It’s Saturday morning in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Phil and I decided to go check out a restaurant we had scouted out several weeks ago. The restaurant of choice is LA Estancia, located several blocks off of Benito Juarez Boulevard, the main street in Rosarito, parallel to the pay road (quota), on the ocean-side (as you’re heading south) in Rosarito Beach.
If you’re in Rosarito, you need to check this place out. If you’re in San Diego, you need to check this place out. If you’re driving to Ensenada, San Felipe or almost any town in Baja Norte, you owe it to yourself to stop in.
I’ve had great meals in Rosarito, Puerto Nuevo and Ensenada. The best breakfast I’ve had in Mexico, hands down, was served to me at La Estancia this morning. That’s not a knock against the many fine restaurants I’ve eaten at. The food at La Estancia is just that good.
I’m going to offer up several apologies. First, some of you may not be within travelling distance of the restaurant. I’m sorry about that. Secondly, we normally offer up a photograph of the plated food. We couldn’t wait long enough to pull out a camera so there are no photos of today’s breakfasts. Lastly, to my wife who loves lamb; yes, I’ll bring you here the next time you travel with me to Rosarito.
From the outside, La Estancia is an imposing piece of corner property. A water fall, consisting of old buoy floats, is in the road median, just outside. The restaurant offers a variety of seating options. There is an open air patio, a covered patio, several dining areas inside that can accommodate groups up to 40 or so. Upstairs, are several more dining areas.
The restaurant also offers a unique dining experience in their wine cave, located in the center of the restaurant. This space offers table seating for up to twenty, depending on whether you have separate tables or one long table. The cost to rent this space for the day is 500 pesos or approximately $40 US dollars. It’s a great place for an intimate dinner for two, a birthday or anniversary or other significant event in your life.
Phil had the Rib Eye steak and eggs. I’m guessing that the steak was at least 16 ounces. Cooked over a wood fire, it was tender, juicy and little bit the pink in the center. I’m a meat eater and tried some. That rib eye was comparable to any steak I’ve ever had in the United States. About an inch and a quarter thick, it had a little crust of juices roasted over the wood fire, and was cooked perfectly. Remember, this is the breakfast steak.
Alongside the wood fire the steaks are cooked on are the large stockpots where the day’s soups are prepared. Today’s was Tortilla soup, cooked in a pot that easily held 25 gallons of good eating.
Even before breakfast arrived, we had the usual bowl of salsa and chips. The restaurant has their own bakery so we also had hot rolls in several varieties, still warm from the oven. Coffee, served in old aluminum percolator-style pots is kept hot over the top rack in the wood-fire ovens. Several of the dining rooms have fireplaces in use, fueled by manzanita and other fragrant woods.
Coffee was also done well. It appeared that the beans were freshly ground and brewed. A touch of cinnamon was added; this enhanced the flavor greatly.
Arriving ahead of Phil’s steak was a fresh, crisp green salad. The steak came with two eggs, any style, a baked potato and freshly-made flour tortillas. The aroma of the steak, combined with the slight smokiness of the wood fire, made this an irresistible meal.
I decided to try the machaca, which I use as an indication of a restaurant’s ability to prepare what should be a basic Mexican breakfast. I decided to try the lamb, simply because I had never seen it offered up as machaca before.
To put it simply, La Estancia nailed it. The lamb was soft, well-shredded and still remained juicy and flavorful. The eggs were done well, but not overcooked. The peppers and tomatoes were cooked without being overcooked. The plate also came with a small potato pancake and refried beans.
Other items worth trying include the Quail appetizer (about $3.75 US), Rack of lamb (about $23 US) or any item involving beef.
The cost for the two breakfasts, and two cups of coffee, was exactly $20 US. The service was terrific and we had constantly filled coffee.
La Estancia opens for breakfast at 8 am and stays open until 10 pm during the week; weekend hours run to 11 pm. Credit cards are accepted. A full service bar is available. The in-house bakery has items available for take-out. There is a large screen TV in one of the dining room for those who like to watch sports. Tips are added to tables of six or more.
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