By Jennifer Kramer
It’s no secret that Baja’s wine region, Valle De Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley), has become a mecca for people seeking delectable wine and culinary excellence. Likened by many as the next Napa Valley, the region is rapidly growing into that title with a wealth of new boutique wineries and restaurants with acclaimed chefs who flocked to the valley to open up their campestres, or country eateries.
One of the most famous restaurateurs from Baja, Javier Plascencia, was not to be outdone. He and his family have numerous restaurants in Tijuana and San Diego, including Mision 19, Giuseppis, and Caesar’s in Tijuana and Romesco in San Diego. Javier opened Finca Altozano in 2012 on Hillock Farm in the Guadalupe Valley as his country BBQ and it has quickly become a favorite of visitors to the valley.
Finca Altozano is clearly a place meant for enjoying life. You can’t help spending an afternoon there and not thinking that life is great. The first thing you’re aware of is how serenely beautiful and relaxing the space is. The restaurant is refreshingly open air and the stunningly simple and rustic decor puts everyone at ease. From the restaurant, you look out onto the vineyards on the property with the rest of the Guadalupe Valley as the background. There are areas around the property to lounge while sipping wine, enjoying the company of friends and taking in the views of the valley. Some of these spots are giant oak wine barrels. You can take stairs up to the top where you’ll find a seating area and spectacular views to accompany your glass of wine.
Then there’s the food in the restaurant that’s so delicious and thoughtfully prepared you can’t help but marvel over each bite. The food is all local, so the menu changes on a regular basis and is based on what’s available from the orchards, farms and ranches in the Guadalupe Valley. The kitchen is open so you can watch the meat cooking on the barbecue and observe the chefs preparing the fresh ingredients.
Unlike many of the other upscale restaurants in the Guadalupe Valley that offer set courses, at Finca Altozano, you’re free to order whatever you like from the menu. The octopus appetizer was delightfully flavorful (dare I say, the best octopus I’ve ever had) as were the mushrooms that our server suggested but weren’t even on the menu. The sophisticated blends of flavors and fresh ingredients generate new takes on Mexican classics. The lamb birria as the main course was deliciously savory and practically melted in your mouth. Local wines and craft beers round out the experience.
When you need to take a break from your regular routine and you’re looking for an indulgent reminder of how great life can be, head to Finca Altozano.
KM 83 Carretera Federal 3
Tecate-Ensenada Ejido Francisco Zarco,
Valle de Guadalupe 22750
Baja California, México
GPS: 32.066555, -116.601646