Drive from Southern California to Baja for a Mexican adventure, with recommendations on where to drink or dine from Amanda Barnes and Sorrel Moseley-Williams…

 Top Baja California bars and restaurants

Baja California’s gastronomy is sublime. A plethora of fresh seafood and produce from the peninsula have inspired a dynamic farm-to-table culture and unique Mexican-Mediterranean fusion,’Food is so inextricably interwoven into Mexican culture that you’ll be hard pushed to find a bar that doesn’t serve tacos on the side,’ said wine and travel writer Amanda Barnes.

‘Baja’s abundant larder is also drawing in innovative chefs who’ve turned the region into Mexico’s most exciting foodie hub,’ said Sorrel Moseley-Williams.

‘Rich Pacific pickings include bluefin tuna and oysters from Bahía Falsa, and farm-to-table concepts are normal practice.’

Updated 30 January 2018 with extra recommendations.



Bar Andaluz

Baja California restaurants

Make a cocktail pilgrimage to the birthplace of margaritas… Credit: Bar Andaluz Facebook

Head to Ensenada, the margarita’s birthplace, and sample this classic cocktail at Bar Andaluz — the legendary Mexican watering-hole where tequila, triple sec, salt and lemons first met.

Recommended by Sorrel Moseley-Williams


Malva

Malva

Escolar fish from Malva…

Dine al fresco at Malva; experimental Mina Penélope, whose vineyards cocoon the restaurant, is the wine list’s star act. It was created by creation of chef Roberto Alcocer, who also owns the farm nearby where he rears chickens, goats and sheep exclusively for his restaurant.

Recommended by Sorrel Moseley-Williams



La Cocedora de Langosta

Baja California restaurants

Oyster and lobster feasts on offer at La Cocedora de Langosta…

This classic harbourside joint offers the freshest catches. Start with zesty shrimp ceviche, then enjoy the fried lobster paired with a glass of Monte Xanic’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Recommended by Sorrel Moseley-Williams


Manzanilla

Baja California restaurants

Manzanilla was started by husband-and-wife chef team, Solange Muris and Benito Molina.

Ranking in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list for its sustainable perspective. Artfully plated oysters and quail feature on the tasting and daily-changing menus. It was opened in 2000 by husband-and-wife chef team, Benito Molina and Solange Muris. They pledge to source and use ‘the freshest ingredients, the best fish and seafood in Mexico, the best wine in the country, the best olive oil’.

Recommended by Sorrel Moseley-Williams


Conchas de Piedra 

 

Baja restaurants, Conchas de Piedra

For those in search of seafood and bubbles, head to Conchas de Piedra…

One of Baja California’s best-kept secrets is its fantastic oysters. Enjoy them chilled or grilled and served with Hugo d’Acosta’s excellent sparkling wines at this outdoor vineyard bar. Other bright and fresh dishes on offer include clam ceviche and scallop tiradito (pictured). Chef Drew Deckman also owns a sophisticated grill in Mogor winery, Deckmans.

Recommended by Amanda Barnes



Corazon de Tierra

 

Baja restaurants, Corazon de Tierra

Enjoy the natural surroundings and eclectic interior of Corazon de Tierra, or ‘heart of the earth’.

Local chef Diego Hernández has trained with some of Mexico’s greats and this is his own highly-acclaimed culinary creation. The eccentric interior reflects the colourful cuisine with dishes that change daily depending on what’s in season and ripe from the garden. The tasting menu offers an array of imaginative dishes such as cactus sorbet and parsnip tamales.

Recommended by Amanda Barnes


Finca Altozano

Baja restaurants, Finca Altozano

Take a seat by the bonfire and tuck into the the farm-to-fork dishes at Finca Altozano.

This outdoor grill and open-air kitchen embodies the laid-back charm of Guadalupe. Take a seat at the bar, restaurant or bonfire and indulge in some of the smokey BBQ classics like charred octopus and roast lamb. Chef Javier Plascencia has his own farm on-site and is one of the drivers behind Baja’s impressive farm-to-fork dining scene.

Recommended by Amanda Barnes


Doña Esthela

la Cocina Doña Esthela

Esthela started out feeding local hungry workers, now she draws visitors too…

There’s nothing glamorous about Doña Esthela’s, but that doesn’t stop locals from queuing around the block to get in. Dishes are generous in size and flavour, serving traditional Mexican plates including her Machaca con Huevo (tender, slow-roasted beef with eggs), voted Best Breakfast in the World in 2015. This is home cooking at its finest.

Recommended by Amanda Barnes



La Guerrerense

Baja restaurants

Sabina Bandera has been the heart and soul of La Guerrerense since it was founded 50 years ago…

Food trucks are spreading like wildfire in So Cal, and it’s catching on in Baja Cal too. Tasty trucks in Guadalupe include Adobe, Troika and Lupe but most locals’ favourite is this tostada cart in Ensenada. Crispy tortillas topped with crab, scallops and sea urchin – each more mouthwatering than the last. Don’t skimp on the homemade hot sauces.

Recommended by Amanda Barnes



Amanda Barnes is a wine and travel writer, based in South America since 2009. Sorrel Moseley-Williams is a food, wine and travel journalist and sommelier based in Buenos Aires.


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