Fish tacos, cold cockteles, and seafood platters anchor just about every San Felipe menu. La Vaquita Restaurant & Bar (Puerta Peñasco and Av. Mar de Cortés North, tel. 686/577-2837, 11 A.M.–10 P.M. Wed.–Mon.) serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in an open-air setting. Seafood cocktails (US$6) are its specialty, but the menu also features fish plates (US$6–10) and tacos (US$4 per order).
Close to the malecón, La Hacienda de la Langosta Roja (Chetumal 121, tel. 686/577-0484, www.sanfelipelodging.com, 7 A.M.–11 P.M. daily, dinner mains US$14–28) serves Italian-style seafood (piccata, Florentine, scampi, etc.) at reasonable prices. Its sunny patio is a plus on winter afternoons.
At Chuy’s Place (Av. Mar de Cortés, no tel., dinner daily, mains US$15) owner Jesus Davis does an amazing shrimp entrée with oyster sauce and ginger, as well as lamb chops with mango sauce.
On the malecón, Rice and Beans (tel. 686/577-1770, riceybeans [at] hotmail [dot] com, 7 A.M.–11 P.M. Mon.–Fri., breakfast mains US$2–6, lunch/dinner mains US$14–16) serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with tables inside (air-conditioned) and on a street-side terrace. Fresh fish and carne asada anchor a menu of Mexican fare.
Rosita’s Restaurant (Av. Mar de Cortés 381, tel. 686/540-6218, www.rositarest.com, 9 A.M.–10 P.M. daily, US$6–13) is a friendly, if touristy, place with decent Mexican food, including shrimp tacos.
Also on the malecón, two-story Licoraria (no tel.) is first and foremost a place to try fish tacos, but it also serves machaca, chilaquiles, and other types of tacos for US$1.50 apiece.
If you’re on the hunt for an authentic Mexican meal, head to La Fonda Los Portales (Manzanillo, one block west of the tourist office, no tel., mains US$7–12), open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s known for its rich chicken mole and other Mexican classics of Aztec origin. Traditional tortilla soup and refreshing agua de jamaica round out the menu. The restaurant does not serve alcoholic beverages, but you can bring your own.
At the golf course of La Ventana del Mar Resort, Pavilion (toll-free U.S. tel. 877/629-2852 or 619/299-5990, 8 A.M.–7 P.M. Mon.–Fri., 8 A.M.–9 P.M. Sat., 10 A.M.–9 P.M. Sun., mains US$10–18) offers a gourmet menu with entrées such as fricassee of veal, walnut-encrusted rack of lamb, and champagne-poached scallops.
Perched high above the town, the Lighthouse Lounge (Guaymas 152, tel. 686/577-2540, lighthouselounge1 [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx, 8 A.M.–10 P.M. Tues.–Sun., mains US$10–15) has the most unique view around and cheerful and festive decor. On the menu are omelets, burgers, sandwiches, and salads, plus steaks and Mexican plates for dinner.
South of the Caribe Motel, The George (Av. Mar de Cortés, tel. 686/577-1057, 6 A.M.–10 P.M. daily, US$12–22) is a cross between a steakhouse and a diner, with leather booths and bright lighting. The menu includes Mexican fare, as well as steaks.
El Nido Steakhouse (Av. Mar de Cortés 348, tel. 686/577-1028, 2–10 P.M. Thurs.–Tues., mains US$18–25) is a Baja chain known for its Western decor and steaks grilled over a mesquite wood fire. Guests sit in tall leatherback chairs at heavy wood tables, under the dim light of red lamps.
Baja Mar/The Taco Factory (on the malecón near Chetumal, tel. 686/577-2648) specializes in shrimp dishes, and the guacamole is a standout. Tacos cost US$1–1.50 each. Entrées run US$8–20, and the seafood combo (US$48) is large enough for two. There is an enclosed dining room, but the larger dining area is outside on a large deck with a bar in the middle.
Try Baja Burger (Av. Mar de Cortés 162, no tel., breakfast and lunch daily, mains US$3–9) for a quick bite, such as chilaquiles for breakfast or a burger with fries for lunch.
Behind the Beachcomber Bar and on the second story of the building, Baja Java (Av. Mar de Cortés and Chetumal, no tel., baja_java [at] highes [dot] net, breakfast and lunch daily) is the place for espresso drinks. Enjoy the sea views from its sunny patio. Downstairs is the Smoke Signals (no tel.) cigar shop and lounge.
Many of the stores you’ll need for groceries and supplies are located along Calzada Chetumal on the way into town. At the entrance to town is Ruben’s Fish Market (Mar Caribe Sur 158, tel. 686/577-1442). Avenida Mar de Caribe also has several bakeries.
Near the north end of the malecón, La Vaquita Dos (Puerto Peñasco 292, tel. 686/577-1710, until 11 P.M. daily) has meat and produce counters, as well as fresh tortillas made on-site. On the weekends, they’ll barbecue your meat, free of charge. You can also pick up a variety of household supplies. Special orders are welcome.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition