New South-Side Mexican Eatery A Must-Try

Tamales and beans from La Baja Cocina Mexicana, a new Baja California-inspired restaurant south of downtown.

Writer: Karla Walsh

In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, the team behind 
La Baja Cocina Mexicana (1938 S.E. Sixth St.) was putting the finishing touches on its expansive menu and colorful dining room makeover, set to open in mid-December. And with a spicy, sensational lineup of seafood ceviches, saucy chilaquiles, cozy soups and more, inspired by cuisine served in the Mexican state Baja California, it feels like a gift to have this restaurant join our city.

After spotting the new neighbor while picking up takeout from the Grateful Chef, their next door neighbor, I made plans for a first taste. Once there, it was a challenge to choose from all-day breakfast, chiles rellenos and grilled meats and fish. And you can get birria any which way (tortas, pizzas, soups, tacos, taquitos and quesatacos, or tacos with a cheese-stuffed shell).

We landed on a selection of a few tamales, tacos on homemade tortillas, and the barbacoa soup, which comes with more tortillas to scoop the meat and dunk into broth. Definitely don’t skip the refried beans, which came as a welcome surprise alongside the tamales. They’re ridiculously well-seasoned and creamy and among the best beans I’ve ever scooped up.

You can taste the care and detail the kitchen team puts into every aspect of every dish—from the zippy complimentary salsa served with warm corn tortillas chips to the fresh cilantro, onion and lime paired with every taco to make the savory flavors really pop.

See La Baja Cocina Mexicana’s menu and more details on Facebook. They’re open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pro tip: Lime margaritas are $3 on Wednesdays.

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