By Ashley Alvarado, Sandra A. Berry, Fátima Martínez, 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. $–$$$ C.S.
This downtown Cabo San Lucas restaurant and bar is not only the city’s premier karaoke destination; it’s also the place to come nightly for drinks, dancing, and fun that goes into the wee hours of the morning. There is a lot to love here: The karaoke selection includes thousands of favorites in English and Spanish? Rock out to Metallica. Croon like Elvis. Or release your inner diva with hits from Madonna and Mariah. Want to practice your Spanish. Discover the songbooks of hitmakers like Alejandro Fernández, Vicente Fernández, or Jenni Rivera. But don’t you dare dismiss Arre Mango as a one-hit wonder. You’ll want to show off your dance moves in the spacious backroom stage area, where you can also enjoy live performances by talented musicians. We’re big fans of the Arre Mango menu, which includes everything from pub favorites like wings and nachos to Mexican must-haves like papas rellenas (baked potatoes stuffed with cheese, steak, and more goodness) and fajitas. The bar is just as impressive. Try the house Arre…Mango cocktail or selection from the on-point tequila collection. And, last but not least, Arre Mango has one of the most impressive lineups of daily specials anywhere. Highlights include Tuesday’s three-for-one deal on domestic beers, Wednesday’s Ladies Night (free drinks for women from 10 till midnight), Thursday’s two-for-one appetizers (including its killer guac, wings, and hamburgers). Stay tuned to the Arre Mango Facebook page for updates on its events: www.facebook.com/arremangocabo. Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas, Cabo San Lucas (624) 144-4300, www.arremango.com. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. Daily 1 p.m.–5 a.m. $–$$$ A.A.
Baja Cantina Beach
The world’s most beautiful dining room is framed by sand, sun and surf, and looks out over the evocative granite 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 Club 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. The restaurant is famed for its canoa (“canoe”) buffet featuring the freshest of fresh local seafood, but it also serves up nightly delights ranging from braised octopus and barbecued ribs to combo platters for two such as the Isla Guadalupe with lobster tail, filet mignon, shrimp tostada, and chicken enchiladas in verde sauce. Live music is on tap Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays after 7 p.m., and the restaurant hosts its celebrated Fiesta Mexicana on Wednesday evenings, with specialty menus, margaritas, mariachis, fireworks, and folkloric dances. Daily deals at the beachfront hotspot include an all-day (8 a.m.–5 p.m.) happy hour with two-for-one beers and domestic drinks, and three-for-two sushi rolls 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Valet parking and Wi-Fi are complimentary. 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, which has been a local dining fixture for close to a quarter of a century (the restaurant has served as headquarters for Bisbee’s Black and Blue marlin fishing tournament since 1991). Start your day dockside with breakfast ballast ranging from omelets and pancakes to Belgian waffles and age-old hangover cures like chilaquiles and huevos divorciados. Too early? How about a late lunch featuring the Bisbee’s Wedge Salad with smoked bacon, red onions, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese dressing, and a Baja Cantina pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, olives and mozzarella? Or bellying up to the bar for all-day two-for-one daiquiris and margaritas and the latest televised sporting events, or bringing the whole family for a memorable multicourse evening meal? Dinner highlights include delicious Mexican specialty dishes like enchiladas, fajitas, carnitas, and carne asada, and combo platters like the Puerto Vallarta for two with filet mignon, lobster, and jumbo shrimp. Baja Cantina also serves up excellent vegetarian entrées, 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, 9:30 p.m.–11:30 p.m., with dance beats from a rotating cast of talented DJs. Cabo San Lucas Marina, behind the Tesoro resort, (624) 143-1111, www.bajacantina marina.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. $–$$$ C.S.
Baja Lobster Co.
This Cabo San Lucas Marina spot is that type of rare, surprising restaurant at which repeat visitors might wonder how their dining experience can possibly get any better, then, lo and behold, the place goes and gilds the lily. The freshly renovated interior decor and new white-colored outdoor patio deck are highlights that manager Felix Solano and his staff proudly display to all guests, so patrons can dine indoors or outside. Subtle and smooth listening live music entertainment is available weeknights 6:30 p.m.–9 p.m. Dinner menu prices are in the $16 U.S.–$23 U.S. per plate range, a nice surprise given their superb quality and generous portions. Live lobsters caught off the coasts of Baja California Sur cities Mulegé and Loreto are also on-site, and the menu includes a dizzying array of seafood, salads, steaks, lobster, clam chowder, coconut shrimp, and the catch of the day. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 145-6011, www.goldenzonecabo.com. AmEx, MasterCard, and Visa accepted. Daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. $–$$$ F.R.
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.restaurantcampestreloscabos.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. $–$$ A.A.
From fishermen-friendly breakfasts to wood-fired gourmet pizzas, Captain Tony’s is renowned for serving delicious and filling fare from sunrise to well beyond sunset. But there’s no denying that this popular waterfront eatery reaches its palate-pleasing peak during the dinner hours. That’s when chef Nicolás Ayala Ramírez showcases his best Mexican and seafood-style specialty dishes, including superb seafood chiles rellenos (poblano peppers stuffed with shrimp, fish, and scallops) and the catch of the day, foil wrapped and stuffed with shrimp and veggies. For a real treat, try a molcajete (traditional stone bowl) filled with chicken, beef, or shrimp (or a combination of two), cooked in red sauce and spices, then topped with melted cheese and grilled onions. Or bring in your own catch for the restaurant’s “you hook it, we cook it” dinner, served in one of four signature styles, and served with bread and salad for only $7 U.S. per person. Cabo San Lucas Marina, behind the Tesoro resort, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-6797, www.piscesgroupcabo.com. Daily 6 a.m.– 10 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
For those who have been waiting for a really good Chinese restaurant in the Los Cabos area, your fortune cookie wishes have been granted. Chin’s has all the ingredients for outstanding Chinese food: beautiful decor, reasonable prices, great service, and a chef who has traveled the Far East to hone his culinary skills in traditional recipes and authentic ingredients and flavors. Starters that awaken the palate include chicken lettuce wraps or wonton with crab, shrimp, and chicken served with a variety of sauces such as hot mustard, sweet-and-sour and chile paste or chile oil. The generously portioned main entrées are nothing short of a testimony to chef Paul Zamudio’s passion for Asian cuisine. Traditional favorites such as honey walnut shrimp (flash fried and cooked to perfection), sweet-and-sour pork, and orange chicken are offered along
with more exotic dishes, like traditional Beijing-style Peking duck, which requires 24-hour notice. Each selection is cooked to order with the freshest ingredients. Originally from Las Vegas, Chin’s Los Cabos showcases decades of culinary virtuosity in a wide variety of time-honored favorites from traditional recipes of Canton to hot spicy Szechwan dishes. Rehearsal dinners, corporate events, birthdays, and other special occasions are welcome. Enjoy indoor service or alfresco dining overlooking the Sea of Cortés. Takeout service available. Shoppes at Palmilla, km 27.5 on the Tourist Corridor, San Jose del Cabo, (624) 144-6060, www.chinscabo.com. Daily 1:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted. $–$$$ S.A.B.