually bought the restaurant in 1956. Along with purchasing the restaurant, he brought with him a four-generations old recipe for Mole´, a rich, chocolate infused sauce that is considered by many food aficionados to be one of the most difficult dishes to cook well.
With over 15 ingredients and seven hours of cooking time, one can understand why mole is difficult to find in most Mexican restaurants, but Playa de Acapulco's Mole´ is wonderful- smoky, with deep complex flavors and just enough heat to touch every part of the palate. Served over a pounded-thin chicken breast with plentiful rice and fluffy refried beans, I dug into the dish with vigor, stuffing pieces of chicken and Mole´ sauce, rice, and beans into a flour tortilla. I couldn't remember having a better Mole´ in at least ten years.
I also ordered another customer favorite: the spicy shrimp: eight butterflied shrimp swimming in a spicy red chile tomato sauce with sliced zucchini. The spiciness complemented the mild shrimp flavor, and when eaten inside a tortilla with the accompanied rice and beans, the spiciness blended into the other flavors, making a tasty dish for most patrons.
The restaurant has two signature desserts: flan and buñuelos. I tried the buñuelos, and I wasn't disappointed. Similar to the popular sopapillas, buñuelos is comprised of fried flour tortilla pieces that are dusted with cinnamon and sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream, and drizzled with honey. Tasting somewhat like a cinnamon and sugar waffle with syrup and ice cream, this sweet treat was the perfect ending to a spicy dinner.
Minerva Garcia, the owner, is very proud of her family's restaurant and especially the Mole´ recipe.
"It came from my great grandmother, and it takes a long time to cook and three days to prepare," she said. "Adding all the ingredients at the right time is really important. I've done it so long I don't measure anymore."
Ruben, our friendly waiter, commented on the popularity of the dish.
"It's what people come for, the Mole´," he said. "It's really special."
When looking for Latin food in Pacifica, one has several options. If you want Mole, however--that elusive, smoky-bitter chocolate Mexican delicacy--then your top choice should be Playa de Acapulco.