Ensenada is a coastal city in northwest Mexico, the third largest in Baja California. Lying 78 miles south of San Diego on the Baja California Peninsula, it is locally referred to as La Cenicienta del Pacífico, “The Cinderella of the Pacific.” It's main industries are tourism, seafood, and craft beer. As of 2015, the city of Ensenada had a population of 519,813.
Ensenada is part of UNESCO´s Creative Cities Network as a leader in gastronomy since 2015. As such, it has become a global food destination, offering a range of culinary experiences from street food to high end dining. Here are just a few of our favorite places:
Casa Marcelo is the best way to brunch in town. It’s a quaint little gem in Ensenada offering up some beautifully hearty dishes with ingredients sourced locally from Valle de Guadalupe and Ojos Negros. The world renowned Cava de Marcelo and the cows on Rancho La Campana provide delicious Ramonetti cheeses for the restaurant.
Manzanilla is a classic in Ensenada, recently celebrating its 15th year open. Benito Molina and his wife Solange Muris were some of the first to embrace the region’s local ingredients, and helped give Baja cuisine its unique identity.
Sabina Bandera is a culinary legend to locals, tourists, and high-flying chefs from Anthony Bourdain to Rene Redzepi. Fish tostadas that are simple, humble, and delicious have been La Guerrerense’s trademarks since she opened the food cart on the corner of Lopez Mateo and Alvarado in Ensenada when she was just 21.
Mexico's wine region: Valle de Guadalupe
Valle de Guadalupe is a vineyard region located in Baja California, Mexico. It’s equivalent in land to two thirds of Napa Valley. Approximately 160,000 people visit la Ruta del Vino (the Wine Route) every year, 30,000 coming for the Wine Festival (La Vendimia) every August alone. Valle de Guadalupe is located 12 miles from Ensenada. The Valle is a rocky mountainous zone with a similar micro climate to the Mediterranean, allowing for healthy vineyard growth. Valle de Guadalupe produces around 90% of the wines in all of Mexico, with approximately 70 wineries in the valley.
Don't take our word for it though, here is some recent press about Valle de Guadalupe:
The New York Times: An Unexpected WIne Sanctuary in Baja California
The New York Times: Millennials Answer the Call of Mexican Wine Country
Conde Nast Traveler: A Perfect Weekend in Baja's Wine Country
Sunset Magazine: The West’s New Hottest Wine Region Is South of the Border
Corazón de Tierra
Corazón de Tierra enjoys a privileged location in the heart of the Valle de Guadalupe. As part of the romantic Hacienda La Villa del Valle and the famous vineyard Vena Cava, Corazón de Tierra prides itself on the farmto- table concept, with a menu created daily of seasonal, organic and local ingredients. The restaurant is run by the rising star chef Diego Hernandez Baquedano.
Monte Xanic opened its doors 23 years ago. A classic of the Valle, the winery produces over 50,000 cases of wine annually and is considered by many as the standard by which other Mexican wineries are judged.
If you visit just one winery in the Valle, go to Vena Cava, “the hippest winery in Mexico,” says NPR. You can lounge at the outdoor bar serving local craft beer and wine overlooking the valley, all while enjoying Mexican gastropub fare at TROIKA. You can also have a more formal wine tasting experience in the boat-hull roofed tasting room, seen in the photo.