Find out the frequent haunts of expats and born-and-raised cabeños
By Ashley Alvarado
The savviest travelers know the trick to eating well on vacation is to ask one simple question: Where do the locals eat?
Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo, and the Tourist Corridor that connects them are dotted with too many excellent holes-in-the-wall and tiny taquerías to mention in this article, but the Los Cabos Guide blog has several posts dedicated to this subject. Read them at www.loscabosguide.com/blog
Here you will find a mix of Cabo San Lucas restaurants that cater to born-and-raised locals, tourists, and those who have adopted the area as their second home.
Baja Cantina Beach (www.bajacantinabeachclub.com) is known among tourists for its fun swing bar and Wednesday night Fiesta Mexicana celebration, but locals also prefer the Médano Beach restaurant as an elegant date-night pick and fun weekend hangout. The selections on the varied menu range from traditional Mexican dishes to innovative sushi and the famous “canoa”.
There’s never a dull moment at sister restaurant Baja Cantina Marina (www.bajacantinamarina.com), where locals file in for outstanding food—check out its pizzas and new vegetarian menu—potent drinks, and an endless feed of sporting events broadcast across several flat-screen TVs.
Spring breakers flock to Mango Deck on Médano Beach for its all-day happy hour, party vibe, risqué games, and bigger-than-life tequileros, Big Johnson and Armando. Locals aren’t immune to such attractions, but their loyalty is due to much more than the spring break atmosphere. The robust menu offers everything from hearty traditional American and Mexican breakfasts to sophisticated sushi options and must-try Baja delicacies like chocolate clams. Mango Deck recently introduced a Saturday version of its popular all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet, and the annual New Year’s Eve blast—complete with exciting fireworks—is out of this world.
Sister spot Mango Cantina offers many of the same dishes but with a decidedly sports bar flair on the Cabo San Lucas Marina. Dine on hearty burgers or traditional Mexican favorites as you watch any and all of your favorite sporting events on flat-screen TVs.
Arre Mango in downtown Cabo San Lucas fills Tuesday through Sunday nights with locals and expats ready to show off their singing talents with selections from the karaoke hotspot’s catalog of 10,000-plus songs in English and Spanish. Anyone needing a bit of liquid courage can opt for a strong drink from the bar; check out Arre Mango’s Facebook page for information about its nightly promotions, including a three-for-one on domestic beer every Tuesday.
The brand-new John’s Place (www.johnsplacecabo.com) in downtown Cabo San Lucas has already made quite an impact. The international menu features dishes from across the globe, including México, Italy, the United States, and Canada. Fans sit under a palapa as they watch sports on large TVs and dine on dishes like garlic shrimp, baby back ribs, and seafood pasta with sea bass, prawns, clams, and mussels.
Bar Esquina (www.baresquina.com), the trend-setting restaurant at the Bahia Hotel & Beach Club, is the ideal spot for a casual breakfast meeting, a late lunch with friends, or a romantic dinner date. Dishes from the Mediterranean-Mexican menu as well as the restaurant’s signature craft cocktails are made from organic, locally sourced ingredients. Love what you’ve tried there? Check out Bar Esquina’s YouTube (www.youtube.com/bahiacabohotel) channel for exclusive how-to videos.
Alcaravea Gourmet (624-143-3730) has succeeded thanks to the loyal support of Los Cabos locals, who started patronizing Enrique Diaz’s Mediterranean restaurant when it had a seating capacity of only 15. (The restaurant now accommodates 60.) They came—and continue to come—for dishes like the Alcaravea mushrooms (the mushrooms are sautéed with white wine, extra-virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, Marsala wine, sage, basil, and oregano, then baked) and the carbonara prepared with freshly made pasta.