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The Best of Baja 2021

What's new to eat, drink, see, and do just across the border

By Ann Wycoff

Baja - Natal Bosque

Natal Bosque


Natal Bosque

This 3,700-acre property in the northwest corner of Valle de Guadalupe is home to a “secret forest” with a rustic outdoor kitchen that spotlights guest chefs and local ingredients. Natal Bosque focuses on unique immersive experiences, from wine safaris and gourmet picnics to thematic multicourse feasts with wine pairings that reflect the valley’s history. Explore the upcycled art that speckles the oaken canyon, meditate in the silence of the forest, feast under the stars—whichever you choose, you’ll experience the magic of the valle firsthand.

Valle de Guadalupe

Baja - Bruma

Baja – Bruma


Bruma Farms at The Market

Opening this month, the latest addition to the Bruma estate is a sparkling wine facility and gourmet marketplace. Downstairs, you’ll find a winery dedicated to producing Lulu Martinez’s sparkling wines, which are made with pinot noir and chardonnay in the traditional method. Also downstairs are  private and public tasting rooms that showcase Bruma’s bubbles, along with a selection of top- notch Valle wine curated by founding partner Juan Pablo Arroyo. Upstairs, there’s a new bakery and market that stocks fresh bread, honey, olive oil, ciders, and vinegars. It’s a one-stop shop for all the best of the valley!

Valle de Guadalupe

Baja - Torei

Baja – Torei


Villa Torei

The sunny patio behind the Bodegas de Santo Tomás winery is buzzing with culinary flair from married duo Alfredo Villanueva and Denise Theurel Thomas. Chef Villanueva fires up innovative dishes rooted in Mexican and Mediterranean traditions, like pork with salsa verde and black corn tortillas, yellowtail marinated in cold-pressed rhubarb juice, and roasted eggplant with smoked amberjack and chimichurri. Industry nights on Mondays feature local guest chefs and DJs.

Valle de Guadalupe


Ojo Azul Resort

You and your extended squad can take over this 30-room boutique hotel for a festive and affordable wine country getaway. The horseshoe- shaped compound has spacious rooms with rustic, minimalist design—stone, brick, tile, and wooden barn doors. Lounge by the pool, then head to the rooftop for a spicy margarita, appetizers, and vineyard views; or into the wine cave for a private tasting with the resident sommelier.

Valle de Guadalupe


Bête Noire

Inspired by the concept of Japanese listening bars (jazz kissaten), chef Diego Hernández created the ultimate “hi-fi gastro” scene at Bête Noire. Look for seasonal cocktails created by Parisian bartender Alexandra Purcaru and killer bar food by Hernandez, like wild abalone or harissa fried chicken. Combine this with curated music ranging from experimental Philip Glass to rare vinyl and whole-album listening hours. Hernandez’s private art collection and local work grace the walls. It’s a cool place created by locals with the intention of ushering in a new Ensenada.

Miramar 666, Ensenada


Hotel Agua de Vid

This hipster playground has all the right elements for experience-seeking travelers, with its eco- friendly and industrial design, pool party scene, and rooftop La Tintorera bar with DJs and dancing. The property offers various accommodation options for your budget, whether you want a luxury multiroom apartment, a standalone suite, or a shared platform tent at their hostel, Zingaro. It’s next-gen Valle with a lively vibe.

Valle de Guadalupe;


El Casimiro

Tijuana chef José Figueroa has a new stomping ground on historic Avenida Revolución, inside Insurgente’s taproom. Don’t miss his avocado octopus toast, giant chicken sandwiches, or beef-birria-filled tortilla balls with ramonetti cheese and salsa macha aioli, a three-day labor of love. Naturally, it’s best washed down with a cold Insurgente brew.

Avenida Revolución 1, Tijuana

Baja - Malia

Baja – Malia


Malia Ocean Bar

Brewer, chef, and owner Omar Armas (formerly of Mantou Gastropub) has a new project where he’s making a medley of balanced beers, ranging from a modest, fruity IPA to coffee-infused stouts. His Berliner Weissen—a refreshing summer brew with notes of kombucha and sparkling wine fermented with jocoque cheese—pays homage to his days studying abroad in Germany. This oceanfront spot also sports a renowned mixologist, good music, and epic views.

Boulevard Estancia 143, Ensenada

Baja - Medina

Baja – Medina


La Medina

At SierraVita Winery, this new casual eatery sits hilltop under a thatched roof and serves up 360-degree views of the valley’s vines and olive groves. It’s a perfect perch to watch the sun set behind the mountains while sipping sangria or the artisanal wines produced in their 12-acre vineyard. Chef Luis Cardenas and Sandra Vazquez crush it on the culinary front with their chilaquile tacos, tuna tartare with a jalapeño emulsion, and giant shrimp, all the better when paired with their sweet and tart chenin blanc.

Valle de Guadalupe


Casa Tijuana Project

Despite the pandemic, culinary creativity carried on in Tijuana, evidenced by chef Juan Cabrera’s Casa Tijuana. The internationally recognized chef, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, set up shop in a residential apartment in the Hipódromo neighborhood and began cooking breakfasts, intimate meals, and takeout for locals. Now the word is out, and his food is all the rage. Lucky guests dine on roasted quail with orange chimichurri and black noodles, house specialty chiles en nogada, and corn cheesecake with red wine compote and lemon zest. But there are just four tabletops and a private room for eight upstairs, so be sure to call ahead and reserve a spot.

De las Ferias 5630, Tijuana 

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