If there’s one restaurant in Tijuana that nearly always makes the #1 spot on lists of best restaurants, it’s Javier Plascencia’s Mision 19. The New York Times, Anthony Bourdain, Sunset Magazine and The New Yorker have covered the restaurant (among many others) and it’s sometimes hard to expect that a restaurant this hyped-up will live up to the publicity.
So when a close friend wanted to celebrate her birthday with a nice, intimate dinner with friends in Tijuana, we decided to put Mision 19 to the test. And the restaurant didn’t just live up to all the hype, it was somehow able to even exceed expectations.
We started the evening one floor up from Mision 19 at their sister establishment Bar 20, a swanky lounge serving up mixologist cocktails. The “Sangria 20” and the “Mezcalero” were both incredibly delectable. They also have a selection of beers (including some good Baja craft beers) and regional wines. It’s a great place to meet for a drink before heading down to Mision 19 for dinner. We all imbibed in a few delicious cocktails before heading downstairs to the restaurant.
The vibe in Mision 19 is swanky but inviting at the same time. Having lived in New York City for over a decade, I can’t help but roll my eyes when people describe nice restaurants as being “New York-ish.” But, well, there’s no better way to describe the vibe of Mision 19 other than being “New York-ish” because, in fact, it is. There’s a sleek interior with reclaimed wooden accents and beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows around the perimeter of the restaurant. Except that when you look out all of those windows, you’re not looking at the lights of Manhattan, but rather the lights of Tijuana. Located in one of Tijuana’s tallest and nicest office buildings in the Zona Río business district, Mision 19 caters to a crowd of high-end patrons from Mexico and the U.S. Everyone who works at the restaurant is friendly and accommodating and speaks both Spanish and English.
Appetizers average around $9 and entrees are in the $25 range. For a gourmet fine-dining experience you can’t beat the caliber of food, the impeccable service, or the price. Our group feasted roasted beef bone marrow, grilled octopus, beet salad, tripe tacos, center cut filet mignon and roasted suckling pig. The food was all incredibly well-crafted with a unique blend of ingredients and flavors. The menu is seasonal and the food is local, from within a 120-mile radius of the restaurant (this includes farms in San Diego as well as Mexico). The wines are all local as well. The extensive wine list includes vintages from many of the favorite wineries down in the Valle de Guadalupe.
We finished off the night with a special birthday dessert and a round of “Las Mañanitas.” A perfect special evening at one of Mexico’s finest restaurants.
Misión San Javier 10643
2nd Floor, VIA Corporativo
Tijuana, B.C., Mexico
GPS: 32.521213, -117.007908
There’s a secure parking garage under the building. Get your ticket validated at the restaurant. They also have a shuttle service from San Diego. You can find out more on their website.