We almost skipped the street food in Ensenada…which would have been a massive mistake. It’s not that we aren’t adventurous eaters (we definitely are), it’s just that there are so many amazing restaurants and places to eat in Ensenada. There simply wasn’t enough time for us to eat everywhere we wanted to. It’s a really good problem for a city to have!
But the street food in Ensenada isn’t your typical street food, it’s more than that. It represents part of the culture of Ensenada. Delicious, fresh, affordable and easy to grab, its accessibility to almost anyone in Ensenada is part of its appeal. It’s almost like you’re eating the food of the people–comparable to an old family recipe prepared with love. That’s why we are so glad that we made time to try out Ensenada’s street food scene.
Still a little hesitant about eating seafood from a vendor on the street in Mexico? While we are by no means experts, we did try quite a few street food vendors while we were in Ensenada. Here are a few of our favorites and what we learned about the street food scene.
What To Order
A common theme among many of the street food vendors in Ensenada is seafood. It should come as no surprise since Ensenada is right on the water and seafood is one of their main exports. Even if you haven’t been a fan of the seafood you’ve tried in the past, we’d recommend you push your boundaries and try Ensenada’s seafood. It’s way fresher and better than most anything that you can get in the U.S.
Here are a few of our favorite dishes to try from Ensenada’s street food scene:
Ceviche is a seafood dish made with raw fish cured in citrus juices (like lemon or lime), then seasoned and served with chopped onion, cilantro, and other ingredients. A very popular street food in Ensenada, ceviche is a great place to try while visiting Ensenada because it’s incredibly fresh and served with great toppings, like avocado.
Ensenada is rumored to be the birthplace of the fish taco! This means that they are supposed to have some of the best fish tacos that you can get in Mexico, and we would have to agree. The lightly fried warm fish tacos that we tried while in Ensenada definitely knocked our socks off.
Best Street Food Vendor for Fish Tacos: Tacos Don Zefe
If seafood really isn’t your jam, no worries. There are still some great alternatives that will allow you to try out the street food scene while staying within your comfort zone. Chicken and beef tacos are always an option, and the meat is just as fresh as the seafood, with many vendors slicing the freshly cooked meat right in front of you.
Best Street Food Vendor for Chicken/Beef Tacos: Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez
Best Street Food Vendors in Ensenada
La Guerrerense is the epitome of Ensenada’s street food scene. Famous for being visited by foodie patrons like Anthony Bourdain, locals and tourists alike swear by the fresh ceviche served at La Guerrerense. The food stand itself may not look like much, but the long waiting lines should be your first indicator of the high quality of food created within the confines of this humble booth.
We stopped by one afternoon to try the ceviche that everyone in town had been raving about. It didn’t disappoint–the mixed fish ceviche was as fresh and juicy as everyone had promised, with unique flavors unlike any ceviche we had ever tasted. Just make sure to show up early if you want first pick of the menu since they tend to run out of ingredients towards the end of the day.
La Guerrerense operates on an honor system, perhaps one of the most charming things we witnessed in Ensenada. Patrons are allowed to enjoy their food standing around the booth, and then are expected to circle around the back to pay once they are done. There’s no tickets or receipts either–just tell the cashier what you ordered and they’ll take your word for it. And at only $25 Mexican Pesos for a ceviche, it’s a price that can’t be beat.
Mariscos El Guero
Mariscos El Guero is every bit as delicious as La Guerrerense and only a block away if you’re craving some more delicious seafood. Again, ceviche is the thing to order at Mariscos El Guero. And while they have many types of ceviche that you can order, we really recommend the shrimp ceviche. It is one of the best that we’ve ever had.
Like La Guerrerense, Mariscos El Guero is prone to long lines. Patrons circle around the booth on all sides, so it can be difficult to determine where to order at first. After ordering and paying the cashier, expect some truly delicious ceviche. At $100 Mexican Pesos for a ceviche, it is noticeably more expensive than La Guerrerense, but the portions are much larger.
Even better, Mariscos El Guero is just a block from Ensenada’s waterfront “Ventana al Mar” park. Grab your ceviche to go and take a stroll down to the waterfront park, where there are often street fairs and live music. The beautiful views paired with the delicious ceviche will have you planning your next trip to Ensenada before you’ve even left.
Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez
If you’re more of a red meat type of person, then Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez is the place for you. Located slightly inland and a few blocks from the more touristy areas of Ensenada, Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez is popular among locals.
You’ll smell the meat cooking as soon as you get in line. Rotisserie-style meats rotate tantalizingly behind the glass, with the women behind the counter chopping up freshly cooked meat right in front of you. We ordered one chicken taco and one carnitas taco–both were absolutely incredible.
Carnitas Hermanos Ramirez is also one of the few street food stops with seating available. There are plastic chairs and tables in the lot adjacent to the restaurant, so taco lovers rejoice! You can actually take your delicious tacos and sit down and eat them.
Tacos Don Zefe
Ensenada is the birthplace of the fish taco, and there’s no finer place to try a freshly fried fish taco than Tacos Don Zefe. The first thing you’ll see when you walk up to the window to order is fresh fish being fried. The scent is truly mouthwatering, but nothing is better than biting into that warm fish taco. They also serve fried shrimp tacos, which are also pretty incredible.
On the counter, fresh toppings are lined up for you to dress the taco yourself. I loved the taco dressing station, because I got to put the perfect ratio of toppings on my fish taco. Lots of guacamole and salsa, a little cabbage, and a few picked onions. Yum!
Tacos Don Zefe also has a small dining area, but seating is limited. There weren’t any tables available when we went so we just ate on the sidewalk.
Go on, try the street food. You have nothing to lose. And while you’re at it, try the crazy seafood item that you’ve never had before. Ensenada is truly the place to do it. We’ve made some of our most precious memories by pushing our boundaries a little. When you learn to put your biases aside and try something new, that’s when you really grow as a person.
Also, if you want to see how much we truly enjoyed trying out Ensenada’s street food scene, check out our street food tour video:
Don’t forget to check out these other posts from Baja California that you may like:
- Perfect Baja California Itinerary: Roadtrip to Tijuana, Rosarito & Ensenada
- 15 Epic Things To Do In Ensenada, Baja California
- Wine Tasting in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California’s Breathtaking Wine Country
- 16 Incredible Things To Do In Tijuana, Mexico
- Best Chinese Restaurants in Mexicali, Baja California
- 7 Amazing Places To Eat In Tijuana
- Popotla Fishing Village: Beachside Seafood in Mexico
- La Bufadora: Exploring Ensenada’s Marine Geyser
- 19 Amazing Things To Do In Rosarito, Mexico
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