Mexican dining hours differ from those in the United States. The main meal of the day is a leisurely lunch, usually eaten between 2 and 5 p.m. Dinner is a much lighter meal, similar to an after- theater supper, and will usually be consumed between 8:30 p.m. and midnight if eaten out.
While the restaurants listed do serve during American dining hours, don't be alarmed if you drop in at noon or 6 p.m. and find only a few other people present. Since these are local favorites, they will be most crowded during Mexican dining hours.
Mastercard and Visa are generally accepted, but ask in advance whether a 6 percent surcharge will be added for international billing.
A government-required, 10 percent tax is part of all Mexican restaurant bills. However, standard tipping for restaurant meals throughout Mexico is 10 percent, calculated on the pretax total.
Reservations are a rarity in Baja, but might be a good idea for holidays unless you don't mind waiting.
---TIJUANA RESTAURANTS- - -
- - -ROBERTO'S- - -In Motel la Sierra, Avenida 16 de Septiembre, No. 56; 011-52-66-86-4687. Open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily except Mondays, till 11 on Saturdays. Savory hot/sweet/salty meat–and–dried-fruit filling in the wonderful chile en nogada, a chile relleno with a decided twist. Hard-to-find creations include beef tongue braised in mild pipian rojo sauce, the unusual spiced leg of lamb called mixiote de carnero and a cactus salad brightened with radishes and cilantro. Inexpensive to Moderate.
- - - LA LENA- - -
4560 Boulevard Agua Caliente; 011-52-66-86-5566. Open 1 p.m. to midnight daily. Steaks sizzle and tortillas bake in the open kitchen that juts into the dining room, and while the shrimp dishes are delicious, La Leña is very much a place for meat. The prices, quoted in pesos, are excellent; recently, the costliest entrée translated to $8. The complimentary appetizers include chips, superb salsas and, served with fresh corn tortillas, shredded beef cooked with peppers and palate-challenging menudo (tripe) in a spicy sauce. The best entrée choices include the filete ladrillo a tender, grilled filet mignon, and the traditionally garnished filete tampiqueña. On the more complicated side, the gaonera ($7), a thin steak rolled around guacamole and covered with melted cheese, also is excellent. Inexpensive.
- - - LA COSTA- - -
8131 Galeana (Seventh Street between Revolucion and Constitucion). 85-84-94 or 85-31-94. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. The premier seafood stop in Tijuana is extremely popular with Americans. Shrimp, lobster, oysters, and other specialties from the sea. Moderate to expensive.
- - -GYPSYS- - -
Pueblo Amigo Center, Rio Zone; 011-52-66- 836006. Open Tuesdays through Sundays, 1:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tijuana's newest hot spot serves up Spanish tapas a la Barcelona. 30 hot and cold appetizers include dates with bacon, octopus in champagne sauce, and roasted stuffed clams with cheese and seafood. Favorite entrees are the paella, beef- filet with Spanish blue cheese and the codfish filet with pine nuts Prices range from $1.50 tapas to entrees generally in the $10 range, with a few, like lobster, priced higher.
See travelogue for more pictures!
Unique Barcelonan-style Spanish food. Restaurant is decorated with artwork reminiscent of Dali, Miro and Gaudi.
The owner Juan Abad, is very friendly. He's from Barcelona. Several times he made us a special after-dinner drink w/Tequila, coconut and a variety of other fruity things I don't remember, it was on the house.
Live music (Rumba & Flamenco), Friday's and Saturdays from 9:30pm to 2am.
Favorite Dish: Filet Mignon