With the wide variety of cuisines at just about every price point, you’ll be hard-pressed to go hungry in Todos Santos.
On the back patio of a beautifully restored adobe house, Los Adobes (Hidalgo btw Juárez/Colegio Militar, tel. 612/145-0203, www.losadobesdetodossantos.com, 11:30 A.M.–9 P.M. Mon.–Sat., mains US$15–22) prepares gourmet Mexican cuisine with prices to match. The menu includes grilled fish entrées, chicken mole, and steak fajitas.
El Gusto! at Posada la Poza on Playa La Cachora (tel. 612/145-0453, 11:30 A.M.–4 P.M. and 6–9 P.M. Fri.–Wed.) is the only beachfront restaurant in Todos Santos. A tapas menu is available on the Whale Terrace. The menu changes based on what organic produce is available, but there is usually a wide variety of seafood and meat choices. El Gusto! is a popular spot for sunset margaritas.
Inside the Todos Santos Inn, Landi’s (tel. 612/145-0020, 9 A.M.–9 P.M. Mon.–Sat., dinner mains US$8–15) offers traditional Mexican and some fusion dishes such as fettucine al tequila to please the gringo palate. Live music plays on Thursdays. Known for lightly battered chiles rellenos smothered in sautéed tomatoes and onions, Miguel’s (Degollado and Rangel, 8 A.M.–9 P.M. daily, mains US$6–10) also serves enchiladas, burritos, and cheeseburgers. A dozen tables are arranged on a sand floor under a palapa roof. The owner has opened a second restaurant at Playa Los Cerritos.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything on the menu over US$7 at Restaurant la Ramada (Militar and Obregón, no tel., 9 A.M.–9 P.M. Mon.–Sat., mains US$3–8). This local spot serves tacos, tostadas, and the like in a clean kitchen with friendly service; it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For casual dining (plastic tables under a palapa roof), Ataxcon (Militar at Hidalgo, tel. 612/176-1275, 8 A.M.–7 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) serves traditional Mexican dishes of the state of Guerrero on the mainland at reasonable prices.
The friendly Mariscos Mi Costa (Colegio Militar at Ocampo, no tel., 10 A.M.–8 P.M. daily, mains US$8–15) is a simple seafood restaurant with a raked sand floor. Its sopa de mariscos and camarón al ajo continue to impress.
Located a few doors down from the Tecalote bookstore, Fonda El Zaguán (Juárez btw Topete/Hidalgo, tel. 612/127-0398, noon–9 P.M. Mon.–Sat., US$6–15) is an open-air restaurant that does seafood right. Fish takes the center stage in its ceviche dish, unlike at many other places that serve it. Choose basil, poblano, or peanut sauce for your fish filet. If robalo (snook) is available, get the fish tacos or order it as a filet. The margaritas are strong, and the sangria is refreshing on a hot afternoon. Specials are usually written on a chalkboard out front.
Restaurant las Fuentes (Degollado and Colegio Militar, tel. 612/145-0257, 7:30 A.M.–9:30 P.M. Tues.–Sun., mains from US$6) is a large open-air restaurant that has benefited from the rerouting of truck traffic away from the downtown area. The house special, pescado empapelado, is fish baked in paper with tomatoes and mild chilies.
At a busy intersection near the Pemex, La Casita (Degollado at Militar, tel. 612/145-0192, http://lacasitatapasandwinebar.com/default.aspx, tapas for US$8–13) emphasizes organic produce and fresh seafood, served as small plates. Coconut shrimp and tequila jalapeño sea bass are among the most memorable dishes. Its wine bar is stocked with some of the best Baja labels at reasonable prices as well as others from around the world. Red table linens and candlelight create an intimate atmosphere, but the persistent din of traffic right outside makes it a safe place to bring the kids, too.
Asian and International
Hotel California on Calle Juárez boasts the atmospheric La Coronela restaurant/bar (Juárez btw Morelos/Márquez de León, tel. 612/145-0525, 7 A.M.–1 A.M. daily, dinner mains US$8–20). Prepared by a Belgian chef, the international menu has some creative dishes, such as almond-crusted Pacific oyster tacos and yellowtail in an opal basil/ginger/coconut sauce. Visa and MasterCard are accepted.
Across from the Pemex, Ana San Sushi Bar (Degollado at Militar, tel. 612/137-9856, 1–9 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) prepares sushi, sashimi, soups, and salads.
Suki’s (Hidalgo btw Rangel/Cuauhtémoc, no tel., 5–9 P.M. Tues.–Sat.) prepares a moderately priced menu of pan-Asian cuisine, with pad Thai, teriyaki, and Korean specialties.
When resident expats want to dine out on the town, they head to Michael’s at the Gallery (Juárez at Topete, tel. 612/145-0500, dinner Thurs.–Sat., reservations recommended) to enjoy creative Asian cuisine in an open-air sculpture garden.
With a 20-year track record for excellence, Café Santa Fé (Centenario 4, tel./fax 612/145-0340, noon–9 P.M. Wed.–Mon., mains US$20 and up) is this town’s best-known and highest-ranked restaurant. It offers a broad menu of high-end Italian fare, including wood-fired pizzas, ravioli, fish crudo, and fresh pasta. Given its international acclaim, you will pay U.S. prices here.
At Tre Galline (Topete and Juárez, tel. 612/145-0274, noon–10 P.M. Mon.–Sat., mains US$15–20), Angelo and Magda Dal Bon serve delicious northern Italian fare in a less formal atmosphere and at more reasonable prices. Starters may include homemade rolls, eggplant Parmesan, and a celery soup with smoked trout. Main dishes range from homemade pasta to a daily fresh catch, and organic roasted chicken. Magda’s cakes and imported espresso complete the meal. This is where local Italian families come to celebrate special occasions. In the morning hours, Angelo and Magda also run Caffe Todos Santos.
Buena Vida (Hidalgo at Militar, cell tel. 612/348-8178, noon–3 P.M. and dinner from 5 P.M. Mon.–Fri., dinner from 5 P.M. Sat.–Sun.) offers a dinner menu of pizzas (US$10), salads, and wines. Il Giardino (Degollado btw Olochea/Carrillo, tel. 612/145-0199, 5–10 P.M. Tues.–Sat. and 2–10 P.M. Sun.), serving wood-fired thin-crust pizza (US$18) and other casual Italian fare.
Antojitos and Fast Food
Tres Hermanos on Márquez de León between Juárez and Militar (8 A.M.–2 P.M. daily) is among the best taco stands in town. Try the clam tacos for something different. Local Mexican residents praise Barajas Tacos (8 A.M.–11 P.M. Wed.–Mon.), on Degollado (Mexico 19) toward the south edge of town, for serving authentic carnitas and tacos de pescado y camarones during the day and tacos de carne asada and papas rellenas at night.
Next to Cafélix, Boyitacos (Juárez at Hidalgo, tacos US$1–2, mains US$5–8) prepares tasty papas rellenas—baked potatoes layered with butter, cream, mushrooms, corn, and choice of meat or mixtos with cheese. Plastic tables are arranged under a palapa roof with a ceiling fan. Order drinks from the fully stocked bar and watch the traffic roll by on Calle Juárez.
El Pastorcito (Degollado at Carrillo, mains US$3–7) wins hands-down for the best pastor around, served traditional-style with raw onions and cilantro. This is where the mariachi bands from Los Cabos stop to eat their lunch. Meals begin with a tray of four fresh salsas. If pork isn’t your thing, try the tacos de pollo, carne, or chorizo. Look for an outdoor grill and patio with red and blue plastic tables on the east side of Degollado, at the speed bumps and across from the turn to La Poza.
Attention to detail and a love of improvisation set Café Brown (Hidalgo and Colegio Militar, tel. 612/145-0813, 8 A.M. A.M.–8 P.M. Wed.–Sun., mains US$4–9) apart from your average small-town café. Enjoy a limited menu of home-style cooking made from quality ingredients (Sonora beef, breads from a bakery in La Paz) while you check your email on the fastest wireless connection in town (US$2/hr.). Friendly and attentive service sets the tone; good music completes the experience. Art that doesn’t have permanent gallery space often finds a home here. And from informal cooking classes and independent films to percussion instruction and salsa dancing, owners Iker and his wife love to throw a good party. Iker also offers cooking classes around town. Look for Café Brown in the back of the María Bonita Hotel (formerly Hotel Misión del Pilar) complex.
Next to Boyitacos, Cafélix (Juárez near Hidalgo, tel. 612/145-0568, 8 A.M.–10 P.M. daily, mains US$4–6) makes good coffee, bagels, hot breakfasts, smoothies, and more. The Wi-Fi is free and reliable.
The smell of homemade bread and mini donuts wafts out of Caffé Todos Santos (Centenario 33, tel. 612/145-0300, 7 A.M.–2 P.M. Mon., 7 A.M.–9 P.M. Tues.–Sun., mains US$6–12) in the morning. This is the place to get your espresso fix, with fresh pastries, waffles, and omelets to boot.
Five minutes north of town on the way to La Pastora, La Esquina (Topete at Horizonte, tel. 612/145-0851, www.laesquinats.com, 7 A.M.–7 P.M. Mon.–Sat., mains US$3–6) offers strong coffee, build-your-own sandwiches with three different kinds of homemade bread, excellent soup of the day, and a huge variety of fresh fruit juices and smoothies as well as a great selection of loose and bagged teas. There’s free wireless—and they do occasional movie screenings in the evenings as well as hosting eco-café nights, featuring discussions on local ecological issues. Pick up your own bag of organic coffee beans from Chiapas. Drop by on Wednesday mornings for a farmers market 9 A.M.–noon.
If all you need is a cup of coffee, look for Café Combate (Juárez, Mexico 19, no tel., hours vary) on the way to La Paz.
Next to Buena Vida Pizza, Pastelería La Espiguita (Hidalgo at Militar, tel. 612/145-0878, laespiguita [at] yahoo [dot] com, hours vary) makes a long list of licuados and pastries to go with the drinks.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition