Have a Baja Moment! Discover the Culinary Treasures of Todos Santos
Perhaps best known for its vibrant arts scene, and the beautiful brick buildings that are a legacy of its years as Baja’s sugar capital, the Pueblo Magico of Todos Santos also boasts some of the peninsula’s best restaurants. From laid-back sports bars and palapa-topped taquerias to internationally-flavored eateries and fine dining establishments, this charming coastal city, located less than an hour north of Cabo San Lucas, offers visitors a wealth of delicious dining options.
For the uninitiated, here’s a taste of the town’s top restaurants.
La Coronela – The historic Hotel California is a popular photo stop and accommodation option for tourists, but it’s also home to one of the region’s finest restaurants. The courtyard dining area at La Coronela is a congenial spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and live music is a weekend staple. For a real treat, belly up to the colorful bar and ask to sample the hotel’s house tequila.
La Coronela- – Belgian Chef Dany Lamote’s menu at La Coronela showcases organic and locally grown ingredients, and the delicious offerings include popular Mexican and American favorites, as well as specialties like eggs benedict with smoked marlin and cilantro hollandaise, and the lamb burger with caramelized onions.
Tre Galline– Owners Magda Valpiani and Angelo Dal Bon are originally from northern Italy, and Tre Galline is the top stop in Todos Santos for delicious Italian cuisine. Set in a lovingly restored building in the town’s historic downtown district, the restaurant offers rich pastas and other authentic fare, including fish, poultry, and meat dishes, as well as the chef’s signature tortellinis.
Tre Galline – Tre Galline boasts warm indoor and wonderful courtyard dining areas, and the latter is perfect for romantic al fresco wining and dining. This year, for the first time, Magda and Angelo have opened a seasonal summer version of Tre Galline at Villa Montefiori in Baja’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada. But for the best blend of Italian flavors and Baja atmosphere, the Todos Santos location remains the standard.
La Garra– After losing their palapa roof to a fire earlier this year, this popular local restaurant,sports bar, and live music venue has bounced back with a vengeance. What else would you expect from a place whose name translates as “eagle claw?” Owners Jesus and Happy Cota serve up tasty salads, burgers, and Mexican specialties, and superb cheese and shrimp stuffed chile rellenos and fish and scallop sashimi.
La Garra– In addition to the culinary delights, La Garra is famed for it’s fun-filled atmosphere. The walls are decorated with some wonderful old movie posters from Mexico’s golden age of cinema, the televisions are always tuned to the latest sporting events, and this is one of the best places in Todos Santos for karaoke, as well as live jazz, blues, reggae, and rock and roll.
Guaycura– Located at the chic and luxurious Guaycura Boutique Hotel and Spa, Guaycura Restaurant offers fine dining in elegant surroundings, with a Mediterranean-influenced menu that also features plenty of spicy Mexican accents and generous helpings of the fresh local seafood. Food items are locally sourced, and include fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as authentic Mexican ingredients like huitlacoche (a sort of Mexican truffle) and epazote (an indigenous herb).
Guaycura - Tasty tapas plates include grilled octopus with smoked potatoes, Valle de Guadalupe cheese with cherry tomato jam, and Acapulco style shrimp cocktail. Afterwards, enjoy martinis, fine Mexican wines, or organic fresh fruit cocktails at the stylish Bar Don Guillermo, with its marble bar and hand-painted Moorish ceiling, or soak up the Baja sun and ocean breezes on the Skydeck.
Shut Up Frank’s – Looking for a little local color? Come join the gang at Shut Up Frank’s. The popular sports bar and grill serves up comfort food favorites all day long, from huevos rancheros and chilaquiles to burgers, burritos, chile rellenos, enchiladas, fish and chips, ribs, and steaks. The burgers may be the best in town, and are made from USDA certified Aungus beef.
Shut Up Frank’s – For those looking to catch up on the latest American and Canadian sporting events, Shut Up Frank’s has three satellite systems and six televisions, and showcases all the latest football, baseball, basketball, and hockey contests, as well as UFC events and title fights. It’s also one of the top live music venues in Todos Santos.
Desertu – For Spanish influenced dishes, fresh local seafood, and gourmet brick oven pizzas, there’s only one solution: Desertu. José Luis Uribe had established himself as one of the top chefs working in Mexico even before he moved Todos Santos, but the relaxed coastal atmosphere of Todos Santos has proved a perfect showcase for his talents, which include a remarkable facility with seafood dishes inspired by his Basque heritage.
Desertu – Chef Jose and his wife Carmen have transformed Desertu into one of the benchmark restaurants in Baja Sur, and the highly regarded eatery has become a mecca for those seeking world-class cuisine in a casual setting. The superb offerings are ably complemented by a charming outdoor seating area and splendid service.
Miguel’s – No less an authority than the New York Times has called the chile rellenos at Miguel’s the best in all of Baja. These shrimp, lobster, or cheese filled treats are certainly delightful, but there are many more menu highlights at this premier purveyor of traditional Mexican favorites. From tacos and enchiladas to fajitas, chicken mole and fish a la Vera Cruz, Miguel’s is the go-to place for authentic Mexican cuisine.
Miguel’s - Few places offer food this good in flip-flop friendly surroundings. In addition to the delicious Mexican dishes, Miguel’s is also a congenial place to enjoy ice cold cervezas, tasty margaritas, and tropical cocktails like banana daiquiris and pina coladas. There is a second location in Cerritos, at the Hotelito Los Cardones.
Sandbar – If you like low-key, laid-back dining, you’ll love the Sandbar. Centered around an enormous mango tree, this palapa-topped local favorite offers excellent burgers, steaks, seafood, and homemade chili, as well as the best mango margaritas in town. Weekly specials keep things interesting, including all-you-can-eat pizza and spaghetti nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays, respectively.
Sandbar – Sandbar is also a great spot to check out all the latest sporting events, enjoy live reggae on Friday nights, or just kick back and have some fun playing pool or foosball. The beers are ice cold, and you can take advantage of the “grill your own, chef gone surfin” policy for custom made chicken and steaks, or order off a kitchen menu that includes chicken wings and chili dogs.
Planning a trip to Todos Santos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.
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