Las Tres Virgenes: State of the Art Tostadas in La Paz

Mexican Food La Paz

La Paz dates to the days of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés, so the seaside city has certainly had enough time to build a somewhat varied dining scene. That includes high end restaurants like Las Tres Virgenes, which resides in a burnt orange building with vine covered trellis and hole punched lanterns. We sat in the courtyard, near a stone grill and dome oven, both of which burn aromatic mesquite.

Tijuana born Chef Jesus Chavez and Rosarito born partner Geoffrey Luhan Pruitt opened Las Tres Virgenes (“the three virgins”) three years ago, focusing on fresh, local ingredients. Chavez previously managed Casa Plascencia for Javier Plascencia and the self-taught chef took over L.T.V.’s kitchen two years back. He said, “I try to pay close attention to details, but I try not to mess too much with flavors.”

Cocktail La Paz
It was a mild night that apparently called for a baby orange martini, with the citrus plucked from an on-site tree, a chile salt rim and the fruit as garnish.

Mexican Food La Paz
Las Tres Virgenes presented a parade of wood grilled tostadas, beginning with sweet, tender Pismo clam from Espiritu Santo. Spicy, tart accompaniments included chile, ginger, onion, lime and olive oil, plus a fiery salsa of chiltepin and serrano chilies blended with olive oil.

Mexican Food La Paz
A crunchy orange pepper contained cream, julienne carrot and salmon in tangy escabeche.

Mexican Food La Paz
Fatty, luscious tuna belly sported sesame oil, tangy ponzu sauce, and punchy kumquat, and adjoined a fan of creamy avocado.

Mexican Food La Paz
Our tostada tasting continued with my favorite combination: firm marlin fillet and bright, acidic grapefruit with creamy ribbons of avocado, sesame oil, fiery habanero, kumquat and ponzu.

Mexican Food La Paz
Mesquite grilled baby pulpo (octopus) joined nabo (turnip) cream, orange and lemon peel, caper and oregano olive oil. This dish did an especially good job at balancing smoke with tang.

Mexican Food La Paz
Pescado al ajillo was the closest thing to a full plate, featuring tender cabrilla sauteed with thyme, brightly flavored baby tomatoes and olive oil, topped with cilantro pesto.

Mexican Food La Paz
Our final savory course fell flat. Braised oxtail, cooked for six hours on mesquite, became so leathery that the savory birria broth, sweet mashed tostones, and cilantro couldn’t save it.

Ice Cream La Paz
Dessert took a nosedive into the ’80s, complete with martini glass, drizzled chocolate sauce and flowers, like an outdated Valentine’s dish. Our scoops of cinnamon and hazelnut ice cream were unspectacular, even dressed with yerbabuena, a tiny Mexican mint.

Las Tres Virgenes has a lot of the same traits that make nearby Buffalo Bar-B-Q so compelling, but Buffalo chef-owner Carlos Valdez has cultivated a better vibe, with better food. Still, it took years for Buffalo to become more fully formed, and young Las Tres Virgenes seems to be trending upward, so if you’re staying in La Paz for a few days, eat at both restaurants.

Our visit to Las Tres Virgenes was part of a Baja California Sur tour sponsored by


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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[…] second dinner was a few blocks from the waterfront at Las Tres Virgenes (The Three Virgins; click HERE), a fine-dining establishment that serves probably the best food in town and offers a lot of […]

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