Have you ever considered Tijuana as your next culinary destination? The city is making a name for itself as the best place to enjoy Baja Med fusion cuisine and craft beer as it shakes off its somewhat seedy image. Lying close to the US border, Tijuana was a playground for movie stars and mobsters in the Prohibition era and just 10 years ago was the drug cartels that dominated the area, with visitors few and far between. Today it has been rebranded as a cool culinary destination and if it is exciting, innovative cuisine you are after, look no further.
People often forget that Tijuana is just a 15-minute drive from downtown San Diego, although the cross-border culture shock can come as a bit of a surprise. For the best experience, book a culinary tour with Baja Escapade to make sure you do not miss out on the hot spots for drinking and dining. We also have a few of our own picks, so check them out.
Head for Zona Rio and the cosy confines of La Querencia for a meal to remember – if you don't mind being surrounded by wall-mounted hunting trophies as you eat! The menu is packed with Mexican dishes with Mediterranean flavours – Baja Med cuisine. Expect dishes such as tacos with lampredotto (a traditional Italian dish made with cow's stomach) and seared tuna tostada with chilli confiture. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing most of its ingredients within a 200-mile radius, and its wine; after all, the Guadalupe Valley, Mexico's wine country, is close at hand.
Located in Zona Urbana Rio on Mision San Javier, Mision 19 is the creation of chef Javier Plascencia and the restaurant has been featured in the New York Times. Prepare to be taken on a gastronomic journey with a menu packed with flavourful dishes prepared with sustainable produce. Menus change seasonally but dishes could include grilled octopus with pistachio, chickpeas, elephant garlic, tomatoes and burned habanero oil and pan roasted duck breast with mezcal, guava, California chilli, piloncillo, roasted onions and asparagus.
Open-air mall Plaza Fiesta is the place to sample some of Tijuana's craft beers. Bars such as Donkey Ranch and Insurgente are making a name for themselves, but Swiss-themed brew pub Sotano Suizo has been here for almost 30 years. Today it brews four house beers, which are all well worth sampling. If you prefer spirits, La Mezcalera on Avenida Revolucion is the place to try mezcal, a Mexican spirit distilled from the agave plant.