By Ashley Alvarado, Sandra A. Berry, Fátima Martínez, David Mendoza Romero, Fernando Rodriguez, and Chris Sands
Chef-owner Enrique Diaz has brought a bit of Europe to Southern Baja. The dining room at Alcaravea Gourmet is a charming, intimate space with surreal paintings, a wood-beamed ceiling, and bistro tables topped with freshly cut flowers. The menu has a definite Mediterranean bent, but you’ll nevertheless want to start with the French-influenced Champiñones a la Provenzal starter (mushrooms stuffed with dried tomatoes, Parmesan, olives, artichoke hearts, and a touch of béchamel sauce). Entrées include salad and pasta courses, so you can enjoy a Caprese or carbonara before digging into the catch of the day “a la Siciliana” in a lemon sauce with tapenade, shallots, and roasted eggplant or the Filete Mignon a la Marzala, topped with mushroom and marsala sauce. In addition to dinner, Alcaravea Gourmet offers one of the best lunch specials in Los Cabos: soup or salad, an entrée with pasta or veggies, as well as a dessert and drink, all for $10 U.S. The specials menu changes daily and is available from noon until 4:30 p.m. Avenida 16 de Septiembre and Ignacio Zaragoza, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3730, www.alcaraveagourmet.com. Mon.–Sat. noon–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
Cabo San Lucas’s premier karaoke restaurant and nightclub is also a favorite of locals: Arre Mango is located in the heart of downtown, across the street from the post office and police station. The colorfully appointed spot offers passionate karaoke aficionados a multitude of tunes from its thick binder of selections that include hits in both English and Spanish. The list includes songs by Alejandro Fernández, Jenni Rivera, Tigres del Norte, and many others from the popular Mexican banda, mariachi, and corrido genres. Barry White, Elvis, Madonna, Neil Diamond, U2, Metallica, and even country hits are among the options those singing in English will find. Those who like to dance will enjoy the space dedicated to live music and dancing. Arre Mango also has two-for-one beer and cocktail drink specials, as well as great prices per buckets of cerveza. The Arre Mango appetizer menu includes everything from hot wings, beef or chicken nachos, guacamole with tortilla chips, stuffed potatoes, reasonably priced at around $6 U.S. The restaurant’s mouthwatering crunchy enchiladas in mole sauce—served with spicy hot link slices, a grilled chicken breast, and small sides of guacamole and beans—is a dish to savor till the very last bite. On Friday and Saturday nights, Arre Mango is the only place in town for salsa, cumbia, merengue, and bachata dancing. Live bands entertain a packed audience in Arre Mango’s spacious backroom stage area. Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas, Cabo San Lucas (624) 144-4300, www.arremango.com. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. Sun.–Thurs. 6 p.m.–3 a.m., Fri.–Sat. 6 p.m.–5 a.m. $–$$$ F.R.
Baja Cantina Beach
The world’s most beautiful dining room is framed by sand, sun, and surf, and looks out over the granit monuments that stretch from the Cabo San Lucas Marina to Land’s End. Tables are set seaside on the soft sands of Médano Beach, and when the sun goes down, moonlight plays on the Sea of Cortés and the colorful lights that outline anchored boats seem almost close enough to touch. It’s a breathtaking scene, and Baja Cantina Beach does it justice with a delicious array of local seafood dishes and other delicacies, tropical cocktails like margaritas and mojitos, and fine wines from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe and beyond. Stop by for breakfast, sample afternoon sushi platters, or kick off your espadrilles for the requisite barefoot fine dining, and prepare for one of Cabo’s most memorable sunset dinners. For starters, try the smoked tuna tartar, with a savory mix of yellow fin, olive oil, lemon, capers, sesame seeds, cilantro, and red onions. Entrée highlights include the fresh catch of the day prepared in one of six different styles, most notably the Baja Cantina signature preparation with fresh herbs and buttered crust. Combo platters for two are an excellent option for date night couples, particularly the Isla Guadalupe with lobster tail, filet mignon, shrimp tostada, and chicken enchiladas in green sauce. Specialty menus are offered on Wednesdays when the restaurant hosts its celebrated Fiesta Mexicana with marga- ritas, mariachis, fireworks, and folkloric dances. Callejón El Pescador, Médano Beach, behind Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111, www.bajacantinabeachclub.com. Daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ C.S.
Baja Cantina Marina
Moules à la crème Normande aren’t on the menu, but you can get just about everything else at this popular, unpretentious waterfront cantina: from Mexican classics and American comfort food standards to pizzas, steaks, seafood, and, most recently, Asian-style bowls. The unmatched menu variety—especially combined with first-class service and scenic marina views—has made Baja Cantina a local dining fixture for close to a quarter of a century (the restaurant has served as headquarters for the Bisbee’s Black and Blue marlin fishing tournament since 1991). Belly up dockside for breakfast ballast like eggs Benedict or Belgian waffles; fill up on lunchtime favorites like the signature salad with honey-lime vinaigrette and the Applewood-smoked bacon cheeseburger; or settle in for a memorable multicourse evening meal. Dinner highlights include filet mignon and barbecued ribs, roasted chicken and turkey panini, and new Asian-style bowl specialties such as Mongolian beef as well as the orange shrimp with ginger, garlic, snow peas, peppers, and jasmine rice. Need more options? Baja Cantina also serves excellent vegetarian entrées—tofu tacos, anyone?—as well as tasty children’s fare like chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. After you’ve put the kids to bed, come back for the after-dark action. Ladies drink for free on Fridays, from 9:30 p.m.–11:30 p.m., with dance beats from the resident DJ. Cabo San Lucas Marina, behind the Wyndham Cabo San Lucas Resort, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111, www.bajacantinamarina.com. Sun.–Thurs. 7 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 7 a.m.–midnight (the bar is open until 1:30 a.m.). AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $-$$$ C.S.
Baja Lobster Co.
We can’t help but think of Forrest Gump’s best friend Bubba every time we peruse the Baja Lobster Co. menu, which features a near-endless list of lobster preparations. Start your evening with a hearty bowl of lobster bisque; lobster salad served with arugula, lettuce, and yellow pepper, and drizzled with an aromatic cilantro dressing; or an order of lobster tacos cooked with tomato and basil, then artfully presented in a banana leaf. Then tuck in your bib and ready your cracker and long, tiny tined fork for more lobster—prepared grilled, steamed, or garlic—and served in signature styles like traditional lobster Thermidor (a fin-de-siècle favorite of several legendary French chefs) and Lobster San Lucas, an original recipe executed to perfection by on-site chef Eliseo A. Arbez. Wine pairing options are available by the glass or bottle, with many selections from premium producers in Napa Valley and the Valle de Guadalupe. Baja Lobster Co. is part of the celebrated Marina Golden Zone, and you can learn more about in the article “In the Zone” on page 94. Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.goldenzonecabo.com. Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ C.S.
The nightlife hot spot that helped put Cabo San Lucas on the map may be best known for its hopping tequila and rocking bar, but its upstairs kitchen also serves outstanding dishes for lunch and dinner that are worthy of any upscale restaurant. You can’t go wrong with the world-famous Waborita (owner Sammy Hagar’s take on a margarita) or the I Can’t Drive 55 (named for one of his songs and made with a blend of five fruit beverages and five white liquors) paired with the vampiros starter: grilled corn tortillas topped with refried black beans, Oaxaca cheese, and grilled beef fillet bits. We love the tortilla soup followed by the cilantro shrimp (grilled jumbo shrimp glazed with cilantro honey) or the chipotle rib eye. For a delicious dessert, choose from a chocolate-and-caramel tart, lemon tart with fresh fruit, bread pudding, and crème brûlée. Kids can enjoy fish or chicken fingers and fries. Yes, families are welcome in the dining room. Vincente Guerro and Lázaro Cárdenas, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1188, www.cabowabocantina.com. Restaurant: Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Patio bar: Daily 8 a.m.–1 a.m. Club: Nightly 8 p.m.–1 a.m. All major credit cards accepted. $$–$$$ S.A.B.
Campestre Restaurant Bar
For real, frill-free flavors of México, head directly to Campestre Restaurant Bar. I am obsessed with the out-of-this-world chilaquiles (try the green option with sliced skirt steak). And, of course, there is tampiqueña, lobster tail, coconut shrimp, Imperial shrimp, and more. What began as a small four-table palapa in 2000 has grown to a spacious dining hall that nevertheless fills quickly. There are potent margaritas and a healthy wine list that includes vinos from México, Chile, and the United States. This is a place that after one visit will quickly become a favorite. Salvatierra S/N between Adolfo López Mateos and Camino al Faro, Cabo San Lucas, (624)143-8830, www.restau
rantcampestreloscabos.com (Spanish); www.loscabosguide.com/campestre (English). Mon.–Fri. 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Sat. 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$ A.A.
The waters that surround the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula are rich with some of the best seafood in the world, and at Captain Tony’s you’ll see this seafood appear in a variety of expertly executed dishes. The signature wood-fired pizzas are particularly good, especially the eponymous Captain Tony’s pizza with shrimp and crispy bacon. The fish tacos are another house specialty, battered in beer with an array of fresh salsas. In addition to Captain Tony’s, Pisces Group Cabo also owns one of the largest and most respected sportfishing fleets in the country. That’s perhaps just one of the reasons behind its “you hook it, we cook it” option, whereby anglers can turn their catch over to chef Nicolás Ayala Ramírez to be prepared to their specifications for only $7 U.S. per person. Don’t miss live music performances every Friday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. There is seating capacity for about 150 people. Cabo San Lucas Marina, behind the Wyndham resort, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-6797. Daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $–$$$ A.A
It took very little time for Daikoku to become part of the Los Cabos fabric. Hurricane Odile struck within a few months of the wonderful Japanese restaurant’s opening, and—like most of Los Cabos—Daikoku was forced to temporarily close its doors. But it reopened with a bang, offering a temporary 40 percent discount to not only help stimulate business but also protect employees who needed work and help the area get back on its feet. Even now there is a feeling of tranquility that greets visitors here, where you will find natural elements the owners have used to create a beautiful Japanese garden. Enjoy a creative lunch or dinner alfresco or opt for the air-conditioned dining area, where you will walk over a Zen garden created three feet below the glass-bottom floor. A square-shaped sushi bar offers 60 choices, while the dinner menu is filled with all manner of delectable items from the Land of the Rising Sun. Japanese-born chef Taka’s dinner menu becomes available at 6 p.m. Myriad soups, salads, fried rice, noodles, beef, chicken, seafood, and fresh fish await the hungry palate. Try the tempura of shrimp, squid, fish, or veggies—or a mixture of all. Other items include baby squid filled with crab pâté and red chile pepper, as well as thick and thin slices of sashimi. There is a full bar, plus a wine cellar with a variety of international wines, plus Japanese beers and a selection of sake, including sparkling. For dessert, try tempura ice cream or the Japanese-style flan. Plaza Nautica, Blvd. Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-4038, www.daikoku.com.mx. Daily noon–11:30 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $$–$$$ S.A.B.
De Cortez Mesquite Grill
The views from the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar’s beachfront De Cortez Mesquite Grill are simply spectacular, and guests can enjoy them from the terrace or the enclosed dining room as they embark on a culinary escapade. Our enchanted evening of sampling food and wine began with sea bass ceviche and avocado with an emulsion of chipotle paired with a Casa Madero chardonnay, followed by cream of clam soup and Casa del Bosque sauvignon blanc. Entrée selections included ribs of lamb served with eggplant and asparagus puree in port wine sauce and braised beef short ribs served with truffled mashed potatoes and a pasilla chile sauce, duck breast, New York steak, or the catch of the day. When requested, headwaiter and sommelier Adolfo Vidaca attentively pairs the dishes with a nice selection of wines from California, Chile, and Northern Baja. He also conducts weekly wine tastings Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Dessert offerings include a terrine of apples baked nine hours and served with brown sugar cream as well as a dark chocolate dome drizzled with hot chocolate sauce. Live music nightly. Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, km 10, Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-8000, ext. 4087, www.decortezrestaurant.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m. All major credit cards accepted. $$–$$$$ S.A.B.
Dos Mares Marina Grill & Bar
The multimillion-dollar yachts that dock in the Cabo San Lucas Marina have a way of demanding your attention. But the kitchen creations that come out of the Dos Mares Marina Grill & Bar kitchen are just as eye- catching. You’ll see what we mean when, on your first visit, you watch as nattily attired servers bring out dish after dish, each more attractive. Starters from the predominantly Mediterranean menu include a Baltic salad (made with spinach, strawberries, avocado, and pecans in guajillo vinaigrette) as well as a lightly fried soft shell crab on avocado with chipotle sauce. The broiled shrimp or sea scallops on a bed of couscous and topped with grilled leeks or baked lobster tail served with a velvety soubise sauce is an elegant way to celebrate a special occasion. Filet mignon in port wine sauce or a rib eye steak satisfy, as do the pizza and pasta options. Chef Juan Manuel Sanchez shines with desserts such as chocolate fondant, a chocolate cinnamon roll with ice cream, and vanilla genoise (a rich sponge cake) with amaretto coffee sauce served with mango sorbet. Daily lunch specials may include tacos, hamburgers, or seared tuna salad. Diners can enjoy live music six nights a week. Cabo San Lucas Marina, (624) 143-0582, www.dosmarescabo.com. Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.A.B.
Visitors at this palapa-style restaurant and sports bar can watch all of their favorite sporting events live—think: NFL, NBA, NHL, boxing, or college games—on Eco Bar’s seven flat-screen televisions as they enjoy a menu of reasonably priced entrées that include beef, chicken, or shrimp quesadillas; vegetarian burritos; hot wings; fish and chips; ceviche; and a kid’s menu that features hot dogs and fries, chicken fingers, and spaghetti with meatballs. Anglers can take advantage of the “you catch it, we cook it” fish policy at a cost of $9 U.S. per person; fish are prepared blackened, grilled, fried, or sashimi style. The friendly, bilingual staff members are happy to help guests navigate the menu, which also includes an excellent winter-season-only lobster and filet mignon dinner special for just $19.95 U.S. Brought your car? No worries. Eco Bar provides guests with one hour of validated parking at Plaza de la Danza in downtown. Cabo San Lucas Marina, (624) 157-4685, www.caboecotours.com. Daily 7:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $-$$$ F.R.
El Patio Choyero
This chill hangout—seating includes umbrella-shaded, La-Z-Boy-style recliners—specializes in affordable, first-class food. Menu options range from a.m. hangover cures like chilaquiles verdes to tasty fish tacos and dinner platters featuring chiles rellenos, flautas, guacamole, beans, and grilled steak “pot roast.” The bartender is a master muddler who makes the best mojitos in town, as well as excellent house margaritas with tequila, orange liqueur, pineapple, fresh cilantro, and lime juice. Happy hour cocktail specialties and iced buckets of five beers for $10 U.S. headline the daily drink deals. El Patio Choyero’s owners operate Sindicate Sportfishing, and if you put a line in the water with them, your catch is free (appetizers and drinks are extra). Went fishing with someone else? The restaurant will cook up your fresh catch for $7 U.S. per person. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3563. Daily 6 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $–$$ C.S.
Discover the bold flavors of Rome at chef Antonello Lauri’s downtown Cabo San Lucas bistro, which he opened in 2012. The menu is built on family recipes, and the dishes—along with an enormous wine-themed painting from local artist Yandi Monardo—consistently wow. Freshly made breads and pastas as well as generously filled glasses of Chianti transport guests to Italy. Antipasti and appetizers like the Tocho Morocho de la casa—the chef’s choice of five signature tapas—are served family style in the center of the table. Entrée highlights like piquant Piccatine de Pollo (sautéed chicken breast with lime and parsley) and brochetas de camarón (grilled shrimp with zucchini and cherry tomatoes) are preceded by complimentary helpings of fresh focaccia. An old-fashioned blackboard touts the restaurant’s wine selections, among which are bottles from top producers in Argentina, Italy, México, and the United States. Calle Miguel Hidalgo, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1386, www.invitabistro.com. Mon.–Sat. 5 p.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $$ C.S.
Jack’s Bar & Grill
It takes only one visit to the pirate-themed Jack’s Bar & Grill on the Cabo San Lucas Marina for many a patron to declare: “It’s a pirate’s life for me!” The comfort food mecca and freebooting stronghold is part of the Marina Golden Zone (for more, read “In the Zone” on page 94), and it’s awash in nautical memorabilia and piratical accents. Pirates aren’t pretentious, of course, so the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus stick to popular Mexican and American dishes. Try the Caesar salad with chicken or the Jack’s Burger topped with bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions. After the sun clears the yardarm, go with the three-cheese spaghetti, the arrachera Angus, or the Pollo Caribe (chicken breast topped with grated mozzarella, and chimichurri-and-sweet-chile-guajillo sauce). Kids will love the decor and the special children’s menu, and parents will appreciate the affordable prices. Weekly happy hour specials are offered noon to 5 p.m. daily. Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.goldenzonecabo.com. Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
There’s nothing more comforting than dining in the company of friends and family, and that’s exactly the vibe you get when at John’s Place in downtown Cabo San Lucas. The restaurant opened just before Hurricane Odile and then took advantage of the temporary closure to renovate. Now guests can relax under a spacious palapa with the same peace and comfort they’d expect at a good friend’s while enjoying selections from an international menu that darts about the North American and European continents. Dishes range from baby back ribs with pasta and marinara sauce to traditional Mexican favorites and surf and turf, which includes a fillet of beef, lobster, shrimp, baked potato, and veggies. There are several Italian- tyle chicken dishes that include a half bird stuffed with rice and Italian sausage and Chicken Napolean in a creamy mushroom sauce. There are also pasta entrées such as house-made lasagna and seafood pasta with sea bass, prawns, clams, and mussels. The owners know exactly where they are, and the John’s Place menu includes several seafood options—both de rigueur and innovative surprises. Check out the coconut shrimp with mango ginger sauce or shrimp stuffed with crab and cream cheese. Ask for the fish of the day, and it may come prepared with cilantro or a lemony caper sauce. There’s a nice selection of appetizers, soups, and salads, as well as many traditional Mexican dishes (ask a server for suggestions). John’s Place is open for breakfast with a line-up of eggs Benny that runs from traditional to smoked salmon to El Toro (with beef). The incredible promotions include two-for-one pastas on Wednesdays; all-you-can-eat shrimp for $22.95 U.S. on Fridays and Saturdays; and all-you-can-eat barbecued pork ribs for $16.95 U.S. on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. Across the street from the Wyndham Resort on Boulevard Marina, corner of Vicente Guerrero, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0381, www.johnsplacecabo.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$ S.A.B.
La Panga Antigua
Restaurant & Bar
Nestled in colonial-style San José del Cabo, the romantic La Panga Antigua invites diners to discover inventive, exquisite entrées at prices that range from $12 U.S. to $30 U.S. La Panga Antigua offers fresh, local seafood, a catch of the day (yellowtail, dorado, red snapper, mahimahi), as well as New York sirloin and grilled chicken choices. La Panga’s servers are attentive, friendly, and bilingual, the perfect complement to the restaurant’s easy-to-find colorful colonial structure adjacent to San José del Cabo’s historic Catholic church. Chef Alberto Martínez’s contemporary Mexican menu has kept La Panga Antigua a popular choice among locals and visitors, earning numerous awards. It’s easily considered one of the city’s best restaurants. An opulent, air-conditioned wine cellar accommodates 24 guests. Zaragoza No. 20, San José del Cabo, (624) 142-4041. Daily noon–10:30 p.m. All major credit cards accepted. $–$$ F.R.
Los Barriles Restaurant Bar
Francisco Zuniga’s Los Barriles offers a vast selection of Mexican, Asian, and innovative fusion dishes. Try the hot pot Thai seafood soup with shrimp, scallops, and calamari prepared in coconut milk and a ginger lemongrass broth. The house specialty is a Korean barbecue prepared for two people; it features shrimp, scallops, filet mignon, lobster, and chicken served with an assortment of sauces, grilled veggies, and salads for $46 U.S. Many entrées—including the catch of the day—are prepared at your table. Lobster and shrimp are featured in a variety of ways; you can choose the preparation and sauce. Live music is performed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Miguel Hidalgo, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1619. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.A.B.
There are many wonderful ways to start your morning at Los Deseos: pork chicharrón with cactus, El Campesino (steak and eggs), or the early bird for two consisting of a large crepe stuffed with eggs, ham, cheese, bacon, and mushrooms. Come lunch or dinner, you can try a jalapeño margarita and any of the authentic Mexican dishes on the new menu. Organic chipotle mushrooms are served hot in an Italian sauce just perfect for stuffing in a house-made tortilla. Follow it with La Malinche: chicken breast stuffed with squash blossoms and cuitlacoche, a delicacy with a smoky sweet flavor that’s a cross between corn and mushroom. Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.marinagoldenzone.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.A.B.
Two of Brazil’s most popular exports—caipirinhas and rodizio-style dining—are showcased at Madeira, an intimate bistro with a prime corner location in downtown Cabo San Lucas. The former is a cocktail based on cachaça, or sugar cane liquor, favored by samba dancers and international bons vivants. The latter is a steak lover’s dream: an all-you-can-eat feast of grilled meats that are carved and served from skewers tableside. The rodizio special is $25 U.S. per person, and it features prime cuts of top sirloin, rib eye, New York strip, and flank steaks, turkey breast and bacon, and barbecued ribs, as well as savory sides of cucumber-carrot and red cabbage salads, rice, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and dipping sauces. À la carte entrées include linguine with shrimp in red sauce and garlic sautéed sea bass. An excellent Argentine Malbec is poured by the glass, with bottled offerings from premier wine producers in Argentina, Chile, Italy, Mexico and Uruguay. Calle Vicente Guerrero and Francisco I. Madero, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-0273. Tue.–Sun. 4 p.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ C.S.
There are few things more disappointing than arriving in paradise only to realize there’s no place in town to view your alma mater’s biggest game of the year or that all-important Game 7. Fear not, sports fans. Mango Cantina—part of the esteemed Mango Group that also includes Arre Mango and Mango Deck—broadcasts the NHL, NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, NBA, and boxing throughout the week. Watch them on one of 17 HD screens or the supersized 180-inch TV while enjoying selections from an all-star menu of Mexican favorites and pub standards or taking advantage of Mango Cantina’s all-day two-for-one beer specials. Start with Knock Out raw shrimp or a Nascar Salad, sample Heisman Tacos, Touchdown and Super Bowl burgers, and Yankees Chicken, or dig into a collection of combo platters that allow you to mix and match comfort food favorites like Angus flank steak, barbecue baby back ribs, chicken breast, shrimp, and fish fillets. The Hole in One lobster is also a popular choice, served with butter, baked potato, and vegetables. Sweet meal cappers include a selection of cakes, ice creams, and homemade brownies. The restaurant was recently awarded the prestigious Distintivo M, a sought-after government certification identifying model, modern businesses with consistently superior quality control. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3012, www.mangocantina.com. Mon–Fri. 8 a.m.–11 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 8 a.m.–midnight. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
Médano Beach is home not only to the most swimmable beach in Cabo San Lucas but also the hottest of all hot spots: Mango Deck. The restaurant, bar, and beach club boasts stellar views of the Cabo San Lucas Bay and has long been the place to visit for a lively meal—any time of day. Here you can have whatever experience you want: a relaxed tanning session with toes in the sand and book in hand; risqué spring break rowdiness; fun during the weekly all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet; or a sophisticated sushi feast. There’s a dizzying array of contests and shenanigans as well as a menu that could hold up against any restaurant. Here the food is affordable and appetizing, allowing guests to enjoy tasty selections that include everything from raw chocolate clams and perfectly piquant ceviches to Asian fusion and hearty breakfasts (with American and Mexican favorites, natch). Mango Deck’s friendly, bilingual staff is always up to the task of meeting customers’ every need. Don’t miss the signature all-day two-for-one beer specials. Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144 4919, www.mangodeck.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted.” $–$$$. F.R.
For romantic atmosphere, warm service, and memorable Mexican cuisine, it’s hard to beat María Corona. A member of the Baja Cantina restaurant group, María Corona is a trusted guardian and preserver of traditional Mexican recipes and cooking methods. Chef Eliodoro Nava and his staff do things the old-fashioned way, and thank goodness for that. Tortillas are hand rolled; salsas are prepared in stone molcajetes; and guacamole is prepared fresh at guests’ tables. Even the restaurant’s moles are made from scratch, starting with the toasting of chiles and including the grinding of almonds on traditional stone metates. This commitment and attention to detail lead to predictably delicious results. The mole poblano is absolute magic, and, in fact, all of the dishes are superb. Start simply with tortilla soup, sample the melted glory of panela fondue, then finish with the Mayan-style pork pibil or the María Corona platter with chorizo-and-panela-packed chiles rellenos, and chicken covered in a rich, chocolaty mole sauce. Tacos, quesadillas, carne asada, and other traditional culinary pleasures are also available—all complemented by a romantic courtyard dining area, with colorfully lit paper lanterns and live music from contemporary balladeers Los Principes (they perform Mon.–Sat. 6 p.m.–10 p.m.). Parking is free and abundant at the adjoining lot, and an air-conditioned dining area is on hand for those seeking to beat the afternoon heat. Prospective kitchen maestros ought to ask about the restaurant’s cooking classes. Calle 16 de Septiembre, between Morelos and Leona Vicario, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111, www.mariacoronarestaurant.com. Daily 3 p.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
Hand-painted wall murals, distinctive folk art, and a lush garden patio help create an hacienda-like atmosphere. Executive chef Edgar Roman has created a menu with regional favorites and a few twists that meld ancient recipes with contemporary flair. Take, for example, the enchiladas made with assorted mushrooms sautéed with local goat cheese and glazed with pureed pinto beans and tomato sauce. Start with a “shot” of lobster chipachole, a spicy seafood soup with a base of tomato and chile guajillo, garnished with cilantro and lime from Veracruz. Don’t miss the traditional chiles en nogada from Oaxaca or one of the ancient mole dishes such as oven roasted pork short ribs baked in a smoked chile and tamarind adobo. A chocolate terrine dessert is the perfect ending. Live music, balloons for the children, and a tortilla-making booth make it a perfect family restaurant. Cabo San Lucas Street, Cabo San Lucas. (624) 143-1933, www.micasarestaurant.com.mx. Daily 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.A.B.
Moxitos Beach Club
Take a seat at the Moxitos Beach Club, and you are treated to a beautiful view of the Cabo San Lucas Bay. This is the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner from Moxitos’ menu of exquisite dishes from around the world. There is everything from traditional Mexican food, to fresh seafood and delicious pasta. As you may imagine with a name like Moxitos, the signature drink here is a mojito. The secret recipe ensures this is unlike anything you’ve tasted before. Between the excellent views, friendly service, and succulent dishes, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful experience while you admire Land’s End. The spot is, of course, a great option for special events, including group celebrations and weddings. Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-6554, www.cabomoxitos.com. Daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m. (The bar remains open until 11 p.m.) MasterCard and Visa accepted. $–$$$ F.M.
Nick-San Cabo San Lucas
The original Nick-San is located in downtown Cabo San Lucas. Since opening in 1994, a lot has changed in terms of the space and décor. Here, you can enjoy a great Japanese lunch or dinner in a more family-friendly, relaxed ambience. Young people gravitate to this location because of its proximity to downtown Cabo’s bars and nightclubs, which are within a short walking distance. We began our dinner by sitting at the sushi bar—you should try this at least once—and chef Edgar “Eddie” Carbajal attended to us right away. We didn’t even have to look at the menu, since he offered to prepare us a dinner designed around our favorite flavors. We started with the famous tuna tostada, a tasty rice tostada with fresh tuna, avocado, red onions, and a bit of spice. Later, we continued with a Salmon Yuzu sashimi, which is made with thin fresh salmon slices that are filled with crab and avocado and served on a yuzu sauce. It was to die for. As we continued our night, we tasted many other dishes. Among them were the Gorgonzola Shrimp, house-made gyozas, a lobster roll, and many other dishes that were suggested by the manager, Jorge “George” Carbajal. These we