On October 14, Spoon visited Pacifico, a nuevo-Latino seafood and tapas restaurant and bar on the corner of College and Crown. Pacifico’s owner and head chef, Rafael Palomino, emphasizes that food is both an art and an experience — a philosophy that is apparent in Pacifico’s colorful, lively space and its stunning and creative presentation of food and drink.


Janie Wu

Mango Mojito

Pacifico is known throughout Connecticut for its mojitos, winning an award in Connecticut Mag’s 2011 “Best of Connecticut” for its flavorful and elegant drinks. During our visit, we sampled the mango mojito, which blended the traditional ingredients of rum, mint, and fresh lime with a refreshing dash of mango flavor. The flavors complemented each other perfectly, creating a refreshing drink which brought us from an October happy hour in New Haven to relaxing on a sunny beach.

Tequila French

The Tequila French added a burst of strawberry and lime to Prosecco and Luna Azul Silver, creating a strong, flavorful drink with tropical undertones. Served with an orange slice which provided an additional burst of citrus, this drink paired extremely well with Chef Palomino’s ceviche.

Strawberry Hemingway Daiquiri

Pacifico’s Strawberry Hemingway Daiquiri mixes Real McCoy rum and maraschino liquer with refreshing touches of lime, strawberry, and grapefruit. The drink has a delightful candied flavor and clear notes of citrus and berry.


Janie Wu

Ceviche de Camaron

Pacifico’s ceviche de camaron was served in a cocktail glass embellished with fried plantains and corn chips, which provided crunchy complements to the texture of fresh shrimp and sweet pineapples, red onions, mango, and jalapeño. The dish was served in citrus juices, providing an acidity that accentuated the tenderness and oceanic tang of the shrimp.


Crispy Whole Mediterranean Sea Bass

Janie Wu

Pacifico’s sea bass was beautifully presented, with a unique spin on salad encircled by a sea bass split down the center and lightly fried to crispy perfection. In one bite, we experienced an incredible blend of flavors, from the tender fish to the subtle flavors of quinoa, arugula, and roasted pepper to the sweetness of plantains and black olives, all masterfully tied together with a cilantro mojito sauce.

Paella Palomino

Janie Wu

The Paella Palomino is one of Pacifico’s signature dishes, beautifully plated in an artistic skillet with seafood radiating out symmetrically from the center. Clams and mussels encircle the dish and shrimp, sea scallops, and chorizo are submerged within the saffron rice, which is crispy on the sides and softens towards the center of the dish. Chef Palomino’s paella is flavorful and extremely-well executed, making it an absolute must-try dish!