The Best Restaurants in Ensenada, Mexico

You wont need to fish around for seafood in Ensenada
You won't need to fish around for seafood in Ensenada | © carlosrojas20 / iStock / Getty Images
Alex Robinson

Baja California’s Pacific Coast beach town of Ensenada is home to hole-in-the-wall taco joints, must-try Med-Mex fusion and fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Beyond traditional flavors, Ensenada’s culinary scene offers a must-try Med-Mex fusion that artfully blends Mediterranean and Mexican influences, resulting in a symphony of tastes that dance on your palate. And of course, the town’s proximity to the sea ensures an unforgettable seafood experience—where you can indulge in dishes featuring the catch of the day, served straight from the boats to your plate. Whether you’re seeking the simplicity of street food or the elegance of fusion cuisine, Ensenada promises a gastronomic adventure that reflects the vibrant spirit of Baja California’s Pacific Coast.

Sitting behind a long, half-moon bay of golden sand less than two hours’ drive from San Diego and Tijuana, Baja’s third-largest city has long been a popular beach retreat for local and international visitors. Its streets and rural environs sizzle with scintillating places to eat – from traditional Mexican family restaurants to delectable dining rooms with vineyard views.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

La Guerrerense

Primitivo

Fine-dining and fine wines are served al fresco by the fire under ancient tropical cedar trees and a star-filled sky. Primitivo – twenty minutes’ drive from Ensenada in the Valle de Guadalupe – is worth going out of your way for. The menu focuses on barbecued meats and seafood, with picadillo de jurel (horse mackerel with herbs and spices), beef steaks and octopus being favorites. There’s a rotating, themed tasting menu of the chef’s latest specialties, and food comes with sommelier-matched wines.

Manzanilla

Tucked away on an office-lined street in Ensenada’s port area and with a plain brick façade, Manzanilla doesn’t look like much. But locals in-the-know will tell you that Benito Molina and Solange Muris’s Med-Mex fusion cooking has been wowing Mexican gourmands since the turn of the millennium. Kick off with a zingy Oaxaca margarita at the wooden bar, then tuck in to the six-course degustation (with mini rib-eye steaks, tacos and gorgeous grilled yellowtail). Pair that with matching Guadalupe wines, on request.

La Conchería

Don’t let the low prices fool you, or the low-key locale – off a busy road in central Ensenada, La Conchería is the place locals go for seafood, plucked that day from Baja’s pristine waters. Oysters, served with a choice of sauces running from chili-hot to ginger-tangy, are as fresh as the dawn, while the abalone is a local legend and the fish skillets and seafood salads are the chef’s signatures. The service, meanwhile, is as crisp as the white wines on the extensive list.

Punta Morro

Sunset over the Pacific, mojito in hand, gentle breeze blowing, waves lapping on the rocks. You’ll find it all at Punta Morro, a beachside hotel whose dining room hovers over the ocean and the curve of Ensenada bay. With views this good, the food doesn’t have to be special, but it is: juicy lobster enchiladas, steamed Baja clams, empanada pastries stuffed with lobster chorizo and Mexican beans, plus grilled swordfish with capers. The wine list, mostly of Baja bottles, is exuberant.

Mariscos El Güero de Ensenada

In Ensenada, fast eats can be fabulous, and even a simple stall can serve sumptuous seafood – as the crowds of locals that flock to this shoreside street-eatery attest. Skillful waiters whip up ceviche and seafood cocktails in seconds, made from ultra-fresh Baja yellowtail, clams, shrimps and oysters. Served with tortillas and tangy salsas, they will certainly set your tastebuds tingling. Best of all, the bill will be less than the price of a burger and fries.

Bronco’s Steak House

Of course it’s not all about the seafood in Ensenada. Like all North Americans, Mexicans love their steaks. Ensenada’s best are served at Bronco’s – whose wooden saloon bar façade (complete with sombrero-clad mannequin) could be in a Hollywood western. Steak is served in all manner of cuts, but the local way to eat it is a la parilla – grilled on a charcoal barbecue. Portions are enormous, there’s a more-than-you-can-eat buffet and a heaving dessert trolley, so come with an empty belly.

Latitud 32

On the edge of Ensenada’s Valle de Guadalupe wine region, this family-run restaurant, set in palm-filled tropical gardens, offers a menu of Baja and Yucatán dishes, as well as sommelier-selected bottles from the celebrated El Cielo vineyard. Signature dishes include delicious pork belly tacos. Made with blue cornflour and accompanied by avocado purée, red onion and piquant chilmole sauce, these are best washed down with a crisp El Cielo copernicus cabernet sauvignon.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article