Category Seven: Pizza, Burgers and Take Out Chicken
Gallo Azul Pizza Bar
Overview: Local entrepreneur Alan Becerril created Gallo Azul Pizza Bar in 2013 and it’s a great addition to the Todos Santos restaurant scene. Alan serves up authentic Napolitan pizza made in a blisteringly hot wood-fired oven with a volcano stone floor with natural leavened dough – the results are delicious. There is a full bar, great salads and lots of fun events like Saturday night Latin nights with salsa lessons.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Contact: 612 158 8457
Café Santa Fe
Overview: As with everything else on the menu, the thin-crust pizza at the Cafe Santa Fe is fabulous. It ain’t cheap but you get what you pay for!
La Coronela at the Hotel California
Overview: The Hotel California restaurant serves up a pear and gorgonzola cheese pizza that is fantastically delicious.
Overview: This is a great little spot in the middle of town that cranks out very tasty, very affordable pizzas from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM every day but Wednesday. It’s a favorite with locals. You can do take out or take advantage of the simple seating at the restaurant and enjoy cold beer and soft drinks with your meal.
Overview: Coming soon – stand by for details!
Chill ‘N Grill
Overview: Fun tropical bar atmosphere with full bar and good bar fare including burgers, ribs, steaks, wings and hot dogs. (Best vegetarian option is to stick to the booze or get take out from Our Pura Vida next door – the owner of the Chill ‘N Grill and the owner of Our Pura Vida are brother and sister!) Pasta Mondays, Taco Tuesdays and 2-for-1 happy hour 4-6 PM every day. NFL and other sporting events flowing on the bar TV. They often have live music on the weekends.
Hours: 4-10 PM daily (unless everyone’s having a great time and you can stay later); Sundays open at 10:00 AM for ball games.
Contact: 612 151 1441.
La Cueva Tres Marias
Overview: Big open-air space with a long bar, pool table, foosball, and darts, and lots of fun art work all around. The bar food is pretty yummy, with 1/2 lb Burgers (including a seriously tasty veggie one), Nacho’s, Salads, and Wings, all washed down with draught and bottled beer served up cold. Monday nite Football comes with 20 peso draughts, and free nachos, Wednesday features a pool league, Thursday is movie night, Saturdays feature haircut and a beer, and Sunday is NFL all day. They often have live music on the weekends, and food specials like pozole.
Hours: Kitchen is open every day but Tuesday, 12:30 PM to 10:00 PM. Bar is open until 12:00 Midnight (or so).
Contact: 612 159 3755,
Shut Up Frank’s
Overview: Some visitors to town told us just the other day that they’d found a great place in Todos Santos for their prayer meetings. Turns out they are born-again members of the Church of Football and Shut Up Frank’s had been providing all the spiritual sustenance they needed! 4 large screen TVs running nonstop NFL football, as well as NHL hockey, UFC and more make it a sinner’s sports-viewing paradise. And the food is pretty darn good too. The place has been famous for its burgers for 20 years now, and they grill up an array guaranteed to please most any palate – turkey, chicken, fish, veggie and beef. All served with terrific fries. To round out the bar menu they also serve up fish ‘n chips, wings, steaks and salads. New Italian menu with pizza and other specialties coming soon.
Hours: Open 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM every day but Tuesday. Happy Hour 3 to 6 PM, Monday through Friday.
While most of the pleasures of Todos Santos are accessible throughout the entire week, the weekend does hold a few special treats that make it a great time to venture to town.
Weekender’s Friday: A Little Todos Santos Magic
Erick and Michael of Michael’s at the Gallery
Each weekend on the main street of Todos Santos a subtle transformation takes place. At the Galeria de Todos Santos long-time Todos Santos resident and artist Michael Cope calmly cleans his brushes, puts them away and pulls out his knives. His wife Pat coolly closes the gallery’s books, sets them aside, and lights a series of fires in the garden. His fellow artist Erick Ochoa collectedly covers up his latest canvas, dresses in black and prepares his mind for delivering to the people of Todos Santos exactly what they deserve. Which happily turns out to be mouthwateringly delicious Asian Fusion cuisine served in what that morning was the sculpture garden of Galeria de Todos Santos, but is now this evening one of the best restaurants in town, Michael’s at the Gallery. This transformation takes place only on Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sunday nights, and being a part of it is worth the trip to Todos Santos alone. Michael mans the open-air kitchen and what a great show it is. He cooks up Vietnamese crab cakes, tuna poke, seared tuna with wasabi butter, shrimp and scallops in Szechuan or red curry sauce, filet mignon, Mu Shu Pork, wok-tossed fish in Chinese black beans, and fish in teriyaki or wasabi sauce. Every dish is excellent, every time. Erick mans the bar and he and Pat work together to make sure guests always feel well attended and have what they want. Fire pits throughout the dining area add to the lovely ambiance of the garden and help ward off any chill night air. It’s a wonderful Todos Santos experience. Reservations strongly suggested. Tel: 612-145-0500
Weekender’s Saturday: Art & Theater
Last night you met Erick Ochoa in a supporting role but today you’ll meet him as the President of the The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, AC, a Mexican non-profit that benefits the children of Todos Santos. The Palapa Society has had a huge impact on the local community through Bridge-to-English, its after-school English language program that pairs local kids with native speakers of English. The Saturday morning art classes run by Erick and other artists such as Gloria V are not only an opportunity for the kids to gain some excellent instruction from established artists, but an extension of the opportunity for them to hear and speak English. Volunteering
Volunteering at the Palapa Society
with the art classes is a tremendous amount of fun, a great way to get involved with the local community and a nice path to being an active part of this artists colony for a while. Art classes are usually held at The Palapa Society, but the class often spearheads public art projects around town – you can see their handy work in many places, including their latest mural of the fisherman’s beach along the back wall of the Parque de Pinos. The Palapa Society is such an exciting thing to be a part of that Peter Buck of the rock band REM now organizes an annual Todos Santos Music Festival to raise money for it and help fund the numerous scholarships that it provides not only for the Bridge-to-English program, but for the high school and university education of Todos Santos students. For more information contact Donna Viglione:
After your volunteer session, mosey on over to one of the town’s many great food establishments for lunch, taking your pick of several charming cafes, killer local joints, and taco stands – Caffé Todos Santos, Cafélix, Ataxcon, Taco George’s and Miguel’s are all great options. But be sure to leave room for dinner this evening at El Teatro Luna Azul – Blue Moon Productions. Started by long-time Todos Santos residents Isabel Smyth and Raul Cavazos, El Teatro Luna Azul brings the idea of dinner and a movie to a whole new wonderful level. Once in a blue moon, i.e., whenever they feel like it (which tends to be most weekends during the season), Isabel and Raul invite the public to their huge, open air theater space where they show fascinating, hard-to find movies ranging from classic to controversial, musical to mystery, altered lives to the altered planet. Prior to some shows – but not all – they serve creative meals featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables fresh from their on-site garden, prepared in their open-air kitchen. The movies are great fun, but they are perhaps more famous for their live theatre productions in which they use local talent to bring comedies, musicals and the performing arts to the community. Isabel and Raul also host full moon drumming and music nights, and they’re known to get in hot bands for nights of salsa dancing. All-in-all it’s worth checking into their web site periodically to stay up-to-date: teatrolunaazul.com
Now if it happens that Isabel and Raul don’t have what you’re looking for on the Saturday night you’re in town, it’s always worthwhile to check in with the Hotel California and the Hotel Guaycura as they both regularly book fun bands in on the weekends. The Groovetrotters and Tim Lang are great additions to the music scene to be on the look-out for, and it’s worth noting that the Todos Santos Music Festival will be in January at the Hotel California.
Weekender’s Sunday: Bird Watching and Dharma Talk
After the excitement of Saturday night, a calming Sunday morning of reconnecting with nature and your inner serenity is just the ticket. The early morning quiet of Sunday morning is the perfect time to get out in the lovely surroundings and observe some of the 135 bird species that have been spotted around Todos Santos, including several endemic species such as Belding’s Yellowthroat, the Cape Pygmy Owl, Xantus’ Hummingbird, and the Mexican Thrasher. Todos Santos’ unique confluence of three different eco systems – desert, ocean and marsh – attracts a large diversity of birds and most visitors add to their lifetime birding lists during their stay.
Then head over to La A.R.C.A. in the historic district where ordained Buddhist priest, passionate poet, avid artist, renowned physician and somatic therapist Robert Hall gives a Dharma talk on a particular topic each Sunday morning, followed by a period of guided meditation. A founder of the Lomi School and member of the Spirit Rock Mediation Center’s Teacher’s Council, Robert has focused his long career on the integration of mind, body and spirit. He has taught thousands of students all over the world and served as a mentor to hundreds more. Now, in his so-called retirement in Todos Santos, residents and visitors alike can be inspired by his Dharma talks, and find calm in his guided meditations. http://www.eldharma.com/
Enjoy a nice lunch at one of the town’s enjoyable lunch spots such as as Bistro Magico, Compa Chava’s, El Pastorcito or Pura Vida before heading back to Cabo or La Paz in the afternoon.
Famous Iron Chef Rick Bayless created an episode called Todos Santos Magic for the recently-aired Season 8 of his PBS series, Mexico, One Plate at a Time. We created much of Rick’s itinerary for the Todos Santos segment, and Sergio appears in a fair bit of the program with Rick. Now you can enjoy some of the same, off-the-beaten path places and activities that Rick did – as well as a few more gems he didn’t have time to get to!
Food Lover’s Day One: Treasure of the Sierra de la Laguna
Doña Ramona at her stove
Today you’ll head into the Sierra de la Laguna mountains to meet Doña Ramona, a woman honored by the state of Baja California Sur as a state cultural treasure – and you’ll see why soon enough! Working in the outdoor kitchen that her husband built for her 50 years ago, Doña Ramona, with help from her daughters and daughters-in-law, will instruct you on preparing incredibly delicious beef or fish machaca in the traditional manner, using her family’s metate (grinding stone) to shred the meat, cooking it over the wood-fired stove in her kitchen, and serving it up with traditionally prepared tortillas and other side dishes that you’ll make yourself. Doña Ramona is a fabulous cook, but it’s actually the pottery that she makes for cooking and dining for which she has won such great acclaim, and during your class you’ll see why leading Todos Santos restaurants like the fabulous Café Santa Fe use her pottery in their kitchens. It’s a cooking class unlike any you’ve ever had before, and what made her one of the stars of the Rick Bayless show on Todos Santos!
This afternoon head back to Todos Santos to relax and treat yourself to a trip to La Bodega de Todos Santos, the town’s only wine store that exclusively features Baja California vintners. Started in 2010 by California wine country native Mac Sutton, La Bodega is the perfect complement to what he describes as “the incredible, inventive gastronomy of Todos Santos” and reflects his philosophy of Eat Local, Drink Local. There are tastings on Monday nights from 5 to 8 PM, with 3 glasses of wine for 140 pesos and complementary tapas, and there is also Big Red Wednesday (same hours), during which guests can buy red wines by the glass and enjoy tamales and tostadas from Doña Guillermina. It’s a wonderful introduction to Baja wines. Mac and his sweetheart Perla Garnica are also the organizers of the most excellent GastroVino Festival de Todos Santos. Building on the extraordinary success of their debut 2012 festival, the 2013 festival will be May 18-19, and will again feature wine and food pairing dinners, Baja wineries, local restaurant cuisine and live entertainment. It’s definitely an event to mark down on your calendars! La Bodega’s regular hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 12-7 PM.
This evening enjoy one of Todos Santos many extraordinary restaurants. The Café Santa Fe has long been justly considered one of the best restaurants in Baja, and a meal there should be included in any Todos Santos itinerary. Another option is the lovely Landi’s, where high Mexican cuisine is served in a lush garden setting.
Chef Dany at the Hotel California
Food Lover’s Day Two: Preparing the Perfect Meal – It Takes a Village
Today you’ll take in the glorious scenery and nature of Baja, all the while preparing for the evening’s master cooking class with Hotel California Executive Chef Dany Lamote. Start the day off with a trip to Basilfields, a beautiful organic farm that supplies many of the restaurants in Todos Santos. Here the owner will give you a tour of the farm and help you pick out the fruit or vegetables you want to have transformed into tortillas for the evening meal. Yep, that’s right. Whatever fruit or vegetable strikes your fancy – spinach, tomato, strawberry, nopale, basil, mint – we’ll take it to a local tortilleria that will turn it into a batch of fresh, delicious tortillas for you by the end of the day. With the tortillas in process, head out for a desert canyon walk to learn more about the beauty and bounty of the desert, then reward yourself for your exertions with lunch at one of the town’s great local restaurants like El Pastorcito – best place in town for tacos al pastor, or Compa Chava’s – a cute local joint serving up dynamite ceviche. After lunch head over to the beach at Punta Lobos to procure the final ingredient for tonight’s meal – the fish! Todos Santos is home to two fishing cooperatives whose captains and crew are all 4th generation fishermen and you’ll buy the fish from them right as they land with the day’s catch. Doesn’t get much fresher! After stopping to get the tortillas, you’ll head to the Hotel California where Chef Dany will be waiting for you with a multi-course dinner menu and the Baja wines and tequila to match each course. If you’re lucky there’ll be avocado milkshakes for desert. While the cooking class at the Hotel California is extremely fun and very informative, you can also choose to have a wine-pairing dinner prepared for you at Dany’s own restaurant – Santo Vino – which specializes in the wines and cuisine of Baja. It will be a magnificent feast either way!
Food Lover’s Day Three: How Sweet it Is
This morning find your way over to Los Colibris Casitas for a Huevos Rancheros Master Class with local lawyer-turned-chef, Iker Algorri. Connoisseurs of huevos rancheros may argue among themselves about what makes great huevos rancheros great, but they all agree that the secret is in the sauce. And it should be known to all comers that Chef Iker has created the definitive huevos rancheros sauce– the Coloradito. So this morning you’ll learn from the master himself about his Coloradito Sauce, and a few others as well, so that you too can return home a true Mexican breakfast master.
Chef Iker Algorri at Los Colibris Casitas
Now as some of the sauces might have a little kick to them, your next stop should be Paleteria La Paloma, surely one of the best ice cream shops in Baja and home to an inspired range of local ice cream and sorbet flavors including lemon-rosemary, rose petal, passion fruit, pitaya, corn, mamay and guava, as well as the more traditional fare. Ice cream not your thing? Then keep on heading to the edge of town to the dulcerias, or sweet shops (Rick Bayless enjoyed a stop here.) The Todos Santos dulcerias are famous for their locally-made candies including cocada (coconut macaroons), jamoncillo (milk and piloncillo – unrefined sugar), zorrillada (milk, piloncillo and requeson – a special kind of cheese), coyotas (sweet baked empanadas with cajeta or cheese) and chimangos (sweet fried bread). You can also often find local honey from the ranches as well as damiana – a local aphrodisiac – in liquor or leaf form in season.
Playa Las Palmas
This afternoon walk off your morning indulgences at one of the most beautiful beaches to be found anywhere, Playa Las Palmas. Nestled between two rock cliffs, this beautiful expanse of sand is framed by a huge grove of Washingtonian palms growing right up to the beach and a fresh water spring that has created a lovely marsh area for birds. There are horses that live in the palms so don’t be surprised if they come over to see if you’re carrying any leftovers from your foodie endeavors. If you don’t feel like the beach then take your stroll in town and enjoy the town’s many terrific art galleries and creative shops.
This evening enjoy one last meal at one of Todos Santos’ restaurants relatively new restaurants started by young Mexican Chef Sergio Rivera, who creates spectacular seafood, sushi and steak dishes at La Casita Tapas and Wine Bar. You can’t go wrong!
Category Four: Charming Cafés with Great Breakfasts – and More!
Overview: Since 2007 Felix Ramon Vaquez Guluarte has been dishing up all the things that you need to get through the day – and feel good doing it: great coffees (frappucinos, cappucinos, iced lattes and more) tasty baked goods, natural smoothies, hearty breakfasts (all manner of eggs, French toast, waffles – you can choose how badly you want to sin) and delicious lunches. His sidewalk café on the main street of Todos Santos has become something of a gathering point for visitors and locals alike and he works hard to keep the experience fresh for his clientele. He now serves dinner – including wood-fired brick oven pizza on the weekends – at Cafélix, and since 2010 has been serving up great tacos, burritos and hamburgers next door at Boyitacos. He frequently features the work of local artists, sponsors photography contests, and of course shows Mexican soccer matches on the flat screen TV. Very nice, relaxed atmosphere with both inside and outside/sidewalk seating. Free WIFI. Air conditioning in the summer – a rarity!
Service: Very friendly and efficient.
Rating: Tasty, tasty, tasty! If we need to find one of our guests this is often the first place we look.
Hours: Cafélix is open 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily, 365 days a year. Boyitacos is open 12:00 Noon – 9:00 PM daily except Tuesdays.
Overview: Fresh, large and delicious applies to everything on offer at Caffe Todos Santos. From the wonderful fresh juices, to the dazzling cinnamon buns, from the original inspired salads, to the fabulous fruits of the sea, every dish is a joy for the taste buds and a treat for at least two of you at the table! There are 3 seating area options, each with its own unique ambiance and all thoroughly delightful. There is the sidewalk table option where you can lounge under a canopy of bougainvillea and watch Todos Santos street life roll by; there is the indoor option where you can enjoy the fun collection of posters and objets d’arte (and keep a close eye on the pastries); and there is the garden dining option where you can spread out around large tables framed by a lovely brick wall that gives one the feeling of having stumbled into the private garden of a wealthy entrepreneur – which it once was. Owned by Angelo and Magda Dalbon, who know also operate Tre Galline in the same location.
Service: Very relaxed.
Rating: Charming, fresh, large and delicious! We often bring our groups here for lunch and enjoy hanging out with friends and family here.
Hours: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM Tuesday-Saturday. Sunday 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Monday 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
Overview: This tiny spot on the main street of Todos Santos straddles so many of our categories that we finally decided to just put it in a class of its own! Owned by Erik Castellanos, one of the original developers of Los Adobes, El Zaguán serves some of the freshest, tastiest seafood in town – accompanied by delicious organic salads and a nice selection of wines. El Zaguán is in a very charming, very convenient and vibrant location. There are a couple of tables under a palapa roof on the sidewalk where you can enjoy the ebb and flow of Todos Santos street life while delighting in an El Zaguán creation. Or if you prefer to leave the street behind there are several tables and a small (but full) bar in the streamlined open-air space “inside”. The restaurant’s motto is “Always good, Always fresh” and we’re happy to report truth in advertising here at El Zaguán!
Service: Attentive and nice.
Rating: Triple D: Delicious, delectable, delightful! We often bring our groups here for lunch and many of our guests then find their own way back for another meal on their own.
Overview: A fantastic new addition to the Todos Santos food scene that has everyone raving! Owner/chef Rima Lyn thought about calling her place “Waffle ‘n Falafel”, only trouble being that her signature breakfast dish is pancakes, not waffles. But oh what pancakes! Using a recipe that her mother developed “by mistake”, Rima gets her pancakes to fluff up like hot cakes on steroids, then stuffs them with berries and smothers them with cinnamon butter sauce. It’s positively indecent. For lunch she always has her awe-inspiring falafel pita on hand, as well as a wonderful array of daily specials such as lentil salad, turkey burgers, fish chowder, celery soup, fruit smoothies and so on – all fabulously fresh and delicious. She invites guests chefs in on a regular basis to prepare special treats for her customers such as crepes or Indian food, and this is always an extremely tasty event. Food is served in the small, homey/funky dining area next to the kitchen that always features the work of local artists, as well as on the sidewalk just outside.
Service: Rima and her team love what they’re doing and it shows. They are always delighted to see you, chat about the food – or anything else – and make sure you get the perfect meal you’re looking for.
Rating: Yes! Yes! Yes! We’re addicted and you definitely don’t want to miss it while you’re in town.
Hours: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM Tuesday-Saturday. Closed August – October 2014.
Frieda at the Indigo Cafe juice bar
Overview: Owner/chef Frieda Telemans had three growing boys in the house, which inspired her to focus on the science of nutrition. That was the easy part. The hard part was the art getting teenage boys to not only tolerate healthy food, but love it. She succeeded wildly, and now that the boys are grown and gone, the rest of us get to discover how fantastically delicious Frieda can make disgustingly healthy fare. Right inside the art gallery she’s been running for 8 years on the main street of Todos Santos – Galeria Indigo – Frieda offers a simple menu with complex and wonderful flavors that spread joy to your taste buds and arteries alike. The menu features fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, sandwiches, wraps, salads and espresso. And from the portabello mushroom panini, to the fresh vegetable and hummus “burritos”, to the beet and goat cheese salad, everything is absolutely yummy. Need proof? We took three groups of teenagers there this summer – to a kid they loved it all and asked for more. ‘Nuff said.
Service: It’s just Frieda right now and she’s always happy to see you!
Rating: Winner of the Todos Santos 4-H award – a Heavenly Hip n’ Healthy Humdinger! We love it and now take many of our groups there for lunch. If you want to go with more than 2-3 friends best to call ahead so that she can be prepared for you.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9-6, Sundays 11-4.
Overview: With its proximity to the more gringo-laden communities of Todos Santos, and its terrific selection of fresh, healthy and tasty fare, La Esquina quickly became a favorite with many residents in town after its opening in 2007. A delightful array of breakfast entrees, fresh-baked goods, and great sandwiches, all of which can be washed down with a good selection of juices, teas, coffees and beers, is served in a charming, open-air space under a large palapa roof. Free WIFI and an area with overstuffed chairs and sofa invite visitors to lounge for a while. Happy Hour from 5-6 PM draws the after-surf / pre-dinner crowds, who can enjoy 2-for-1 beer, wine and margaritas. There is a farmer’s market each Wednesday during the winter.
Service: Quite relaxed and nice.
Rating: Fresh-n-tasty! It’s a favorite spot for many folks to meet friends and associates – not only because of the good libations, but because many of the tables are set far enough apart that you can have a private conversation. That being said, there is often a convivial group atmosphere about the place.
Hours: 7 AM – 7 PM Monday – Saturday. 9 AM – 3 PM Sundays. Open until 9:00 PM on Thursdays for live music, bar service and super burros. Closed September 1-30, 2014
Overview: When you’re craving delicious / fresh / organic / vegetarian food for breakfast or lunch Pura Vida is the place to go! Since 2009 the dynamic husband-and-wife team of fashion designer Joella Corado (Todos Santos born and raised) & Kurtis Parsons (massage therapist and professional percussionist) have featured a refreshingly brief menu of a few items that they do extremely well and that reflect their goal of living an alternative, healthier lifestyle. For lunch you can indulge in pesto quesadillas, vegetable spring rolls, veggie Panini, organic salad, veggie/organic burritos and nachos, and for breakfast there is oatmeal, fruit, granola, chilaquiles, and Spanish eggs. Perfect! Vegan, gluten-free and wheat-free options abound. While it is a health food place there are a couple of (relatively) sinful options, including the delicious chocolate avocado pie and cheeseless cheesecake. Joella and Kurtis also run regular specials like Vegan Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles, Mushrooms, Spinach, Broccoli, and Creamy Cashew cheese. Pura Vida has just a few tables under a palapa roof that also houses a small store with organic / healthy / exotic food items, as well as some of Joella’s Belazul Beach and Active Wear line of clothing and jewelry.
Service: Deeply relaxed.
Rating: A great gift for your taste buds! We come around for a fix as often as we can.
Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily. Summer hours are 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, closed on Sundays.
Category Six: Fun Places with Cute Atmosphere and Live Music / Live Theater / Live TV!
El Teatro Luna Azul / Blue Moon Productions
El Teatro Luna Azul Production
Overview: Started by long-time Todos Santos residents Isabel Smyth and Raul Cavazos, El Teatro Luna Azul brings the idea of dinner and a movie to a whole new wonderful level. Once in a blue moon, i.e., whenever they feel like it, Isabel and Raul invite the public to their huge, open air theater space where they show fascinating, hard-to find movies ranging from classic to controversial, musical to mystery, altered lives to the altered planet. Prior to some shows – but not all – they serve creative meals featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables fresh from their on-site garden, prepared in their open-air kitchen. Vegetarian options are always available and all options are wonderfully fresh and delicious. The movies are great fun, but they are perhaps more famous for their live theatre productions in which they use local talent to bring comedies, musicals and the performing arts to the community. Isabel and Raul also host full moon drumming and music nights.
Rating: Worth howling about! It’s a great gift to the community and always a lot of fun, no matter whether you’re watching a movie at the theater or participating in a drumming circle on the beach.
Hours: Once in a blue moon. Which generally ends up being a dinner/movie option once or twice a week November-July, and maybe twice a month August-October. Please check their blog for details and information about their live performances
Overview: What? It’s the Hotel California – you have to go at least once while you’re in town. And the good news is that you’ll be glad you did! The restaurant has a truly wonderful atmosphere and reflects the combination of fun, whimsy, magic and practicality that original owners John and Debbie Stewart infused the whole place with back in 2002. And Executive Chef Dany Lamote has made the restaurant a mecca for all comers, with plenty of traditional US / international fare for those who aren’t in the mood for Mexican, and terrific local dishes for those who are. Jalapeño margaritas made with Hotel California Tequila are not to be missed no matter which category you fall into! The Hotel California has live music on many weekends, puts on a killer New Year’s Eve program, and is now the venue of the Annual Todos Santos Music Festival organized by Peter Buck of REM.
Service: Totally rocks!
Rating: Too much fun! We begin or end almost every one of our adventure weeks with a meal at the Hotel California. It is always a hit!
Hours: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily unless there’s music, when it closes at 11:00 PM. Except on New Years. And some nights of the Music Festival.
Overview: La Santeña is a cantina-style Mexican restaurant that evokes an earlier time in Mexico. Built by Mexican entrepreneur and builder Miguel Ochoa, La Santeña has a very charming, warm atmosphere created by the brick walls, high, exposed-beam ceiling, copper-plated bar panels and wooden liquor cabinets. Traditional Mexican fare, some American staples, and a full bar are yours for the sampling in either the delightful inside dining area or the very enjoyable and comfortable tables with umbrellas on the sidewalk. La Santeña often features important sporting events on the flat screen TV.
Service: Very relaxed and nice.
Rating: Very fun! Very nice place to have a meal or a drink with friends.
Category Three: Killer Local Joints and Taco Stands
Alma y Manny Comida Mexicana
Overview: Tamales are ubiquitous in mainland Mexico, but it was almost impossible to find a fresh, hot, tasty tamale in Baja (or at least in Todos Santos) until Alma opened her street-side stand in early 2013. Folks here literally couldn’t get enough – if you arrived too late in the day she was inevitably sold out. Based on that success, Alma and her husband Manny have since upgraded to a cute open-air restaurant that is a favorite with locals, Mexicans and gringos alike. In addition to their fabulous selection of chicken, pork, beef, chile, pineapple and mixed tamales, Alma and Manny also serve an assortment of traditional Mexican fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner including chilaquiles, sopas, tortas, tacos and pozoles. And they are now almost as famous for their chiles rellenos as for their tamales, and they’ll stuff them with pretty much whatever strikes your fancy. Delicious all around!
Not to be Missed: Chile tamales, pozole
Service: They serve great food! (with a smile). Some English. Lots of people really enjoy the budgies they have in the dining area.
Rating: Three cheers!
Hours: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily, unless they’re closed.
Contact: On Marquez de Leon at the corner of Colegio Militar.
Bahia Restaurant & Bar
Overview: One day Alma, the owner of the fish store in town (no relation to Tamale Alma), woke up and realized that there probably wasn’t anyone in town better qualified to open a seafood restaurant than her; so much to our joy and delight – she did! The result is a completely delicious array of seafood dishes served up on a collection of plastic tables under an awning next to the fish store. It’s a wonderful addition to the lunch scene in Todos Santos.
Not to be Missed: Tostadas de Ensalada de Marlin, Grilled Fish, Ceviche
Service: Very pleasant and efficient.
Rating: Can’t get enough!
Hours: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Overview: Raul Lopez moved to Todos Santos from Michoacan about 5 years ago to open Carnitas Uruapan, and he’s been serving up delicious, traditional Mexican food ever since. His carnitas are famous for being marinated, not fried – and oh so tasty. The walls of this simple, comfortable restaurant are all decorated with original artwork by Juan Manuel Su, and enjoying these murals is almost half the fun of eating here.
Not to be Missed: Chiles rellenos, chilaquiles (great red sauce), and all the breakfast egg dishes.
Service: Personable and welcoming.
Rating: Great! Wildly delicious food at very tame prices.
Location: Colegio Militar at Obregon
Overview: Todos Santos local Salvador Chavez and his wife Thelma started this little road-side café in 2009 and have been serving up unbelievably delicious ceviche and other seafood dishes ever since. Very simple outdoor dining on plastic tables under a palapa roof. Very popular with locals and expatriots alike.
Salvador at Compa Chava
Not to be Missed: Classic ceviche, crab ceviche
Service: Efficient! A bit of English.
Rating: We love it! We take some of our groups here for lunch and also meet our friends here regularly.
Overview: If you’re a meat eater get yourself over to this taco joint and order up some Tacos Al Pastor now –it’s one of the best tacos you’re ever likely to consume in this life. El Pastorcito is so popular that it recently moved to a new, larger location closer to the center of town. The 2 Lucias who run El Pastorcito have been offered significant sums of money to reveal the secrets of their tacos al pastor, but they’re not selling or telling. For vegetarians El Pastorcito also serves papas rellenos and quesadillas. Beer, soft drinks and water are for sale. El Pastorcito was started in 2007 by Alejandro Fuerte, a 20-year resident of Todos Santos who moved here from Michoacan.
Not to be Missed: Tacos al Pastor
Service: Nice folks serving up great food. Limited English.
Rating: Absolutely awesome! We eat here as often as possible.
Hours: 8:00 AM – 2:00 AM daily. Except when they’re closed.
Overview: Looking for a more peaceful environment, Jose Luis Ibarra Grimaldi, his wife Maria and their children moved to Todos Santos from Mazatlan five years ago and have been delighting Todos Santos taco lovers ever since. El Sinaloense serves a variety of seafood and meat tacos, papas rellenos and quesadillas during the day, and a variety of seafood dishes at night. Soft drinks, orchata and water available.
Overview: Las Fuentes is a very charming restaurant that has been serving up a wide range of delicious Mexican breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes since 1994. The name of the restaurant comes from the traditional fountain (fuente) under the large palapa roof. Seating available under the palapa and in the garden.
Not to be Missed: Huevos Rancheros, Nopales Rellenos con Queso (nopale cactus leaves stuffed with cheese), Grilled Lobster
Overview: Started in 2001 by Miguel Angel Torres Villalobos, Miguel’s is another great Todos Santos institution. Originally famous only for its chiles rellenos – and rightly so – Miguel’s has really increased the quality of its other offerings and now serves a full menu of very tasty, very well-prepared, traditional Mexican dishes. They also offer breakfast now. Miguel’s has a very cute atmosphere with stones on the floor, surfboards on the ceiling and plenty of cold beer and margaritas in the kitchen to serve all comers. It’s the epitome of Baja!
Not to be Missed: Chiles Rellenos with Shrimp, Fish Fajitas, any of the enchiladas
Service: They’re on the job!
Rating: A favorite! We take almost all of our groups here for either lunch or dinner during their stay with us.
Hours: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily. Closed Wednesdays in the summer.
Overview: This taco joint on the side of the road is a celebration of Baja California Sur’s great contribution to Mexican cuisine – the fish taco! Started 13 years ago by the original “George” Jorge Ramirez Rodriguez of La Paz, it is now run by George Jr. who moved to Todos Santos 3 years ago to take over management of the stand from his father. George buys his fish from the local fishermen at Punta Lobos and is proud to be serving a Todos Santos-sourced meal. Soft drinks available for sale. There are usually a couple of plastic tables with chairs next to the cart for those who would prefer to dine en scene.
Not be be Missed: Fish tacos!
Service: They get the tacos from the cart to your mouth as quickly as they can!
Rating: YES!! Great fish tacos! We eat here as often as our cholesterol counts allow.