The Valle de Guadalupe’s wines have long lured oenophiles south of the border. Now its inventive restaurants and hotels are drawing a wider audience.
Valle de Guadalupe is Baja’s answer to Napa. Regional wines have long lured oenophiles South of the Border, and now its inventive restaurants and eco-chic hotels are drawing a wider audience. Whether you decide to stay along the Pacific coast or inland atop Guadalupe’s hillside, views of olive groves and wineries are plentiful. Discover the lay of the land with a guided horseback ride through the valley’s vineyards, or dive into Mexico’s cool blue waters with an off-site excursion from Ensenada’s Open Ocean Aquarium.
Casa de Piedra, Valle de Guadalupe
Run by esteemed winemaker Hugo D’Acosta, who trained in Bordeaux.
At this Mission-style winery and inn, visitors can take guided horseback rides around the vineyards.
Jair Téllez’s rustic farmstead is the valley’s answer to Napa’s French Laundry. Savor buttery diver scallops, seared bluefin tuna, and local roast lamb.
Mexico City native, Benito Molina started his career in Boston, working under Todd English at Olives, where he fell in love with the bold, direct flavors of the Mediterranean. Returning to Mexico, he found in northern Baja a Med-worthy combination of rustic wines and stellar ingredients from land and sea. Molina takes full advantage. Local Manila clams arrive in a bacony broth tinged with saffron. Baby abulón, farmed in nearby San Quintin, is sliced into thin disks and seared on a hot rock, then sauced with mesquite-smoked tomato and cream. Tender grilled rib eye is seasoned with rosemary and served with strong mustard; on the side come buttery morsels of fat, twice-cooked to resemble crispy chicharrones. After nine years downtown, Manzanilla moved last year to an industrial garage in the shipyard district, which makes a funky stage set: raw-concrete floors offset by zany canvases and pink Plexi chandeliers. It’s a fine place to while away the day over a four-hour lunch.
Cabañas Cuatro Cuatros
In Ensenada, along the Pacific coast, Cabañas Cuatro Cuatros has stylish canvas tents with open-air showers and terraces overlooking vineyards and olive groves.
Corazón de Tierra
Corazón de Tierra serves deliciously complex dishes such as black cod in onion embers with onion-verbena purée.
At Javier Plascencia’s alfresco Finca Altozano, the focus is on impeccably grilled meats and seafood.
Viñas de Garza
Hacienda La Lomita
Open Ocean Aquarium
As of February 2014, you’ll be able to swim with a school of giant bluefin tuna offshore.
A 20-foot-high natural marine geyser.