If you are an honest-to-goodness traveler with a place in your heart for old charm and a habit for delicious food that doesn’t cost a fortune, then Loreto, also referred to as "magic town" may be worth visiting on your next adventure. Located on the Eastern shore of Baja California Sur, Loreto has been a point of cultural intersection since the it’s founding in 1697. It was the site of the first Mission in Baja and where the colonization of Baja California began. You will not see anything incredibly fussy in the town center, the buildings are modest - which is why they are so incredibly welcoming. There are restaurants the tourists frequent, but also special gems off the beaten path that are more than worth trying. The dress-code is casual, but the food is luxurious and most impressively, more than affordable. An average dish will cost you no more than five American dollars. In less than two hours from LAX, you can be enjoying the gentle hospitality and quality cuisine of Loreto.
Asadero Super Burro
Even before you walk through the doorway, which is always open during business hours, you will be greeted by the scent meats grilling. The ladies behind the counter and grill know what they’re doing. They’re making damn good burros, tacos and papas rellenos. Here in the states, all things wrapped in big flour tortillas are called burritos, but in Mexico they are called burros. A burrito in Mexico is actually very small, like the size of a taco tortilla. When you order a burro here, believe me, it is super. Most people can only eat half at a time they’re so huge!
I tried the tacos and the papas rellenos, another specialty. My two-taco order included one steak and one chicken melted with fresh cheese. They were fantastic. The steak was my favorite, but both meats had that slight smokiness you can only get from the grill, which really enhanced the flavors. The papas rellenos, potatoes stuffed with meat and cheese, were also quite good…and could have fed and entire family!
Address: Blvd. Salvatierra, Obrera, Loreto, B.C.S., Mexico
Phone:+52 613 135 1243
For the best chilaquiles and hot cakes, Hotel Oasis is a must. It sits quietly at the very end of Loreto’s malécon. Dine outside in the morning sun staring at the calm Sea of Cortez while you sip coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice. If you had a care, it will disappear when you sit down and are greeted by one of the kind and comedic waitstaff.
The menu contains traditional breakfast items; omelettes, cereal, toast, but it’s the chilaquiles that will leave you stunned because they are so perfect. The sauce floods the chips, but doesn’t drowned them. They are a little chewy but have a crisp edge. Swirled with egg yolk, cheese and refried beans on your fork, it’s what you’ve been searching for even though you didn’t know it
The hot cakes are also something special. They are incredibly moist, buttery and fluffy. Then there’s the way they soak up the syrup, which even though is served in a packet, is great!
If you’re in the mood for something lighter, the fruit platter with yogurt and granola is also quite satisfying. It is piled with fresh seasonal fruits, melons and pineapple.
Address: Calle Baja California S/N, Centro, 23880 Loreto, B.C.S., Mexico
Phone: +52 613 135 0211
On the other side of town is La Fuente, home of mind-blowing chile rellenos among other classics. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. I like to sit outside with a view of the street for people watching. Most of the restaurants in town will bring a tray of salsas when you order for topping your own tacos, but La Fuente likes to do this themselves in the kitchen. Don’t expect your food to come out quickly, it takes time for your order to be prepared, but it’s very worthwhile.
The Chile Rellenos come two on a plate with rice, beans and tortillas. The chiles aren’t overly cooked and mushy, but still slightly firm around the melting cheese inside. The red sauce is smokey, sweet and a little spicy. When your fork slices into it for a bite, you can see the bright green layer inside and it’s beautiful.
Also up for mention are the shrimp tacos. As you wait patiently, you can hear the whisking of the batter from the kitchen before each order, that’s when you know you’re eating something special. The shrimp are encased in a yellow, creamy, and slightly crisp shell of the fried batter, it’s a little sweet and is sensational topped with lime and salsa.
*Address and number unlisted
For incredible clams, shrimp and fish ceviches and tacos, welcome to Almejas Concho. This casual restaurant is a few blocks from the town center. The tables sit under a thatch roof and it’s usually quiet during the day. After you place your order, like many of the eateries in town, a large salsa tray is delivered to your table. At Almejas Concho, you also get naked tostada shells.
I don’t order ceviche very often, but for me this was truly an order to remember. The shrimp and fish were equally flavorful with lime, onion and cilantro. The meat was so fresh too. Each serving was clean and great tasting.
The shrimp taco…I couldn’t get enough. After topping it with fresh chopped cabbage, pico de gallo, and fresh squeezed lime juice from the tray it was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I didn’t want the last bite to ever come.
Address: Francisco I. Madero, esquina con Atanasio Carrillo, Colonia Centro, 23880 Loreto, B.C.S., Mexico
hone: +52 613 135 1452
El Rey del Taco
El Rey is for tacos and tacos only. This is a go-to for locals. You will see workers on break, families and maybe one or two tourists. It is incredibly authentic. The menu changes but usually there are always two tacos: carne asada and fish. The open kitchen lets you witness the entire process of the meat preparation.
Sorry for more good news, but best carne asada I’ve ever tasted. I watched as the red meat was grilled to brown, then diced up and loaded onto a tortilla. Then it was my turn to do the dressing honors. A counter full of condiments rests against the back wall - cabbage, pico de gallo, salsa verde and lime were my choices. My first bite was documented on film and engrained in my palate memory. All of the flavors came together in that huge bite. The meat wasn’t chewy, but tender and light seasonings could be detected but not specified which didn’t matter because of how pleasing the taste was.
Address: Calle 8 1, Renovación, 09209 Col México, CDMX, Mexico
Prueba lo Bueno
While anywhere in Mexico, you cannot ignore the lure of a paleteria. Paletas are frozen ice cream or juice bars usually made by hand and very fresh ingredients. They are similar to a popsicle. Paleterias usually offer a large variety of bright colors and flavors for you to try. Most of them also carry snacks and serve ice cream as well. Prueba lo Bueno is a classic paleteria in the heart of Loreto. I highly recommend stopping in for dessert and trying any of the delicious flavors. My personal favorite is mint chocolate chip!
*Address and number unlisted
For traveler’s who love great food, Loreto is absolutely an easy and affordable adventure. The best months to visit are between November and March when the weather isn't too hot. For more information please visist: Travel Baja California Sur.