Dining: Hecho En Mexico. Issue #30 Fall 2012
Where to find the best traditional dishes in Los Cabos
Where can I find some good Mexican food? It’s a legitimate—and frequently asked—question among first-time visitors to Los Cabos, where we enjoy an overabundance of global cuisines: Italian, Japanese, Argentine, Brazilian. It’s easy to come across those go-to standards many associate with Mexican cuisine—tacos, tamales, tortillas, and the like—but read on to learn about the heritage of this country’s food and where to find the best examples of traditional cooking in Los Cabos.
Many Mexican dishes are a blend of three or more cultures and are rooted in native ingredients—corn, beans, and chiles. These are sometimes referred to as the “staff of life” and are a reflection of the country’s fascinating history. Today Mexican cooking is a melting pot that has evolved into a unique and distinctive cuisine all its own. A marriage of recipes began with the French, who had already been influenced by Italian, Austrian, and other cuisines. The Spaniards came to the New World in search of gold, but it was their discovery of corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, pineapple, papaya, avocado, chile, chocolate, and vanilla that transformed cuisines across the globe.
Traditional, centuries-old cooking methods remain an integral part of Mexican cuisine. The best tortillas are baked on flat, unglazed earthenware or iron griddle called a comal. The grinding of spices, chocolate, and nuts may be done in a small three-legged mortar of stone called a molcajete, which even today is used for making salsas and guacamole at restaurants like La Casa Country (www.lacasacountry.com) on the marina or María Corona (www.bajacantinagroup.com) in the heart of Cabo San Lucas. Instead of a stove, a clay brazier called a brasero may be used. Beans may be cooked in a large deep earthenware pot, called an olla. Dinner may be prepared in an earthenware pot called a cazuela.
Mexican food is not Tex-Mex. In fact, Mexican food in México may be very different from what you’re used to back home. In the state of New Mexico—the self-proclaimed chile capital of the world—one is always asked whether she prefers red or green chile on her enchilada. Other U.S. states have their own take on Mexican food—all delicious, but different according to the territory. The use of a lot of cheese and sour cream is also an Americanization.
Yes, you can still get enchiladas filled with cheese in Los Cabos, but why not try enchiladas bathed in mole sauce? A chile relleno, that delicious poblano pepper, can still be found at Pancho’s (www.panchos.com) stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, dipped in egg batter, deep fried and topped with tomato sauce. But have you tried one stuffed with shrimp at Puerta Vieja (www.puerta
vieja.com)? A somewhat different version of the stuffed chile is the gordita, which means “little fat one” in Spanish. Mi Tierra (www.mitierramexico.com) in San José del Cabo serves a fat poblano stuffed with melted cheese and a choice of chicken or beef topped with a cream sauce, served on top of rice and a side of refried beans. While enjoying the lovely tropical patio and sipping a cool margarita, you can dip into a traditional guacamole prepared at your table or one mixed with dices of seafood with a delicious variety of house-made tortillas.
It doesn’t get more authentic than Los Tres Gallos (624-130-7709) located in the heart of downtown Cabo San Lucas (its name means “the three roosters”). The garden, its trees laden with mangos, rustic furnishings, and colorful pottery transport diners to a Mexican village.Favorites include sopes, a flattened traditional soft corn dough shaped in a small round, topped with beans, lettuce, cheese, and a choice of shredded chicken or pork offered as an appetizer. It’s also a nice selection for a light lunch.
You haven’t tried anything until you’ve had huitlacoche (or cuitlacoche). When in México, do as the Mexicans do. Huitlacoche is a delicacy, and once you get beyond the name—and what it is—you will love it. Try it in crepes at Hacienda El Coyote (www.haciendaelcoyote.com), or in mini quesadillas with melted cheese as an appetizer at María Corona. Then there’s a grilled fillet of beef with huitlacoche with an avocado sauce with a touch of serrano pepper at Los Deseos (www.marinafiestaresort.com).
The Golden Zone along the malecón, or marina walkway, is advertised as a “Place of Pleasure,” and it has a fair share of top-notch restaurants. Enticing Mexican dishes can be found at Los Deseos: Try the butterflied chicken breast stuffed with squash blossoms covered with a cream of poblano sauce or the arrachera steak stuffed with plantains and cheese served with cactus salad. For dessert, don’t pass up the secret-recipe coconut flan. Mango Cantina (www.mangocantina.com), near the Golden Zone and little brother to Mango Deck on the beach, has what the owners call a “Nascar Salad” with jicama and avocado, both ingredients indigenous to México. Many of the dishes are sports related due to the lineup of TVs where you can watch your sport of choice while noshing on shrimp, chicken, or beef fajitas or grilled fish with a cream of cilantro sauce.
The Baja Peninsula is bordered by water that teems with seafood. It’s fitting, then, that Baja cuisine is light and seafood intensive with bold Mexican flavors. Follow the locals to Mariscos Mocambo (www.mariscos
mocambo.com) for a plethora of seafood from appetizers to soups such as peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters Rockefeller or on the half-shell, and only-in-Cabo pulpo en su tinta (octopus in its own ink). A crab soup called chilpachole de jaiba is known to be a pick-me-up the day after a party. The Veracruz-style corn cake topped with rich vanilla ice cream is the perfect choice for dessert.
As you sample the many restaurants in Los Cabos, you will undoubtedly find your favorites for Mexican food and develop a taste for many new dishes and flavors. ¡Buen provecho!
The Dining Guide
Los Cabos Magazine’s definitive restaurant directory
Cozy and charming, Alcaravea Gourmet is one of Cabo San Lucas’s best-kept secrets. The excellent Mediterranean-style hideaway—it’s tough to find but worth the search—opened in 2006 with only three tables and has since grown to seat up to 50 people. It’s an intimate spot where discerning guests can enjoy chef Enrique Díaz’s outstanding, authentic Mediterranean flavors as well as the comfort of leisurely, fine dining—all at a reasonable price (entrées average $25 U.S.). Start with the eggplant parmigiana, quite likely the best appetizer in town. Proceed to the signature entrée: Veneziana tenderloin scaloppini, which is made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinegar, and basil. The meat is exceedingly tender, and the vegetables are garden fresh. Tender slices of veal are seasoned with garlic, olive oil, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and served with a side of spaghetti. Can’t decide? Ask the attentive staff for recommendations. Avenida 16 de Septiembre (at the corner Ignacio Zaragoza), Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3730, www.alcara
vea.com. Mon.–Sat. noon–11 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $$–$$$ E.K.
Baja Brewing Co.
In only five years Baja Brewing Co. has become a dominant force in Los Cabos (a third location recently opened on the Cabo San Lucas Marina). The international menu includes traditional pub-style fare like hot chipotle chicken wings, burgers, and design-your-own thin-crust pizza, as well as sophisticated selections from its “elegante” menu. The panko-crusted sea bass served with asparagus tips and citrus cherry tomato salad fires on all cylinders, as does the coffee-dusted filet mignon. For lunch, try the champagne-roasted corn bisque or a seared tuna salad. It serves beer with names like Baja Blond (a cream ale) and Baja Jazz (a raspberry ale); there’s also a full bar on the premises. Cabo San Lucas Marina: Puerto Paraiso, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144-3805; Cabo Villas: Callejon del Pescador S/N, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-9199; San José del Cabo: Arts District, (624) 146-9995; www.bajabrewingcompany.com. Daily 8 a.m.–midnight. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.B.
Baja Cantina Beach
Celebrate your Los Cabos vacation with a moonlit Fiesta Mexicana show, complete with dancing, mariachis, and fireworks. Begin with a crisp Baja Cactus Margarita and tortilla soup, followed by a Caesar salad and Todos Santos shrimp ceviche. The menu features a blend of Mexican and American standards, as well as exciting forays into sushi. The house specialties are what really get us, though: sea bass bathed in green mole; jumbo shrimp Tikin-Xic, Yucatán-style prawns marinated in a salsa pibil then cooked in banana leaf; and tumbada, a Veracruzan seafood-rice dish with shrimp, clams, octopus, scallops, and calamari in a guajillo chile broth. You also have the option of visiting Baja Cantina’s special Mexican Canoa, a fun dinner display that features an arrangement of seafood (shrimp, tuna, scallops, and more) as well as steak and chicken options (“canoa” means “canoe” in Spanish). Make your selection, then chef Javier Galindo will prepare your items to your liking and deliver them directly to your table. Valet parking and WiFi available. Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111,www.bajacantinagroup.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Restaurant: Daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Beach lounge: Mon.–Thurs. 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sun. 8 a.m.–1 a.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Baja Cantina Marina
Locals and tourists flood this popular Cabo San Lucas Marina for its fab menu and service. Try the carnitas or carne asada for a fun intro to Mexican food or opt for surprise menu hits like sashimi, hot wings, and wood-fired pizzas. The camarones aguachiles (Sinaloan-style shrimp in a chile-lime sauce) is a nice starter, especially when followed by the Baja Cantina fish (the catch of the day seasoned with butter and herbs and served over a delicious bed of veggies). There’s a children’s menu—a plus for parrents for and everybody will love the tres leches cake. Parking and free WiFi available. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111, www.bajacantinagroup.com, callcen email@example.com. Daily 7 a.m.–2 a.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Baja Lobster Co.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s an adage I normally live by and rarely see disproved. But in the case of Baja Lobster Co., a chic seafood grill and cantilevered deck bar on the Cabo San Lucas Marina, recent changes to the menu and the introduction of Mazatlán-born chef Samantha Tirado have strengthened the already impressive lineup. Come lunchtime, you’ll want to sample the restaurant’s biggest hits, including the Sea Star Salad (lettuce, salad, mushrooms, shrimp, scallops, octopus, and a tamarind-vinegar dressing), tuna ceviche, and Black Goddess Lobster (medallions sautéed with celery, bacon, mushrooms, and the chef’s special sauce). Baja Lobster Co. hosts a wine and lobster festival each Friday evening. Make your reservations early to guarantee your table and chance to enjoy a Caesar salad or New England-style clam chowder, whole lobster (prepared with three sauces and paired with three wine selections), and freshly made apple strudel. Starting at 7 that night, you’ll also be able to enjoy live acoustic guitar performances (a keyboardist plays Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays). Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.marina
goldenzone.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Veteran Los Cabos restaurateur John Venditti knows what works. And at Baja Peppers, the eatery he co-owns in downtown Cabo San Lucas, that means a clever blend of local talent and ingredients, surprisingly affordable prices, and even more surprisingly authentic and delicious Italian and Mexican dishes. Between the all-you-can-eat baby back ribs served on Fridays and Saturdays, two-pound lasagna on Thursdays, and daily $3 U.S. all-American breakfast (three eggs, bacon, country fried potatoes, fruit, and toast), it’s no wonder the place is always hopping. Each dinner begins with freshly baked bread served hot from the kitchen with oil and vinegar dipping sauce. The peppered mussels sautéed in garlic, white wine, and tomato sauce and the large shrimp in a tangy garlic and lemon sauce make for a delightful introduction to the fantastic meal to follow. For the main event, try the gnocchi, shrimp ravioli topped with a delicate shrimp sauce, or filet mignon in a peppercorn sauce topped with roasted peppers. Hotel Mar de Cortez, Lázaro Cárdenas and Vicente Guerrero, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0339, www.mardecortez.com. Daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$ L.G.
Bar Esquina is not one of my favorite Los Cabos restaurants. It’s one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. The ambience is sexy and chic, with a decor (hanging lights, tiled walls) that transports guests to Andalusia. Small tabletop flames dance about as a breeze sneaks its way up from nearby Médano Beach. Servers helpfully guide you through the menu crafted by Puerto Rico–born, Tennessee-raised chef Laurent Saussy. Begin with a ceviche made with orange and plantain or a salad of beets, blackberries, goat’s cheese, and purslane. The unexpected combination results in a rich, almost decadent flavor. Follow with a pizza from the wood-fired oven. The short rib pizza pairs tender meat with blue cheese and arugula; it’s a hearty but not too heavy pie that leaves you sated. Should you prefer a more traditional entrée, the mesquite-grilled ahi with new potatoes, beets, and oranges or braised short ribs are solid options. Don’t skip the signature dessert: a sticky toffee pudding that’s downright naughty. Pair it with an après dinner coffee (they also operate a coffee shop), and you’re in heaven. Bahia Hotel, Avenida El Pescador S/N, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1890, www.bahiacabo.com/restaurant.php. (Parking available behind hotel; restaurant validates.) Restaurant: Sun.–Mon. 8 a.m.–1 a.m.; Tues.–Sat. 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Coffee shop: Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$$ A.A.
Cabo Wabo Cantina
Rocker Sammy Hagar’s daring decision to erect a nightclub in Cabo San Lucas was a driving force in the city’s transformation from sleepy fishing village to world-class travel destination. Cabo Wabo is the sort of place you visit for the bragging rights that come along with such an outing. It’s just an added benefit that the restaurant is so good and the nightclub rocking. Pop in for lunch or dinner; the restaurant works for date nights or a casual lunch with the family. If drinking is the order of the day, opt for anything featuring the eponymous tequila label. Ladies will love the signature Waborita, which is sweet and incredibly drinkable. The appetizer menu is dangerous: You want to order everything. On our night, we dined on Sammy’s Tequila Shrimp (which are sautéed in garlic and serrano chile, then deglazed with lime juice and Cabo Wabo Tequila) and yummy sea scallops pan-seared, then served with red cabbage slaw and Tequila Cabo Wabo Reposado butter. Both appetizers are quite hearty, which made finishing the generous—and delicious—beef fillet entrée a near impossibility. I did, however, eat every bite of my dessert: a white chocolate and mango tart that left me speechless. Vicente Guerrero and Lázaro Cárdenas, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1188, www.cabowabocantina .com. Restaurant: Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Club: Nightly 8 p.m.–2 a.m. Patio bar: Daily 9 a.m.–2 a.m. All major credit cards accepted. $$–$$$$ A.A.
Cabo Winery Restaurant
at Los Cabos Winery
Santa Cruz native and longtime oenophile Robert Turnage opened his winery as a labor of love in 2009 and quickly followed with the Cabo Winery Restaurant. His passion shows in the carefully curated wine selection and a menu that regularly earns it high praise on sites like TripAdvisor. Plush Italian leather couches are interspersed with formal dining tables. A flat-screen television broadcasts jazz performances. Memorabilia of the Duke and exceptional art pieces adorn the walls. And a formal wine barrel-aging cave, also equipped with tables, offers a more secluded, romantic setting for dinner. The audacious Turnage and his restaurant have succeeded despite all odds and the economy, growing rapidly thanks to the space’s warmth and a menu that keeps getting better. A new chef has bolstered a menu that already boasted chile-garlic shrimp (available as a tapas or entrée), lobster tails, and a “fork-tender” filet mignon. Of the new additions, the sea bass in mole is an absolute must. Pair it with the ’07 chardonnay from Russian River in Sonoma, California (Turnage tasted 92 chardonnays before selecting this one). All the wines here, though, are exceptional. 2518 Francisco Villa (between 12 de Octubre and Álvaro Obregón), Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-8078, www.loscaboswinery.net. Restaurant: Nightly 5:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Tastings, tours, and light lunch (meat and cheese platters, brochette, salads, and sandwiches). Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ A.A.
The best Argentine tangos are sexy, sophisticated, sleek. Those same descriptors could be used for Chamuyo (pronounced “shamooshow”). Modern lines and bold red walls give the Argentine space in downtown Cabo San Lucas a swank look. Chalkboard menus, rustic furniture, and tabletops decoupaged with Spanish-language newspapers add a certain je ne sais quoi. Chamuyo has pedigree; its sister restaurant is Corazón de Alcachofa. Settle in at the double bar, the inside dining room, or en plein air. The food here is amazing. Meat and vegetarian empanadas are made from scratch. The chef grew up in Argentine kitchens and slow-cooks meats over a wood fire, locking in juices and flavor. Combo meals for couples and groups of four include mixed grilled meat, green salad, and a bottle of wine. We die for the ridiculously delicious rib; it weighs in at 22 ounces and comes with a green salad. Sip excellent Argentine Malbecs and varietals from across the globe. Switch to a cappuccino for dessert and pair it with pankeke, crepes that are stuffed with fruit and drizzled with caramel. Emiliano Zapata, between Hidalgo and Guerrero, (624) 143-2010. Mon.–Sat. 5 p.m.–midnight. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $$–$$$ A.A.
Corazón de Alcachofa
The problem with sequels is they’re rarely as good as the original. And, I’ll admit, that this is what I feared as I planned my first trip to Corazón de Alcachofa in Cabo San Lucas. Anticipation warred with nerves. My expectations were high, but I was worried, too. After dining at Artichoke’s Heart in West Hollywood, I was in love with the concept that has powered that location and its three sister restaurants, all named Corazón de Alcachofa, to success: innovative, market-driven menus created daily according the freshest, highest-quality local ingredients available. How would the newest addition to the micro-chain—a chic spot near Médano Beach—rate in comparison? The answer: wonderfully. The location is lovely; dine alfresco, in a glass-walled dining hall, or in a private room. Begin with one of the exquisite cocktails, perhaps the Alcachofa (gin, lime, and artichoke) or the Beso del Diablo (a chile-rimmed glass is filled with a margarita-like cocktail and adorned with two spicy mango horns). Appetizers include French-style mussels prepared in a white wine–butter sauce and the chain’s signature rib eye chicharrones, an inventive, delicious twist on that go-to guilty pleasure of pork rinds. Entrées, like the entire menu, rotate daily, but duck Margret makes fairly regular appearances as do the freshly made pastas. In fact, everything here is fresh, fresh, fresh. Living lettuce plants serve as creative table centerpieces … and the principal ingredient in many of the restaurant’s salads. The waitstaff is one of Cabo’s finest, willing and able to help with selecting a wine from its 150-plus labels or one of the desserts. Avenida del Pescador 4312, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-4041, www.corazon
dealcachofa.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–midnight. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. $$–$$$$ A.A.
De Cortez Grill & Restaurant
New De Cortez chef José Salvador Campuzano spent eight years in France’s top restaurants before returning to his native México. He brings with him not only a mastery of the language but also of the flavors that enrich its cuisine. With his arrival came a new menu for this elegant 5-Star Diamond Award–winning establishment. The new menu is rooted in classical French cuisine but speaks to continental diners with its fresh and edgy take on flavor. “Cooking is an art of coordinating the five senses,” he says. His goal is to honor the established Mediterranean concept while also creating innovative dishes to advance its gastronomy. The lovely ambience remains the same: Dining under the stars at candlelit tables while enjoying a panoramic view of the Sea of Cortés, the famous arch, and crashing waves on the beach or in the enclosed dining room. The foie gras is prepared on the griddle with shallot chutney, roasted figs, and toasted brioche. Risotto with octopus and mushrooms is cooked in squid ink, and braised lamb is accompanied by a cabbage fondue. Order your favorite beef cuts from the grill: New York, filet mignon, porterhouse, rib eye and one called Cowboy Steak, all accompanied with one side dish, such as truffled mashed potatoes, and a selection of the chef’s sauces. Try a light fruit meringue for dessert. Wine tastings take place Thursdays. Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, km 10 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-8000, ext. 4087. Nightly 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $$$–$$$$ S.B.
DOC Wine Bar
The best Italian food is a celebration of fresh, quality ingredients and flavor coming together to make something extraordinary, which is exactly what happens nightly at DOC Wine Bar in downtown Cabo San Lucas. What was conceived as a locals’ hangout has blossomed under the direction of veteran restaurateur Pietro Gioco and chef Emanuele Olivero. Since opening, DOC’s space has doubled. But the duo has never abandoned its focus on organic flavor and ingredients. The aromas and conversations that waft through the dining room invite passersby, who have ventured away from Cabo’s main strip to explore what’s known as Restaurant Row. The menu, which is scrawled across charming chalkboards (and recently printed on useful menus), entices. And the plates—especially when paired with wines from the extensive yet exclusive list of Mexican and Italian varietals—enamor. Nibble on an heirloom tomato carpaccio (my favorite) as well as an order of duck prosciutto before moving on to a course of freshly made pasta. On our night, we dined on freshly made ravioli stuffed with short ribs and garlicky pasta popping with clams. We could not decide on dessert, and so we went with the panna cotta and fragole erotiche (marinated berries with whipped cream). We made the right decision. Avenida Cabo San Lucas (across from Plaza Amelia Wilkes), Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-8500, www.docwinebar
cabo.com. Mon.–Sat. 2:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Double Eagle Restaurant & Bar
It’s named for a golf term, but if you ask us, the menu at Los Cabos Golf Resort’s Double Eagle Restaurant and Bar hits a home run. The vibe is relaxed, and the ambience harkens back to the 1950s. The eclectic menu, meanwhile, ranges from authentic Mexican dishes like molcajetes to Italian and more familiar American surf and turf specials. The molcajete is a delightful meal in a bowl; the chef blends a red sauce with just a hint of peppers with mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, and your choice of shrimp, beef, or chicken. This is a filling and delightful meal served in an oven-fired bowl with warm tortillas. The generous serving of filet mignon in the surf and turf is cooked perfectly at medium rare. The grilled lobster tail with butter and garlic dip is succulent. The entrée also comes with a sizeable portion of vegetables and a baked potato. The menu includes traditional entrées like tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas. If you want to try the whole red snapper—a specialty—order early; it takes 40 minutes to prepare. Los Cabos Golf Resort, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-7100, ext. 3121, www.golfincabo.com. Sun.–Sat. 7 a.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ E.K.
Felix’ Mexican & Seafood Restaurant
One of the oldest and most authentic Mexican restaurants in Cabo San Lucas, Felix’ is famous for its extensive salsa bar and original age-old recipes. Chef-owner Spencer Moore has fashioned his own scale for heat—it ranges from mild to “whoa Nellie”— and serves some of the tastiest, spiciest, and hottest salsas ever created. Favorite dishes include pozole, a hearty stew that Spencer prepares with short ribs, beef shanks, pork shoulder, or chicken breast over hominy, a white corn. Carnitas is another popular traditional Mexican dish, which is made with shredded pork simmered until tender. Carnitas are great for tacos and served here with ranch-style beans. If your server suggests the bouillabaisse, order it! This seafood stew is full of fish and shellfish over rice; sop it up with thick slices of bread. The many shrimp dishes entice seafood lovers; there are mango, coconut, cilantro, scampi-style, chutney, and boiled varieties. Share the Bananas Panama for dessert. Full bar. Seating for 50 inside, 50 outside. Felix’ converts to Mama’s Royal Café for breakfast daily. Reservations are appreciated. Free validated parking in nearby garage. Corner of Hidalgo and Zapata, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-4290, www.felix
cabosanlucas.com. Mon.–Sat. 1 p.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$ S.B.
Hacienda El Coyote Restaurant & Tequila Lounge
This restaurant is outstanding—from the first to the final bite. The food and ambience provide a dynamic setting, whether you’re seated under the beautiful palapa or outside in one of the two patios. I go there for lunch to savor the cuitlacoche crepes and a Caprese salad–like tomato concoction made with Oaxaca cheese, cilantro, and roasted corn. For dinner, I’m torn between chef Alberto Collarte’s marinated shrimp on guacamole with cilantro sauce; the beef tenderloin, which is served with three delicious sauces—chocolate, chile guajillo, and tomatillo cream—on a bed of mashed potatoes; or maybe the lobster crepes. The Puerto Nuevo-style lobster is another favorite. Make dinner plans on a Friday evening so you can enjoy a special Mexican Fiesta show performed by talented high school students on the elevate stage of the colorful new open-air patio. The backdrop, a hand-painted mural of a downtown street in San Miguel de Allende, looks real enough to take a stroll. Top off the evening with a true Mexican dessert of churros (sugar-coated donuts) to dip into melted chocolate or savor a special drink in the separate tequila lounge. Children are welcome; there is a special play area and menu. Valet parking. Cabo San Lucas Street and Marina Boulevard, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 146-7776, www.haciendaelcoyote.com. Daily noon-midnight. All major credit cards. $$–$$$ S.B.
Imomo Sushi House
A sort of kismet connection exists between Japan and Baja California Sur, where the bountiful Sea of Cortés provides sushi chefs and concept restaurants with premium seafood and the spicy ingredients usually associated with Mexican cuisine enrich many a sushi standard. This is especially true at Imomo Sushi House, a casual spot on the high-traffic Cabo San Lucas Marina. Retreat here after a morning on the water or between excursions. There is a nice cocktail menu, but the house specialty—as should be expected—is sake. The Sashimi Cilantro (fillet of tuna with cilantro sauce), about $8.50 U.S., and edamame, $4 U.S., are good options for starters. It’s easy to get carried away with the sushi options here; the menu is a lengthy and delicious page-turner. Highlights include spicy tuna cones (tuna, salsa, avocado, cucumber, and cream cheese), the spicy shrimp roll, the Eruption Roll (shrimp tempura, carrots, avocado, mango, cilantro, cucumber, and a special house sauce), and the soft shell crab roll. Cabo San Lucas Marina (next to Baja Lobster Co.), Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6020. Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$ A.A.
Jack’s Bar & Grill
Who knew Captain Jack had such a sophisticated side? Much like the Disney film franchise, the pirate-themed restaurant on the Cabo San Lucas Marina delights children with its playful motif and impresses parents with its attention to detail and excellent execution. Chef Jorge Pineda’s international menu draws inspiration from the United States, México, France, and Italy. And, frankly, the dishes are better than they have any right to be. Dig into starters like the inspired spring rolls (chicken breast, bacon, tomato, cheese, and avocado) with ranch dressing or the jalapeño poppers stuffed with crab and served with a vinegar sauce. Order the fish tacos or coconut shrimp for the wee ones—you’ll be stealing bites off their plates—and the Hot Shrimp for yourself: The house specialty is prepared with garlic, onion, soy sauce, chiles, and avocados. Save room for dessert. The chocolate brownie is served warm with vanilla ice cream and Chantilly cream. The Gianni’s dessert consists of fried bananas and apples that are powdered with sugar and cinnamon and dished up alongside a scoop of ice cream. Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.marinagoldenzone.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Enter the doors of Jazmin’s Restaurant—a two-decade-old institution in San José del Cabo—and you’re treated to all things México: traditional dishes, rustic handcrafted furniture, colorful cutout paper banners, and memorabilia dedicated to Pancho Villa. Sit in the large tent-covered patio, and you’ll enjoy glimpses of the exhibition kitchen and the chefs preparing traditional dishes and seafood specialties in a variety of ways. For starters, try the baby scallops followed by the Mediterranean salad: hearts of palm, grapefruit, and black olives drizzled with grapefruit dressing. The Mexican platter comes with all your favorites. Fish lovers will want the whole red snapper in garlic butter or the fish fillet à la Florentine or prepared with a cilantro onion sauce. Most entrées are served on huge sizzling platters on wooden planks. Traditional caramel flan served with vanilla ice cream is a must to finish off a delicious and reasonably priced, beautifully presented meal served by personable and helpful servers. Morelos between Zaragoza and Obregon, San José del Cabo, (624) 142-1760. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.B.
La Panga Antigua Restaurant & Bar
Award-wining chef-owner Jacobo Turquie serves contemporary Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. Fresh fish appetizers like tuna-and-avocado tartar with cilantro oil and a chilled seafood medley prepared with basil oil are made using local ingredients. The seafood bisque is crafted using a perfect blend of spices, making each bite even better than the last. The popular seared North Pacific butterfish is served with a creamy risotto. New to the menu is the short rib, which is stewed in a mild guajillo pepper sauce. There is a sophisticated wine selection; ask your server for tips on pairing. For dessert, the molten lava cake—with its silky chocolate interior—exceeds all expectations. La Panga recently began opening for lunch. Enjoy a three-course meal starting at around $20 U.S. Choose from options such as an organic field green salad mixed in a roasted cherry tomato vinaigrette, chilled gazpacho, chicken enchiladas in a mole sauce, and skirt steak fajitas accompanied by flour tortillas. Zaragoza No. 20, San José del Cabo, (624) 142-4041, www.lapanga.com. Daily noon–10:30 p.m. All major credit cards accepted. $$$ L.G.
Chef Juan José Santiago oversees the menu at Los Cabos’ only live lobster house, where caramel-colored wood paneling mingles with repurposed ship pieces and views of the bustling Cabo San Lucas Marina to create an elegant, nautical-themed stage for a menu rich with seafood classics unbound by time or place. Is it any wonder this restaurant appears on so many must-visit lists? Santiago’s preparations range from the expected (thermidor, steamed, and grilled with garlic) to the inspired; try it with mild, roasted ajillo chile and garlic or with a spicy chipotle, plum, and tamarind sauce. Other menu highlights include traditional oysters Rockefeller, abalone carpaccio (a rare delicacy in these parts), and the Lorenzillo’s, a brochette of Angus beef and shrimp with bell pepper, onion, and bacon. Start with one of Lorenzillo’s signature oyster shooters made with tequila, followed by a Caesar salad made tableside and a shrimp cocktail. For an entrée, you can’t go wrong with any of the lobster preparations or the sea scallops and shrimp with white wine and garlic sauce. End the night on a high note: The Montecarlo dessert features crêpes suzette flamed with Grand Marnier. The team behind the upscale restaurant and more-casual downstairs oyster bar is committed to excellence when it comes to the execution of its dishes and customer service, always willing to address your concerns, assist in wine pairings, and answer questions about anything on the menu; they even keep additional clothing on hand to help patrons meet the dress code for its upstairs dining room. Boulevard Lázaro Cárdenas, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0212, www.lorenzillos.com.mx. Restaurant: Daily noon–11 p.m. Oyster Bar: Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$$ A.A.
This charming and colorful eatery near Plaza Amelia Wilkes in downtown Cabo San Lucas boasts wood furnishings, evocative murals, and a romantically lit dining area festooned with lanterns and strung lights. Its staff is smart and friendly—each guest is greeted by the ringing of a bell and applause from fellow diners—and offers detail-oriented service: Waiters prepare soups, salads, and Korean barbecue tableside. The menu is creative Asian fusion, with local seafood and Mexican accents. Highlights include the Cevichimi Barril Style appetizer, a generous helping of thinly sliced tuna in a lemon soy sauce with fresh serrano chiles, onions, and avocado. The superb Hot Pot Thai Seafood features shrimp, scallops, and calamari prepared in a coconut milk and a ginger garlic lemongrass broth. The decadent VIP Combination for Two includes such choices as filet mignon, lobster tail, shrimp, octopus, and sea bass. Two-for-one margaritas are a big draw at the beautiful old L-shaped bar (8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily), and a mariachi band strolls through the restaurant on weekends. Calle Miguel Hidalgo, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1619, www.losbarrilesrestaurantbar.com. Daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
Visit the Marina Golden Zone mainstay for a decadent meal that celebrates traditional cuisine and ingredients and transports diners to colonial México with charming decor and classic dishes. The name Los Deseos means “the desires,” and it’s a fitting appellative for a restaurant where culinary dreams come true. Begin your epicurean exploration with a potent margarita—a de rigueur drink in these here parts but especially quaffable at Los Deseos. The Los Deseos Mushrooms appetizer shines—guajillo peppers, garlic, and olive oil enhance the flavor of the mushrooms and shrimp—but there’s no more impressive starter than the tequila-style queso fundido: three cheeses flamed tableside with a volcanic rock and healthy dose of tequila. For a healthy taste of México, split a salad with your date: We recommend the nopales (cactus) salad with tomato, cilantro, olives, serrano chile, and panela cheese or the tamarind shrimp salad. Can’t-miss entrées include the Doña Lulu chicken (prepared with pecans, poblanos, and cheese), the Aztec Huarache steak (a finely cut fillet with green chilaquiles and salsa on cactus leaves), and Tikin Xic, a Yucatecan-style fish fillet with achiote sauce wrapped in a banana leaf. Don’t pass up dessert: The jericalla, a Jalisco-style cross between crème brûlée and flan, is a revelation, and the coconut flan is just plain yummy. Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.marina goldenzone.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Maca Tasca Española
“Maca” is the Catalan word for “beauty.” And it’s an appropriate name for this great new restaurant, which evinces a keen aesthetic with a casual yet upscale atmosphere that features wood, stone, and glass accents, as well as some amazing bullfighting posters from the 1950s. That aesthetic extends to the phenomenal presentation from chef Alberto Vasquez. The warmth of the staff and the intimacy of family-style dining bring Maca to life. The all-organic menu changes frequently to take advantage of seasonal ingredients. The excellent appetizers are innovative, with highlights that include Galician octopus served with potatoes, paprika, sea salt, and olive oil, as well as sea bass carpaccio with baby arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The lamb chops are perhaps the most popular entrée, and they are indescribably good. They’re served with cherry tomatoes and mashed potatoes, and well paired with a bottle of 2009 Manon Tempranillo. There are more than 600 wines served at Maca. And, although the focus is on Spanish varietals, the wine list offers plenty of terrific selections from around the globe. For a fitting way to cap off your meal, try the traditional Spanish specialty of fried milk. Like everything else at this superb new Mediterranean-themed restaurant, it’s delicious. Calle Miguel Hidalgo, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-4143, www.macarestaurante.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–midnight. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. $$–$$$ C.S.
There aren’t many things in the culinary world that compare to the rich aroma of perfectly marinated steaks cooking over an open-fire grill. That’s the exact same, wonderful sensation you get when entering Madeira Bistro. The downtown restaurant is a steak lover’s Valhalla. The mouthwatering lineup of flank, top sirloin, and rib eye steaks, grilled Spanish sausage, and barbecued ribs is served rodízio style, which means a variety of meats are grilled on metal skewers, then delivered to your table and sliced directly onto your plate. Chef Misael LeGaria is an expert in this traditional Brazilian style of grilling, and his marinades enhance the flavor of each cut. Diners who opt for the very reasonably priced ($18 U.S. per person) rodízio-style all-you-can-eat dinner also receive a platter of side dishes that includes mashed potatoes, fluffy long-grained rice, and purple cabbage slaw. The basil-flavored mashed potatoes are spectacular. The side platter also includes a couple of chicken wings to whet the appetite. Grilled pineapple is served to cleanse the palate between servings, and you’ll also get delicious fried bananas. The menu also features salads, pasta, fish, and shrimp entrées. But make no mistake about it: This is a steak house; a very good steak house. Intersection of Calle Vicente Guerrero and Francisco I. Madero (a half block from Cabo Wabo), Cabo San Lucas, (624) 150-5089 or (624) 175-3593. Nightly 4 p.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. $$–$$$ E.K.
Grab a seat in front of one of the many TVs or settle in for a hearty dinner at this marine hot spot. The menu is chockablock with tasty entrées, burgers, mariscos, and signature cocktails like the Mango Deck elixir of rum, vodka, cassis, a bit of grenadine, and mango. Try the Astros chicken, the Super Bowl burger, or the Coyotes barbecued ribs. The Rocky shrimp is a must: fresh shrimp prepared with bacon, fresh mushrooms, and spinach then topped with mozzarella au gratin. Watch the marina come to life in the morning while having breakfast. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 141-6767, www.mangocan tina.com. Daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.M.
This restaurant and beach club has a well-earned reputation as a beachside party destination, but it’s the wonderfully sophisticated menu that brings people back (the bikini contests don’t hurt, either). For an Asian-themed night, start with the handmade gyozas, delicious dumplings packed with clam, chicken, vegetables, and flavor. Follow with the Mango Deck Roll—it’s loaded with shrimp tempura, eel, scallops, mango, cream cheese, kanikama, and more—and the Chef Roll (a spicy tuna roll wrapped with thin slices of tuna and soy paper, then adorned with lime, ponzu sauce, and curry oil). Valet parking is available. Calle Pescadores S/N, Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-0901. Daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
It was love at first bite—when I finally visited Mariscos Mocambo after years of hearing local friends rave about the spot. The Veracruzan menu at Mocambo is packed with seafood options, including my absolute favorite, a specialty here: fresh chocolate clams served in their shells. You could make a meal of just starters, including spicy camarón aguachile (shrimp with serrano chile and lime), chilpachole de jaiba (crab soup with a touch of chipotle and epazote), and shrimp ceviche. Pulpo en su tinta (octopus in its ink) is prepared here with white rice, onion, and jalapeño. Pulpa de jaiba (crabmeat) is beyond addictive. And the Veracruz-style fillet is a classic. Can’t make up your mind? Turn on the charm and ask one of the handsome waiters whether it’d be possible to try a tasting menu (menú degustación). The restaurant also boasts Cabo’s largest seafood platter, which includes fresh lobster, shrimp, fish, crab, salad, and rice. Families will appreciate the relaxed ambience and children’s menu. Leona Vicario and 20 de Noviembre, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-2122, www.mariscos
mocambo.com. Daily Noon–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Market Restaurant at
Settled on a cliff overlooking the Sea of Cortés, Market Restaurant has earned its reputation as one of the finest dining establishments in Los Cabos. The restaurant is open to anybody looking for a memorable dining experience. World-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten developed the restaurant and concept: Euro-Asian fusion with a dash of Mexican. The dining room is warm and comfortable, the staff courteous, friendly, and attentive. The food is epic in style, presentation, and its abundant flavor combinations. Start with the hamachi sashimi appetizer. This fine, crisp tuna cut is garnished with yuzu, radish, and avocado. The rice cracker-crusted tuna, served in a chile emulsion, is also quite tasty. One of Market’s signature dishes is corn ravioli, which comes served with marinated cherry tomatoes in a basil fondue. It is a delicate, sweet combination. The pâté de foie gras smothered in basil, nuts, and currants was decadently elegant and rich. For an entrée, it would be difficult to top the sautéed grouper, served on a sweet chile sauce base with celery and basil. Take your time and savor not only the taste but also the aroma of this incredible dish. The organic chicken, with white asparagus, basil, lemon, and garlic is also an excellent choice. One&Only Palmilla, km 7.5 on the Tourist Corridor, San José del Cabo, (624) 146-7000, www.one
andonlyresorts.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 a.m.; 6 p.m.–10 p.m. American Express, Discovery, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. $$$$ E.K.
The Medano Beach Club
Sand. Sun. An incredibly good meal. That’s the winning formula at the Medano Beach Club, where it’s all about comfort. There’s a cozy lounge area in the middle of the beachfront restaurant, a fire pit just off the deck, and a low-key but festive atmosphere that is enchanting. The menu features locally harvested seafood and organic vegetables at reasonable prices. Start with the cheese fondue appetizer, progress to a salad of snappy, garden-fresh vegetables, then dive straight into one of the many seafood dishes for a meal sure to please. The fish fillet is recommended. It’s done to flaky perfection and can be served diablo style or breaded, with either butter and garlic or mango sauce. It comes with a healthy serving of steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, and a side of lightly piquant rice. Another offering straight from the nearby waters is the coconut shrimp, which features five jumbo shrimp that have been lightly battered and rolled in fresh coconut then gently fried to a golden brown and served with a mango sauce. Dessert is an experience in itself, especially if you order the bananas flambé, prepared at tableside. Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-6554, www.themedanobeachclucabo .com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$$ E.K.
San José del Cabo
If you want to sample seriously authentic Mexican food, look no further than Mi Casa. Traditional Mexican moles are made with as many as 75 ingredients here, and rustic dishes are grilled on a mesquite grill. The comfortable courtyard restaurant’s menu lists chef specialties such as the mole poblano (a tasty dish of chicken covered in a mole made of 35 ingredients that includes dried ancho, mulato, and pasilla peppers with a complex mix of seeds, spices, and chocolate), and el mole de mastuerzo y flora de calabaza, but you’ll also want to try entrées such as the grilled lamb or young pork. If you are in the mood for seafood, you cannot go wrong with camarones al aguardiente, jumbo shrimp covered in a garlic, guajillo, and tequila sauce. Mi Casa also serves up one of the finest appetizers in town: The sampler platter includes quesadillas, sopes, and imperiales (crispy tortillas filled with shredded chicken, cheese, and lettuce). Calle Obregon 19, San José del Cabo, (624) 146-9263, www.micasarestaurant .com.mx. Mon.–Sat. noon–3 p.m., dinner nightly 5:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. $$–$$$$$ E.K.
What began in 1994 as a single restaurant in Cabo San Lucas has blossomed into a casual-chic micro-chain with locations in downtown Cabo San Lucas, near San José del Cabo, and across México thanks to a creative fusion of traditional Japanese recipes and premium Mexican ingredients. The menu—under the direction of executive chef Angel Carbajal and co-owner Masayuki Niikura—offers both those de rigueur standards sushi aficionados have come to love and expect as well as surprising, welcome departures. The signature tuna tostada is a rice cracker piled high with fresh tuna belly, avocado, chives, onion, and Nick-San’s special serranito sauce. Plate sizes are typical of a Japanese restaurant (think tapas), so don’t hesitate to order plenty of items. Menu highlights include the lobster roll, the black-and-white sashimi (black and white sesame seeds decorate tuna, which is served with curry oil), the Lobster Angel (sautéed lobster in a mustard sauce), sashimi serranito (the catch of the day with serrano pepper sauce and thin slices of serrano chiles), and the Maguro lime roll. Retreat to the downtown Cabo San Lucas location after a day on the water for a casual dining experience or head toward San José del Cabo and the Shoppes at Palmilla for a slightly more refined night out. Nick-San Cabo San Lucas: Boulevard Marina L10–L2, Plaza de la Danza, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-2491, www.nicksan.com. Daily 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. (Two hours free parking available at adjacent Wyndham resort.) Nick-San Palmilla: Área privativa Ap-15, Shoppes at Palmilla, San José del Cabo, (624) 144-6264, www.nick
san.com. Daily 12:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Discovery, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$$ A.A.
Pancho’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar
For two decades, this expansive family-owned-and-operated spot has prided itself on serving premium Mexican food in a space alive with color and folk art—not to mention a tequila collection that includes more than 600 labels. For an appetizer, try the prawns dusted with shredded coconut and lightly fried, with mango sauce drizzled on top ($11 U.S.). The pico de gallo salad has fresh jicama, oranges, cucumbers with lemon juice, and red chile flakes. Traditionalists will appreciate the restaurant’s famous tortilla soup, chiles rellenos, and the pork shank in wine sauce, and the seafood is outstanding, too: mesquite grilled whole red snapper, lobster, and salmon with fresh lime and tequila. Sip premium tequila or nurse a margarita; Pancho’s makes the best in Cabo. Take a little extra time to participate in a tequila lesson and tasting, and you’ll receive a certificate you can take home and show off. Live music nightly. Full bar. Reservations are suggested. The restaurant seats up to 270 and is a great space for gatherings. Hidalgo and Zapata, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-2891, www.panchos.com. Daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.B.
Peacock’s Restaurant & Bar
Choose the charming indoor dining room with a cozy fireplace or the patio with its beautiful palapa bar, fountain, and gardens at this premier fine dining establishment. Start with melt-in-your-mouth lamb dumplings, followed by a fresh salad, then choose any entrée with confidence: There’s the blackened catch-of-the-day and duck with tamarind chipotle sauce and mashed plantain. New Zealand rack of lamb with borracho (drunken) sauce is a specialty. Vegetarians will appreciate the Chile La Huerta, an ancho pepper filled with veggies and melted cheese, then baked in puff pastry and bathed in two Latin sauces: cilantro and sweet red pepper. Save room for one of the signature desserts, or share an old standby of decadent chocolate brownie à la mode. An extensive wine list is available as is a full bar. Paseo del Pescador, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1858, www.micasa
groupcabo.com. Daily 7 a.m.–3 p.m. and 6 p.m.–10:30 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $$–$$$$ S.B.
Named for a fruit native to México, this popular restaurant has been recognized with the five-diamond award 11 times. But the name has little to do with the Pacific Rim concept adapted by veteran chef Volker Romeike, who paired his European experience with a combination of intriguing Asian flavors. Sit under the magnificent palapa, listen to live music, and become mesmerized by the gentle ebb and flow of the Sea of Cortés just steps away. When the moon’s full, this is the place to be. A Full Moon prix fixe menu is beyond comparison. It is a complete five-course dinner for a reasonable price that includes a pairing of three wines. A sample menu might be a first course of mixed greens and fried calamari with a yuzu mustard vinaigrette, followed with sake lemongrass steamed clams, tomato fondue with ginger and garlic spicy bacon. A choice of entrée might be braised short ribs with wasabi mashed potatoes and creamed leeks or a sautéed butter fish with a creamy coconut miso sauce, rice and vegetables. As an ideal conclusion, ginger bread mascarpone cake served with dark cherries, Kaffir and lemon grass sherbet. Or, you can order from the regular menu. Km 10 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-8010, www.pita
hayas.com. Nightly 5:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ S.B.
Located on the Cabo San Lucas Marina, Presto is a small trattoria-style restaurant with 40 outdoor seats that overlook the water. It’s a great place to relax, watch the passing crowds, and enjoy rustic Italian fare at a reasonable price. Like all good trattorias, Presto has a large appetizer menu that ranges from bruschetta to carpaccio. The restaurant is known for its stone-fired pizzas, but it also has heartier fare. The Rigatoni alla Diablo is a heaping bowl of pasta smothered in a traditional pink sauce with a healthy serving of shrimp and mounds of creamy cheese. If you are really hungry—or want a dish to split with your companion—the calzone is a good selection. It is huge and stuffed with a blend of cheese and ham. The menu also includes steak, fish, and chicken dinners. Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011. Daily noon–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$ E.K.
This classic destination restaurant offers a splendid view of the bay from inside the cheery dining room and on its outside terrace. The international menu is just as satisfying as the vista. The house specialty is a lobster tail served with three New Zealand lamb chops and three jumbo shrimp. Another popular dish is the fish fillet, which on our night was a hefty portion of sea bass prepared Mediterranean style with balsamic vinegar, bell peppers, mint, and parsley. The colorful entrée was served on a bed of lettuce, baby spinach leaves, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and red and yellow cherry tomatoes. There are also several pasta dishes, including fruti dil mare, a delectable serving of linguini covered with a creamy Alfredo sauce, lobster, shrimp, octopus, and sea scallops, then topped with Parmesan. Chef Roberto Rendon’s preparation of the seafood was perfect. Km 6.3 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 104 3252, www.puertavieja.com. Daily noon–10 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. $–$$$ E.K.
Romeo & Julieta
Take a trip to Italy with chef Matais Forte, who transports diners to his homeland with house-made brick-oven pizza and pasta dishes served in a charming, family-friendly setting. Patrons are greeted with freshly baked warm seasoned flat bread. Popular starters include onion soup, Caprese salad, and a Caesar salad for two that’s made tableside. Entrées include 16 pasta dishes; the shrimp pasta with garlic is made with fresh cream and grated Parmesan cheese, and the lasagna is prepared with ingredients imported from Italy. Beef medallion served with mushrooms in a red wine sauce is delicious. The tiramisu and gelato are divine. The drink list features reasonably priced domestic and international wines and creative cocktails to pair with your dinner. Reservations suggested. Boulevard Marina and Camino del Cerro, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-0225, www. restaurantromeoyjulieta.com. Sun. 2 p.m.–midnight, Mon.–Sat. 4 p.m.–midnight. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$$ L.G.
Perched atop a hill overlooking Médano Beach and Land’s End, Santitos is one of the newest restaurants in Los Cabos. Its wide-ranging menu includes wood-fired pizzas, crab cakes, seared sea bass, Reubens sandwiches, and more. The restaurant is located in Ventanas Residences, about three miles from downtown Cabo San Lucas. In addition to its spectacular view of the bay, the cozy terrace restaurant also offers a variety of sushi rolls. A rich mixed paella with generous portions of shrimp and sausage is enhanced by the wondrous flavor of fluffy rice seasoned with saffron and olive oil. Fresh sea bass is garnished with a relish of peppers, black beans, and corn. And a beef fillet is topped with hibiscus sauce, portobellos, and blue cheese. The crab cakes are prepared with a creamy jalapeño sauce. If you are looking for something fun and light, try the tuna toast. The cozy bistro also serves up a tasty dessert menu; the star of which is a crème brûlée topped with chopped fruit. Ventanas Residences, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 131-5360. Daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted.$$ E.K.
7 Seas Seafood Grille
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this Cabo Surf Hotel restaurant is bustling. Chef Alejandro Rodriguez Ponce excels at creating sublime Mediterranean-inspired cuisine that relies on fresh, local organic ingredients. One of the most popular starters on the menu is the tuna tartar trilogy. Enjoy three unique versions of freshly prepared tuna: pistachio and avocado, mango an