Mexico Lindo: The BEST Tacos in Ensenada
Mexico Lindo is conveniently located next door to Hussong's Cantina and across the street from Papas & Beer - making it a popular late night spot for locals and tourists. This is a traditional sit down taco bar, with additional table seating as well. My suggestion is sit at the bar.
Choices consist of quality tacos of all types, incluing carne asada, baja-style fish tacos, fire seared pork tacos, home made salsas, burritos and other Mexican specialties. They also serve cold Mexican beer and a variety of tequilas and other spirits.
On my last visit, I had to sample one of the fish, carne asada (beef), al pastor (pork), and chicken tacos, all washed down with an ice-cold Pacfico. And topped off with a healthy shot of tequila.
TIP: With the fish taco - keep it simple - cabbage and white sauce (tastes like mayo). For the meat tacos - add some homemade salsa and guacamole.
Favorite Dish: The Fish Taco - try one and you don't need to ask why.
Numerous Taco Stands Throughout Ensenada: Baja Fish Tacos - The BEST !
While you are in Ensenada (or Rosarito Beach) you must try a fish taco - as well as carne asada, pork, and chicken tacos. But the fish taco originated in this part of the world, and it is a one of the must try signature dishes from the region.
According to local legend, fish tacos originated in Ensenada, where they have always been the street taco of choice. In the early '80s, they were discovered by a young Baja aficionado who begged the recipe off a street taco vendor and brought it northwest to San Diego. He opened a tiny taco shop named Rubio's in San Diego's Mission Bay that specialized in authentic Baja-style fish tacos. By the year 2000, there were over 100 Rubio's restaurants in Southern California and Nevada, which goes to show just how popular fish tacos have become.
For the best fish tacos south of the border these days, you have to travel to Ensenada, about 70 miles south of San Diego. My favorite tacos can be found at the taco stand next door to Hussong's Cantina - at a place called Mexico Lindo (see my separate restaurant review).
Favorite Dish: Fish Tacos !!!!!!
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El Galeon: An oldie but a goodie in Puerto Nuevo.
El Galeon is one of the many lobster restraurants in Puerto Nuevo - a small fishing village between Rosarito Beach and Ensenada. Exit at PUERTO NUEVO and then turn left onto the old highway running parallel to the new highway - the village is approximately 1 mile down the road on your right.
The first really commercial lobster restaurant was started in 1955 by Rosario Grana, and it still is serving Lobster Puerto Nuevo in the same spot, which is on the very first southwestern corner of the main street of the town. Rosario is still presiding over her kitchen, and original customers will still feel right at home there because the general layout of the place and the food has not changed, though facilities have much improved over the years.
It wasn't long, though until other families were also moving out of their home kitchens and into areas where they could handle large crowds. Among the first of these were the Ortega and Plascencia families.
At most of the restaurants the lobsters come out split and cooked, with the halves stacked on a platter, served family style. The traditional way to cook them is deep frying, but they are available grilled or steamed upon request.
At the last lobster meal this writer enjoyed in Puerto Nuevo, four large halves were served for two of us. Beans, rice and tortillas are also served from bowls on the table, with drawn butter and salsa also to be passed around. Plenty is available for refills of the supplemental delight, and the price runs about $15-20 per person unless larger sizes are requested.
Favorite Dish: Lobster - BBQ'd or steamed.
La Fonda Hotel & Spa: Km 49 - Stop on the way to/from Ensenada
Just 45 minutes south of the Tijuana border on the spectacular Baja coast, perched above a sandy white beach and overlooking the blue Pacific is a long time favorite visitors spot, La Fonda Hotel/Restaurant/Bar. Featuring a lobster dinner to make your mouth water and a margarita to adjust your attitude to Mexico time, La Fonda has catered to international tourists for almost three decades.
I classified this place a seafood restaurant, but they serve a great T-bone, ribs, chicken, etc. etc. etc. The reason I call it a seafood restaurant is because I ALWAYS order the Lobster dinner, no matter the time of day.
The Lobster Dinner here is a tad pricier than what you'll find in most more casual places in Puerto Nuevo (just south of La Fonda). However, you get 3 small/medium sized lobsters (cut in 1/2 for a total of 6 pieces), a salad, cup of soup and rice and beans. My last one ran MP 280 (US$25).
The signature drink at La Fonda is the Banana Daquiri, which can be seen in the attached photo. I'll warn you that a whole banana, whipped cream and a marischino cherry come on top of this drink - making it look like a drinkable banana split. I always try and save room for one as my dessert.
TIP: Bring CASH, no Credit Cards accepted.
Favorite Dish: Lobster Dinner.
Sanborn's: Good Family Style Restaurant
There is a nice family style restaurant in the Plaza Marina Center on Blvd. Lazaro Cardenas a short walk north of the giant flag pole. If you are driving, parking is available up the ramp to the left of the plaza entrance.
Favorite Dish: Pepitos de Res (Steak Sandwich).
Numerous Outside Vendors along the Waterfront: Home of the Fish Taco
I had never eaten a fish taco before we visited Ensenada, but when I learned that this is the home of the culinary delight I knew I had to try one. Frankly, it was nothing like I imagined; it was MUCH better. I had envisioned gound or chopped fish, something like you would get out of a can of tuna. Instead, the fish taco was a tasty firm filet of angelfish, fried a golden brown, and served in a soft taco shell - with an array of toppings.
I ordered only one to begin with in case I didn't like it, then promptly re-ordered three more. We went back the next day and had fish tacos a second time. Not only were they delicious; it was also the cheapest meal in town.
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Señor Salud: Vegetarian Restaurants in Ensenada
Whether you are a full time vegetarian or just looking for a tasty change from the ordinary, there are three vegetarian restaurants along Calle Novena (9th street).
Favorite Dish: Fruit Salad, Torta Judia (Pita Sandwich), and also...each of them offers a daily special (comida corrida) starting about 2pm.
Cafe Tomas: Coffee and More
In addition to a great cup of coffee, tea, or expresso... Cafe Tomas donates 50 cents from each cup purchased to Casa Hogar del Anciano, which serves the housing, food, and medicine needs of the poor elderly here in Ensenada.
Casamar Restaurante y Mariscos: A Good Choice for Lunch
We first arrive in Ensenada shortly before noon, and chose this restaurant near our hotel for our first meal in town. The place has been around for 30 years and is still doing a brisk business, so they must be doing something right.
Favorite Dish: I followed our bus driver's suggestion and ordered the squid steak, breaded and topped with crab meat, chopped shrimp and wine sauce, with rice and steamed vegetables. It was a good choice.
- Food and Dining
El Meson de Don Fernando: Sidewalk Dining on the Main Tourist Street
This French Restaurant, complete with an attractive outdoor eating area on the sidewalk in front, was our choice for breakfast one morning in Ensenada. Actually, it would also have been a good choice for a lunch or dinner, especially for those who want something a little different than the traditional Mexican fare. We enjoyed sitting amist the greenery of small trees and many flowering plants, while city traffic passed just a few feet away.
Favorite Dish: The french toast can't be beat.
- Food and Dining
El Charro Restaurant and Bar: Irresistable Barbeque Chicken
I love chicken just about any way it can be served, and when we walked past El Charro Restaurant and Bar and saw these plump birds roasting on the rotisserie I just had to go in and have one. Actually, the chicken in the window looked even better than it did on the plate, but it was still quite good. An added feature was that there was a live female vocalist who stood in the balcony overlooking the main dining area and belted out some beautiful latin tunes while we ate. It was an enjoyable dinner.
- Food and Dining
RESTAURANTE EL CHARRO: HOME MADE TORTILLAS RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES
Ensenada, with the ocean breeze and the warm sun, makes for a great place to head for a bar or restaurant to have a drink and eat some Mexican food specialties like tacos. The tacos can be made with corn or flour tortillas and filled with chicken, pork, beef or the Ensenada favorite, fish with a combination of shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, diced onion, diced tomato, a sprinkle of cilantro, splashed with a salsa sauce, muy caliente (very hot) and held like a sandwich to eat. The best.
When walking down the main street for tourists in Ensenada, you may pass by, no, make that, you will stop and look at the huge rotisserie of chickens BBQing in the window of Restaurante El Charro. A newer location and a very large dining area, El Charro has become the tourist dining mecca. The chickens roasting over the flames may draw you to the window but the food inside will bring you back. Watch the tortillas being made right before your eyes as you enter the restaurant. Heavy wood tables and chairs give this the hacienda feel. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Favorite Dish: I find that a plate of Tacos, no matter what ingredients you put inside are so delicious to eat that it is hard to stop after three. There are many street vendors selling tacos and they are good, but to sit down at a nice table and have either a bottle of ice cold beer with a slice of lime or a salt rimmed glass filled with an crushed ice margarita drink, along with the ambiance and decor of the restaurant, then to enjoy a taco or two or even three with frijoles (refried beans) is divine.
- Food and Dining
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Mango Mango: A good place to people watch
Mango Mango has great food, drinks, and is in a good location to watch people walk by.
There is also a second level that affords you a very good position to watch the wildlife across the street at Papas and Beer.
Favorite Dish: They have a good variety of Margaritas.
Monique Restaurant: Great Place to Eat on Calle Novena
If you are passing through town along Calle Novena (9th. Street), I highly recommend the Monique Restaurant, which is one of my favorites in Ensenada. Great food, daily dinner specials, and friendly staff.
Favorite Dish: Machaca de la Casa (Shredded Beef) for Breakfast.
Las Rosas Hotel Restaurant: A Good Place to Start!
Las Rosas is a place I like to stop at while in Ensenada. It is just north of the city and located on the Pacific ocean, it offers a wonderful view. Usually I stop here for an evening meal to watch the sun set.
The small dining room looks out to the poolside patio and past that to the Pacific Ocean. Service is wonderful.
Favorite Dish: Seafood of your choice, I like the lobster Puerto Nuevo and of course, the delicious Mexican Margarita, which you should know was created in Ensenada for Margarita Henkel, daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico in 1941.
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