Manzanilla represents the best of Baja’s Gastronomic Movement. Fresh local seafood combined with the best local and regional ingredients and food products prepared in innovative fashion. Combine the artistically crafted dishes created by Chef/Owner Benito Molina with some of the best wine offerings coming out of Ensenada’s Valle de Guadalupe and you can see why Manzanilla has fast become the place to be for food and wine lovers.
One thing I have noticed in my travels is things happen later in Mexico, for example, it is not uncommon to find people going out to dinner after 8 or 9pm. On a typical late Saturday evening you will find Manzanilla filled with a lively, upbeat and friendly crowd in a vibrant yet relaxed, cozy setting. Every time I’m inside Manzanilla I feel totally immersed in the environment. The focal point of the decor is a magnificent wood bar. The Art is selected by Benito and features local Mexican artists. The dining area is still evolving, however Manzanilla has already developed great character.
On my most recent visit I was greeted by the always welcoming and gracious Javier Martinez. Javier runs Manzanilla with Chef Benito Molina and Benitos wife Solange Muris who is also a chef. The menu focuses on local, seasonal produce, fresh seafood, regional meats, and artisan cheeses. The value at Manzanilla is exceptional with entrees averaging 175MN or $12.00USD at the current exchange rate. I normally put myself in the chef's hands and leave the ordering up to them, this allows them to showcase the full range of their talents and creativity and choose from the best available products on the day. Some highlights of my past visits are....
Calamares Manches a perfect blend of squid, beets, herbs and spices.
The Risottos here are amongst my favorite dishes at Manzanilla. Pictured is the Risotto de Mar perfectly prepared creamy risotto blended with various local seafood and cheeses topped with yellowtail and babysquid.
I'm at loss for words for the aged Sonoran Rib Eye steak, I will let the picture do the talking.
Every time I have had a Tiradito de Pescado I have been suprised with a new flavor combo. I would have to say this combination was the best. Light, sweet, and somewhat briny flavor of the Sea Urchin complemented by the rich, tender, and buttery Toro (Tuna Belly), whats not to love?
I love hearing a story behind my meal and one thing that's great about Manzanilla is chances are someone in the dining room was involved with your meal in one way or another. A few weeks ago I met the purveyor of the oysters. The wonderful oysters I had that night were Japanese Kumamoto Oysters pulled from San Quentin Baja. The little plump guys were firm but yielding, creamy, buttery, and sweet. Kiss the Sea.
Save room for dessert they have a choice of Chocolate Souffle, Creme brulee, and Mousse of the day. The wonderful Cascada de Chocolate (Chocolate Souffle) is my guilty pleasure.
This weekend I was delighted to try a new creation by Señor Molina, Thinly sliced Deer laced with fennel from the garden outside, and Yucatan chilimole sauce, all I can say is WOW. Come experience the Culinary Movement in Baja, the possibilities are endless.
Manzanilla is Located at Teniete Azueta 139, Ensenada Baja California Mexico.The Restaurant is across from the shipyard, currently the Black Pearl (the ship from Pirates of the Caribbean) is anchored. The hours are from Wednesday to Saturday 1pm to 1 am. The Phone number is (646 175 70 73) From U.S Dial 011 52 646 175 70 73
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