The northernmost part of the 775-mile Baja California Peninsula is one of Mexico's most intriguing regions for eating and drinking. A number of noted chefs have taken inspiration from the country's vast culinary history, Baja's coastal location, and their experiences at great restaurants — both in their home country and abroad — to develop a cuisine that challenges most preconceptions of what Mexican food is. Anthony Bourdain, who recently filmed an episode of No Reservations in Baja, was wowed by what he found and declared it the Tuscany of Mexico.
These chefs' dishes can be light and vibrant, recalling Mediterranean tradition, as well as rich, complex, and steeped in the Mexican canon. There's chef Jair Tellez's excellent Laja, for example, housed in a bare but warm farmhouse in a dusty valley, two restaurants from TV personalities Benito Molino y Solange (Manzanilla, Silvestre), a street food address that manages to stand above the rest (La Guerrerense), and the newest restaurant from Tijuana's most revered chefs (Javier Plascencia's Misión 19). What's more, nearly all of these businesses promote the region's burgeoning craft beer and winemaking movements. Here's the list of the six essentials:Read More