You’re never too far from the ocean in Baja California, one of the world’s longest peninsulas. In recent years, the cuisine in this region of Mexico has secured an international reputation, with “Baja Med” becoming a buzzword in chef schools across the globe. With the Guadalupe Valley producing some of the best wine in the Americas, there’s no better way to sample Baja seafood than with a glass of local wine in one of these excellent seafood restaurants.
Finca Altozano’s kitchen is run by chef Javier Plascencia, one of the stars and proponents of the Baja Med movement. A vibrant blend of Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian influences, this unique cuisine has been grabbing the international spotlight in recent years. Finca Altozano prides itself on locally sourcing all of its ingredients. One mouthwatering appetizer on offer features oysters in a creamy garlic and mushroom sauce.
A premium destination for champagne and oysters, Conchas de Piedra is a laid-back eatery that is never far from the top of any local’s recommendation list. Expert chef Drew Deckman runs the kitchen, and the restaurant collaborates closely with Hugo D’Acosta’s Casa de Piedra winery, offering a range of his méthode champenoise wines. This is a great place for a light seafood lunch before you tour the local wineries.
Another Drew Deckman project, this restaurant is one of the most highly rated in the region and only uses wines, vegetables and herbs grown or produced on the Mogor ranch. All the seafood on offer is sourced from the Baja Peninsula. Following a slow food philosophy, the restaurant strives to preserve traditional and sustainable cuisine. In an effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible, Deckman’s also refuses to offer commercial bottled waters or soft drinks.
Troika is a food truck and terrace overlooking a small lake outside of the Vena Cava vineyard. Along with an impressive setting – surrounded by a winery made from salvaged boats – the venue offers excellent food and wine at accessible prices. Seafood lovers should opt for the tostadas de pulpo (octopus tostadas). It’s advisable to wash your meal down with a smooth cabernet sauvignon; Vena Cava’s wines are celebrated throughout the region.
This trendy restaurant forms part of the Bruma Valle de Guadalupe resort, an expansive winery made from recycled wood that blends seamlessly with the surrounding red desert. The elegant eatery offers an extensive menu and an impressive wine list. Make sure to try the abulónes, or sea snails, which are a major delicacy on the Baja peninsula. The snails are gently fried in white wine and butter and served with spicy green sauce.
TrasLomita is a trendy restaurant in a beautiful outdoor setting, just 15 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. Forming part of La Lomita Hacienda, the menu boasts delicious seafood dishes such as tuna and octopus tostadas. Make sure to order a glass of La Lomita’s most celebrated wine, a vintage grenache called Pagano. A glass of this expressive, minty wine really awakens the senses.
In the valley of Guadalupe, nestled under a 200-year-old oak tree, are a few dozen tables where your fine-dining Baja Med journey begins. Animalon offers a tasting menu and wine pairing to ensure you experience what the restaurant has to offer; chef Javier Plascencia creates gastronomic dishes that pay homage to local producers and the lifestyle of Baja. The menu highlights are seared sea bass with sea urchin cream, mussels served in false shells made from charred potatoes, and the box crab curry gets rave reviews.
This restaurant manages to encapsulate the Valle de Guadalupe through flavor, and the cuisine here is described as natural, simple and elegant. Although it relies heavily on its own garden for ingredients, a lot of its produce comes from the nearby Pacific Ocean. The ocean provides the restaurant with “surprising” ingredients, so the LaJa menu changes from day to day, meaning every dish is unique and fresh but, above all, has an intense flavor that lingers on your tastebuds, making you crave more.
Chef Miguel Ángel Guerrero’s passion for fishing, hunting and the countryside is apparent throughout this culinary experience. As the creator of Baja Med cuisine, chef Miguel Ángel Guerrero is internationally recognized. His best dishes served at La Esperanza are the oysters, tuna tacos and sashimi; there is also an array of vegetarian options. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable, making it the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing cuisine and generous portion sizes.