The Baja Californian peninsula on the west coast of Mexico has some of the best seafood in the world. It’s unsurprising that most restaurants source ingredients from the Sea of Cortez but of course, there’s plenty of variation. Here are the top ten restaurants in La Paz, Baja California Sur, with influences from both regional and international cuisines.
Apóstolis is a little Mediterranean haven in a city where seafood is mostly prepared with local or Japanese flavors. A walkway through the front of house takes you into a little stone courtyard filled with carefully laid tables and little Greek flags hanging on the walls. Local musicians often play in the restaurant, which serves both lunch and dinner. Mussels in white wine, squid rings, and crab are all excellent ways to start the meal. With a wide selection of wines and a kitchen led by the steady hand of a Greek islander, Apóstolis is consistently ranked among the best restaurants in La Paz.
Buffalo BBQ treats its guests to seafood and prime cuts of meat grilled on a vast mesquite oven, while the glass panels give diners sunset views over the marina. In a restaurant famous for excellent starters and welcoming staff, it is with its grill and wine selection where Buffalo BBQ really excels. Tenderloin, rib eye, and Angus short ribs are all cooked to perfection, while a a red and white wine list from the Americas and Europe mean a dining experience at Buffalo’s is never short on flavor.
Mc-Fisher serves delicious regional platters and specialties from Baja California. Rows of coal grills line one side of the restaurant, while tables for six fill the rest of the stone courtyard. Open for over a decade, Mc-Fisher is a favorite among locals for both its entrees and tacos. Baked, grilled, and fried marlin are always on the menu, and a particular favorite are the house special enchiladas. Orders of fried fish tacos and octopus in a garlic marinade come with three bowls of fiery salsa and plateful of lime to cut the heat.
Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Mexican, Wine, Beer
Steinbeck’s is a short drive north of the town center in the Costa Baja Resort & Spa, which has established itself as the place for high class dining with a series of excellent restaurants. Dining al fresco at Steinbeck’s affords views of the marina and the fantastic natural light show as the skies swirl through gradations of color just after sunset. An impressively stocked bar means Steinbeck’s bartenders have the resources and knowledge to offer tequila tasting lessons. With over four hundred varieties of tequila to choose from, it is one of the largest collections in Baja, California.
Mexico does not have a strong baked bread tradition, as it is the land of corn and flour tortillas. In every Mexican city, however, there seems to be one venue that lovingly prepares multigrain and sourdough loaves. In La Paz that place is Dulce Romero. Outdoor seating provides a space away from the heat of the ovens, where locals and visitors gather for gourmet lunches of organic dairy and vegetable produce. A different multigrain loaf is baked for every day of the week, while the bakers experiment with sweet and savory goods from Germany, Austria, France, and Italy.
The team behind Nim has found a perfect balance between creating a fine dining experience and a comfortable atmosphere. On the rare occasions when Nim’s doors aren’t open for a standard evening of delicacies, the restaurant is giving cooking classes and hosting art exhibitions. On the menu you are likely to find influences from countries as far flung as Morocco, Vietnam, India, and France, but wherever the flavors hail from, the dishes are always made with the freshest of ingredients.
El Bismarkcito (the little Bismark) is a bustling restaurant on La Paz’s malecón, its waterfront esplanade. With a high thatched roof and at least a dozen staff waiting tables at any one time, you will rarely find El Bismarkcito empty. With its own taco grill out front, the restaurant has two menus to choose from: a smaller one dedicated to fish tacos, such as its inimitable smoked marlin; and a larger menu offering an extensive choice of grilled surf and turf. The guacamole is excellent and can often be seen ordered as a side with the Angus steaks and boiled lobster.
Jiro Sushi holds a prime spot along the famous malecón of La Paz. The restaurant is a stone’s throw from the waters edge, which on most days seems like a placid rippling lake. Traditional Japanese sushi and sashimi are prepared here, making use of the high quality tuna available in the area. The mango, avocado and pickled ginger salads are an excellent accompaniment to the smoked eel and crab rolls, as are the kiwi margaritas topped with fresh mint.
Odayaka is another restaurant set within the Costa Baja Resort & Spa that has made a name for itself as the place to go for fine dining. With the Sea of Cortez on its doorstep, the restaurant’s expertly prepared sushi and sashimi dishes could not be any fresher. Creativity and improvisation are encouraged in the kitchen at Odayaka, resulting in fusion rolls between traditional Japanese flavors and local specialties.
Bar, Restaurant, Steakhouse, Seafood, Mexican, $$$
The doors of Las Tres Virgenes are well and truly open, through which an inner courtyard can be seen, replete with climbing plants and smartly laid tables. A wood paneled bar serves expertly mixed cocktails, while the roaring fires of the kitchen work to attain char-grilled perfection. The staff can be seen hard at work here.