Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Mexico >
Feb 12, 2007 09:03 AM

San Diego Dining - Laja? [Moved from CA Board]

Ok... so we are heading to SD for the weekend coming up and I was researching restaurants to check out. What I came across over and over was the suggestion to drive down to Laja in Mexico. I love this idea, but have some questions/concerns. Specifically, about the driving part. I didn't think taking your car over the border was a good idea. Am I wrong? What do I need to know about this? We were thinking of doing it all in one day.

Any help is appreciated... thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would recommend an overnight if you are going to LAJA. Laja is located near Ensenada, about 100 miles across the border. We went with friends and enjoyed it. We taxied from our Hotel to the resteraunt. It is fairly remote. The dinners are Prefixe, and you have a choice on the amount of courses, the whole table has to be in sinc with the order.

    There are plenty of places in Tijuana that you can taxi from the border to.

    1. I hope this doesn't get deleted for being not about food or off-topic for the board.

      I have driven to Mexico before, as have many friends from San Diego and southern California. The roads between Tijuana and Ensenada are good, though the guadalupe valley where Laja is located is a little off the main route. Hundreds of thousands of Americans travel to Mexico by car each year.

      Certainly, you want to get a good insurance package (usually $20 to $30 at any of the the places near the border) and a road map of the area (AAA has them for free if you are a member). But there is no reason to worry; it is probably safer than driving in parts of LA.

      If you take the costal road down to Ensenada before heading inland, pay for the toll road (it is a nice expressway; much faster and easier than the local road).

      But turn off at the big concrete arch at Popotla, for some great seafood. The little town near the Foxploration theme park has a dozen seafood restaurants serving local fish brought in that morning. The steamed whole fish was the best meal we had on our last trip, and the ocean view was cheap. I also hear that the Ensenada waterfront has great fish and fish tacos.

      I hope you enjoy Laja. You should post the review on the Mexico board, but feel free to put a link to it here, so we will know about it.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Here's the link for Laja -

          Driving across the border shouldn't be a problem. Along about the time you hit Bonita you'll begin to see signs advertising insurance. Just have your car registration handy and take your pick. Driving isn't especially difficult you just need to pay attention to where you're going because things aren't marked quite as explicitly as they are in the U.S. Crossing the border into Mexico will only take a few seconds, then just follow the signs that say "Playa and/or Cuota" and that will take you to the toll road south. The exit to Laja is Mexico Rte. #3 which is either just before or just after the 3rd toll booth just north of Ensenada.

          I kind of agree with Normalheightsfoodie, this isn't exactly a day trip, it's easier to spend the night in the Ensenada area and drive back the next morning. Driving on Mexican roads at night, particularly when you're a novice or unfamiliar with them, isn't always the best idea. Other than the night driving thing, you should be perfectly safe in Tijuana/Ensenada corridor.

          The border crossing in Tijuana back into the U.S. can be anywhere from an hour to 3 hours depending upon the day, the time of day and whether or not it's a holiday.

          1. Can someone who's been to Laja please explain the pricing on their menu? (menu: 520 pesos/person, degustaciĆ³n: 690 pesos/person). Does "degustaciĆ³n" refer to wine pairing with the meal or to a different food option?

            3 Replies
            1. I'm lost...are we talking about a tasting menu here?

              1. re: mangiatore

                For some reason they removed my posting back to you. I have been there before and my guess it is the more advanced tasting menu with more courses.