Stop Everything: We've Just Discovered Where Caesar Salad Really Originated

The original Caesar salad served at Caesars Restaurant only 
The original Caesar salad served at Caesar's Restaurant only  | © T.Tseng / Flickr
Jessica Vincent

The much-loved Caesar salad: it’s on every supermarket shelf, served at thousands of restaurants, and its sauce is sold by the bucket load across the globe. Most know and love the dish, but few have heard about its unlikely origin. Read on to find out how the world’s favourite salad came to be born in Tijuana, Mexico.

An Italian named Caesar Cardini arrives in Tijuana

It’s the early 1920s and the height of the prohibition era. Hollywood stars, businessmen and the filthy rich are travelling over the US-Mexico border for wild parties, gambling, cheap booze and a thriving red light district. At the time, Caesar Cardini was a restauranteur in San Diego, but with every winery, brewery, liquor store and bar forced to close down, unrestricted, wild and star-studded Tijuana was suddenly highly appealing to him. In 1923, he opened up what today is one of Mexico’s most famous eateries: Caesar’s Restaurant Bar .

Orange County sheriff’s draining illegal barrels of booze during America’s prohibition era

A genius accident

Caesar’s dining room, where the Caesar salad was believed to be invented in 1924

How? A complete accident. It was the busiest holiday weekend they had ever seen, and, earlier than expected, the restaurant ran out of every dish on the menu. When some customers came knocking, Caesar didn’t want to turn them away. Instead, he whipped up a salad at their table made from leftover cos lettuce (which, up until the 1950s, was a popular ingredient for French soups such as Créme Choisy and Créme de Laitue) and all the other ingredients he had left:olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, raw egg and a single crouton. The Caesar salad was born.

The original Caesar salad served at Caesar’s Restaurant only

Keeping tradition alive

With its elegant, dark-wood decor, black and white tiled floor, sepia photos of Hollywood stars decorating the walls, and waiters in waistcoats zooming past with huge serving trays, Caesar’s restaurant today looks and feels like it would have done almost 90 years ago. And the best part? Although the Caesar salad has come a long way since then (restaurants and supermarkets now add anchovies, grilled chicken, mustard and mayonnaise), Caesar’s Restaurant remains true to its founder’s recipe. The famous salad is prepared, expertly tossed and served at your table using only the 10 magic ingredients that Caesar himself was said to have used on July 4th, 1924.

A Caesar’s waiter preparing a traditional Caesar salad
landscape with balloons floating in the air


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

Edit article