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“Fabulous shrimp risotto, eggplant ravioli, braised short rib!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Laja

Laja
Francisco Zarco | Carretera Tecate-Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
+646 155-2556
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Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
guadalajara
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
102 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Fabulous shrimp risotto, eggplant ravioli, braised short rib!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

We visited the Valle de Guadalupe wine country on Saturday, and dined at fabulous Laja restaurant. A friend recommended having the chef's tasting menu, which we did, with the wine pairings. Everything was so good, but the highlights of the evening were the perfectly cooked risotto, the exquisite eggplant ravioli and the braised short rib, perfect on a cold night like saturday's. This is definitely a restaurant I would try again! Great overall experience! Keep up the good work!

  • Visited November 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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67 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
los angeles
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Ultimate in refined cuisine”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2011

A serendipitous dining experience. I always look forward to a meal there for the creative preparations of the chef. The menu changes according to the chef's fancy and the availability of local fresh food. The organic veggies come from the garden. The wine list is superb.

  • Visited October 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Ensenada, Mexico
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great disappointment”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2011

Home-grown vegetables sounded scrumptious - ideal for vegetarians. A friend who is a vegetarian told us that when he ate there -- without having let them know in advance that he was a vegetarian -- and found he could not eat much of the meal because it was meat, yet he was charged the same $610 pesos as a meat-eater. So we called in advance to see if they could accomodate vegetarians. "Sure," they said, and told us that the price for vegetarians was the same because was costly to garden-grow all their own vegetables. They assured us they would prepare a delicious vegetarian meal for the two vegetarians in our group of 6. That sounded great so we made a reservation for 6 PM. When we got there they had us down for 8 instead of 6, even though we'd been assured twice by phone that it was 6. And it turned out that the scrumptious vegetarian meal was just a half a cup of risotto which is basically rice - not something they grow in their garden. When we asked if we could have on the side a few of the vegetables that accompanied the meat dishes -- some roasted red peppers and squash, they said they'd have to charge extra -- on top of their already super high price. So I asked for the vegetables instead of the rice, but all they gave me was a small serving of the Squash.

Even though their menu is very simple - only two choices for each course, and even though we were the only ones in the restaraunt, and even though they wrote down our choices, they repeatedly got it mixed up and brought us the wrong thing. Then one or two of us would have to wait forever for the right item to be brought out -- while the others finished that course.

It was in the midst of a beautiful orchard, but other than that it was a very dissapointing experience -- certainly not worth the money. At least for vegetarians, there was no spectacular dish. Save your money and go to Media Camino instead. While the Half Way House lacks the beautiful view and atmospher of Laja, Chef Johnney is a far better cook. His Traditional Chile en Nogada stuffed pepper dish is amazing - and at a far lower price. And he, too, grows his own herbs. Throughout the Ensedada region there are many better choices than Laja.

  • Visited October 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Gives most Napa Valley restaurants a run for the money”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2011

We decided to avoid the TJ border crossing on our annual trip north to the US from Los Cabos, and wanted to do the Baja Norte wine country south of the Tecate border. Aside from the great fun we had touring through the rustic Valle de Guadalupe and its nascent inns and wineries, we had a spectacular meal at Laja.

Somehow we each decided to eat the eight course meal, and it took us about 3 hours. It was late on a hot afternoon, but we were cool inside the stone interior with some local Mexican vintners enjoying their meals. We started with an arugula salad and beet and fennel gazpacho - even I could get it down and I HATE beets. Bluefin tuna carpaccio sliced impossibly thin. Salsify ravioli, crunchy, creamy and chewy altogether. Then main courses of local sea bass and lamb, the tenderest I've ever eaten. Desserts were spectacular - a white-on-white panacotta with lychee ice cream and a fruit tart.

I was driving so didn't drink wine, instead having some home made exotic desert tea. My other drank all local delicious Valle de Guadalupe wines, and slept well on the ride across the border.

If you live anywhere in SoCal you should ignore the concerns about traveling in Mexico and hop across the border ASAP to enjoy the valley and this restaurant. The winery experience is similar to Amador County on the way up to Tahoe or maybe Livermore, each about 10-15 years ago. Delightful people and wineries, rustic but inspired lodging, and world-class dining like Laja. We're going again soon.

  • Visited July 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Marina del Rey
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“Even Better than in Dec. 2008--the food is exquisite!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2011

Arrived at 1:30 for Friday lunch last week and had the place nearly to ourselves--sharing the porch with one other guest. Two 4-course menus are offered (at the same price) and my husband and I each order one and then share so that we can taste all 8 dishes. We had the waiter pair wines with each course. Everything was magnificent and we were introduced to several wines that were new to us, like the Shimul Albarobo.

  • Visited May 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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