Written by Katherine Garcia
Illustration by Madison Otten
When you live on the mainland, it is hard to find a fantastic seafood restaurant. El Pelicano (or, in English, “The Pelican”) is a Mexican restaurant in the city of Aurora, and most of their dishes consist of fish and other varieties of seafood. This restaurant does quench that fishy need, but they also do have beef and chicken entrees on their menu.
Before you even step through their doors, you know there is an ocean theme to it. There are cabanas outside for extra seating in the front, blue lights, and even just the name: The Pelican. When you actually step inside the place, they have a little waiting area with two walls separating it from the main dining area. The hosts are always ready to greet and seat you. Just how the outside suggests, inside they have an ocean theme; they painted their walls with seashores, mermaids, and pirate ships. In the middle of the dining room, there is a pirate, who seems to be protecting her treasure.
The ceiling was decorated with fish hanging, along with fishing nets, with more cabanas inside. They have two shack-like structures: one where the booze comes from, the bar, and the other is the register. A separate dining area is off to the side, where they have another bar area and a stage for live music. The bands only play during the weekends.
The staff is always friendly and ready to serve. After being seated at our table, about five minutes later, we were introduced to our waitress. She took our drink order and gave us more time to figure out what our entrees would be.
The prices are a little high, ranging from $12 to $80 a plate, though the portion sizes do compensate for that price. This also applies to their alcoholic beverages (they were served in big portions). Waiting for our food was the longest part, even though they brought fresh made chips and salsa to our table. The chips were able to subdue the hunger, but not by a lot.
After about half an hour to almost an hour later, the food finally arrived to our table. I ordered their shrimp cocktail, with oysters and octopus; my brother ordered their lobster and steak combination, served with beans and tortillas; and my mom ordered their red snapper fish, also served with beans, and a small salad. They all smelled and looked mouth wateringly delicious. Apart from my cocktail, I could see steam coming from my family’s dishes, another indicator that it was just off the stove and freshly made.
As I took that first bite, I knew it was going to be heaven. This was the first time I tried their cocktail, campechana is the name of the dish. Other times, I have had their earth, air, and sea plate, where they have fish, chicken, and beef in one plate. The cocktail or campechana was a perfect balance of spices. There were always cucumbers, tomatoes, and octopus in every bite. Octopus is hard to get cooked right; if not, it would be too rubbery, and you’ll chew on that thing forever. My only disappointment was the shrimp, but that one bowl was enough to stuff my hungry stomach. I tried my brother’s lobster, and they were able to keep it light and salted, with a lemony zing.
Even though it was a drive to Aurora, the trip was definitely worth it. The atmosphere is a family-friendly place, with live music during the weekends. The wait time for the food to arrive could be a little bit better, but like they say, “Good things (or in this case delicious things) come to those who wait.”
El Pelicano Seafood Restaurant
Address: 15355 E Colfax Ave., Aurora
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10am to 10pm; Friday – Saturday 10am to 10pm; Sunday 10am to 9pm
Average Prices: $6-$17 appetizers; $12-$80 entrees
Contact Info: Ph. (303) 344-0488