México meets the Mediterranean
Things are different in Italy. There is a charming mystique that envelops the country, its rich history, its cuisine. As in the world’s greatest culinary destinations, food there is celebrated, the lifeblood of a nation. Those who’ve had an opportunity to visit can attest: Dining Italian style is more than just sitting down at a table; it is an experience. Each course—and conversation—is savored. The joy of good food and company is communal. That spirit is alive and well at many fine Italian spots here in Los Cabos.
Returning visitors to Cabo San Lucas will be amazed by the transformation that has taken place at Romeo & Julieta (www.restaurantromeoyjulieta.com), the “Italian hideaway full of surprises” known for its casual Italian food. This year began with an extensive remodeling of the interior to allow seating for a total of 200 and the addition of a beautiful new entrance facing Marina Boulevard. Italian-born chef Matias Forte has earned many fans for his pizzas, which are pulled straight from a wood-fired oven and heaped with a generous serving of toppings. Check for the specials that might include pizza with two toppings plus a mixed or Caesar salad for approximately $8 U.S. Forte draws Italian food lovers because of his passion for using only the freshest ingredients in all of his traditional dishes and fabulous desserts, as well as for après-dinner flamed Mexican coffee, which is prepared tableside. To celebrate the new addition, the beautiful new menu includes such items as eggplant lasagna as an appetizer or as one of their entrees. Fresh mussels cooked in white wine or tomato sauce is another popular Mediterranean starter. The Caesar is prepared at your table with the most fresh and delicate lettuce and special house recipe, with a choice of shrimp or chicken. Veal and beef dishes include veal scaloppini, medallions of beef or a combination of several meat dishes.
One of the most affordable restaurants in Los Cabos is Baja Peppers (624-105-0339), which is known for its $3 U.S. breakfast and some of the best eggs Benedict in town. But the Italian fare on the menu is exceptional, too: Try the mussels in house-made marinara sauce, “black” spaghetti in cream with shrimp, ravioli stuffed with spinach or shrimp, or any of the de rigueur pasta dishes one would find at any Italian bistro. Not only does Baja Peppers specialize in fantastic Italian, a hallmark of veteran restaurateur John Venditti, but it also boasts traditional-style Mexican dishes like tortilla soup and, for the meat eaters, hearty baby back ribs served with pasta.
That’s Amore (624-157-7463) is a tiny, must-visit hideout that transports diners to a faraway Italian villa with dishes like the steak medallion or chicken with mushrooms as well as superb fish.
There’s no better vantage point from which to take in the sunset over Land’s End and the twinkling city lights than the multilevel terrace at Sunset da Mona Lisa (www.sunsetmonalisa.com), an upscale Italian restaurant that expertly fuses Mexican and Mediterranean touches. Enjoy cocktails on the terrace, then Italian and seafood dishes in the beautiful palapa-covered dining area. For starters, try the fritto misto, which combines baby scallops, squid, and shrimp with an optional side of a serrano balsamic reduction sauce and tomatoes; this will jump-start any appetite. If you like heat, go for the spicy linguini with mussels in a sauce made with chili powder. The five-course sea lover’s tasting menu is like a journey through the bountiful Sea of Cortés. It may include sea bass with grilled veggies and garlic, onions, and capers. Rack of lamb is paired with pistachios, rosemary, and apple butter—and a real winner. Saving the best for last, don’t leave until you’ve tried the sinful mocha mousse with espresso chocolate chips and pistachio ice cream on top. Take your server’s suggestion for the perfect wine to be paired with your meal.
Upstairs from Sunset da Mona Lisa, Sunset Point (www.sunsetmonalisa.com) offers a more relaxed setting from which to take in the incredible sunsets; relax in one of the comfy lounge chairs or enjoy the views perched at a cocktail table. The specialty here is gourmet pizza, but many of the dishes from the Sunset da Mona Lisa Restaurant menu may be enjoyed at Sunset Point, too. Treat yourself and your special someone to a romantic evening at this casual spot, where you can nosh or indulge in an inventive wine pairing. There are more than 180 labels of fine wine from Italy, South America, Europe, and México. Pair your selection with free tapas (at the bar from 4 to 6 p.m.) or opt for one of the tasting menus. The Deluxe Tasting ($50 U.S.) includes a salad or fried calamari, shrimp and veggies, a meat and cheese platter, a trio of wood-fired gourmet pizzas, a platter of thinly sliced steak that you cook yourself on a heated lava rock, and a choice of dessert that may be tiramisu, crème brûlée, fruit plate, or a sweet pizza made with bananas, coconut, nuts, and a chocolate sauce.
Enter through the 150-year old door—an import from India—at Puerta Vieja (624-104-3252), and you can expect Mexican haute cuisine at its finest as well as a little Italian thrown in for good measure. The three-course sunset dinner includes sensational views of the sun setting over Land’s End; the arch is in full view from either of the two terrace levels. Sunset specials may include tequila shrimp, blackened tuna, or seafood pasta with shrimp, lobster, octopus, and sea scallops lightly tossed in Alfredo (for just $16.95 U.S.!). Don’t miss out on a dessert of double chocolate chip cheesecake, key lime pie, or apple tart à la mode. The best dessert—and a show in itself—is the special Mexican coffee that is prepared at table with flaming tequila, Kahlúa, and cinnamon. The multilevel restaurant boasts a palapa roof on the upper terrace, and the crème de la crème is the elegant wine room, which seats 12 comfortably, and holds 750 bottles of wine from eight different countries. Seating for 200 makes weddings and rehearsal dinners popular events.
Make no mistake; it’s all about the seafood at 7 Seas Seafood Grille (www.7seasrestaurant.com), which overlooks the Sea of Cortés from its perch at the Cabo Surf Hotel. Melt-in-your mouth shrimp ravioli mixes in Mexican flavors (epazote is a pungent, wild herb) to enhance the Mediterranean favorite. Homemade breads, pastries, and scrumptious desserts make this a special outing. So, too, does the bountiful list of wines, with offerings from México and across the seven seas.
Alcaravea Gourmet (624-143-3730) is small in size but big on delicious food and excellent service. This restaurant has been a success, even with its out-of-the-way location. That is all thanks to chef-owner Enrique Diaz Gerard’s desire to bring the best in Mediterranean fare to Baja. The menu has so many tempting items that you’ll be hard-pressed to decide. The mixed carpaccio (beef and tuna) with arugula and fresh Parmesan is an outstanding start on which to nibble, followed by a Caprese salad. Whether it’s the catch of the day (try the one called “Spring,” which is prepared in a béchamel sauce with melted provolone cheese), Florentina chicken breast in creamy white spinach and mushroom sauce, steak, or any of the pastas, you will not be disappointed. A special may be jumbo prawns wrapped with prosciutto and served in a creamy lime sauce or veal with asparagus, black olives, and mozzarella cheese. This is the sort of place that makes you want to return the following night to try more menu items. Don’t forget dessert: tiramisu, bananas or mango flambé, or crepes mascarpone with a fruit sauce. Fresh flowers in bud vases and a little French music in the background make this an intimate and romantic spot, reminiscent of those little sidewalk cafés in Europe.
DOC Wine Bar (www.docwinebarcabo.com) captures the spirit of Italy with an extensive wine list (exclusively Italian and Mexican), chef Emanuele Olivero’s masterful creations, and the graciousness of restaurateur Pietro Gioco. DOC stands for the Italian designation of assurance for quality food and wine. The semi-open kitchen allows diners to glimpse into the working arena, while the blackboard offers a list of authentic dishes (there are now printed menus, too). For starters, the lineup includes crostini (little toast) with a variety of toppings such as zucchini parmigiano, as well as a variety of carpaccio options. The rotating menu sometimes includes mussels prepared with wine and garlic or in a tomato sauce with sausage and mushrooms. Both are served with bread for sopping the tasty sauce. Both are must-orders when available. Pasta, the restaurant’s specialty, is made in-house daily, and there are many varieties from which to choose. Penne with eggplant, tomatoes, and light spices is another favorite, as is the fish prepared whole in white wine or grilled with a red wine. A popular meat dish is arrachera, the traditional Mexican flank steak, prepared in a tomato basil sauce, great for pairing with a red Valpolicella. Still hungry? Go for the tiramisu and an espresso.
With such delicious choices, diners can enjoy authentic Italian food every night of the week in Los Cabos. For more information about these restaurants, check out our Dining Guide on page 44.
The Dining Guide
Los Cabos Magazine’s definitive restaurant directory
What originated as a small and charming Mediterranean-style hideaway—only three tables!—has grown to accommodate up to 50 people. Alcaravea nevertheless maintains a cozy quality. It’s a place where you can get outstanding, authentic Mediterranean food as well as the comfort of leisurely, fine dining—all at a reasonable price. The eggplant parmigiana may very well be the best appetizer in town. The authentic restaurant’s signature entrée is 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. The catch-of-the-day—on this night, fresh sea bass—is prepared Mediterranean style and excellent with its sun-dried tomato, basil, Parmesan cheese, and Roquefort sauce topping. Avenida 16 de Septiembre (at the corner Ignacio Zaragoza), Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3730, email@example.com. Mon.–Sat. noon–11 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. E.K.
Baja Brewing Company
In just five short years, Baja Brewery has gone from opening the first brewery in the state to having three popular locations in Los Cabos. Owner Jordon Gardenhire began making beer in his college apartment in Colorado and now is an accredited brewer. And his idea has developed into more than just a brewery. The third location opened in October on the ground floor of Puerto Paraiso, in the former Greenberg’s location. There’s seating for 75 who can sit in air-conditioned comfort and watch sports on 12 TVs; and up to 80 can sit outside in the open patio to enjoy live music every night except Monday. The international menu includes traditional pub-style fare ($8 to $12 U.S. ) like hot chipotle chicken wings, burgers, and thin-crust pizza made with beer and served with choices of sauce and toppings as well as more sophisticated selections from their “elegante” menu. The panko-crusted sea bass served with asparagus tips and citrus cherry tomato salad ($15 U.S.) is a sure hit, as is the coffee dusted filet mignon. For lunch, try the champagne-roasted corn bisque or a seared tuna salad. They serve beer with names like Baja Blond (a cream ale), Baja Jazz (a raspberry ale), and a list of several varieties; there’s also a full bar is on the premises. Reservations suggested for dinner. Puerto Paraiso, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144-3805, www.bajabrewingcompany.com. Daily 8 a.m.–midnight. MasterCard and Visa accepted. S.B.
Baja Cantina Beach
The telltale signs are there. You’re in paradise. And you know it the moment you arrive at Baja Cantina Beach for a moonlit dinner and Fiesta Mexicana show, complete with traditional dancing, mariachis, and fireworks. With sand between your toes and stars blanketing the summer sky overhead, you can peruse the all-star menu that has made this beachfront restaurant a must-visit for tourists and local expats. Start with a freshly made Baja Cactus Margarita and tortilla soup (a special house recipe), followed by a Caesar salad and Todos Santos ceviche, here made with shrimp marinated in a citrus sauce with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, avocado, and serrano chile. The menu features a blend of recognizable Mexican and American standards, as well as exciting forays into sushi but you’d be remiss should you pass up the restaurant’s specialties. These include a sea bass bathed in green mole; Jumbo shrimp Tikin-Xic, a Yucatecan speciality which sees the prawns marinated in a salsa pibil then cooked in banana leaf; and tumbada, a Veracruz-style 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 special dinner display that features an arrangement of seafood (shrimp, tuna, scallops, and more) as well as steak and chicken options. Make your selection, then chef Javier Galindo will prepare your items to your liking and deliver them direction to your table. Whatever you do, don’t leave without first trying the restaurant’s excellent flan. Rest assured, too, that you are dining at a restaurant dedicated to ensuring your health and safety; Baja Cantina Beach has repeatedly been recognized with a Crystal award for such efforts. 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. and L.G.
Baja Cantina Marina
Locals and tourists flood Baja Cantina Marina morning, noon, and night. The popular spot is located along one of the busiest stretches of the Cabo San Lucas Marina, but the real reason people flock here is the winning combination of excellent customer service and exceptional, accessible foods. The robust menu includes a fun introduction to Mexican standards (try the carnitas, about $15 U.S., or carne asada, about $20 U.S.) but also features sushi (melt-in-your mouth sashimi runs roughly $15 U.S.), bar favorites like hot wings ($8 U.S.), and wood-fired pizzas starting around $10 U.S. for a medium. Start with an appetizer of camarones aguachiles (Sinaloan-style shrimp in a chile-lime sauce) and follow with the Baja Cantina fish, which features the catch of the day seasoned with butter and herbs and served over a delicious bed of veggies. Parents will appreciate the children’s menu and pizza offerings. Kids and adults alike should room for the wow!-inducing tres leches cake. Rest assured, too, that you are dining at a restaurant dedicated to ensuring your health and safety; Baja Cantina Marina has repeatedly been recognized with a Crystal award for such efforts. Parking and free WiFi available. There’s a ladies’ night every Friday, and 24-7 happy hour at the bar (plus a $3 U.S. bar menu). Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111, www.bajacantinagroup.com, email@example.com. Daily 7 a.m.–2 a.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. A.A.
While fairly new to the restaurant scene, Baja Peppers has already established itself as a popular dining destination. Between the all-you-can-eat baby back ribs served Fridays and Saturdays, two-pound lasagna Thursdays ($15 U.S.), and the daily $3 all-American breakfast (three eggs, bacon, country fried potatoes, fruit, and toast), it’s no wonder the place is always hopping. The restaurants’ Italian- and Mexican-born owners have combined their visions to create an authentic Italian menu that uses local talent and fresh ingredients. 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 ($8 U.S.) and the large shrimp in a tangy garlic and lemon sauce ($7 U.S.) make for a delightful introduction to the fantastic meal to follow. For the main event, the (potato dumplings garbed in butter and sage or meat sauce), shrimp ravioli topped with a delicate shrimp sauce ($18 U.S.), and filet mignon in a peppercorn sauce topped with roasted peppers ($16 U.S.) come highly recommended. Although the cuisine is something you would expect to be served at a formal restaurant, the atmosphere here remains casual, comfortable, and inviting. The staff strives to make each customer feel like family—and succeeds. otel Mar de Cortez, Lázaro Cárdenas and Vicente Guerrero, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-0339, www.bajapeppers.com. Daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. L.G.
The mystique of the Alhambra is in every detail of this chic restaurant, from its hanging lights to the exhibition kitchen’s tiled walls. Small tabletop flames dance about as a breeze sneaks its way up from nearby Médano Beach. Servers helpfully guide you an inventive menu crafted by Puerto Rico–born, Tennessee-raised chef Laurent Saussy. Begin with a ceviche made with orange and plantain (roughly $15) or my favorite: a salad of beets, blackberries, goat’s cheese, and purslane (about $12 U.S.). The unexpected combination results in a rich, almost decadent flavor. Follow with a pizza from the wood-fired oven. The short rib pizza (roughly $14 U.S.) 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 (roughly $29 U.S.) or braised short ribs (roughly $27 U.S.) 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
To visit Los Cabos without making at least one detour to Sammy Hagar’s iconic nightclub and restaurant is like visiting Paris without looking for Eiffel’s masterpiece or trekking through Hollywood but bypassing the Walk of Fame. While you may laugh at the outrageousness of the previous sentence, know that the rocker’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. This is the sort of place you visit for the bragging rights that come along with such an outing. That the restaurant is so darn good and the nightclub as rocking as they come—well, those are added benefits. 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 incredibly 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
Charm envelops the Cabo Winery Restaurant, a hidden gem located just outside of downtown Cabo San Lucas. This is a labor of love for Robert Turnage—a Santa Cruz native and longtime oenophile who first debuted the winery in 2009 and quickly followed up with the Cabo Winery Restaurant—and it shows in the expertly cared-for and curated selection of wines and a complimentary menu that regularly earns it high praise on sites like Trip Advisor. Enter the eclectic dining lounge, and you’re immediately transported to a faraway villa. 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. The recent introduction of a new chef has allowed additions to 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.
A waterfront fixture in Cabo San Lucas, Captain Tony’s has a laid-back feel and a wonderfully seafood-heavy menu. The fish tacos are a house specialty, battered in beer with an array of fresh salsas. Also popular: the catch of the day wrapped in foil with shrimp, vegetables, and spices. The restaurant also has a “you hook it, we cook it” option: Chef Polo Crispin prepares your catch to order for $7 U.S. There are nearly a dozen wood-smoked pizzas here, but the most popular is made with shrimp and crispy bacon. Mexican specialty dishes include nachos, quesadillas, chimichangas, enchiladas, fajitas, and an exceptional tortilla soup. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-6797. Daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. C.S.
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 sleek-looking spot near Médano Beach—fair in comparison? My conclusion: wonderfully. The location is lovely; you can dine alfresco, in a glass-walled dining hall, or in a private room. Begin with one of the restaurant’s 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, which range from $8 to $24 U.S., 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.corazondealcachofa.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–midnight. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. A.A.
De Cortez Grill and Restaurant
Elegance and the elements meld for a fine dining experience at the five-star De Cortez Grill and Restaurant, which offers indoor, mezzanine, and surfside dining. On our visit, guitarist Daryl Currie played gentle jazz on guitar under a moonlit sky while the waitstaff was quick to bring out a savory calamari appetizer. It was a hint of what was to come. Acapulco-born executive chef Angelina Ramos is all about subtle flavors: There’s sweet smokiness to the prepared mango-lobster bisque and a touch of tequila in the rich lemon tart dessert. Restaurant manager Jesús Antonio Villavicencio Sandoval recommended the veal chop in morel sauce, a creamy topping blended with champagne. The chop was seared on the outside, perfectly rare on the inside. Duck can be difficult to work with, but Ramos handled it deftly. It was tender, juicy, and totally without the gamey taste that can jar the palate. If you fancy seafood, order the salmon, served under a chile flake, honey, and herbs glaze that enhances the character of the fish. 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. E.K.
Internationally trained chef Drew Deckman brings an adventurous rotating menu to Los Cabos at his eponymous San José restaurant. He excels at producing sophisticated and daring dishes that emphasize local and organic ingredients. The mussels and oysters plates are designed daily and served fresh ($9–$24 U.S.). The octopus with pork belly and pureed cauliflower is arguably one of Deckman’s most notable creations ($12–$24 U.S.). Each dish is offered in three portion sizes: small (tapas), medium (appetizer), and large (entrée). The chef takes the dining experience to the next level by offering a surprise tasting menu with three-, five-, and seven-course options ($45–$90 U.S.). The tender chicken with organic beets, quinoa, and sage ($15–$30 U.S.) and the 24-ounce Sonora rib eye for two ($80 U.S.) served with vegetables and potato mousseline are skillfully prepared and delicious. The artisanal cheese platter offers a great sampling of Mexican cheeses and garnishes. Both the chocolate and berry samplers are irresistible. The restaurant is lively, with a bar and indoor and patio seating. Guests are treated to live music ranging from jazz to rock. See website upcoming events. Km 29 on the Tourist Corridor, San José del Cabo, (624) 172-6269, www.deckmans.com. Sun. 5 p.m.–11 p.m., Tues.–Sat. 5 p.m.–midnight. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. L.G.
Italian food is best served naked, when the crutch of superfluous sauces is abandoned in favor of a confidence in the quality and rich flavor of the principal ingredients. The best Italian food is a celebration of these simple elements coming together to make something extraordinary, which is exactly what happens nightly at DOC Wine Bar in downtown Cabo San Lucas. What was originally conceived as a locals’ hangout has blossomed under the direction of veteran restaurateur Pietro Gioco and chef Emanuele Olivero. Since opening, its space has doubled. But the emphasis on organic flavor and ingredients has not shifted. The aromas and conversations that waft through the dining room invite. The menu, which is scrawled across charming chalkboards (and recently printed on useful menus), entices. And the courses—especially when paired with wines from the extensive list of Mexican and Italian varietals—enamor. Nibble on an heirloom tomato carpaccio and order of heavenly duck prosciutto before moving onto a course of freshly made pasta. On our night, we dined on homemade ravioli stuffed with short ribs and garlicky pasta popping with clams. Come dessert, we simply could not decide and so went with both 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.docwinebarcabo.com. Mon.–Sat. 2:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
Stellar service, a creative menu, and an exceptional wine collection make Capella Pedregal’s signature restaurant an ideal destination for any occasion—big or small. Arriving through the property’s gas-lit tunnel is an experience in itself. Enjoy pre-dinner cocktails in the palapa lounge and take in a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean’s crashing waves before being escorted into the dining room, terrace, or a private booth. Chef Marco Bustamonte uses only the highest-quality products in his contemporary Mexican dishes. Start with tapas-style appetizers like the ceviche made with local sea bass, octopus aguachile, stuffed squash blossoms, or hearts of palm salad with shrimp. The outstanding black cod entrée prepared with syrup of habanero chile melts in the mouth. On a date? Try the roasted ranch suckling pig with fingerling potatoes ($75 U.S.). There are plenty of steaks and seafood dishes to require—and inspire—return visits. You can ask the chef to choose for you and allow the sommelier to pair the wines for a memorable dining experience while listening to classic and contemporary Mexican music. Save room, if possible, for dessert; there’s flourless chocolate cake or pumpkin crème brulée with walnut crust and pistachio ice cream. Entrées average $38 U.S. Cooking classes are held in “Su Cocina,” as are tequila tastings. Reservations recommended. Capella Pedregal, Camino del Mar 1, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 163-4300, www.capellapedregal.com. Daily 7 a.m.–4 p.m., 6 p.m.–10 p.m. (624) 163-4300. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. S.B.
Double Eagle Restaurant & Bar
Comfort and ease are what Los Cabos is all about, and there’s no reason dining should be any different. If you are looking for a restaurant that’s accessible (easy parking!) with a relaxed vibe and impressive menu, the Double Eagle at the Los Cabos Golf Resort awaits. Its menu ranges from authentic Mexican dishes like molcajetes to 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 also 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.
Enthusiasm races through Galeon, from kitchen to showroom floor. When executive chef Christian Ricci took over the tony Cabo San Lucas Marina restaurant, he infused his passion for cooking into a menu that has since transitioned from traditional Italian to a creative Mediterranean and relies as much on improvisation and inspiration as measuring cups and recipes. The Fashion Performance, who delight with Latin dances like salsa and samba on Tuesdays and tango and modern jazz on Thursdays, now further enhance the dining experience. (The hour-long performances begin at 7:30 p.m.) Their passion and enthusiasm is matched in the kitchen, where Ricci creates artistic Mediterranean dishes. His risotto is a highlight: Creamy, fluffy, and rich, it is accented with bay scallops and bacon and topped with aged Parmesan. Ricci also offers up a succulent, juicy seared fillet alongside grilled jumbo shrimp, glazed with a sweetened chipotle sauce. There is a satisfying array of soups salads and appetizers. Opt for the scallop bisque, which can best be described as a light chowder. On the dessert menu, tiramisu is the standout and authentic as it gets. Marina Boulevard (across from the Cabo San Lucas Marina and below the Finistera Resort), Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-0403, www.restaurantgaleon.com. Mon—Sat. 4–11 p.m., Sun. 1–11 p.m. All major credit cards and Vouchers accepted. E.K.
Hacienda Cocina y Cantina
The disciples are everywhere, and their voices are loud. Unprovoked, they joyfully sing the praises of Hacienda Cocina y Cantina. Their praise is not misguided. For what seems like ages, I’ve been dying to check out the signature restaurant at Hacienda Beach Club & Residences. Friends and colleagues raved about its menu—a well-researched love letter to traditional Mexican standards—and sensational views of Land’s End. They insisted I try the carnitas, the ceviche verde, the cocktails. On my first trip to Hacienda, I tried it all. And I loved it all. I began with a deceivingly potent jamaica margarita on the rocks: tequila, house-made hibiscus extract, freshly squeezed lime juice, sugar cane syrup, and a light salt rim. What followed was decadence at its very best: aguachile de callo (marinated sea scallops with cucumber, red onion, and a chipotle vinaigrette), flautas de cangrejo (crab flautas topped with a mango slaw and hibiscus sauce), a sea bass ceviche with avocado and tomatillo sauce. These were just the appetizers. Entrées included the deservedly much-recommended pesca del chef (sea bass topped with a tropical pico de gallo and served with rice), pollo con mole de Puebla (a tender chicken breast bathed in house-made dark mole and served with white rice and plantains), and three chiles re-llenos stuffed with three cheeses and served with a black bean sauce and mango pico de gallo. All of Chef Octavio Hernández’s creations were extraordinary, but the desserts are what most blew me away: Freshly made churros were perfectly crisped on the outside while melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside and paired with freshly made goat’s milk caramel and chocolate. And tres leches, my favorite cake, was taken to the next level and here called a “cuatro leches.” Hacienda has a new disciple. Valet parking. Hacienda Beach Club & Residences, Calle Gómez Farías S/N, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 163-3144, www.haciendacocina.com. Daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. A.A.
Hacienda El Coyote
There are plenty of reasons to visit Hacienda El Coyote. Among the headliners: more than 150 award-winning tequilas and mescals, a tequila tasting lounge, some of the area’s most beautiful palapas, and a koi pond. Start with a combination of quesadillas, sopes, and flautas, plus your choice of what goes inside—maybe chicken tinga (shredded chicken in chipotle sauce), huitlacoche (a tasty maize mushroom), or cochinita pibil (slow-cooked pork). Sauces come in varying degrees of hot. The cream of pumpkin soup with shrimp dumplings and poblano chile oil sets the heart racing. Beef tenderloin, a house specialty, is served with two sauces, one honey and one with ancho chiles. Duck enchiladas are served with cottage cheese and ancho chile sauce, while the burrito comes with a mouthwatering berry and chipotle sauce. For dessert, you must have churros, the warm sugarcoated donuts that melt in your mouth and come accompanied by caramel and white chocolate cream sauces. There is a children’s menu and play area. Valet parking. Cabo San Lucas and Boulevard Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 146-7776, www.haciendaelcoyote.com. Daily noon–midnight. All major credit cards and Vouchers accepted. S.B.
Imomo Sushi House
Separated by thousands of miles and countless cultural differences, there is nevertheless a sort of kismet connection between Japan and Baja California Sur. The bountiful Sea of Cortés provides sushi chefs and concept restaurants with premium seafood, and the spicy ingredients that define Mexican cuisine enrich many a sushi standard. This is especially true at Imomo Sushi House, a casual spot located along the bustling Cabo San Lucas Marina. Retreat here after a morning on the water or in between excursions. There is a robust cocktail menu, but the house specialty—as would 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.
Los Cabos is increasingly cosmopolitan, but don’t leave town with sampling some authentic flavors of México. You can do just that at Jazmin’s, which has proved itself a must-visit destination during the last two decades. Enter its doors, 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 be treated to glimpses of the exhibition kitchen and the chefs preparing traditional Mexican 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 ($20 U.S.) 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 a personable and helpful waitstaff. Appetizers average $7 to $13 U.S. for quesadillas with arrachera (steak), entrées $10 to $45 U.S. for the lobster, steak, and shrimp combo. 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 Casa Country
When it comes to Los Cabos steak houses, La Casa Country is simply a cut above. A veteran of the Los Cabos—and Mazatlán—restaurant scene, the steak house last year relocated to the Cabo San Lucas Marina. Its new digs are sleek, modern, and sophisticated. The restaurant is divided into three parts, an alfresco dining area, an outdoor bar, and an inside air-conditioned dining room that provides pretty views of the marina and can completely open up when air-conditioning is not required. The scene the perfect backdrop for a menu stacked with options that range from soups and salads to traditional Mexican plates, surf-and-turf platters, and even a children’s menu. Guacamole is a good measure of any restaurant, and the guac you’ll find at La Casa Country is fantastic! Served along with chips, the guacamole (roughly $7.70 U.S.) is prepared to order tableside. You also must try the mushrooms (roughly $7.70 U.S.) in ajillo sauce, a garlicky concoction that’s sinfully delicious. Of course, La Casa Country’s meaty entrées are what have earned the restaurant its devout following, and we can say that our first bite of the medium-rare “Argentinean” L-shaped heart of fillet made a believer out of us. The 12-ounce cut (roughly $23 U.S.) is exceptionally juicy and flavorful. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 105-1999, www.lacasacountry.com. Restaurant: 9 a.m.–11 p.m. Bar: Sun.–Wed. 9 a.m.–midnight, Thurs.–Sat. 9 a.m.–2 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
There is a reason Lorenzillo’s appears on so many must-visit lists. 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 Cabo San Lucas Marina to create an elegant, nautical-themed stage for a menu rich with seafood classics unbound by time or place. 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. Daily noon–11 p.m. Oyster Bar 11 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
Restaurateur Francisco Zuñiga Galvez has learned a lot about fine dining during his 10 years in Cabo San Lucas, and he puts this hard-earned knowledge to exceedingly good use in the recently opened Los Barriles Restaurant. In addition to a prime location near Plaza Amelia Wilkes, the charming and colorful eatery boasts plenty of wood furnishings, evocative murals, and a romantically lit atmosphere festooned with lanterns and strung lights. The staff is 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 plenty of great local seafood and spicy Mexican accents. Appetizer highlights include Cevichimi Barril Style, generous helping of thinly sliced tuna in a lemon soy sauce with fresh serrano chiles, onions, and avocado. The superb Hot Pot Thai Seafood is available for soup lovers; it features shrimp, scallops, and calamari cooked in a coconut milk and a ginger garlic lemongrass broth. For those who want to throw caution to the wind, the decadent VIP Combination for Two that 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 and Visa accepted. C.S.
This Cabo San Lucas Marina hotspot is a chameleon of sorts. It’s a multipurpose place that works just as well for a night on the town as a dinner out with the family or table-gating with the guys. Grab a seat in front of one of the more than a dozen TVs or settle in for a hearty dinner. The menu is chockablock with tasty entrées, including tasty burgers, must-try 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. There is also a full menu of Mexican specialties. Prices range from $12 to $38 U.S. for platters—and, of course, they’ll cook your catch of the day. The Rocky shrimp are 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. Prices range from $8 to $12 U.S. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 125-9788, www.mangocantina.com. Daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and Vouchers accepted. C.M.
Bikini-clad girls lounge in the sand, a beer in their hands as the look out at Land’s End. Men sidle up one by one for beer-drinking contests with servers who could drink van Gogh under the table. And “Big Johnson,” a large-and-in-charge tequila man, makes the rounds, dispensing shots. Mango Deck has a well-earned reputations as a beachside party destination, but it’s the shockingly sophisticated menu that brings people back (well, 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). Breakfasts average $9 U.S., lunch $18 U.S., and dinner $27 U.S. 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.
There is a dizzying array of restaurants in Los Cabos that boast menu items from across the globe. But to leave Baja without sampling the standards that have established Mexican cuisine as one of the world’s finest would be a monumental mistake. No place in Cabo San Lucas does classic Mexican better than María Corona, a family-run restaurant housed in a charming palapa-thatched building two blocks from downtown’s main strip. Many of the traditional recipes come directly from the owner’s México City-born grandmother; all are memorable. Begin by scooping heaping spoonfuls of Queso Fundido María Corona (freshly prepared melted cheese with chorizo, corn, epazote, and mushrooms), about $10 U.S., into freshly made tortillas. The beverage menu is long, but standouts for us include the fresh hibiscus water and margaritas (ask for the tamarind or pomegranate options). They are potent accompaniments to menu highlights like the chamorro de cerdo (pork shank, about $13 U.S.), mole poblano (roughly $11 U.S.), and cochinita pibil (about $9 U.S.). Switch to a rich café de la olla come dessert time and pair it with cinnamon-dusted buñuelos (traditional fried pastries) or arroz con leche (rice pudding). Free parking and WiFi. 16 de Septiembre between Morelos & Leona Vicario, Cabo San Lucas, (624624) 143-1111, www.bajacantinagroup.com, callcenter@bajacantinagroup. com. Daily noon–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
Locals love Mocambo. For years, I’ve heard listened as servers at other restaurants sung its praises. And, on my first visit to the spacious, airily decorated spot, I immediately understood why. It was love at first bite. The menu at Mocambo, which was inspired by the shores of Veracruz, is packed with seafood options, including my absolute favorite, a speciality of the region: fresh chocolate clams served in their shells. You could make a meal of the 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. The Veracruz-style 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.mariscosmocambo.com. Daily Noon–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
The Medano Beach Club
There’s something especially relaxing about sitting down for a nice meal as you look out at water and dig your toes into the sand. That’s what you’ll find 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 diabla 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 banana flambé, prepared at tableside. Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-6554, www.themedanobeachclubcabo.com. Daily 7 a.m. –11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. E.K.
Ask anyone. The premier destination for sushi in Los Cabos is Nick-San, a casual-chic micro-chain with locations in downtown Cabo San Lucas and near San José del Cabo. What began in 1994 as a single restaurant in Cabo San Lucas has blossomed to include locations across México thanks to a creative fusion of traditional Japanese recipes and premium Mexican ingredients. The Nick-San 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 restaurant has several specialties, but you don’t want to pass up its signature tuna tostada: 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 ($23 U.S.), the black-and-white sashimi (black and white sesame seeds decorate tuna, which is served with curry oil, $23 U.S.), the Lobster Angel (sautéed lobster in a mustard sauce, $50 U.S.), sashimi serranito (the catch of the day with serrano pepper sauce and thin slices of serrano chiles, $23 U.S.), and the Maguro lime roll ($23 U.S.). 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. Lunch averages $40 U.S.; dinner $50 U.S. All prices are approximate and vary according to tax and exchange rates. 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: Áreaprivativa Ap-15, Shoppes at Palmilla, San José del Cabo, (624) 144-6264, www.nicksan.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 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. Live music nightly. Full bar. Reservations suggested. 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
Each restaurant in the Mi Casa Group family has a distinct personality while also offering delicious food, excellent service, and a romantic ambience. Peacock’s is one of the premier fine dining restaurants in Cabo San Lucas. Choose the charming indoor dining room with a cozy fireplace or the patio with its beautiful palapa bar, fountain, and gardens. Start with melt-in-your-mouth lamb dumplings, followed by a fresh salad, then choose any entrée with confidence: There’s the fish of the day prepared blackened 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.micasagroupcabo.com. Daily 7 a.m.–3 p.m. and 6 p.m.–10:30 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. S.B.
Penny Lane Café
The Mar Adentro Spa and Wellness Clinic is like a one-stop pamper shop. Its owners are committed to inner and outer wellbeing, and their holistic approach means you’ll find chiropractic, massage therapy, Pilates, a hair and beauty salon, an organic farmers market, and much more within the attractive compound’s walls. Start off a day of pampering or, well, any day properly by popping into Penny Lane, its gourmet restaurant and coffee bar. The funky, informal little spot is deceptively good; its coffee concoctions have been known to produce “oohs” and “awes” from patrons, and the spicy chicken chilaquiles are ferocious. The wraps are a specialty; this is likely the only place you’ll find a falafel wrap in Southern Baja. Sit inside the small dining room or lounge in the central courtyard while you sip freshly squeezed juice or much on any of the chef’s clever creations. The menu here is one of the friendliest for dietary restrictions, and those needing gluten-free or vegan options will not be disappointed. Camino del Colegio 225, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 172-0129, www.maradentrospa.com. 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily; limited menu after 3 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
Named for a fruit native to México, Pitahayas has been recognized five-diamond award restaurant 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 the reasonable price of $650 pesos 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.pitahayas.com. Nightly 5:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. All major credit cards and Vouchers accepted. S.B.
This is one of those classic destination restaurants with chic decor, a wonderful view, and very good food at a reasonable price. It offers a splendid view of the bay and Land’s End from inside the cheery dining room and outside on the terrace, where diners can watch the lights of the city twinkle as the sun dips into the ocean. The international menu is just as satisfying as the view. 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. The 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. The sea bass was light and flakey; the lobster, shrimp, octopus, and sea scallops were tender and succulent. Split a slice of cheesecake for dessert; the dinner portions are large and filling. Km 6.3 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 104 3252, www.puertavieja.com. Daily noon–10 p.m. American Express, MasterCard, Visa accepted. E.K.
Romeo & Julieta
Italian-born chef Matais Forte 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 ($6–$19 U.S.). Entrées include 16 pasta dishes; the shrimp pasta with garlic is made with fresh cream and grated Parmesan cheese ($15 U.S.), and the lasagna is prepared with ingredients imported from Italy ($16 U.S.). Beef medallion served with mushrooms in a red wine sauce is delicious ($23 U.S.). The tiramisu and gelato are divine ($5–$6 U.S.). 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.
7 Seas Seafood Grille
Chef Alejandro Rodriguez Ponce excels at creating sublime Mediterranean-inspired cuisine that relies on fresh, local organic ingredients. In addition to the great menu (which ranges from surf and turf to creative pasta), this beachfront palapa spot boasts spectacular ocean views in a welcoming and relaxing setting. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant is always bustling with both visiting and local customers. One of the most popular starters on the menu is the tuna tartar trilogy ($19 U.S.). Enjoy three unique versions of freshly prepared tuna: pistachio and avocado, mango and chile, and a cucumber-cilantro blend. Another favorite is the blue crab tostadas ($12 U.S.), which are made with Mexican salsa, avocado, and a jalapeno dressing. You won’t be disappointed with the fresh fish of the day ($29 U.S.) or the baked Maui ribs ($28 U.S.), which are marinated in a special Argentine pineapple barbecue sauce, slow-cooked for four days, and served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a melody of vegetables. Shrimp ravioli ($22 U.S.) are stuffed with a Mexican-style ricotta cheese and prepared in an herbed butter sauce. Shrimp linguini ($27 U.S.) pops with Gorgonzola and spinach. These dishes are best paired with a glass from 7 Seas’ carefully selected wine list, which features selections from California, México, Chile, Argentina, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. Cabo Surf Hotel, Acapulquito Beach, km 28 on the Tourist Corridor, San José del Cabo, (624) 142-2676, www.7seasrestaurant.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Discover, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. L.G.
The first restaurant I visited in Los Cabos was Solomon’s Landing, and the popular marina eatery has remained a favorite ever since. Few restaurants in Los Cabos—or anywhere I’ve seen—boast the wide selection available at Solomon’s Landing. Its menu reads like a novel, a very delicious novel. And, even better, the capable kitchen churns out flavorful dishes at prices that are hard to beat. For a special morning treat, come in the early morning to watch the sun rise over the yachts, superyachts, and catamarans that dock in the Cabo San Lucas Marina. Dine on a traditional Mexican breakfast of huevos rancheros or chilaquiles verdes, fried tortillas bathed in a piquant green salsa, that you can pair with fresh-squeezed orange juice. You could go healthy with a tropical fruit plate or really indulge with a waffle that comes stuffed with apple compote and topped with blueberry compote and whipped cream. The lunch and dinner menus are equally impressive; highlights include the 25-ounce porterhouse steak, about $30 U.S., and spicy hand rolls stuffed with crab, cucumber, and avocado. Dinner ranges from $15 to $20 U.S.; breakfast $8 to $10 U.S.; lunch $10 to $15 U.S. Like what you tasted? Solomon’s also has catering services to make every special occasion to the next level. Boulevard Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-7606, www.solomonslandingrestaurant.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
Sonoma Wine Garden
Only in Cabo can you find a restaurant that boasts the sophistication and elegance of Sonoma and a laid-back, flip-flops-are-welcome vibe. Located in the heart of the Cabo San Lucas nightclub district, Sonoma Wine Garden is a comfortable, cozy hideaway where you can sip wines from California, México, Chile, and Argentina; dine on exquisite California cuisine; or visit languidly over a platter of cheeses and charcuterie. Wine is the main attraction here. A knowledgeable and friendly sommelier is on hand to help with selections. For starters, go with the chef’s tasting plate; it’s a flavorful selection of cheeses, meats, and olives that’s paired with a chilled glass of Riesling. The salad menu has plenty of light options, while the dinner menu ranges from a tasty pollo chayote (a flavorful chicken dish with subtle, spicy undertones) to the Veracruz-style catch of the day. For dessert, share the delightful Kaiserschmarrn (caramelized pancakes, roasted apples, almonds, and raisins topped with a healthy dollop of whipped cream). The restaurant features a comfortable bar as well as stadium and garden seating. Boulevard Marina and Lázaro Cárdenas, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-2844, www.sonomawinegardencabo.com. Mon.–Wed. noon–11 p.m., Thurs.–Fri. noon–midnight, Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–midnight. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. E.K.
Sunset da Mona Lisa
Sunset da Mona Lisa is magical. Though I’m yet to pinpoint the exact origin of that charm, I feel its uplifting effect every time I visit the gorgeous Italian restaurant. Perhaps it’s the setting: Tiered terraces and oversize windows offer views of an enchanting sunset hugging closely to the arch at Land’s End, and a telescope allows diners to look out at the moon, even Saturn and Jupiter. Mayhap it is the menu: Italian classics are elevated with local ingredients and the ingenuity of chef Salvatore Messina. I am not the only one affected. Couples flock here to get engaged each year. Servers report an average of one to two proposals per night. Or perhaps the magic comes from the combination of breathtaking view, excellent menu, and fantastic wine selection. You’ll know just what I mean once you’ve sampled the seafood antipasti ($190 pesos); handmade gnocchi stuffed with mozzarella and tomato and topped with pesto and goat cheese ($189 pesos); linguine with shrimp bisque, scallops, shrimp, mussels, and squid ($275); and a rack of lamb that’s marinated overnight and then cooked on hot volcanic rock right at your table ($425 pesos). If you’re not sure how to pair your meal, consult the sommelier. Just make sure to save room for dessert: The tiramisu here is not to be missed. It’s magical to the last bite. Valet parking. Km 6 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-8160, www.sunsetmonalisa.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. A.A.
Sunset Point at Sunset da Mona Lisa
The magic of Sunset da Mona Lisa extends to its sister restaurant, a more relaxed pizza and wine bar that serves 180-plus labels of wine from Italy, South America, Europe, and México. Enjoy the free tapas at the bar from 4 to 6 p.m. or opt for one of the tasting menus; either is generous enough to share, accompanied with appropriate wines. The Deluxe Tasting ($50 U.S.) includes a salad or the fritto mixto (lightly fried calamari, shrimp, and veggies), a meat and cheese platter, a trio of wood-fired gourmet pizzas, a platter of thinly sliced steak that you cook yourself on a heated lava rock, ending with a choice of dessert that might be tiramisu, crème brûlée, fruit plate, or a sweet pizza made with bananas, coconut, nuts,and a chocolate sauce. The specialty is gourmet pizza, but many Sunset da Mona Lisa items may be enjoyed upstairs at Sunset Point. Valet parking. Km 6 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-8160, www.sunsetmonalisa.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. S.B.
Located about five miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas, this palapa-style restaurant is just the sort of place where you can retreat for a quiet coffee or sunset dinner. Chef José Luis Albore’s concise menu is packed with reasonably priced and delicious dishes, including thick, juicy, hand-trimmed steaks and surf and turf entrées prepared on an outdoor grill. The advertised house specialty is a lobster tail, three New Zealand lamb chops, and three jumbo shrimp. But this is more than a steak house. Start with deep-fried calamari, then steak Tampiqueña, a serving of tender and moist flank steak served with two very
rich chicken enchiladas, rice, beans, and steamed vegetables. The menu also includes four coconut-fried shrimp served on a bed of rice with beans and vegetables. Described as jumbo, these shrimp exceeded their billing; they were huge. (The restaurant is also famous for its $19.95 U.S. lobster.) Km 7.5 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-8244. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and Vouchers accepted. E.K.