Playa Escondida, or “hidden beach,” is an apt name for this seafood restaurant tucked into a corner of a strip mall at East Charleston and Maryland Parkway. The restaurant is small and hard to find, but this is the spot for Mexican-style seafood — particularly those beachside shacks selling the freshest selections, from spicy shrimp cocktails to grilled whole fish.
Try the ceviche, which is fresh fish, shrimp or octopus marinated in lime and spices. The acid in the marinade “cooks” the fish, turning it opaque and firm without the use of heat. One bite into the cool, citrusy concoction layered on top of a crunchy tostada with slices of avocado and some hot sauce, a Corona with lime as accompaniment, and you’ll be transported to Mexico’s Pacific coast. Playa Escondida also offers aguachile, a type of ceviche with pulverized chile, and a bit more kick. The house specialty, shrimp empanadas packed with garlic, cilantro and onions, is also a dish you must not miss.