15 Best Baja California Food Finds for 2023
I’m constantly on the lookout for new foods and restaurants each time I visit Baja California. In case you are planning a trip south of the border, here are my picks for the best foods and restaurants “not to be missed” in Baja Norte.
Mexico is one of my favorite countries in the world. One of my favorite reasons to visit Mexico is the food. Baja California, Mexico food is varied and offers many delicious dishes.
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15 Best Baja Food Finds for 2023
Just across the border from San Diego is Baja California, Mexico and In no particular order, here are my favorite Baja foods to eat in Tijuana, Rosarito, Puerto Nuevo, Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe and Tecate in the Baja Norte region of Mexico.
Best Restaurants in Tijuana
1. Molcajete at La Tradicion, Casa de Molcajete
La Tradicion, Casa de Molcajete in Tijuana offers one of the best molcajete bowls in Baja California. A molcajete (mohl-kah-HEH-tay) is a stone tool, often carved from volcanic rock, that is among the world’s oldest kitchen tools. It is the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle.
It is also a delicious dish that is named molcajete and served in a molcajete. The Molcajete dish features carne asada, chicken, chorizo or shrimp. The meat or fish is added to a sizzling hot molcajete bowl and topped with onions, cilantro, cheese, cream and served with tortillas.
La Tradicion is located in Plaza Santa Cecilia.
2. Otto’s at Telefonica Gastro Park
Telefonica Gastro Park is Tijuana’s most popular culinary collective. You’ll find everything from vegetarian tacos, to a cheese monger and first-rate craft beer at this gastro park. While everything is top notch in the park, it’s Otto Spahn from Otto’s Grill that is king of this food truck castle.
Otto’s is the spot for fresh raw and prepared seafood. Not only do you have the chance to taste his delicious creations, but he just might invite you in while he is cooking for a close up look at his culinary creativity!
Telefonica is located on Blvd Agua Caliente, #8860.
3. Caesar Salad at Restaurante Caesar’s
There is a lot of debate about who officially created the Caesar salad. Most agree it was made in the 1920’s by Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur. Whether or not you agree it was Cardini who invented it, all agree it did originate in Tijuana, Mexico.
To enjoy this quintessential Baja food, you must head to Caesar’s restaurant on the famous Avenida Revolución in Tijuana.
Today, its hard to find a table side Caesar, but luckily there is a restaurant in Tijuana keeping this food art alive. Having a Caesar salad at the beautiful Caesar’s restaurant is a definite must for any Baja California food pilgrimage.
Caesar’s is located Blvd. Aguacaliente No. 2600 Col. Cacho
Related Articles: Palacio Azteca – Tijuana – Restaurant Review
Best Restaurants in Rosarito
Looking for the best in Rosarito Hotels and Restaurants?
Check the latest hotel prices for the Rosarito Beach Hotel on Hotels.com | TripAdvisor
4. Lemon Dill Poached Sole at Susanna’s Restaurant
The first time I tried the lemon dill poached sole in a dill butter sauce at Susanna’s Restaurant I swore I’d be back. It took a year, but when I did head back to the restaurant, I had to order the exact same dish. It’s light, buttery and if you didn’t know it, you’d think it was lobster.
Susanna’s is located at Oxxo, inside Pueblo Plaza; a un costado del, Blvd. Benito Juárez 4356
Related Article: Susanna’s – Rosarito – Restaurant Review
5. Chilaquiles at Rosarito Beach Hotel
Chilaquiles are one of my favorite Baja food dishes. They were originally created as a way to use up leftovers and are now considered a traditional Mexican breakfast. Typically, corn tortillas are cut in quarters and lightly fried and topped with a green or red salsa.
Most restaurants in Baja California served them with eggs of your choice and beans. The Rosarito Beach Hotel offers this traditional dish with the added bonus of a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean.
The Rosarito Beach Hotel is located at Blvd. Benito Juarez, 31 Centro
6. Enchiladas Verde at Las Cazuela de Mole
Las Cazuela de Mole is known to have the best Mexican food in Rosarito. They are most famous for their mole, but their enchiladas verde are also one of the most delicious items on the menu and my personal favorite. As a starter, you should also try the Huaraches Sencillos with onion, cheese and salsa verde.
Las Cazuela de Mole is located on Blvd Benito Juarez, #103 227000
Best Restaurant in Puerto Nuevo
Looking for the best in Puerto Nuevo Hotels and Restaurants?
Check the latest hotel prices for Puerto Nuevo on Hotels.com | TripAdvisor
7. Lobster at Angel Del Mar
If you are looking for a magnificent view with excellent fresh and delicious lobster, Puerto Nuevo is the place. Angel Del Mar sits on a cliff with an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean. While the menu is extensive, Lobster is the hero of this town.
Lobsters are available in a variety of sizes and served with handmade tortillas, beans, rice, and melted butter. Definitely, a must when you visit Baja California Norte.
Angel del Mar is located at Calle Paseo del Mar #18
Best Food in Ensenada
Looking for the best in Ensenada Hotels and Restaurants?
Check the latest hotel prices for Ensenada on Hotels.com | TripAdvisor
8. Fish Tostada at La Guerrerense seafood cart
La Guerrerense is known for being one of the most important food street carts of the world. Chef Anthony Bourdain was a huge fan and included her in the Chef Bourdain international food hall at Pier 57 in New York. The ‘Bourdain Market‘ on Manhattan’s Pier 57 will feature stalls from vendors inspired by his travels around the world.
Amazing that Sabina, founder of the iconic seafood cart was able to bring her fish tostada masterpieces to the big apple.
Her sea urchin tostadas and a little help from Chef Bourdain made her famous, but you can’t go wrong with anything on her menu at her street cart or her restaurant, located just around the corner from her food cart.
The food cart is located at the corner of Calle 1ra y Alvarado. The restaurant is located at Av. Adolfo López Mateos, #917 Locales 8, 9 y 10, Zona Centro.
Related Article: A Perfect Day at Ensenada’s Hotel Coral & Marina
9. French pastries at El Rey Sol
French pastries in Mexico? Yes! In fact, if you close your eyes and indulge in the pastries from El Rey Sol, you would think you were in France.
This is most likely because all the recipes are authentic and come from the grandmother of the own, Jean-Loup Bitterlin. It was his grandmother who started the restaurant and they are now the oldest French restaurant in Mexico.
El Rey Sol is located at Avenida Adolfo Lopez Mateos #1000 (Calle Primera)
Related Article: A Cheese Cave, Wine Tasting and French Food in Baja
Best Restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe
Looking for the best in Valle de Guadalupe Food and Wine?
Check the latest hotel prices for Valle de Guadalupe on Hotels.com | Booking.com | TripAdvisor
10. Dessert at Malva
Chef Roberto Alcocer is creating the most beautifully plated and delicious food in Valle de Guadalupe. Every dish at Malva is a worthy Instagram moment. While I love everything on the menu, his desserts are to die for!
From his amuse bouche served with every meal, to the dessert finale, this is a Baja food dining experience you won’t want to miss in the Valle de Guadalupe wine region.
Related Articles: Malva – Valle de Guadalupe – Restaurant Review || Wine & Dine: A Perfect Day in Valle de Guadalupe
11. Oysters at Casa de Piedra
Conchas de Piedra restaurant is self-described as a celebratio
12. Lamb Borrego at La Cocina de Doña Esthela
Doña Esthela is known for several favorites Baja food favorites such as pan de elote (cornbread muffins) and huevos rancheros (eggs with red salsa), and her house-made machaca (dried, shredded beef) won the Foodiehub award for best breakfast in the world.
While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, it’s her lamb borrego that is considered her house specialty and signature dish. The secret to this lamb dish are the spices and slow cook in the adobe oven. The dish is served with refried beans, freshly made warm flour and corn tortillas, as well as house-made queso fresco (cheese).
Related Article: Celebrating The Queen’s of Baja’s Culinary Landscape
Best Food in Tecate
Heading to Tecate?
Check latest hotel prices for Tecate on Hotels.com | TripAdvisor
Read reviews for Rancho la Puerta on TripAdvisor
13. Tacos at Los Amigos
If you want to try a great Baja taco, head to Los Amigos in Tecate. The most popular item on the menu is the carne asada taco topped with guacamole. I also love the bean and cheese taco.
Each table in the small taco stand is decked out with all the fixings to doctor your taco to your liking. Don’t forget to add a Mexican Coke to your order for the ultimate experience.
Related Article: Lunch at Rancho la Puerta: Dining at one of the Best Spa’s in the World
14. Fettuccine at El Lugar de Nos
Mariela Manzano is the head chef and owner of El Lugar de Nos. Before she opened this restaurant she was head chef at the famed destination spa, Rancho La Puerta. Chef Manzano has created a gourmet, Italian-Mexican fusion restaurant.
I couldn’t write this article without sharing my husband’s favorite Baja food dish; the fettuccine alfredo. He describes it as fresh and delicate with a traditional sauce and hints of spice you can expect from Mexico.
15. Pastries at El Mejor Pan de Tecate
I’m gluten free and still have a fun time wandering around El Mejor Pan de Tecate. A first-time visit may leave you overwhelmed by the variety of choices which range from delectable sweets to loaves of bread. Everything is made on the premises and is a must Baja food experience if you visit Tecate.
This list of my favorite Baja foods in the Norte section of Mexico includes some of the meals, snacks, and restaurants that I look forward to eating each time I visit. The list is not exhaustive and I anticipate updating it with every trip. If you feel I am missing anything, please let me know!
A special thank you to Mikkel Paige from sometimeshome.com for sharing her beautiful photos of the Caesar salad and the fish dish at Susanna’s.
Getting There: From San Diego, you can cross the Mexico border at San Ysidro and follow route 1. The highway hugs the pacific coast and passes Las Playas de Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, Puerto Nuevo, the famous K-38 surf spot and just before reaching the port town of Ensenada, you’ll head inland on highway 3 for a perfect day in Valle de Guadalupe. If you continue on highway 3 you will arrive in Tecate. There is also a Tecate border, which is my favorite way to enter and depart Mexico because of it’s shorter lines.
Looking for the best in Tijuana Hotels and Restaurants?
Check the latest hotel prices for Tijuana on Hotels.com | TripAdvisor
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A huge thank you to many of the chefs and restaurants for the generous hospitality and sharing their Baja food specialties. I was a guest at some of the above restaurants, but as always, all opinions are my own.
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Oh my goodness! You are so fortunate to be so close to such AMAZING looking food! My mouth is watering big time right now. All those tacos and delicious looking pastries! So jealous.
Hi Brianna, I feel super lucky to live so close to Baja California. It’s some of my favorite food in the world.
Oh man! I love love love Mexican food. The Enchiladas at Las Cazuela de Mole look incredible and so do the tacos at Los Amigos!
Well if I’m honest they were all amazing! I truly love, love, love Mexican food too. These are my favorites spots!
Guess what my second most favourite thing next to travelling is, Alexa… of course eating great food!
And to combine both things is for me always the perfect combination.
To be honest I could only handle to read your post by eating something, otherwise I would have got to hungry 🙂
Such delicious dishes… I think my personal favourite would have been the LOBSTER AT ANGEL DEL MAR! The Caesars salad I could have probably skipped 😉
Great photos, cool post!
You don’t like Caesar salad? It’s my go to when traveling. Usually cheap and filling with chicken added.
Happy the post made you hungry!! I think I did my job.
May I add to Ensenada La Concheria. Best oysters and fresh sashimi anywhere!!!!
Thanks Cathy! Will have to visit next time I’m in Baja. Really appreciate the suggestion.
Love the set of places and the tasty-looking dishes! Some places look like they are designed to be an experience themselves! Thank you for those wonderful finds!
Thanks Bistra. You totally got that right. Many of these locations are experiences that offer food!
I love Mexico too, I spent 4 months travelling there last year but didn’t get to the Baja peninsula – it looks like that was a good decision as now you’ve provided me with the best restaurants, saving me a lot of research haha. I appreciate the diversity in your list, there’s something for every taste. The French pastries look amazing, I’d get a kick of eating them in Mexico!
Hi Sheena, the French pastries are truly authentic. Let me know if you plan a trip to Baja. Love to meet you for lunch!
Now I really want to take a trip!
If you plan a visit, let me know. Love to meet you and share some delicious food!!
No Mexicali? Bad!
Ha! I haven’t made it to Mexicali yet. Any suggestions? I know they are famous for Chinese food.
Oh my goodness my mouth is watering!! These dishes look amazing! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Glad it made you hungry. I guess I did my job!
All look great, except Angel del Mar in Puerto Nuevo. I have been going to Puerto Nuevo for some 20 years, but this is the first time I have experienced bait and switch. They brought out a tray to see the size of the lobsters. My friends and I opted for the medium size, but were served much smaller lobsters. When we complained the manager, with a straight face, told us that the shells shrink. Well, that’s a new one. They are also the restaurant caught throwing their waist in the ocean. Disgraceful.
Hi Nancy, I’ve been going to Puerto Nuevo for 20+ years as well. Sorry to hear about that experience. I didn’t know about the waste issue. I’ll look into that. Also sorry to hear about the bait and switch. Bummer cause they have an amazing view and I’ve always had a good experience. Do you have another restaurant you like?