This local spot serves up tasty carnitas in a shady garden setting
By Fern Corraini
Back in my home country of Canada, local pork producers once came up with a campaign to encourage folks to “Put Pork on Your Fork”. No such campaign is needed here in El Centenario, where locals in the know put Carnitas “Los Yñiguez” at the top of their list of favorite places to eat on a regular basis. In Canada, the line would stretch down the road with people waiting to eat this delicious, locally-sourced pork. Here in El Centenario you won’t have to wait, although you’ll almost always see cars lined up in front of the bright green restaurant located on the highway at kilometer 14.5.
Carnitas “Los Yñiguez” is a welcoming outdoor restaurant with plenty of shade, tranquil greenery, and tables covered in bright checkered tablecloths. Here, they prepare all parts of the pig, cooking it in pork fat in the traditional Michoacán style. Popular options include costilla (tender ribs), maciza (shredded pork) and chicharrones (fresh pork rinds), plus more adventurous things like buche (stomach), tripa (tripe) and hígado (liver). If you order maciza, you will get pure meat without skin and fat, while mixto includes some of both.
The tender pork meals are served as tacos (with homemade tortillas) or tortas (sandwiches). While you wait for your meal, you’ll enjoy some of the best frijoles (beans) and fresh totopos (tortilla chips) you will ever have. They also have an array of tasty salsas, including an addictive and picante peanut one.
For Gonzalo Yñiguez and Fabiola Reyes, carnitas is a tradition that runs in the family; this is the fifth generation of the Yñiquez family in the carnitas business. Their first restaurant in El Centenario opened in 2014 when they moved their four kids from Tijuana to enjoy the peaceful Baja lifestyle. Gonzalo and Fabiola are perfectly suited to the restaurant business with their friendly service and attention to cleanliness and quality.
On a recent visit, Gonzalo and Fabiola walked us through their restaurant, following a wonderful meal. We ate our carnitas for breakfast, as many locals do, though the restaurant is open for lunch and until 4:00 p.m. In a kitchen that deals with fresh meat and fat, everything is meticulously spotless. Gonzalo and two of his sons begin preparing the day’s meat at 3:00 a.m., working with whole pigs sourced from a farm in nearby Santo Domingo. In one week the restaurant goes through 500kg of pork!
A great option is to order your meal para llevar (to go) and enjoy their delicious fresh tortillas, frijoles, vegetables and salsas at home. Local tip: on Mondays, the restaurant offers two for one takeout!
Next time you have a hankering for something quick, affordable and delicious, put some pork on your fork (or puerco on your tenedor) and head to Carnitas “Los Yñiguez” in El Centenario.
Carnitas “Los Yñiguez”
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., closed on Tuesdays
- Location: At KM 14.5 in El Centenario. See map here.
- Tel: 612-117-3703
- Facebook: Carnitas Yñiguez
Fern Corraini is a veteran traveler and explorer who moved to La Paz from Canada fourteen years ago and is happy to call Mexico home. In addition to her international travels, Fern has been an English teacher in Canada and Guadalajara, a customs officer, a beekeeper, a sandblaster, a travel rep in the Dominican Republic and a motel owner. When she’s not busy keeping Baja Life Realty organized as our administrator, Fern loves to cycle, visit the beach and spend time with her two rescue cats. She loves La Paz and firmly believes that the taco is the perfect food.