Il Massimo – “One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti.
So, when the time comes to stop what you’re doing, to eat- make your way over to the little house on the left of Blvd. Costero.
Once you open the door, you are immediately greeted by the most handsome man in the world, (ya ya he’s my bro but still…) coming to you with a warm “Welcome to my home, please have a seat, I’m Massimo!” OMG I die every time.
Find and Follow Il Massimo on TripAdvisor, Facebook & Instagram. Remember too, that if you are ever on a Princess Cruise or Carnival Cruise, you can see the restaurant from the port!! Click the link for a perfect BLACK FRIDAY DEALS ON Princess Cruises OR Carnival Cruises.
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Il Massimo is homey, welcoming, bright and just plain beautiful. Again, not because he is my bother, but the second you walk into the restaurant, you just feel comfortable- as if you have been there a thousand times. Not only is Massimo welcoming and humble himself, but so are all his associates! He has one of the best teams (back and front of house) in Ensenada. Il Massimo is small, intimate and full of love.
Massimo has extensive 5 Star 5 Diamond experience, opening and running some of the most elite spots in USA, Italy and Asia, that it was finally time for him to follow in Pop’s footsteps and create something of his own. Our Pops had 7 restaurants as well so you can only imagine the secret family recipes that we are left with!!! Massimo can cook them and I will gladly EAT them!!!
I cook too, but I know when to leave it to the pros.
On to my favorite now- THE FOOD!! These are all the best, signature dishes that are on the Il Massimo menu. The menu also changes with the seasons so don’t forget to follow for updates on these amazing dishes as well as new seasonal ones. My gosh, with all the fresh fruits, veggies and seafood that Mexico has to offer, my mouth is watering just writing all this.
What do we have here? Oh, let me tell you:
The Shrimp Pasta; this is a famous dish in our family as it has been made to perfection my both my Mother and Father. This was also a signature dish in all the previous restaurants Pops had. It has fresh sautéed shrimp in a beautiful light, fresh tomato sauce- with a little twist in the sauce- okay, two twists. Put a little “Prezzemolo” (Italian Parsley) on that and you have the best pasta dish ever! I can’t give too many ingredients away as they remain family recipes, but this is all the reason to drive (or fly click the link above) down south and have the Best Italian Food Ever.
Tuna Tiraditos (Sashimi): The beautiful, pink, fresh Tuna stays the same- but during the seasons, it gets topped off with only the best garnishes that season has to offer. In the photo above, it was topped with the most amazing homemade pickled watermelon, mint and onion. I know, pickled watermelon may sound odd, but again, you live once and you will definitely regret not trying it! It is simply delightful. Now, though, for the winter time, the Tuna is garnished with a lemon vinaigrette, capers, shallots and Calabrian Chilies. WOW.
You then have 3 different sharable appetizers, one better than the other! You have you traditional Fresh Oysters on a half shell, again with all seasonal garnishes- fresh and amazing for you Oyster lovers and they come straight from Baja! Then we have a wonderful and colorful Seafood Salad with all your favorites in there; Clams, Muscles, Calamari, Shrimp- a total taste of Italy. We love us some seafood salads haha. And the other, phenomenal appetizer that people canNOT get enough of; The Bone Marrow. Holy Moly this bone marrow!! It is lightly roasted, accompanied by a fresh arugula salad, topped with nothing but a pinch of Kosher Salt and a side of toasted bread. You will ADORE this plate- I know it, they all do!!!
So, everything on this menu is my favorite, buuut if I had to pick two, my first would be The Grilled Octopus. This Octopus is another secret family recipe and it is absolutely to die for. I have eaten a ton of Octopus in my day, and I order it every restaurant I go to, in all parts of the world but Massimo has it beat. By far. It is very hard to cook octopus to perfection and this one is to the T. Props to the kitchen because I didn’t think the amazingness, consistency and taste could actually be completely combined. Now, my second favorite has to be the Homemade Gnocchi. Massimo makes the Gnocchi himself and the sauces on this dish also change according to season. In the photo it was a light parmesan cream along with some shaved prosciutto and as of now on the menu, you can find it with a nice gorgonzola cream topped with walnuts. Amazing. All this in Mexico?? Hell yes.
Lastly, for the dessert lovers out there- there is a delicate Rose Pannacotta as well as a sweet and fluffy Nutella and Banana Tiramisu. Both look and speak for themselves; Absolute Perfection.
Please, if you haven’t, go check out Il Massimo– you will NOT be disappointed 🙂