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Jun 30, 2008 10:56 AM

Ensenada - by cruise ship

My family and I (all 14 of us) are headed to Ensenada via cruise ship. I've done some research and it seems within walking distance from the ports it's pretty much gringo-touristy or fish market fare. I'd like to have a nice lunch within walking distance from the port. I have a sensitive stomach (let's just say even dim sum puts my digestive system into overdrive) but would like to try local cuisine but not too gringo-ized like Acapulco or El Torito. Chowhounder's suggestions are always respected and appreciated!

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  1. I don't want to sound too negative, but good luck in your quest. We did the cruise ship thing to Ensenada last year, and the dining choices were meager at best. Most everyone will head to Papas&Beer to get loaded, and then head back to the ship by 5pm in time for dinner. The options within walking distance seemed completely catered to tourists, and unfortunately, I have found the Mexican dining choices in PHX (where I live) far superior to what I've found in Ensenada or Puerto Penasco. If you do decide to get a fish taco or carne asada, just use common sense and go to a place where there are locals or it looks clean. Enjoy the trip.

    1. Right next to PnB and across the street from Hussong's is Capricho's, which features Baja wine and has a superb chef.Local ingredients cooked in a local fusion style.

      Manzanilla is also in the tourist zone and is well reviewed here on Chowhound.The cuisine is local, fresh, creative, and under the mastery of Chef Benito Molina.

      These are fine dining restaurants that will be memorable experiences while easy on your delicate system.And, no chimichangas or gloppy cheese coverede plates to be found at these excellent restaurants.

      I would recommend going to a fish taco stand for Ensenada style fish tacos or a mariscos stand stand for the finely chopped Ensenada style ceviche.I like Mariscos El Guero on the corner of Lopez Mateos and Hidalgo, and Tacos El Fenix is also very popular on Av. Espinosa at Av. Juárez (Calle 5a) for its tacos de pescado.These are good stands that have high turnover and quality seafood, Ensenada style,but that would be whether or not you are up to the digestive challenge.I wouldn't get the fish tacos at the Mercado Negro.

      The majority of the other restaurants in centro are going to be mediocre at best,like El Charro or the seafood places.They won't be of the Acapulco variety like Papa's, but just as uninspired.

      1. Rent a car & drive up to La Fonda? That's what we did...

        5 Replies
        1. re: torta basilica

          Why in the world would you drive to La Fonda to eat authentic Mexican food ?

          First of all I recomend some Pepto-Bismol before your excursion not that the food wont be good but Mexican food is spicy by nature.
          There is a place on Av. Ruiz just across the street from Cafe Pueblo called La Comadre they serve Tacos de guisado wich means something like diferent traditional stews. They have a tostada de pata (hoof tostada) that is out of these world it is served with a non spicy red salsa very mild ... For fish tacos the best are el Fenix. My favorite street car is La Guerrerense they make a sea urchin tostada that can be toped with pismo clam so beautifull !! They also make an avocado habanero guacasalsa that is fantastic but dont try it with the weak stomach !!! They are on the corner of 1st st and Alvarado right next to El Palacio del Perfume.For some amazing Carne asada tacos Asadero el 17 on the blvd. They bring the meat from Sonora. If you want to sample the local farm raised shellfish with a glass of local wine try Muelle tres on the board walk next to the mercado negro (fish market) don't try the fish tacos in the mercado el Fenix is a milion times better !
          For Carnitas (don't foreget the Pepto) on the corner of 2nd st. and Riveroll I think it's called Hermanos Rodriguez . For the most amazing Birria try Birrieria Guadalajara on Miramar between 1st and 2nd st. Paleta de Borrego a la plancha is an outstanding dish Lamb shoulder that was cooked in the brooth and then put on a gridle to make it crunchy ,served on a soup plate with the brooth on the side and bayo beans, the corn tortillas are hand made probably the best in town !! the beer is nice and cold.

          Most of these places are visited by locals only. All of these locations are close to downtown .

          Have a good time

          1. re: bigotes

            Thank you - streetgourmetla, torta_basilica & bigotes for your wonderful suggestions. I especially like the recommendation to bring along Pepto-Bismol. I look forward to trying some type of food fare while in Ensenda. I will report back when I return!

            1. re: tatertots

              Apparently I didn't do enough research beforehand - looking forward to your report.

            2. re: bigotes

              Simple - for the ambience and the view!! And the food, if not totally authentic, is decent. And I think the OP's stomach would do better there.

              1. re: bigotes

                Thank you again for your excellent suggestions. We (11 of us) ended up walking to El Fenix. It was a bit of a hike. We walked from where the tour bus shuttle drops off the masses, which is much further from just walking from the port. But it was worth it. We ordered 24 fish tacos and 1 shrimp taco. DELICIOUS! The ladies were very friendly too. Somehow they immediately knew we were Korean. I guess we don't all look alike!