Paseo Chapultepec, a sprawling open-air mall, is located in the tony Chapultepec neighborhood of Tijuana. The shopping and lifestyle center is known for hosting upscale eateries such as the popular La Cayetana, which opened in 2016. This year, on September 23rd, a second fine dining option was inaugurated directly across from La Cayetana —Lorenza by Grupo Los Arcos. You can make an online reservation to Lorenza.
If the group’s name seems familiar, one might be thinking of the mariscos (seafood) restaurant Los Arcos in Tijuana, a northwestern expansion of the original location in Culiacán, Sinaloa. In addition to these two eateries, Grupo Los Arcos owns and operates 24 restaurants throughout Mexico with 3 in Tijuana — Cabanna as well as Los Arcos and Lorenza.
Lorenza Restaurant, Paseo Chapultepec, Tijuana. Photo: W. Scott Koenig
According to Lorenza General Manager Benjamín Cama, “In 2018, the owners of Grupo Los Arcos wanted to expand their culinary offerings and create a new proposal that offered something other than the seafood typical of our restaurants.They also wanted to provide a very high level of service and present an elegant interpretation of traditional Mexican cuisine.”
To that end, Lorenza’s menu includes a lengthy list of options based on regional specialties. There’s nothing at all experimental or pretentious about the food here. The recipes are familiar but prepared of high-quality ingredients with exceptional skill, delivered and executed – in the case their tableside options – by a large, highly efficient front-of-house staff in an artistically-designed, well-lit dining room. It’s a high-end experience in a comfortable setting.
Lorenza’s dining room. Photo: W. Scott Koenig
The eatery’s slogan is “Concina Apasionada” (Passionate Cuisine) and that passion is evident on every plate. Their delectable tacos are most representative of Mexico’s regional diversity, with choices ranging from Yucatanean cochinita pibil (pork with achiote) to Mixta Ahogada, a nod to the ahogoada (drowned) torta from Guadalajara. Tacos are served on Lorenza’s luxuriant, warm, house-made blue and yellow corn, chipotle and harina (flour) tortillas.
Taco Lorenza. Photo: W. Scott Koenig
Lorenza allows guests to select from a butcher’s block of their raw cut 2” thick Sonoran steaks – ribeye, vaquero (cowboy steak) or a savory, sumptuous cabrería – off-the-bone tenderloin grilled, drizzled in mezcal, fired and combined tableside with thinly sliced fried potatoes and a melty queso of mozzarella and Oaxacan quesillo (string cheese). The supple filets are perfectly seasoned and cooked. It’s meat and potatoes a la Mexicana.
Cabrería tableside presentation. Photo: W. Scott Koenig
The restaurant’s Tuétano (bone marrow) Mongol is topped with grilled octopus, radish and dollops of avocado and jocoque, a type of thick, creamy buttermilk with its curdled origins in the cuisines of Sinaloa and Jalisco. Bone marrow has been enjoying its “moment” in Baja California, but Lorenza’s version is absolutely one of the most tempting and flavorful in the region.
Tuétano Mongol. Photo: W. Scott Koenig
Homage is paid to the group’s home base in Sinaloa with the expected checklist of raw and cooked seafood dishes. The Jurel (yellowtail) Lorenza is very good but doesn’t rise above other tiraditos – a staple in Baja California – in its preparation here. Perhaps the most outstanding part of this dish are the house-made blue and yellow corn tostadas that accompany the tiradito. They’re satisfyingly crunchy and are more redolent of corn than most run of the molina tortillas, adding another dimension of taste when topped with the tiradito.
Jurel Lorenza. Photo: W. Scott Koenig
Pulpo Josper is another dish endemic to the region but exceeds the grilled octopus available in Tijuana and beyond. A portion of meaty, well tenderized and grilled octopus is served adobado and cut into portions, tableside. A small cup of additional adobado is served with the dish and can be ladled over the meat to keep it moist. It’s flavorful, toothsome and may even win over those who typically shy away from dishes of the tentacled cephalopod.
Make an online reservation to Lorenza.
Pulpo Josper. Photo: W. Scott Koenig
For dessert, the marshmallow cake with graham cracker and chocolate appeals to the diner’s sense of nostalgia. It’s just like the camp-time smores of childhood, only charred tableside with a chef torched, flaming liquor instead of an open wood fire. It’s best enjoyed with a shot of Lágrima de Jaguar (tear of the jaguar) mezcal, flavored with a deeply sweet jamaica, the perfect digestivo and end to an amazing meal at Tijuana’s newest hot restaurant.
Lorenza is located at Agua Caliente 10387, Plaza Paseo Chapultepec, Colonia Neidhart, 22020, Tijuana, B.C., Mexico. Open Mon-Thu 1-11:30PM, Fri & Sat 1PM-12:30AM, Sun 1-7PM.
Original article by: W. Scott Koenig