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Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 | 61 comments

What to Eat in Rosarito, Baja California

Once we knew we were going to attend the Latin Food Festival, we made plans to cross the border at least for one day.

It is hard for us to spend only one day in Baja California but, hey, a day is better than nothing.

This time we settled for Rosarito, a small beach town located 10 miles south of the border.

Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

I have been to Rosarito many times, mainly while doing volunteer / missionary trips around the area. However, there were a lot of “firsts.” I have never been or stayed in Rosarito by myself. That means there was never the opportunity to explore at my pace.  Plus, and I didn’t realize this before leaving the house, my husband had never been to the town (not sure in what dream “we” visited).

So, an hour and a half after leaving the car in a parking lot in San Diego, crossing the border on foot and catching a bus in Downtown Tijuana, we made it to Rosarito.

Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

I messed up and exited the bus too soon. Thankfully, the locals directed in us in the correct direction and we found ourselves in the middle of town hungry for some tacos.

As a matter of fact, we only had food on mind when we decided to make the trek to Mexico.

So without further ado, here are some recommendations on what to eat in this fun town.

Arrachera Tacos

Arrachera is skirt steak.  A considerable number of businesses prepare it over oak on a metal box grill.  Then, the big pieces of meat are moved to a block of wood and cut into small pieces.  The flavorful chunks are served with onions, guacamole, cilantro and beans in a hearty flour tortilla (Baja is flour tortilla territory).

Locals and visitors swear for the arrachera tacos at El Yaqui. We had the pleasure of trying the tacos at this establishment and we can testify how delicious they are.  The official name of these tacos are perrones (which means cool, awesome or bada**). The tenderness of the meat goes so well with all the toppings.  My husband was mesmerized by the grilled, smoky jalapenos too.

El Yaqui, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

El Yaqui, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

This place is an institution in Rosarito and it has been visited by politician, artists, actors and so forth.

El Yaqui, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

El Yaqui, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

As you can imagine, people who have worked at El Yaqui at some point, had moved on and opened their own businesses.  This is the case of Tacos El Gerente and Tacos Manuel.  I have heard a lot of good things about these two places too (and they have good reviews in Yelp and TripAdvisor).

Tacos Manuel also offers carne asada, pork adobada, tripa, buche and other offal parts tacos.

El Yaqui, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico


Venison, Quail and Other Cuts of Meat

Since 1971, El Nido has been serving traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine.  Nevertheless, they have made a name for themselves by serving quail, venison, rabbit and lamb from local farms.

I tried the roasted quails (3 come in the order) and they were very good.  To be honest, I ate slow trying to savor every bit and piece.  My husband ordered the marlin tacos and they were delicious too.

El Nido, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

The eclectic restaurant decoration adds to the dinning ambience.

There is a new player in town serving game, steaks and seafood.  It is called Tapanco and it has found great success in a short amount of time.  This place is in my list of places to try during my next visit.


Several miles south of Rosarito you are going to find another small town called Puerto Nuevo (it is still in Rosarito’s municipality).

The self-described “Lobster Capital of Baja,” is the place where you can choose from dozens of restaurants serving up lobsters. According to tradition, the lobsters are pan-fried in lard, so the meat stays soft and tender with beans, rice and homemade flour tortillas served on the side.

Puerto Nuevo, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

Puerto Nuevo, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

We had six small lobster tails in a family owned restaurant.  Everything was tasty but we felt like we missed something.

When I visit a place, I try to buy local and stay small as much as possible.  This time my good desires backfired.  On a place like this, I think it is better to go with the masses.

The Puerto Nuevo Restaurants (same name as town) and La Perlita have a good reputation.

Puerto Nuevo, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

It is not a secret that the lobsters in town come from a refrigerator (but taste really good anyway).  For fresh lobster, visit Vince’s Fish Market and Restaurant in central Rosarito.

Fish Tacos

I prefer to satisfy my fish tacos fix in Ensenada.  If for some reason, you are not going to be able to make it to the big city, Tacos Baja Jr. or Mariscos German are good options.

Latin Food Fest


Go directly to La Flor de Michoacan for delicious carnitas (braised or simmered pork in oil or preferably lard until tender).

La Flor de Michoacan, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

La Flor de Michoacan, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

Asada, Adobada and Other Tacos

I have seen tons of reviews giving thumbs up to Tacos El Paisano.  This establishment, located on the main street, is cheap and full of locals.

I was excited to visit because I saw the “taqueros” preparing the adobada trompo (marinated pork spin) in the morning.  I was disappointed when I gave that first bite to the taco I desired all day long.

El Paisano, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

The meat and guacamole sauce were bland.  Not even salt saved it.  I cannot recommend this place.

We also went to another taco place owned by El Paisano, I can’t remember the name but it is not good either.

El Paisano, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

El Paisano, Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

For good asada, adobada and other cuts of meat, go to Tacos El Zurdo or to Tacos Manuel (mentioned in the arrachera area).

What to Do Between Meals

There is plenty to do around town between meals.  You can visit the beach, the markets, the crafts area, the Rosarito Beach Hotel or the many shops in town.  Remember to stroll around the beach during sunset.

Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico

Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico


  • Make sure you are given the correct change if you are using dollars.  The value of the peso is constantly fluctuating and even a math genius can get confused.
  • If you are going after a lobster meal, take note of everything that is offered to you for one price. Sometimes, restaurant owners want to charge you extra for something they offered you when trying to get you to eat at their restaurant.
  • Visit places where the food is moving fast and served piping hot to avoid getting sick.

What dish would you like to try in Rosarito?

Ready to pin? Let’s do this!

Rosarito, a city located about 10 miles south of Tijuana, is an eating paradise in Baja California. Find tacos, grilled lobster, game meats and more.



    • The lobster was very good. I feel like I could have eaten 6 more tails (or even more).

    • I could go for an arrachera taco too. That is one of the best cuts of meats you find on the streets of Mexico.

  1. Oh Ruth, as usual, your photos of all this delicious food area a-mazing! I have to go make dinner now … and it’s not even 4pm!! 🙂
    Lyndall recently posted..Going back to where I came fromMy Profile

    • Thanks Lyndall! I would mind being a food photographer ;0)

    • Mexico is one of my favorite countries in the entire world. Plus, it doesn’t hurt we can visit as a day trip. There is much more I want to discover about this country.

    • No problem. Hope you can take advantage of the delicious Mexican dishes soon.

  2. OMG. this looks so good… I just had dinner and I am hungry again. You can’t get good Mexican food here in London beyond the usual burritos (there are some good Latin American restaurants though).
    Shobha recently posted..A Magical Visit to the Elf Garden in IcelandMy Profile

    • Hmm interesting. I would like to try some of that Latin American food in London. I think that would be an interesting experience.

    • Thanks Stephanie! Sorry about waking up your appetite. Some food deserves to be shared.

    • It would be great to go to a country in South America or Europe and bump into a food festival. In Asia, we have night markets, so, we can go on a food frenzy any day of the week.

  3. I love Mexican food. When we lived in Southern California we frequently went to Mexico on vacations. I have lots of fond memories of excellent meals, especially the local lobsters. – Margy
    Margy recently posted..I’ll take a Boomer Burger …My Profile

    • I haven’t explored Mexico as I much I have want. We have been many times to Baja but I feel like I still have lots to see. Plus, we always discover a new place to eat.

  4. It all looks so delicious, I can’t pick just one thing I’d like to eat! It’s all making me hungry. What a fantastic place to go on a trip.

    • You are so funny! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Thanks for the gastronomic tour of rosarito. I really hope we get there one day or even to California where I believe the Mexican food is great too. 🙂
    budget jan recently posted..Walking Zagreb and AirbnbMy Profile

    • Yes, Mexican food is great in here. You have to come one day to try it.

    • Now that you say that, I feel like moving there and opening a Mexican restaurant. I bet you it will be a great success.

  6. I wish Rosarito was just a day trip from here! We have a couple of Mexican restaurants here that are both pretty bland. I’d love to be able to get the real thing. Your photos are gorgeous, by the way!
    Rachel Heller recently posted..A Tale of Two Seoul NeighborhoodsMy Profile

    • Even though I live in Los Angeles, we have our fair share of bad “Mexican” restaurants around. I hate when I want to try a place and it ends up being bland.

    • Thanks! Love to get to Baja!

  7. Colourful scenery and yummy food… two of my favorite things in life! Your photos are wonderful. Made me hungry! I’m a vegetarian but I have to admit, many Latin and Hispanic dishes still make my mouth water, meat or no. I have a hard time sticking to my guns at my mother in law’s house!

    • Kelly, the good thing is that a lot of the food in Mexico can be had without meat. It still would taste great. For example, the arrachera tacos I had had beans, onions, guacamole and salsa. One of does will taste delicious without the meat.
      Ruth recently posted..Traditional Irish Pub Experiences in GalwayMy Profile

    • I can eat fish and other seafood tacos every day. They are that good!

  8. Ah, Rosarito! I haven’t been there in ages, Ruth! I don’t like Mexico lately. Doesn’t seem to be safe anymore. I used to go very often 15-20 years ago, but now… I wouldn’t go back. They have great food, though.
    Anda recently posted..Lake Como, the Playground of the Rich and FamousMy Profile

    • Well, there are places that are not safe for travelers but, due to the huge size of the country, there are places that are perfectly tranquil and ready for tourism. The US Department of State clearly described which places (states) are safe and which should not be visited (these are general guidelines but there are other ways to find out about the real safety of a place).

  9. Oh Ruth now you have me drooling, a Latin Food Festival sounds like so much fun and that lobster looks amazing. Thanks for sharing with us at #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Lyn – A Hole in my Shoe recently posted..Autumn in AraluenMy Profile

    • Paula, it is one of those little but great food towns. And, I barely scratched the surface. There are many more places to eat.

    • The tacos perrones were pretty awesome. I will make them my first stop next time too! Plus, I want to try the lobster at other restaurants.

  10. I could go for almost any of it right now. I love to eat in Mexico but the “covered in melted cheese” version served across Australia is a poor substitute. I am very hungry now!
    Dean recently posted..Where to have a Pik Nik in CancunMy Profile

    • There is nothing like real Mexican food. Even here in California, there are a lot of places that do not it the mark (but charge exorbitant places). I know how frustrating it can be when you can are craving delicious Mexican food and end up with a cheap imitation.

  11. I love all of the amazing colours of the street art on the buildings here – it’s so pretty! I wish all cities and towns were colourful that way. The food looks amazing too – I’ve never had lobster but so many people tell me it’s delicious and it looks so good! I really need to save up and get some travelling under my belt and see some of these places! Lovely photos as always Ruth. – Tasha
    Natasha recently posted..On The WingMy Profile

    • Thanks a lot Tasha! I enjoy color too. I think that is why I am so attracted to places with vibrant colored buildings and huge markets. I think that is why Mexico is one of my favorite laces in the world.

    • Thanks! I enjoy putting food posts a lot. Finding new places to eat is one of my favorite things to do.

  12. OH. MY. GOD. I would try them ALL! I love love love Mexican food and could probably eat it for every meal. All of these tacos look absolutely amazing. I was just in San Diego and was planning to go down to Mexico for a night when I realized I didn’t bring my passport along on the trip! I was SO disappointed!! I’m keeping this post handy for the next time I’m in the area!! Thanks for making me drool! 😀

    • Oh no! What a bummer! Tijuana is full of awesome restaurants. I keep going and discovering great places to eat. Love to escape to Mexico even for a day (lucky me for living in Southern California).

  13. I should know better than to read a blog about food! Your pictures are great – just looking at them makes me hungry.
    Ruth Daly recently posted..Peggy’s CoveMy Profile

    • Ruth, sorry for making you hungry. You know I love to post food photos.

  14. Oh how I miss living in San Diego, I miss being by the border so I can eat delicious food like this! I am not so hungry for some authentic Mexican food. This all just looks so delicious, my mouth is watering lol great post!
    Yvonne @ Lost with Yvonne recently posted..Island # 3: St. Thomas, US Virgin IslandsMy Profile

    • Sophie, a lot of food in Mexico and Rosarito is ideal for vegetarians. Tacos can be prepared with beans, onions, peppers, avocado, guacamole, nopales (cactus leave) or squash blossom. Then, they can be topped with one of the delicious salsas. There are a lot of restaurants serving smoothies and salads.

  15. Those tacos look amazing. i would eat any and all of them! the first look the most interesting. And i love your ability to spot exotic local art every place you go!
    eileen g recently posted..6 Outer-Banks Outdoor AdventuresMy Profile

  16. I absolutely ADORE Mexican food! I had some wonderful streetside tacos in Monterrey and since I know the cuisine varies by state I would relish the opportunity to try the perrones in Rosarito. They look pretty bada**.

    That said, it would be pretty interesting to try the local venison as well.
    Linda Bibb recently posted..8 Places to Visit in India During NovemberMy Profile

  17. My mouth is watering looking at all your photos. I’m seriously craving a ton of Mexican food now. What a great way to spend the day/weekend. All that food makes me think I somehow need to make a trip down there. Now, if I can only convince my hubby to cross the border. I have heard so much about the Baja lobsters and that’s probably what I would eat first.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Snapshots from the Colorful Isle of Burano, ItalyMy Profile


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