Skip to main content


Manzanilla: Enjoying Straightforward Seafood Near a Baja Bay

By Joshua Lurie | August 16, 2011

Teniete Azueta 139
Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
011 52 646 175 7073

Date of Visit: June 16, 2011

After a long day of experiencing intensive back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back cooking demos at Congreso Ensenada Gastronómica, it was obvious where the after party would be, at Manzanilla, a funky restaurant from Benito Molina and chef-wife Solange that celebrates local seafood on a side street near the harbor.

Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza once again led us down that path, as he did in 2009, during an epic introduction to Baja.

The Molinas are some of the best-known chefs in Baja. He previously worked at the Four Seasons in Mexico City and she attended culinary school in Charlotte before they became restaurateurs and TV stars in Mexico.

 The couple currently owns two restaurants: Manzanilla in Ensenada, and Silvestre, a campestre in Valle Del Guadalupe. 

Unfortunately, Muelle Tres recently changed hands, so it will no longer be possible to enjoy their renditions of seafood dishes and ceviche.

Unfortunately, the two dishes that the couple prepared at Congreso Ensenada Gastronomia weren’t on the menu: shelled clams with black beans and Iberico pork fat – which Benito Molina described as a “Combinacion de mar y tierra increible” (incredible combination of sea and land); or the sardines with rigatoni and chile-rich tomato sauce. 

Still, we found plenty of hearty, relatively straightforward and flavorful dishes. So did a number of Mexico’s top chefs, many of whom presented at Congreso Ensenada Gastronómica, filled a table near the bar during our visit, including Tabasco’s Aquiles Chavez and Oaxaca’s Alejandro Ruiz.

We sat the wood bar, surrounded by plenty of art, pink lamp chandeliers, banquettes and mirrors. 

Out back, Manzanilla hosts a fenced-in patio with a tree and chairs.

We received an Amuse Bouche of estofado de lengua de res estilo Oaxaca (Oaxaca-style beef tongue stewed) with chile colorado and black beans and garnished with fragrant avocado leaves.

Ostiones (90 pesos ~ $7.50) a las brasas con mantequilla de estragon con chiles consisted of plump, sweet grilled oysters served on the half shell, bathed in tarragon butter, with the shells firmly planted in a bed of dark roasted salt.

Abulon (100 pesos) frito con perejil salsa de soja y gengibre read better on the page than it tasted on my tongue. They lightly breaded and fried strips of local abalone, but they were fairly dry. Still, the dish did find some redemption with crispy fried parsley leaves and gingered soy sauce.

Tiradito (140 pesos) de pescado con jengibre, chile serrano y salsa de soya worked out even better, featuring firm pink rocote (rockfish) with big flavor thanks to a dressing of soy sauce, Serrano chile, minced ginger and chives.

Pescado (160 pesos) del dia con pure de garbanzos, chayotea y acelgas turned out to be the showstopper, juicy sheets of pink-fleshed rocote with well-seasoned, crisped skin, salted chard, firm squash cubes and rustic “hummus” minus the tahini.

Desserts were simple but enjoyable. My pick was fluffy pumpkin mousse (50 pesos) drizzled with piloncillo (brown sugar syrup) and crumbled gingersnap cookies, which disappeared in an instant.

Cascada (70 pesos) was less exciting, but still a good version of molten chocolate cake served on a jagged marble slab, dusted with powdered sugar and featuring cascading dark chocolate, as predicted by the name, which translates from Spanish as waterfall.

On my previous visit to Manzanilla in 2009, we only managed to try a couple dishes, and when a restaurant serves such high-quality seafood, that’s clearly unacceptable. 

Now if we can only get our hands on some more sardines next time.

Popular posts from this blog


While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
Perhaps it is time for a GLOBAL taste test ???

In alphabetical order by Country....



Alphonso (mango)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 

It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

Mangoes date back 65 million years according to research ...

Experts at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (BSIP) here have traced the origin of mango to the hills of Meghalaya, India from a 65 million year-old fossil of a mango leaf. 

The earlier fossil records of mango (Mangifera indica) from the Northeast and elsewhere were 25 to 30 million years old. The 'carbonized leaf fossil' from Damalgiri area of Meghalaya hills, believed to be a mango tree from the peninsular India, was found by Dr R. C. Mehrotra, senior scientist, BSIP and his colleagues. 

After careful analysis of the fossil of the mango leaf and leaves of modern plants, the BISP scientist found many of the fossil leaf characters to be similar to mangifera.

An extensive study of the anatomy and morphology of several modern-day species of the genus mangifera with the fossil samples had reinforced the concept that its centre of origin is Northeast India, from where it spread into neighbouring areas, says Dr. Mehrotra. 

The genus is believed to have disseminated into neighb…

DHL (INDIA) makes gifting mangoes as easy as 1-2-3-....

Gifting mangoes is now easy with DHL
Announcement / Corporate

 May 19, 2011, 14:04 IST

Come this summer pamper your loved ones abroad with a box of delicious mangoes through DHL’s Express Easy Mango service, a unique one-stop-shop and hassle-free service for gifting mangoes all across the world.

This unique service by DHL Express, the world’s leading express company, allows customers to send mangoes from India across the world to the following countries Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxemburg, Maldives, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Qatar Singapore, Switzerland and Sweden.

Mangoes can be availed of free of cost by merely paying for the Air Express service. In addition, DHL Express assists customers with the necessary paperwork along with procurement of quality-grade Alphonso mangoes.

Commenting on the new service, Mr. R.S Subramanian, Country Head, DHL Express India said: “With the advent of the mango season, it is no wonder that DHL Express Ea…