You can find some incredibly delicious, incredibly affordable cuisine in the charming seaside town of Loreto, Baja California Sur (Mexico). That alone is impressive because Loreto is a tiny town on the Sea of Cortez, in the middle of the Baja California peninsula.
Despite its small size and population, it is bursting with big, authentic flavors. I lived in Loreto for a few months in 2016-17 and have compiled here a list of my favorite restaurants, which I recommend you try next time you come through Baja (Loreto is an ideal stopover on a road trip down the Baja peninsula).
In the list below, you’ll notice I mention nothing about cost at any of these restaurants, and that’s because they are all similarly affordable. So don’t worry about the price, just enjoy the goods. Such is life in Loreto!
Best Restaurants in Loreto, Mexico
1. El Zopilote Brewery & Cocina
First of all, El Zopilote (which means “turkey vulture”) is the only craft brewery for miles, but their beers aren’t just good because they’re the only ones; they’re actually delicious quality craft beers. Second, the location on the central plaza is cozy and good for people-watching.
It is owned and operated by Norma (Mexican) and Kieran (Irish), and there is a 4-room boutique hotel (Hotel 1697) attached to the restaurant as well. I’ve enjoyed every meal I’ve had here and especially recommend the guacamole and pizzas. The Tombstone Pale Ale (nice and hoppy) ended up being my favorite brew!
2. La Super Torta
I could probably write an entire post on just the street food of Loreto, as there is plenty of churro, taco, and hot dog stands, and then there’s the tamale bike… but I digress, this torta stand has the most delicious torta in town. A “torta” in Mexico is essentially a grilled sandwich, and it usually comes with either carne asada (grilled beef) or deshebrada (shredded beef).
La Super Torta is run by a local woman who watches her telenovelas on her tiny kitchen tv when she doesn’t have customers. This “kitchen” is a tiny structure just big enough for her to be inside, and there is a walk-up window-style bench seat, where you sit next to other customers to enjoy your tortas together. Also, if she has champurrado available, try it. It’s thick Mexican hot chocolate, and it’s SO delicious.
Look for La Super Torta on the corner of calles Madero and Jordan. She’s only open in the evenings and doesn’t seem to have a consistent schedule.
3. Mi Loreto
If I were to describe Mi Loreto in one word, it would be “rich.” The recipes here, all of them, seem perfect to me, and everything I’ve tried has been the best kind of delicious. It has a cozy atmosphere, my favorite of all the restaurants, just across from the mission in the center of town.
It is a must-visit for quality Mexican (specifically Oaxacan) food in Loreto. If you aren’t sure what to order, try the “Combinación Mexicana” (pictured below), and thank me later!
4. Super Burro
If you like grilled meat, do not miss Super Burro. Every bite is grilled perfection, party in your mouth type flavor. And it is no secret why it’s so good. You can watch the women manage the grills, right there in the main room of the restaurant.
I recommend trying the “super burro” itself or a papa relleno (stuffed potato) if you’re starving or a “volcan” if you want something lighter. They also have delicious flan and horchata.
My only complaint with this place is the smoke; they don’t have good ventilation, so you may want to pass or get something to go if you are sensitive to smoke.
Find it hidden around the corner, just south of the stoplight.
5. El Rey del Taco
“The best fish tacos ever” is the word on the street about El Rey del Taco (The King of Tacos). Personally, I think they make one of the best carne asada (beef) tacos I’ve ever had as well.
Finding it open can be difficult. However, when they are open, it’s only until they run out of food. This usually happens between 9 am and 2 pm, says the owner himself, although they can be very inconsistent. But, when you’re the best in town, apparently you do what you want. So if you see it open, definitely go.
It’s located on Calle Juarez, one block north and a couple of blocks west from the plaza. You might meet Santa there too (he vacations in Loreto after his busy Christmas season).
6. Pan Que Pan
If you don’t know where this one is, you’ll never find it, even though it’s right on the main street. Tucked into an alley and decorated Pinterest-perfectly, it is a hidden gem and super cozy once you get inside the gate.
The entrance to Pan Que Pan is looker’s left of the big yellow candy shop (dulcería), about a block from the stoplight towards the water. Go for breakfast, go for lunch, go and enjoy the home-baked bread and other sweets. I particularly enjoy their breakfast sandwich.
7. La Palapa
There is a reason La Palapa is still going strong since 1994 (that’s a long time for a small town). Its well-established, extensive menu has all the traditional favorites plus a few house specialties, and they currently also serve Zopilote’s delicious craft brews.
This is the place to take your fresh catch and have it prepared for you after a good day of fishing. They’ll cook it up however you’d like it and serve it with any sides you want, family-style, for a meager cost.
Orlando’s is a colorful restaurant with a big, traditional Mexican menu just one block north of the main square. I don’t think it has quite as much unique character as some other places, but it’s a good choice for a broad menu and nice atmosphere. It is also right next door to a popular ice cream shop.
9. Los Mandiles
Los Mandiles is right across the street from the sea, on Loreto’s malecón (the boardwalk area). I especially enjoy going there for breakfast and highly recommend their fresh-squeezed orange juice.
10. Los Olivos Restaurant at La Misión
I was skeptical about this restaurant because it happens to be inside the nicest hotel in town. Usually, I would run the other way; however, the Los Olivos Restaurant at La Misión is affordable, delicious, and has wonderful staff, AND you can sit outside on the balcony, overlooking the malecón and the water. It’s beautiful and peaceful. Try their margaritas, and I recommend the Chile Poblano with Arrachera (grilled steak).
You need a car for this one, but it’s worth the drive. A dirt road heading north out of Loreto as close to the water as you can get leads to Picazón. It takes 15-20 minutes to drive the bumpy six miles to Picazón’s beautiful, isolated spot right on the beach with views of Coronado Island.
Have a margarita. They are the best in town. I also highly recommend the fish tacos here. Give yourself time to enjoy a walk on the beach while you’re out there. And go for lunch, last I checked they closed at 6 pm.
I was also skeptical about this one because the name is Italian. I live in Italy from time to time; I am picky about my Italian food. However, Mezzaluna is actually an Uruguayan restaurant, AND they make their own pasta in-house. It’s uniquely delicious.
I recommend the Purple Fettuccini with fresh veggies. The noodles are made from beets (hence the purple), and the freshness of the veggies will make you believe you are taking a fork straight to the garden. FRESH is an understatement. The combination of flavors was perfection, and the owner is a sweet woman. So I take back my skepticism and beg forgiveness. Oh, please take a few of her yummy empanadas to go, too.
13. Alma del Sur
This restaurant is a testament to the dedication and hard work because it was born in 2020, and we all know what that means. The owners are passionate, kind people who love what they do: taking care of people and serving them delicious soul food. You must go. You might even catch live music.
14. Michoacana Ice Cream
About one block north of the main plaza, you’ll find a local’s favorite ice cream spot. Try the oreo if they have it! And ask about why everyone has chip bags if you want to try a real, local custom.
These are only a sampling of the many, many restaurants in Loreto. I’ve also enjoyed Agave, Mita Gourmet, Las Islas, and others. I can confidently say that you can go almost anywhere and have a great meal with great service. And even if you were to eat at a different spot for every meal during your stay, you still wouldn’t even be close to sampling all the options in Loreto. It certainly is a fun destination for food lovers.
This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated.