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Located within a converted hacienda in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe, chef Jair Téllez’s Laja is a study in localism, rustic charm and destination dining. Now led by Téllez’s protégée, Rafa Magaña, the kitchen focuses on a garden-to-table cuisine, turning out pretty, vibrant plates that use produce grown in a nearby organic garden. Weekly-changing prix-fixe menus of four or eight courses meander with the seasons; expect lightly dressed wild greens, tiradito garnished with sea urchin, and braised local quail served over garden vegetables.
Téllez studied anthropology and law, changed direction to complete apprenticeships at New York’s Daniel, and the Four Seasons in Mexico City before opening trailblazing Laja in 1999.