Dining Out in San Felipe
Most of the old fish taco stands have been moved off the Malecon. A collection can be found in the Plaza Maristacos at the south end,towards the Costa Azul Hotel. The very first shop on the left hand side as you face the plaza does a great fish and shrimp soup. Between the Beachcomber and the Rockodile, Conchita's is highly recommended. Sit on the upstairs balcony and watch the passing show. (The venerable Tony's restaurant closed in November 2006 and will be missed.)
The freshly fried shark meat or shrimp tacos are still unsurpassed for taste. The small bowls of condiments at each stand provide red and green chile salsas, chopped vegetables, limes, onions and mayonnaise-type sauces so you can individually tailor your meal. Bottles of red pepper sauces are also at hand for true fire eaters. Two fish tacos and a cold beer or soda are inexpensive and make a healthy lunch. Squeeze lots of lime juice on your tacos and on the rim of the beer bottle. Shrimp cocktails and ceviche are also very popular and beef tacos are available at most stands.
Other popular and cost-effective places to eat include Rosita's and Rice and Beans (your hosts are Rigoberto and Ricardo Romo and they do an excellent fish stew and have a consistently good menu), Chencho's (try the Oaxaquenos eggs for breakfast), the restaurant at BajaMar Restaurant & Taco Factory (wonderful shrimp dishes and tacos for $1.00) and Oceano China (just north of the Red Lobster) for Chinese food. For a real local treat try the birria or huevos rancheros at Loncheria Las Chabelas on Av. Mar Caribe at Calle Manzanillo (in the shadow of the Baja Celular tower). This little gem of a restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch and gets very crowded.
If you have a craving for a good pizza or a typical American meal check out Ted's Los Arcos restaurant at the entrance to town. Many residents from El Dorado dine there and it is a good place to meet retired ex-pats and join in the karaoke.
For the special splurge dinner (allow $30+ per person) try the excellent filet mignon and other prime steaks at El Nido (closed Wednesdays), the Red Lobster (in the very center of town), Baja Mar (for a great Margarita with your seafood),and Juanito's Cantina (at El Dorado Ranch). The patio at the El Cortez hotel is also a wonderful location for a beachfront lunch or dinner in the warmer weather.
Freshly cooked food is unlikely to cause you any intestinal discomfort. However, if the worst does happen, visit Tavo at Botica Sagrado Corazon (the drug store next to the bank) and he will dispense some elixir to clear up the problem. Remember that the most important single step you can take to ensure hygiene is to wash your hands frequently. Always do this before sitting down to dine and always squeeze lime juice over the rim of bottles before drinking from them.
Incidentally, when you dine in any restaurant, do not hesitate to tell them if you want them to use little or no salt. Many dishes come highly salted if you do not express a preference. Salt on the rim of the Margarita glass is traditional but you can always clear a little section to drink from with your napkin if it appears excessive.
Health tip: Check the rest rooms of a restaurant before you eat there. If they do not have soap and towels then give them a miss. If there is no soap, the employees are not satisfactorily washing their hands before handling food. Don't hesitate to inform management of any unsanitary conditions.
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