Big flavors come in humble packages in Loreto, but for the lack of polish there's a lot of variety. In addition to the below hubs, the fried shrimp tacos at Tacos el Rey on Benito Juárez are legendary, but get there early -- when they're out, the place closes. Pangalapa on Hidalgo is a favorite among Mexican locals, for authentic food and low prices under a streetside palapa hut, and everyone agrees that Loreto's best Mexican breakfast is at Los Mandiles on the malecón. For coffee lovers, the town now has two espresso machines, at Lolita's Café, Salvatierra, just off the malecón (daily 7am-3pm), and Latte Café, on Madero between Hidalgo and Salvatierra, next door to Café Olé. For more tips and updated details check the website of the Loreto Restaurant Association (www.loretorestaurants.com).
Off the Beaten Path -- If you're driving between Loreto and points south, schedule in a lunch stop at Vista al Mar, known by local gringos as the Clam Shack. In front, it's a low concrete building with a Pacifico beer sign hanging out front; in back, it's an expat's favorite barefoot beachside restaurant. Specialties are the marinated chocolata clams, and for those who prefer their shellfish cooked, a highly rated clam soup. Vista al Mar is on the coast side of Hwy. 1, midway between Nopoló and Puerto Escondido, about 15 minutes south of Loreto.
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