Nick-San Palmilla & Nick-San Garden
We visited Nick-San Palmilla on a Tuesday night and happily discovered it was Jazz Night. Though we had planned on a more traditional dinner of sushi and Mexican-Japanese fusion, we ended up spending the night under the stars while live jazz music played and we enjoyed the most delicious creations from chef-owner Angel Carbajal and his team. Since last November, Nick-San and its Garden—a special garden area with the most charming ambience—have hosted several themed nights with live music. This evening, we let ourselves be guided by the chef, trying several of the most recent creations. We started with a champagne cocktail from the Champagne Bar at the Garden to get ourselves into the ambience. The chef sent an amuse bouche of whitefish sashimi served with truffle oil. This was only the beginning of a promising dinner, and we continued with a jicama tartar made of sea bass, jicama, chasoba, and a refreshing citrus dressing. Try this dish with the house sauvignon blanc so you will be able to appreciate even more the fruity sides of the wine and of the dressing as well. We then continued with the Negi Roll, made with whitefish, crab, shrimp, thin caramelized onions, and a touch of truffle oil. One of our favorite dishes was the crab ravioli, a special dish currently available exclusively at the Palmilla location and consisting of delicious ravioli stuffed with softshell crab and shitake and served with a creamy yuzu sauce. This visit to Nick-San Palmilla was completely different from previous trips; the restaurant was completely remodeled by French architect Jacqueline Perrot, and there is now also a lovely zen vibe in the Garden Lounge Bar as well as in the terrace facing the sea. Come for a visit and enjoy great service, unbelievable dishes, and a unique ambience, whether it’s for lunch, dinner, or for a special occasion such as a wedding party or any other party that you want to share with your loved ones. Live jazz Thursdays 6:30 p.m.–10 p.m. Area privativa Ap-15, Shoppes at Palmilla, San José del Cabo, Phone (624)144-6264, www.nicksan.com. Daily 2 p.m.–11 p.m. Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$$
Pan di Bacco
This popular downtown eatery isn’t easy to categorize—it’s a café, bakery, pizzeria, restaurant, and wine bar—but virtually all its offerings fall under the general heading of “Neapolitan delights”: from Italian-themed specialties like pastas and gelati to a wall of photographs that will make you feel as though you’ve just handed off your Vespa to the valet and wandered in from the Via Vicaria Vecchia. Freshly baked breads and frittatas headline the breakfast and lunch menus, but for dinner start with one of the several superb olive oil–drizzled bruschetta options—the Bruschetta di Zia Peppa with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and green olives is particularly tasty—as well as hearty salads like the Zia Clara, which mixes organic iceberg lettuce with avocado, tomato, and crisp bacon, and is topped with creamy Caesar dressing. A wide array of pastas and pizzas are available for those seeking more filling fare, including a delicious Raviola alla Sarda with ricotta-stuffed ravioli and ham-covered marinara sauce, and a truffle oil–scented Bianca pizza layered with Italian sausage, baked potato, provolone cheese, and porcini mushroom sauce. Afterward, a decadent serving of tiramisu and a shot of aromatic espresso are practically mandatory. Gluten-free pasta and pizza options are also available, and a trio of pairing wines can be added to bring an extra level of sophistication to any meal. Marina Blvd. and Lázaro Cárdenas, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3508, www.pandibacco.com. Daily 7 a.m.–midnight. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $-$$$ C.S.
When Hurricane Odile tore its way through the Baja Peninsula in September 2014, many hotels, restaurants, and shops were forced to shutter—some permanently. And, so, we were beyondthrilled when Peacock’s reopened in late November. Peacock’s, part of the successful Mi Casa family of restaurants, is an essential part of the Los Cabos dining scene, what with its beautiful layout and incredible menu. The stunning restaurant in the heart of Cabo San Lucas’s Médano Beach District offers several different settings for guests to enjoy the succinct menu, but we’re partial to the courtyard and palapa-covered fire pit. The Peacock’s menu is built on freshness; so much so that the restaurant sprouts its own greens on-site. Several produce items are grown at Peacock’s own farm in nearby Pescadero, and almost all of its seafood is caught by local fishermen. Begin with a yellowfin tuna tataki followed by organic suckling pig (slow-cooked overnight with just a hint of tarragon and thyme). And, for dessert, don’t pass up the chocolate tamale. Paseo del Pescador, near the entrance to ME Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1858, www.peacocksrestaurant.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–11:30 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. $$–$$$$ A.A.
Penny Lane Cafe
The team behind Penny Lane Cafe is so committed to its market-to-table concept that it actually hosts an organic produce market every Wednesday and Saturday. Of course, you can enjoy organic meals and goodies every day of the week here, at the warm and welcoming patio restaurant and coffee bar in the heart of Pedregal. Jump-start your day in paradise with fresh-squeezed elixirs like the Hangover Healer with parsley, watercress, broccoli, and pineapple juices, or heart-healthy breakfast standards such as gourmet breads and pastries, omelets and French toast. For lunch, savor the signature hamburger grilled with blue cheese, a wild salmon salad topped with cranberries and pecans, or a variety of pastas, wraps, and traditional Mexican fare. Gluten-free selections are available. Camino del Colegio 225 (just off Miguel Angel Herrera), Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 172-0129, www.pennylanecafe.com. Mon.–Sat. 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Visa and vouchers accepted. $–$$ C.S.
Though it was forced to close for a time following the devastating Category 3 hurricane that tore a path through Southern Baja in September 2014, chef Volker Romeike’s Pitahayas is back in a big way. Its location at the Hacienda del Mar allows for breathtaking views of sunsets and moon rises over the Sea of Cortés, and its exceptional menu, outstanding service, and beautiful palapa roof elevate Pitahayas to the higher echelon of Los Cabos restaurants. Chef Romeike creates Pacific Rim dishes such as tempura of honey pineapple topped with duck prosciutto and a cream sauce with a nice but not-too-hot bite for starters. Roasted beet salad with arugula and wasabi dressing might follow. The seafood symphony of broiled shrimp, soft shell crab, and lobster satay with mango coulis is definitely a winner as are chicken bites prepared in a wok with a crispy vegetable roll, served with a cherry mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine) plum reduction and mashed potatoes. Meat lovers can enjoy New York steak, lamb chops, and petite filet mignon grilled to perfection on the Pacific grill. Save room for zango banana cheesecake or share the trio of crème brûlée. Enjoy different live music nightly, including a marimba combo. For intimate dining, book the elegant wine cellar La Cava de Santiago, which houses 400 labels of domestic and international wines. For 14 years running, Pitahayas has been awarded the Five Diamond Award, and this past year, it earned the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Hacienda del Mar, Cabo del Sol, km 10 on the Tourist Corridor, Cabo Sa Lucas, (624) 145-8010, www.pitahayas.com. Nightly 5 p.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ S.A.B.