April 21, 2009

Restaurant Guide to Santa Rosalia

Photo of El Muelle

These are the places we like to eat in Santa Rosalia, many are not mentioned in the guidebooks. These places are popular with tourists passing through and the locals alike. Everyone we know has a favorite among them, but none seems to have the same favorite. The restaurants basically serve the same menu. Don’t expect rapid service anywhere, the more of you there are the slower the service will be as everything is made from scratch. Bear in mind that the simpler the menu item the less likely you are to be disappointed. This is not the town for gourmet food—go to Loreto for that. What you will get is decent plain food.

Our favorite is El Muelle in the center of town on the corner of Calle Plaza and Av. Constitución. It is across from Plaza Benito Juarez and City Hall. Sometimes in the evening the plaza becomes a beehive of activity that you can watch from Muelle’s covered outdoor patio. Inside is air conditioned with two TVs running; most of the Mexican families eat inside. El Muelle has a full bar. We especially like the wait staff; they make you feel right at home. El Muelle is best for for fish and meats. Their carne asada and arrachera steaks with baked potato are favorites with many of the gringos. We think they are delicious. The beef comes from Sonora which is famous for good beef cuts. Fish ‘a la plancha’ and breaded scallops are good. They make a tasty ceviche and shrimp cocktail too. If you order a full meal it will be accompanied with soup. They make a drink I like, the Michelada. In other parts of Mexico this is beer and Mexican lime juice, here it is beer and Clamato. On a hot day it is a very refreshing drink and not too alcoholic.

Just down the block at Av. Obregón and Calle Playa is Restaurant Terco’s Pollito. Terco means stubborn in Spanish and it is said when the owner’s previous two restaurants burned down, he stubbornly rebuilt this one. They have a small covered patio as well as air conditioned inside dining. They have the best Mexican food (chile rellenos, tacos) in town, and spit roast their own chickens visible roasting through a plate glass window onsite in the patio. Also of note is an interesting squid dip served with the chips. They make a good breakfast as well. They serve just beer and soft drinks.

About 2 miles south of the town center on Mexico Hwy 1 toward Mulegé at the top of the hill and of the malecon is a orange and blue building overlooking the Sea of Cortez which houses Tuxpan, another full bar-restaurant tastefully decorated with Mexican art. A plus here is lots of parking, even to accommodate an RV. Sometimes they have a few tables outside for dining, but generally you eat inside, with air conditioning and TV running. On a recent visit the chicken fajitas were really excellent. They also make some interesting very large burritos, which are flattened and grilled. I would stick with the Mexican food here. The restaurant is set on a cliff adjacent to the water (which you can’t see from inside), but you should definitely take a picture of this lovely view of the Sea of Cortez. One of our guests saw killer whales attacking a baby whale from this site. Update 6/1/09 : Tuxpan has closed, the landlord wanted too much rent. Sniff.

The Hotel Francés on Mesa Francés is only open for breakfast (until noon, closed on Sundays), but what a fine breakfast it is! I highly recommend the El Minero breakfast if you like spicy food—it is a big one with eggs, machaca with chile, beans and chorizo potatoes. The lovely old dining room in this old French hotel has a relaxing atmosphere with its high ceilings and wall paper of antique Mexican bandanna fabric. The building was constructed in 1886 by the French. The lovely ladies here will take good care of you. The Hotel El Morro just off Hwy 1 on the south end of town past the Tecate Brewery is reputed to have a good Sunday brunch buffet, starting at 1 pm. Mexican families go here on Sundays for a relaxing time and you are apt to get more traditional home fare (not tacos and enchiladas). On the working man’s side of town local food worthy of note is served at Neto’s on the west end of Av. Obregón at Calle 11. This has a hole-in-the-wall atmosphere, no air conditioning, is open only for lunch, and serves a fantastic seafood stew (and an equally great seafood salad.) You will only find locals here. They serve beer and soft drinks. Jimmy Boy’s Tacos serves up a mean meat taco at their on-street dining stand where Jimmy presides behind the pots cooking up the taco filling at Calle Noria and Av. Constitucion. We hear good fish tacos are available at Tacos El Arabe taco stand next to the fruit market on the east end of Av. Manual Montoya; I have heard that all the taco stands in town are good.

Also of mention is the bar in the Fonatour Yacht Club, Solario. This is just south of the ferry terminal, going east as you would turn toward the Capitania del Puerto sign. The facility has a high fence around it and a guard. The food isn’t terrific, but they have a worth-a-visit al fresco second story bar, great cocktails and a good view of the sea. At night it is a disco with live entertainment.

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