Between three serene pools and hammocks on the white sand beach at Rosewood Mayakoba — one of the best resorts in Mexico — sits a blue-and-white-striped vintage food truck referred to as La Cantina. It’s part of Aquí Me Quedo, the resort’s most casual restaurant, and its chefs serve perfect beach eats, from tuna tostadas and ceviches to soft shell crab and catch of the day burritos.
But it’s the shrimp tacos — served with ajillo salsa and chipotle mayo in a subtly cheesy tortilla — that guests dream about long after they leave.
Here, Juan Pablo Loza, Rosewood Mayakoba’s director of culinary operations, shares his recipe so you can recreate them at home. (Warning: Side effects include a burning desire to book a trip to the Riviera Maya.)
Chef Juan Pablo Loza’s Shrimp Taco Recipe
Yield: 4 tacos
Pico de Gallo Salsa
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- ½ onion, diced
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Lime
- 1 tbsp. garlic, finely chopped or diced
- 1 cup guajillo chili, sliced (can also sub chili flakes)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 can chipotle chilis
- 1 ½ lbs. medium shrimp peeled and deveined, tails removed
- ½ cup guajillo chili, sliced (can also sub chili flakes)
- Juice of one lime
- 12 corn tortillas
- Oaxaca cheese, to melt
- Whole cilantro leaves and lime wedges, for serving
Pico de Gallo Salsa
Mix chopped onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and salt into a bowl. Let rest for about five minutes, then add lime juice. Set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat olive oil with garlic until it reaches a golden hue, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add sliced guajillo chilis and warm for 30 seconds (careful not to burn chilis). Pour into a separate bowl and set aside.
Purée mayonnaise and chipotle chilis in a blender until smooth, then set aside.
Dress the shrimp with some of the ajillo oil until evenly coated.
In the same hot pan from the ajillo salsa, sauté the shrimp with some of the ajillo oil and salt. Once halfway cooked, about 3-5 minutes, add the guajillo chilis and lime juice.
In another hot pan (a Teflon works well), place the cheese directly over the heat and cover it with a tortilla to make the cheese crust. Once cheese is melted, flip the tortilla to warm the other side for a minute, then transfer to a serving plate.
Begin to build your tacos! On top of the tortilla, add shrimp, a drizzle of chipotle mayonnaise, and pico de gallo. Finish with a squeeze of lime and cilantro, and enjoy.
Nina Ruggiero is Travel + Leisure’s deputy digital editor. A New Yorker living in Los Angeles, she’s happiest on a beach, a cobblestone street, or in a hotel bathtub with a view. Find her on Instagram @ninamarienyc.