Going to Ensenada and surrounding area in about a month. We will be staying in town one night and the heading to the hotel at Corazon de Tierra for two eating there one of the two nights. Any and all recommendations appreciated.
Higher end food in gaudelupe valley: Deckmans, Finca Altazona. More homestyle would be Dona Estelas.
Torres alegre for wine
In Ensenada area: Mazanilla (higher end).
For street food in ensenada I would recommend: La Guerrerense and El guero for fresh seafood, agauchile, tostadas, ceviches etc. El Fenix for fish tacos and shrimp tacos, Carnitas los tigrillos for carnitas/buche, tortas lopez for tortas
Beers: cerveceria wendlandt or agua mala
Be sure to stop at tacos el yaqui on the way down in rosarito, best carne asada tacos you’ll ever have.
In Ensenada, Muelle 3 or Boules. I would not go back to Manzanilla, food’s similar to Muelle 3 or Boules but more expensive and not as good. La Contra to buy wine.
In Valle de Guadalupe, Laja.
If you’re driving, returning through Tecate can take less time. Asao is good and practically around the corner from the crossing. It’s in the Santuario Diegueno hotel complex and the entrance is on Rio Yaqui.
Never been to Boules or Muelle 3, will have to go there next time! I personally enjoyed my last meal at Mazanilla some of the highlights included guadelope valley quail with cauliflower puree, their tiradito tuna preparation, huitlacoche risotto, and a 28 day dry aged ribeye for approx 22 bucks USD (can’t beat that price for dry aged meat).
At least checking out comparison photos appears that Manzanilla takes a more fine dining approach than both the aforementioned restaurants and specifically muelle 3 which seems to do refined but classical mexican seafood preparation in a modern fish shack type setting.
I found the food at all three generally similar, Manzanilla’s just more pretentious. Muelle 3 and Boules were both started by Manzanilla vets.
Los Originales de Pescado is the best fish taco in Ensenada, imo. It’s a little stand walking distance from Manzanilla. If you can swing a trip to Valle de Guadalupe, Finca Altozano is fantastic and Dona Esthela for brunch is one of the greatest places on earth.
Second Tacos El Yaqui: they’re fantastic, and you should definitely not skip La Guerrerense…should be national treasure.
Agreed they can definitely have a fussy attitude at mazanilla. They “lost” our reservation but we were able to sit at the bar.
Thanks for all the suggestions!
Just got back from Ensenada so thought I’d add my 2 cents:
On the way down we stopped in Popotla and picked out a giant spider crab (Marciano or something like that) fresh off a boat and took it to a tiny restaurant up the beach to cook it for us. Epic meal and highly recommended. Also picked out a fresh caught fish (looked similar to snapper but wasn’t) which the restaurant cooked up zarandeando style and was delicious (no sergio either).
I don’t see how anyone could claim which place has the best fish taco. Every time I turned around I saw a cart or stand or restaurant selling them and I didn’t have a bad one. The one Mathew Kang mentioned above was my favorite but Taco fenix and many others were also very good. I like Ricky’s in LA and tons of trucks in San Diego but these fish tacos were better (likely just fresher fish).
Ceviche was also everywhere and mostly good. El guerro and la gurrerense were good and muelle was outstanding (the pulpo/squid dish at muelle was pretty bad though).
Birria. No way could I try even a small number of all the places selling birria. La Guadalajara was a sit down type place and had great goat, lamb and beef birria. But there was also a cart across from the taco fenix cart that was terrific too (forgot the name).
Meat tacos. Once again so many to choose from and mostly delicious. Tacos el poblano for asada and adobada were great. Tacos de recreo, again for adobada was really good. Almost all places had giant adobada/al pastor trompos,some places also had buche and tripe and cabeza while some just specialized in one or two meats.
I ate a ton and barely scratched the surface of Ensenada. Awesome cheap eats food city.
As for valle de guadalupe, we ate at Finca Altozano and it was…okay. Very similar to the former Bracero in San Diego but in a nicer setting. Honestly everything I ate there I could get better and loads cheaper in Ensenada (except the atmosphere) and I loved Bracero and I am a big fan of Plascecia.
overall, great trip and excited to go back.
Tried tacos el Yaqui. Waited for 1.5 hours for some carne asada tacos. They were fine. Honestly, tasted more like a quesadilla than a taco but whatever. Worth 1.5 hours, hell no. Worth 15 minutes, maybe. The carne was better quality than lots of places but still disappointing considering the hype. Popotla 5 minutes farther south was really good. Different strokes I guess.
Birria (beef, lamb, goat or pork)
Mariscos (daughter of LaGuerrense lady)
I always get huaraches from El Trailero, have for probably 40 years. Love that place. And Birrieria Guadalajara always gets a visit from me.