Valle de Guadalupe now has a few well-known restaurants to go with its boutique wineries: Around 22 kilometers northeast of Ensenada, perched on a hill just north of the small community of San Antonio de las Minas, Restaurant Mustafa (Km. 93, Carr. Tecate-Ensenada, tel. 646/155-3185, 8 A.M.–7 P.M. Wed.–Mon., mains US$7–12) serves Moroccan-influenced dishes, including lamb shish kebab and chicken breast stuffed with spinach and cheese, along with a menu of Mexican specialties.
In San Antonio itself, El Mesón (Km. 93, Carr. Tecate-Ensenada, tel. 646/155-3185) is popular for breakfast and lunch; it’s closed on Thursday. The owner is an admirer of British aviation artist Robert Taylor and displays Taylor’s work on the restaurant walls.
Visiting gourmands praise Restaurant Laja (Km. 83, Carr. Tecate-Ensenada, tel. 646/155-2556, www.lajamexico.com, 1:30–5 P.M. Wed., 1:30–8:30 P.M. Thurs–Sat., prix fixe menu US$60 for eight courses or US$45 for four courses) for farm-fresh cuisine on par with California’s celebrated Chez Panisse and French Laundry restaurants. The brainchild of former Four Seasons chef Jair Téllez, the restaurant is located about 50 meters off Mexico 3 via a washboard road, in a private home with white walls and a red tile roof.
In Francisco Zarco, Doña Chuy’s (Km. 83, Mexico 3, Francisco Zarco, no tel., mains under US$10) has reasonably priced Mexican plates, and La Cabaña de las Lomas (Km. 91.5, Cajeme St., tel. 646/155-3033, 8 A.M.–5 P.M. Fri.–Sun.) prepares northern Mexican specialties such as fresh quail.
Mercado La Chica and Abarrotes C. R., both in Francisco Zarco, can meet basic needs for food and supplies.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition