Los Barriles Restaurant Bar
The Asian fusion food movement is like a gift that keeps on giving—whether you’re thinking of Korean tacos on the streets of Los Angeles or Francisco Zuniga’s menu of Mexican, Asian, and fusion dishes at Los Barriles in Cabo San Lucas. The experienced restaurateur has successfully fused the flavors of Baja and Asian to create dishes that pop. We’re particulary fond of the Thai seafood soup; it’s a hot pot with shrimp, scallops, and calamari that is prepared in coconut milk and a ginger lemongrass broth. The Korean barbecue for two is an absolute feast: It features shrimp, scallops, filet mignon, lobster, and chicken and is served with an assortment of sauces, grilled veggies, and salads for only $46 U.S. 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. $–$$$ A.A.
There’s something about this Cabo San Lucas Marina restaurant that makes it feel like a very good old friend. The traditionalMexican menu and decor are comforting and familiar, and the service is always spot-on. Recent additions to the menu have enhanced the experience without taking away what we love best about Los Deseos: its commitment to honoring age-old recipes and traditions. Come for a late lunch on the marina, and you can sip a jalapeño margarita as you wrap warm, handmade tortillas around decadent tequila-style melted cheese. Follow that must-have appetizer with a nopales salad and La Malinche: chicken breast stuffed with squash blossoms and cuitlacoche, a Mexican delicacy with a smoky sweet flavor that’s a cross between corn and mushroom. Marina Golden Zone, Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.goldenzonecabo.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Brazilian barbecue, for the uninitiated, is essentially heaven on Earth for steak lovers. Guests pays a fixed price (here only $25 U.S.), and gregarious waiters bring around servings of top sirloin, rib eye, and ribs throughout the meal until the diners cry uncle, signaling they’ve had enough. Other rodizio selections include New York strip and flank steaks, turkey breast and bacon, and sides of cucumber-carrot and red cabbage salads, rice, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and dipping sauces. Of course, that’s not all the restaurant offers. 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. And there’s the classic caipirinha, a cocktail based on cachaça, or sugar cane liquor, favored by samba dancers and international bons vivants. Calle Vicente Guerrero and Francisco I. Madero, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-0273. Tues.–Sun. 4 p.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ A.A.
Quite simply, Mango Cantina is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Los Cabos. Pinpointing exactly what I love about this Cabo San Lucas Marina sports bar and restaurant is a little more difficult. There’s just so much. Here you will find a family environment with servers who are friendly, funny, and exceptionally helpful. The views of the marina are mesmerizing, and the menu is on point. Come breakfast, noon, or night to enjoy the Mango Cantina experience. While I love the restaurant’s chilaquiles, we most recently we went for lunch. The limonadas—here made with squeezed limes and mineral water or flat water, if you prefer—provide a perfect pucker to go along with appetizers like the fish or shrimp ceviche and freshly made guacamole. You can nosh on this while watching any of your favorite sports teams on Mango Cantina’s 17 HD flat-screen TVs or its supersized 180-inch TV. And, when I say any, I mean any. The restaurant regularly broadcasts the NHL, NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, NBA, and boxing throughout the week. Ready for the main course? We’re partial to the fish tacos; you can practically taste their freshness and authenticity with every bite. Other highlights include the Touchdown and Super Bowl burgers, Yankees Chicken, and 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. Also noteworthy: 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. $–$$$ A.A.
There are few names more synonymous with Cabo San Lucas than Mango Deck, the full-service restaurant and beach club that has made Médano Beach a must-visit destination for spring breakers—and folks of all ages. Start your morning with a gorgeous view of the arch at Land’s End while you sip Mango Deck’s potent coffee, dig your toes into the sand, and enjoy breakfasts that range from traditional Mexican (you’re going to want to try those spicy chilaquiles) to old-fashioned American (the Two, Two, Two, Two features two eggs any style, two slices of bacon, two sausage links, and two pieces of toast). Make sure to come Sunday mornings for Mango Deck’s famous all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet; at only $175 M.X. for adults, it’s easily one of the best deals in town. Then, grab your beach chair and settle in for a day of fun in the sun. Take advantage of the all-day happy hour (drinks are two for one) as you nosh on ceviche, raw clams, nachos, and more. Don’t worry about the calories. You can work those off during any of Mango Deck’s famous contests. Need a little liquid courage before you show off your sexy dance moves? That’s where Big John and Armando, the resident tequileros, come in. Mango Deck’s friendly, bilingual staff is always up to the task of meeting customers’ every need. Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144-4919, www.mangodeck.com. Daily 8 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $–$$$. A.A.
Want to know what Mexican cuisine was like in the days of Pancho Villa? Visit this charming and authentic downtown eatery, where all the regional specialties are made from recipes passed down by the owner’s grandmother—for whom the restaurant was named—using only the most traditional and time-tested methods. The tortillas are hand rolled, the salsas are prepared in stone molcajetes, and the guacamole is prepared fresh at your table. Even the moles are made from scratch, from the toasting of the chiles to the grinding of almonds on traditional stone metates. For the ultimate “old-school“ dinner experience, start with a bowl of poblano cream or Tlalpeño soup (the former spiced with poblano chiles, the latter a savory blend of carrots, zucchini, onions, garbanzo beans, and spices in chicken stock), sample the melted glory of the “Tres Quesos” fondue, cleanse your palate with a nopales salad of grilled cactus leaves, then finish in traditional style with Mayan-style pork pibil or the María Corona platter with chorizo, Panela-packed chile rellenos, and chicken covered in a rich, chocolaty mole sauce. Tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas and other favorites are also available, and complemented by a romantic courtyard dining area, with colorfully lit paper lanterns and live music from contemporary balladeers Los Principes. María Corona is open for lunch and dinner, and there’s a Sunday brunch with a buffet of close to 20 traditional dishes 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Cooking classes are open to any and all prospective culinary masters with a prior reservation. Parking is free at the adjoining lot, and an air-conditioned dining area is on hand for those seeking to beat the afternoon heat. Calle 16 de Septiembre, between Morelos and Leona Vicario, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111, www.mariacoronarestaurant.com. Mon.–Sat. noon–11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $-$$$ C.S.
The flavors are bold. The recipes are spot-on. And, at Mi Casa in downtown Cabo San Lucas, the setting is picture perfect. For more than two decades, this spacious restaurant has been the place to come in Los Cabos for authentic flavors from around México paired with traditional decor and fun entertainment. Come early for a laid-back lunch: Start with a sparkling limonada, tortilla soup—the best in Los Cabos!—and a classic Acapulco-style shrimp cocktail. The huarache de arrachera (similar to a meat sope) is the perfect lunch-sized portion. For the total Mi Casa experience, though, you’ll want to come for dinner. Quaff a supersized margarita as mariachis stroll through the restaurant, performing. There are balloon hats, a canary fortuneteller, and plenty of photo ops: There are beautiful murals throughout, as well as a curio shop chockablock with macabre figurines, wooden crosses, and other tchotchkes. And, of course, the food is Instagram worthy! The colorful chile en nogada is a must, as are the fall-off-the-bone ribs and the cochinita pibil (Yucatecan-style shredded pork). Cabo San Lucas Street, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1933, www.micasarestaurant.com.mx. Daily 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ A.A.
Nick-San Cabo San Lucas
Whenever we visit Nick-San at its original downtown Cabo San Lucas location, we opt for the sushi bar. On this occasion, we started with Japanese cold sake and a tasty tuna tartar made with chives and horseradish; the freshness and tastiness of this tartar were amazing. We then proceeded to some classic Nick-San dishes—the kind we love and enjoy every time we’re here—like the must-have tuna tostadas and lobster roll, as well as some of the brand-new creations from owners and chefs Angel Carbajal and Masayuki Niikura. Among the ones we tried were the Niikura Sashimi (a fresh fish served with capers) and bubu arare; both are strong and well-balanced dishes. We continued with the Truffle Sashimi, the grilled salmon served with white rice perfumed to truffle, and to finish the famous Avocado Special Roll, which is a delicate avocado roll stuffed with eel that is delicately minced to make it especially soft. It is at the same time salty and sweet, a perfect way to end the dinner. As on prior visits, we had our dinner accompanied by the house wines; both the sauvignon blanc and merlot were just amazing with the selections of dishes. I highly recommend you visit Nick-San Cabo and let yourself be surprised by the new dishes on the menu; you won’t be disappointed. 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. (One hour free parking available at adjacent Tesoro resort.) Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$$