Tacos, tacos, tacos. This is the place for tacos….or fresh fish…or fresh fish tacos.
Situated on the Sea of Cortex, Loreto offers a variety of fresh seafood and simple Mexican cuisine. If you are looking for Michelin star restaurants, this is not your town. If you want good, straightforward food prepared with love and served with a smile, then you are in the right place.
Americans often worry about eating food from a street vendor and end up missing out on some of the best local cuisine. There were taco stands and mom & pop hole-in-the-walls on every block offering great tasting food cooked simply and offered at incredible prices. Often these families do the cooking at home and then bring the food to the stands to sell. You will meet the mom, dad, and half the family as they all pitch in to run their stands. Grab a beer from the store a few doors down because the stands do not sell alcohol and remember, these places only take cash (pesos not dollars).
Local pastry and coffee for breakfast, a ceviche or taco for lunch, and it is time for a nice sit-down dinner. One can walk around the town square and pick from a half dozen restaurants or wander down toward the marina and enjoy a view of the ocean.
If you are really adventurous, hire a taxi to drive you 15 minuted down the road to Vista el Mar. This local restaurant is right on a beautiful cove and rumor says this is the best seafood in the area and certainly the best view. Unfortunately, it was closed the week I was in Loreto so I can not personally attest to the food quality. If you get down that way and try it, please send me your comments.
I did get the opportunity to try three of the highest recommended restaurants in town. All three were downtown around the square. Each was unique in its ambiance and food.
This restaurant was right on the square, seemed the most “European” in its approach, and stated they took credit cards. The owner/chef came by to introduce himself, and I asked him to prepare ‘chef’s choice’. He seemed excited for the opportunity. I sat in anticipation of what interesting creation was going to emerge. What I received was a mediocre salad followed by an overcooked flank steak with four shrimp on top. This was the ‘chef’s choice’? Next came the bill. When I tried to pay with a credit card their machine did not work. I tried to pay with American dollars and the exchange rate they were offering was substantially lower than the bank’s rate. The meal would have cost approximately $50 USD. After a heated discussion with the owner’s wife, the credit card machine miraculously started working and I ended up paying $35 (still the highest priced yet lowest quality meal of my stay). Neither the food nor the ethics appealed to me, and I would avoid Mia Maria in the future.
While this may not be the fanciest restaurant in Loreto it is the friendliest. I wandered into the restaurant and had the manager greet me. He was dismayed that I was traveling alone and made it his mission to make sure I had a good visit that evening and through out my stay. He offered salsa made table-side and a margarita on the house. After enjoying the presentation and a cold cocktail, it was time for dinner. The restaurant is famous for their clams, and with good reason! These had me wishing I had ordered two servings. For my entree I ordered the white fish with roasted garlic. The fish was smothered in garlic and was SO good. It had such strong, bold flavors! During the rest of my stay in Loreto, the manager would stop me on the square to see how I was doing and enticed me back more than once with free drinks. He really made me feel welcome.
I saved Mi Loreto for dinner on my last night so it seems fitting that it would be my last review. Of the three, Mi Loreto offered the nicer ambiance. I loved how they incorporated the tree into the restaurant. I started the meal with their wonderful, hearty chicken soup. For an entree’ I ordered the house special chicken mole’. It is difficult for me to write a review of mole’ as it is not something I would normally order. There was a lot of depth and complexity to the mole and a sweet/smoky flavor. It was well-balanced and if you are a fan of mole you will not be disappointed. The highlight of this dinner experience was the local coffee liquor. The house manager happily poured me a glass of a bottle he keeps hidden behind the bar. Yum!