Mexico: Finca Altozano

I know nothing about wine, so while the girls and my sister were sipping their way through a wine tasting at Vinicola Torres Alegre y Familia, I was focusing my energy on digesting all that I ate that morning.  It was a necessary endeavor seeing as how our next stop was Finca Altozano:

One of Mexican celebrity chef Javier Plascencia's restaurants, Finca Altozano is a trendy oasis seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  With its open dining space, it's a place not only to enjoy excellent food, wine, and scenic views, but also to indulge in some people watching:

We didn't have reservations, but managed to squeeze into a bit of space at the bar.  From our perch overlooking the restaurant, we were able to see all the people in their Sunday best.  (Well, Saturday best, I suppose.)  As it's not exactly a budget restaurant, the patrons Finca Altozano attracts tend to lean more middle to high socioeconomic status.  The contrast between that scene and our observations in Tijuara as well as en route to Ensenada served as a stark reminder of our privilege.

That didn't stop us from enjoying our meal though.

Since I have no interest in alcohol, I volunteered to DD, letting the girls and my sister drink to their hearts' content.  RW ordered the sangria altozano (95 pesos or around $5.30), while CEK ordered the pepino misionero (90 pesos or around $5):

You know you're in a hip place when drinks come in mason jars.

My sister got the clericot blanco (85 pesos or around $4.70):

Don't ask me if the drinks were good or not.  I have no clue.  I thoroughly appreciated my agua de pepino (40 pesos or around $2.20) though:

It's an obsession now.  I'm officially obsessed with cucumber and lime water.  So much so that when I spotted virtually untouched jars on yet-to-be-cleared tables, I was seriously tempted to dart over and grab them for myself.

We nibbled on complimentary bread while waiting for our food to arrive:

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was sourdough bread.  I love sourdough.  We were a little disappointed by the lack of accompanying butter or olive oil at first, but we later found a much better use for the bread.

Our lunch-but-not-lunch started with octopus ceviche on mini tostadas (120 pesos or around $6.60):

Each bite was just the perfect blend of flavors and textures.

The tostadas were followed by grilled corn on the cob (65 pesos or around $3.60):

The cobs were slathered in butter, chiltepin cream, lime juice, parmesan cheese, and hazelnut.

Instead of the big meat entrees, we opted for wood-fired tacos, because, yeah:

There were many different taco options.  We got the refried beans with cheese (95 pesos or around $5.20):

The beef rib in salsa roja (125 pesos or around $7):

And the beef cheek (110 pesos or around $6):

The scene-stealer, however, was the roasted bone marrow (160 pesos or around $8.90):

The bone marrow was served with tortillas, but we demolished those really quickly.  This is where the bread came in handy.  Warm marrow on sourdough...sigh.  That's what sweet dreams are made of.

There are definitely items on Finca Altozano's menu that are very much equivalent to American prices.  A New York strip loin will set you back around $36, while rib eye will cost you $32.  However there are also plenty of more affordable options if you skip the main dishes and stick with the tacos and starters.  I mean, $9 for bone marrow?  That's insane.  A restaurant of that prestige and quality could easily charge double that amount here.

While I'm all about food stands and hole in the wall joints, even I can appreciate a nice restaurant from time to time.  I might not go out of my way to Valle de Guadalupe just to dine at Finca Altozano again, but I would certainly recommend it to people visiting the area.

Consider making reservations ahead of time though.  Don't get stuck hovering over people in hopes of snatching their bar seats like we did.

Finca Altozano
Carr. Ensenada-Tecate Km 83 Col. Ejido Francisco Zarco
22750 Baja California Mexico
+52 646 156 8045


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