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“Authentic Mexican food in a fun, bohemian environment.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cafe Brown

Cafe Brown
Ranked #58 of 91 Restaurants in Todos Santos
Cuisines: Mexican, Cafe
Dining options: Breakfast, Seating
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Seating
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
501 reviews
290 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 665 helpful votes
“Authentic Mexican food in a fun, bohemian environment.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2012

Café Brown could easily be called Café Love, as chef/owner Iker Algorri says that the true secret to making delicious Mexican food is "to make it with love."

Although Iker is not a professionally trained chef, his food is authentic, flavorful home-cooked fare. Here you can find the perfect Mexican dish finished with a dash of Iker’s love. His training started at an early age when his family hired a woman from Tlaxcaltecan to prepare the family meals. She knew how to make the great traditional dishes of Mexico while Iker lurked in the kitchen taking mental note of all of her culinary secrets.

Iker has to put his cooking passion aside while he made a living working twenty years for the government; the last twelve years as a federal agent for the state of Baja California Sur. Taking early retirement, he allowed his passion for food to resurface in the form of Café Brown. Immediately the rifle was replaced with the spatula. Their loss and our gain as Iker is the most lovely, charming gentleman with a quick smile and a desire to impart his perspective on good food.

Initially, this eclectic café was simply a place to be served the best cup of coffee in Baja along with a pastry. Soon, the space became one for people to gather and take in the art, the music, the library and most of all the food. Born was the first arts-oriented cafe in town.

With a somewhat limited menu, it is all prepared and cooked by Iker, with love, of course. His focus on quality, local ingredients is supplemented by purchasing the best, seasonal items and making dishes from scratch. And, for those that like to learn how to cook these wonderful, delightful dishes, Iker also conducts cooking classes. I was lucky enough to get two such classes while I was in Todos Santos.

The first class was on Hueovs Rancheros with four salsas. One of the salsas was Iker’s version of Coloradito Sauce. A complex, thicker, brick-red salsa which added a depth of flavor unlike any huevos rancheros I’ve ever eaten. Each family has their own versions of this Oaxacan red mole sauce, but his recipe is easy and delicious. All it takes is time—and love.

In educating us about the four salsas, Iker started off with a display of the ingredients that go into each one. We were able to sample each salsa and then select one for our breakfast…I asked if I could have two different salsa and Iker laughed and said “we call that Huevos Rancheros Divorce.” That means putting the refried beans down the middle and your fried corn tortillas on each side with a perfectly cooked egg on top, a light sprinkle of pepper on the eggs and then the salsa is lovingly spooned over the egg. A final grating of local cheese on the beans and heaven is served!

The food was so incredible that I ended up going back for a class on Rajas de Chile Poblano con Crema y Elote. The base of this recipe is the most beautiful, locally grown poblano peppers. These slightly sweet and low-heat peppers give just enough spice to the rest of the simple ingredients: onion, sour cream, shredded chicken and fresh corn kernels. Served with warmed tortilla and refried beans makes this a hearty breakfast or a lighter dinner. When I got home, I immediately made these for my family and it was a hit. Now, Rajas de Chile Poblano con Crema y Elote is requested when we’re in the mood for Mexican food because the flavors are elusively spicy (poblano) with a slightly tangy sweetness (sour cream and sweet corn).
If you’re lucky, you can be at Café Brown when live music is being played, or a foreign movie is playing while Iker makes dishes from that country, or even drumming circles, but I must admit, my favorite are the impromptu salsa lessons!

Iker’s motto is “Happiness is only real when it’s shared” and sharing happiness is what the Café Brown is all about. Oh, and it’s an internet café as well. So, if you must, for only $2usd/hour, you can connect to the world.

Café Brown can be found on the corner of Calle Militar and Hidalgo (inside the Maria Bonita Hotel complex; entrance to Café Brown is in the back of the courtyard). It cannot be seen from the street, but is worth taking the time to find.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank PALTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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12 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    9
    2
    1
    0
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
misoula,MT
Level Contributor
53 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Always a friendly smile and greeting.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2011

Iker does all the right things and does them well. I cannot find any faults in what he calls "Mi Casa es tu Casa". Believe it! We have been coming to TS for 12 years and since Iker has had his cafe we have made it a regular stop. I recommend everyone do the same...make the effort, you'll be pleasantly surprised and pleased! Tim and Bonnie Leifer, Missoula, MT

  • Visited March 2011
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank blunderbust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“The BEST AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD in Todos Santos and VERY AFFORDABLE PRICES TOO!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2011

Cafe Brown has, without question, the very best and authentic Mexican food in Todos Santos. The prices are extremely affordable unlike most of the rest. Cafe Brown's international fresh brewed coffee selection is incredible. Each type of coffee I've had has been delicious. The owner, Iker, is on site all the time and is fun to speak with. He's fluent in both English and Spanish. He's lived in Baja California Sur most of his life and seems to know everyone. I've known him since 1987 when he was a "Federale" in La Paz. This was long before he became an attorney/chef/cafe owner. If you have any legal questions re Mexico, he'll be able to give you the correct answers right off the top of his head. Cafe Brown is my favorite restaurant for a delicious Sunday breakfast and is worth the 50 minute one-way drive to Todos Santos from Cabo San Lucas. I highly recommend this little cafe!

Gene, "El Jefe, Happy Ending Cantina, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

  • Visited February 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank HappyEndingCantina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
tripletoes
Level Contributor
68 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Eccentric & real Mexican breakfast”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 December 2010

This little restaurant tucked in the back of a plaza is quiet. We had breakfast here after being annoyed at the high prices of the breakfasts at other restaurants in town. Included in the cost of an omelette (chorizo or vegetable) was coffee freshly made just for you and a fresh papaya juice. All for 90 pesos.
Wi-fi also available. The food was not stunning but very adequate and more authentic.

    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank tripletoes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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