Manzanilla Restaurant: Where the ingredients of Baja California and cuisine truly shine

Follow the Pacific Ocean to amazing flavors

Manzanilla Restaurant: Where the ingredients of Baja California and cuisine truly shineImages by Kristin Díaz de Sandi/ Life and Food Blog.
Images by Kristin Díaz de Sandi/ Life and Food Blog.

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The drive down the coast from Tijuana to Ensenada, with the view of the sparkling Pacific Ocean frankly never gets old. The sun shining bright just makes the natural colors of the ocean truly come to life. I have actually stated to my husband a few times this summer, that it looks more blue than ever. We not only appreciate the beauty of the outside of the ocean, but the fruits that come from within as well. The accessibility that we have to the seafood in Baja California, is just incredible. Take that fresh seafood, local produce, and show it some passion, that my friends is what it's all about. Chef Benito Molina and Solange Muris are the couple behind Manzanilla Restaurant. You may have also had a chance to visit their seasonal restaurant in El Valle de Guadalupe, Silvestre. Even if you have not had the chance to visit any of the restaurants, you might have also watched their show Benito y Solange on Utilisima.

Manzanilla restaurant is located in Ensenada on a street filled with industrial buildings. The bright blue exterior stands out above the rest. The interior colors of purple and teal gave a nice compliment to the cool concrete floors, and warm wood furniture. Bright pink chandeliers hang from the ceiling which not only bring a nice pop of color, but I couldn't help but smile when I noticed them. It's like this little feeling of happiness comes over you. I tend to notice the tiniest of details, and sometimes those even stick out above the others for me. In this case, it was details like the wine bottles wedged into the concrete walls in the bathroom, to bring in just the right amount of light. Or maybe it was the woven metal placemats and dishes that brought out the color scheme just that much more. Now that I got that out of my system, it's time to hear about the main reason for our visit: the food.

The meal started off with an amuse bouche, of a sea urchin tostadita. This little one bite wonder had a nice clean acidity that rounded out the buttery sea urchin. and crunch of the tostada quite nicely.

The first course was a tiradito of Rock cod that was marinated in Raspberry vinaigrette, soy sauce, and olive oil. I got a lot of the ginger and Serrano chile in the background, but it worked very well in the overall dish. Light dishes, with clean flavors are so refreshing in the heat of the summer time.

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