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food/research suggestions for baja/ensenada - por favor!!!!

since most of all the old chowhound information seems to be lost in the switch to the new site, i'm not sure where to go to find good recommendations for the ensenada area. so food suggestions would be great, but so would suggestions for websites i could do some other research at.

anyway - a big handful of friends are headed down to baja, staying just south of ensenada, right on the beach. i've never been, but i understand its quite touristy down there, something i seek to avoid most of the time. and at leat a few of us are real chowhounders, we'll go out of our way for some good, authentic grub. it doesnt have to be in ensenada, just nearby....

thanks for any help!

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  1. There was very little information lost on the switch to the new site- however, this "Mexico" board is a new board, so you won't find many old posts here (the moderators are moving them, little by little.)

    Your best bet is to use the search engine to search for previous posts on the International board, which is where discussion on Mexico previously took place.

    1. Yeah, there will be a lot of tourists in Ensenada, but it's only really bad when the cruise ships are in port. There are still a number of dining options for you.

      First and foremost, check out the fish market, which will be on your right as you come into town, kind of across from the Pemex station. It's right on the malecon You'll find any number of vendor stalls selling fish tacos and mariscos. Choose a stall that looks good to you (clean and well patronized is a good clue) and dig in. Also on the malecon is a restaurant on a boat called Barkissimo. I had some really good clams there that had been farm rasied in San Quintin. They had been lightly steamed in white wine, shallots and herbs. Served with some crusty bolillos and a green salad, it was a great meal.

      El Rey Sol has been around in Ensenada since dirt. My experience there has been that when it's good, it's really good, and when it's not, well, it can be awful. Casimar has also been around since dirt doing seafood, and it can be pretty good.

      Manzana on, I think, Avenida Ruiz is doing upscale Mexican. Laja up Mex 3 into the Valle de Guadalupe is doing really interesting things in a farm fresh, Chez Panisse sort of way. Plus you can do a lot of wine tasting near by.

      Ensenada is, of course, famous for Hussong's Cantina. It's expanded threefold with the advent of the cruise business. Stop in at the original location on Avenida Ruiz for a beer, but not the food.

      La Fonda in La Mision about 30 mintues north of Ensenada used to be a must stop on the way down, or way back. Pretty good food, spectacular views and funky ambiance. It's changed ownership in the last couple of years.

      The main tourist drag in Ensenada is Ave. Lopez Mateos and, to a lesser extent, Ave. Ruiz. Tourists don't really stray too much off those, especially the cruise line tourists. Restaurants on these streets are pretty gringoized, but off the beaten paths if you're willing to take a chance and experiment, you can probably find some interesting food.

      There used to be a pretty decent abalone restaurant called La Cueva de los Tigres just outside of Ensenada to the south. I don't know if it's still there, or if it's still open. If it is, you could give that a try. No guarantees with this one at all. Since you're going to be south of the city, do a road trip to La Bufadora. It's one of only 2 natural blow holes on the West Coast. It's really commerical these days, but at least you say you've been there.

      Finally, here's the link to the San Diego Reader http://sdreader.com
      follow the restaurant link. They do reviews for both Tijuana and Ensenada and their reviews are pretty accurate.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DiningDiva

        Hi DiningDiva - Your notes are very helpful! We have been to Punta Bunda a couple of times in the past and this fall we are heading to La Mision near Rosarito. We discovered the wine country last time and Laja - completely by accident - and that is one of the main reasons for our return trip. I am looking for some up-to-date information - any recommendations on restaurants, things to do, etc. We saw the owner of Manzanilla in Ensenada on Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie and that again piqued our interest. Any ideas? Thanks.

      2. La Fonda is still great, but a bit of a drive from where you're at. Unfortunately, I heard La Cueva de las Tigres closed several years ago, so no more awesome abalone :-(

        1. Dear Friends, they are a lot of great restaurants in Ensenada, years ago el Rey sol was a signature place to go when then Cheff, Giles Lefort was at front in culinary mastery using the products of the region, hes now in Puerto Vallarta as far as they told us, where to Eat, El Olivo just before arriving to ensenada on the right side of the south bound road, also hotel las rosas has a grat buffet on sunday, la Caprichos next to papas and beer downtown ensenada, our Sanos 3 times you out try number 3 was the same, the place was like a chinese fire drill, lites where not well oriented, dead ambiance no back ground music, only once in a while trios playing table to table, menu not real, you order a porter house and you get a t bone, no garnish unevenly cooked,no care for attention.

          enjoy ensenada

          1. I just got an magazine article assignment on a food/wine guys trip in the Ensenada area....I am open so suggestions, we will do 2 nights...1 dinner will be the fine dining and the other traditional mexican (if we can find it)..in between we are hitting wineries and taco/seafood stands..so any input? We will be going in the next 3-4 weeks..

            Chris