It is magical how Tijuana keeps re-inventing itself. I would sooner run to Tijuana for a special occasion meal than any place else. Only recently, while having tea and a pastry with a Mexican girlfriend at Cafe de la Flor on Avenida Sonora in Tijuana, I became familiar with the phrase La Recta. La Recta, or the direct one, is the shortcut Avenida Sonora provides between Agua Caliente and the trendy Chapultepec neighborhood. It’s bordered on one side by the Tijuana Country Club and is home to cafes, interesting restaurants, little shops, upscale apartment buildings, and the only Pilates studio in northern Baja.
Don’t be distracted by the Starbucks on the corner. If you’d like coffee, try tiny Das Cortez across the street. Caffe Saverios, an older establishment (not to be confused with Villa Saverios elsewhere), has a comprehensive traditional menu.
Internationally celebrated 3-year old Erizo (meaning sea urchin) of the Plascencia group – you can never go wrong with any of their 6 restaurants – features an extensive seafood menu with choices as intriguing as “patas de mula” (mule paws) or chocolate clams I find hard to resist, abalone prepared many ways, numerous ceviches, and a long list of fish entrees. I could wax poetic rolling off items on this extensive and intriguing menu epitomized by freshness and creativity. You simply have to try it to understand. Indulge in a chilled glass of white wine or a pisco sour and watch locals as they scurry from one exclusive boutique to another.
Tabule, contrary to what the name suggests, is not a middle-eastern venue. After two visits, I can safely say it will be a favorite of mine. Last time, the ceviche I shared with my companion merely had plump capers and paper thin cucumber slices to enhance the freshness of the fish. It was followed by half a deboned duck – superb but way too much for one person – and a perfectly seared ahi tuna. Raoul, the waiter who has been working there since the restaurant opened 10 years ago, provided cheerful and attentive service.
There are at least half a dozen more restaurants which I have yet to try. Centrally located, La Recta is easy to reach. Go to Tijuana on the free road, turn right at Agua Caliente up to beyond where it becomes one way then right again on Sonora, directly across from the Soriana supermarket.