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Jan 29, 2011 04:15 PM

Todos Santos, Baja Sur

Greetings all. Will be spending a week at Rancho Pescadero, just outside Todos Santos. Most likely in town for comida etc every day. I'm just now beginning to surf the board but any recommendations you'd be willing to make re any and all places you love in Todos Santos, I'd really appreciate it. Will want Mexican food every day, and yes, especially the humblest of taquerias/stands etc. Gracias!!

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  1. Mariana, I've just done a scan of history and see the many helpful posts from you - thank you in advance!

    You mentioned some restricted days for Michael's and Hotelito - what's the scoop on them currently (we'll be in town the last week of February).


    9 Replies
    1. re: Geoff

      You will love love love Rancho P - the owner, Lisa, is amazing and they will all make you sooo happy and comfortable.

      Michael is only open Friday and Saturday night - Hotelito Thurs-Fri Sat for sushi - once a month she has curries as well. Caroline from Rancho P: will be happy to call and make reservations for you. Bring a wrap - evenings are cool at this time of year. Suki's is also very good - most of these places are outdoors. Depending on exactly when you are here you may catch the end of the Art Festival and the historic home tour is always the last Sunday in Feb. I am going nest week to La Casita - a fairly new place and will report back. Let me know if you have specific questions. The drive into town at night ain't fun as there is still road construction.

      1. re: Mariana in Baja

        Thanks so much. We'll be there Sunday to Sunday, 2/20-2/27. No real intention of driving into town at night - i like the idea of breaking up the langorous days by coming in for comida of our choice, and stay in Pescadero in the eve. Uh-oh - is Michael or Hotelito open for comida?

        1. re: Geoff

          Well there you have the problem - neither one is open during the day - nor is Suki. The only "special" place for lunch is Santa Fe - can't be beat but bring $$$. Rancho P food is okay but nothing special. You may want to go to Carlito's in Pescadero but that is a whole other story and Christine (not Caroline - sorry) at Rancho P will give you the scoop. Order carefully and ask prices. His food is good but he will "offer" you something special and it will be REALLY special when you get the bill. I'll report back on La Casita soon. Don't forget Miguel's and Zaguan.for lunch

          1. re: Mariana in Baja

            Hi Geoff,

            So glad you are coming to spend time in Todos Santos - the number of restaurants we have here is pretty amazing for a small town. For great Mexican food, we HIGHLY recommend Landi's (inside the Todos Santos Inn). She is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (only closed Sunday). Her food is wonderfully authentic - she does a delicious mole and a tequila pasta. Our recommendation for the humblest of taco stands is El Pastorcito (it is bright orange on your right hand side as you come into Todos from Pescadero). If they have it (this is hit or miss) order the Arrachera beef tacos (if you want cheese, order it "mixto"). Our hotel guests rave about this place! Also, the Hotel California is always a good option - it is open 3 meals a day and Chef Dany does an impeccable job. The ambiance can't be beat! We second Mariana's recommendation of El Zaguan - delicious tomato soup with yellow tail. It is to die for!

            1. re: VillaSantaCruz

              I'm sad to say I cannot recommend Hotel CA - I have lived here since it re-opened and the food has always always been up and down. One is taking a chance at every visit - sometimes good, never great and mostly blah. Sometimes worse than blah. I don't happen to like Landi's food but lots of people do. One alert - her tortilla soup is VERY spicy.I don't eat beef but I have plenty of friends who recommend El Pastorcito. Did I mention Tacos George for good pescado and camarone tacos - on Militar.

              1. re: Mariana in Baja

                Second everything Mariana says. She;s been very helpful to me in the past

                Landis at the Todos Santos Inn is beautiful..and worth a walk through..haven't eaten there..but not so keen to if M doesn't like it

                We're on our 5 th trip to Todos and also reco the eat lunch in town and avoid the roads at night. We're rentinting a house this year in the Las Tunas section but we took a short drive today and stopped at Rancho P..beautiful place and I'm sure you'll enjoy.

                Ht Georges Tacos yesterday for fish tacos and there's another cart that only sells cochinita pibil. Haven't hit it yet but have enjoyed in the pas...manana.

                A fun activity is going to the fishing beach, Playa Punta Lobos. Around 3-4 PM the boats come in and unload...KM 54..Your hotel is KM 57


                1. re: 9lives

                  Really nice place for breakfast and lunch is La Esquina in the otro lado - across the street from casa Dracula. You will find it on the map inside the Calendario that you can pick up at the book store. Also check out our twice weekly on-line newsletter: I thought La Casita was okay but not special --a little pricey for what he is offering. Watch out for his wine - his prices are much too high for his by the glass selections.

                  1. re: Mariana in Baja

                    For Geoffww hit the cochinita pibil cart today..only open ti 11 or so.closed Tues. .still excellent. on the right across from the bus stop and a little further down..Tel Cel and fish market

                    M hit La Esqina last trip and will go back again. Thx...Seems like a lot of recent new markets.

                    Here's an old photo we rented and lots of the fishing beach.


        2. re: Mariana in Baja

          Thanks for your rec for Michaels at the Gallery! Had a wonderful dinner there last week. Love the outdoor setting surrounded by art. Service excellent. We poked our heads in during the day and Michael was busy prepping the night's meal. I had a fabulous yellowtail dish described as "Japanese style" but the sauce was much more interesting than what it might sound like. Taste of wasabi, black sesame seeds and I don't know what else but it was perfect and the right balance for the fish. Side dishes, vegs etc very good. Also scallops and shrimp - all perfectly cooked. Went to La Casita and enjoyed it tho it's a more casual approach. Menu large so we stuck to the specials which were good. "Tapas" are large enough to share. He made a delicious tiramisu - his own version which I liked better than the traditional (I am not generally a big fan of tiramisu). I don't put this on the same level as Michaels for example, but was still fine.

      2. Thanks so much for everyone's replies. Taking all these recs with me. My wife was there last year and you're validating what she loved and giving us some new tips. We're going the last week of the month and of course will report back.

        Buen provecho!

        1. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. We had a lovely week in Todos Santos/Pescadero – with a lot of truly wonderful food. Here’s the, er, not-so-skinny:

          We stayed at Rancho Pescadero and had dinner there 4 times. Fish and shrimp entrees were especially delicious, as were the tortilla soup, shrimp and avocado salad. Chicken mole also yummy.

          “Nice” meals:
          Michael’s was wonderful, as advertised here. Beautiful garden space, super friendly chef and staff (that was really the case absolutely everywhere, so I won’t repeat myself). Vietnamese style crabcakes, green chili pork curry (more like a mexican stew, actually), scallops in red curry. Delicious.

          Suki’s: Delicious and lovely, also lovely outdoor garden space. Thai noodle salad, coconut/veg soup, green chili curry. Great.

          Carlito’s (in Pescadero) – outstanding. Sebiche, lobster roll, “shrimp carlito’s (really big ones, great ranchero-style sauce/spices), stuffed banana peppers. Yum.

          Lunch at El Zaguan – great fish/seafood. More expensive than it should have been for what it was, but the food was truly delicious.

          Lunch at Café Santa Fe. Wasn’t gonna go, but curiosity got the best of us. Lovely space. Truly delicious pasta. Truly silly prices.


          As great as all of the other food is/was, it was the tacos that we knew we REALLY cared about. Bottom line is that we didn’t eat a taco that wasn’t excellent. Everyone has their faves, of course, but I really don’t think you can go wrong anywhere.

          Before we even got to town we stopped at La Colonia, a little stand at approximately km 78 on the highway – really great carnitas.

          Coming into town, turning right on the ruta des camiones, the first stand on your left (it has a name and I can’t remember it!) was our overall favorite. Fish tacos that had that perfectly crispy crust, almost creamy fish inside. Just divine. I could eat here three times every day and not get tired of them. [perfect Mexico moment here: the first couple of days we were in the area Todos had power outage problems. Was this a problem for these taco ladies? Nope. Need to power the blender for more salsa, etc? Walk over to the pickup truck, plug the transformer into the truck battery, plug it into the blender, whirrrrrrr, and delicious salsas are ready to go!].

          Barrajas: tried the fish and the carnitas. Both delicious. Fish especially generous. Not quite as crispy/creamy as mentioned above.

          Georges: also excellent. Unfortunately had run out of guac the day we stopped by, but clearly popular and worth a visit.

          Chilako’s: Outrageous carne asada. I was warned that the folks who run this place weren’t always friendly. Not AT ALL my experience. Lovely folks, great food.

          Other important things:

          Ice cream! La Paloma. Great. I was particularly in love with the fresh lime sorbet.

          Churros! I think just Friday and Saturday eves, a little stand just up the block from Suki’s. 6 churros in a bag for 20 pesos. Oh yeah.

          L’Esquina: a great “third place.” Just a lovely place to plop down and eat and drink (or not – they really don’t seem to care), relax, read, etc. Garden setting (yes, this is clearly a theme). Delicious agua frescas, and we had good cookies and one day an outrageously delicious piece of zucchini cake. I want to transplant this place to my hometown. Oh, wait, our weather can’t often accommodate it. Damn.

          Baja Beans: wow, were we lucky. Baja Beans opened recently in Pescadero (km marker 60 or 61?) and it’s AMAZING. Great coffees, and chocolate and carrot cakes that will make you weep. Seriously. I am not making this up. I'd consider moving here just so I could hang out here every day. You know we were staying close by, at the Rancho. We heard about this place at the end of a yoga class, when the buzz went around “chocolate cake at BB today.” after a quick shower we hustled (as much as you can hustle in that chill environment) over there and were greeted by another great “third place” where you can hang out in the garden all day if you want to. by the time we finished a piece of cake nearly our entire (two dozen) yoga class colleagues had shown up! Another great moment.

          So – if you’re planning to visit Todos, or if you’re close – you’re going to eat very well. you can spend a lot if you want to or absolutely not; either way you won’t be disappointed.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Geoff

            Thx for posting back and so glad you enjoyed it.

            It's really a special place.

            1. re: Geoff

              Thanks so much for taking the time to write your report and I am so pleased you enjoyed our little town. Yes, Santa Fe prices are just plain silly.Come back soon!!

              1. re: Geoff

                Anyone thinking about visiting Todos Santos from Los Cabos should know that a 40 km stretch of Mexico 19 is under construction between km 72 and km 112. There are intermittent stretches of semi-rough dirt detours. We made it fine in a Hyundai Attitude. We also got to see some exciting dump truck races on the way back to Cabo. 8^) Those guys are maniacs!

                1. re: Geoff

                  Anybody know the name of the stand Geoff couldn't identify here: "Coming into town, turning right on the ruta des camiones, the first stand on your left (it has a name and I can’t remember it!) was our overall favorite. Fish tacos that had that perfectly crispy crust, almost creamy fish inside. Just divine. I could eat here three times every day and not get tired of them."

                  Or if it is still even there?

                  1. re: chowhounder411

                    I can't picture a stand on the left after you turn right - there was once one there but no more. A favorite taco stand is Compa Chava - second restaurant on the right after you turn right on the truck route - across from the school- they close early.

                    Also try the gordita stand on militar at the corner of hidalgo - same side as Comex - yummy and CHEAP!!

                  2. re: Geoff

                    To everyone. I am planning a similar trip as Geoff within the next couple weeks. My wife is pregnant. What might I tell her about food safety issues related to these recommendations to provide some reassurance? I greatly appreciate your input so that we can possibly avoid being confined to eating at the same "safe" place for every meal.


                    1. re: equinoise

                      After I was hospitalized from eating somewhere in Todos or Pescadero, the Mexican doctor told me I had brucellosis. Brucella is a bacteria found in milk and present in milks or cheeses. I looked it up and medical resources said cows infected with this bacteria commonly have miscarriages. Imagine what it does to a 90-200 pound woman's fetus. Travel here with a pregnant woman is irresponsible at the very least and in my opinion dangerous and stupid, as in I wouldn't do it. I ate at only restaurants recommended on Chow and by the most upscale hotel in Pescadero where I stayed. Before I'm bashed for being a fearmonger, I've been to Mexico maybe 20 times and look forward to returning - but not with a pregnant woman (in all regions of coastal Mexico I know people or have traveled with people who have gotten serious bacterial infections).

                      1. re: chowhounder411

                        Do you believe that travel to this region is irresponsible, dangerous and stupid regardless of where or what said pregnant woman eats?

                        1. re: equinoise

                          I ate at only two roadside/ maybe "sketchy" kind of places, a taqueria recommended by almost every employee at the hotel (Rancho Pescadero) but it was a former hotel employee's new spot and one of the pizza bars on the North side of the highway in Pescadero which was mentioned by fellow guests of the hotel as good for a quick snack. At both places, my girlfriend had the SAME MEAL as myself and did not end up sick. The only place I can think of where I consumed dairy that she didn't was actually at the hotel. I don't know if anybody else got sick, if I had the only piece of bad cheese, I really don't know where I got sick. Salad dressing in Todos? No clue.

                          It seems like food poising, bacterial infections and parasites are common for tourists in Mexico. Some people would say the threats are overblown, but I don't know anyone who got food poisoning from cooked shrimp in the US, parasites, sick from the water, bacterial infections from dairy!! I even got food poisoning once from salsa and/or guacamole. I don't know what a really safe place to eat in coastal Mexico is, but isn't that part of the excitement a little bit? After this sickness, I considered how a child would change some of my traveling habits and I decided then it's only 9 months, we can wait. The chances of not encountering any problems is good I'm sure, but the consequences from it happening are too high for myself.

                          1. re: chowhounder411

                            Thought I would briefly post back. My wife was pretty cautious, which basically meant that we ate almost entirely at Rancho P. But I can't really complain about it. I think there was a chef change within the last 1.5 years or so. For dinner they were doing a really fresh sort of Cal/Mexican/Mediterranean stuff but with, to my mind at least, more interesting flashes like "deconstructed" items, use of dried piquin chile, etc. Some standouts were the chile "relleno" with a pumpkin seed crust; octopus cebiche; sea bass veracruz style; really well-cooked ribeye, and a sort of haute goat birria recipe. I thought the most non-Mexican flavors probably were the least succesful (quinoa, some salads), but nothing bad. Rancho is surrounded by small farm plots and they were proud of embracing the local/organic. Lunch and breakfast was more simple crowd-pleasing stuff, and the fish tacos were just silly good-at least on par with Georges (below)--and I think we ate them every day.
                            My wife said they blew away the version she had at an acclaimed place in San Diego, CA she went to previously.

                            Fortunately, I was allowed a little exploration. Had carnitas at the Barajas stand in Todos Santos. Very generous portion, hacked from a heat-lamp pile, nice tortillas. I can't say I thought the meat itself was much better than my local taco truck on a good day. Georges was closed on an initial 2 PM visit, but caught a fish taco on the second try at 9:30 AM later. It was excellent; only wish I had more of an appetite to try more. The suprise was a place called El Barrillito in Los Barilles on the Sea of Cortez (we drove through on the way back to San Jose). Definitely draws a gringo crowd, but was pleased to see off menu some Sinaloan stuff that I just can't get at home--super sweet, intensely fiery aguachile de callo (scallop) and tacos al gobernador (smoked marlin with chopped pepper and cheese).

                            1. re: equinoise

                              +1 for excellent Chile Rellenos at the Rancho

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