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La Panga Antigua Restaurant & Bar
Nestled in colonial-style San José del Cabo, the romantic La Panga Antigua invites diners to discover inventive, exquisite entrées at prices that range from $12 U.S. to $30 U.S. La Panga Antigua offers fresh, local seafood, a catch of the day (yellowtail, dorado, red snapper, mahimahi), as well as New York sirloin and grilled chicken choices. La Panga’s servers are attentive, friendly, and bilingual, the perfect complement to the restaurant’s easy-to-find colorful colonial structure adjacent to San José del Cabo’s historic Catholic church. Chef Alberto Martínez’s contemporary Mexican menu has kept La Panga Antigua a popular choice among locals and visitors, earning numerous awards. It’s easily considered one of the city’s best restaurants. An opulent, air-conditioned wine cellar accommodates 24 guests. Zaragoza No. 20, San José del Cabo, (624) 142-4041. Daily noon–10:30 p.m. All major credit cards accepted. $–$$ F.R.
Los Barriles Restaurant Bar
Francisco Zuniga’s Los Barriles offers a vast selection of Mexican, Asian, and innovative fusion dishes. Try the hot pot Thai seafood soup with shrimp, scallops, and calamari prepared in coconut milk and a ginger lemongrass broth. The house specialty is a Korean barbecue prepared for two people; it features shrimp, scallops, filet mignon, lobster, and chicken served with an assortment of sauces, grilled veggies, and salads for $46 U.S. Many entrées—including the catch of the day—are prepared at your table. Lobster and shrimp are featured in a variety of ways; you can choose the preparation and sauce. Live music is performed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Miguel Hidalgo, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1619. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.A.B.
There are many wonderful ways to start your morning at Los Deseos: pork chicharrón with cactus, El Campesino (steak and eggs), or the early bird for two consisting of a large crepe stuffed with eggs, ham, cheese, bacon, and mushrooms. Come lunch or dinner, you can try a jalapeño margarita and any of the authentic Mexican dishes on the new menu. Organic chipotle mushrooms are served hot in an Italian sauce just perfect for stuffing in a house-made tortilla. Follow it with La Malinche: chicken breast stuffed with squash blossoms and cuitlacoche, a 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.marinagoldenzone.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. All major credit cards and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ S.A.B.
Two of Brazil’s most popular exports—caipirinhas and rodizio-style dining—are showcased at Madeira, an intimate bistro with a prime corner location in downtown Cabo San Lucas. The former is a cocktail based on cachaça, or sugar cane liquor, favored by samba dancers and international bons vivants. The latter is a steak lover’s dream: an all-you-can-eat feast of grilled meats that are carved and served from skewers tableside. The rodizio special is $25 U.S. per person, and it features prime cuts of top sirloin, rib eye, New York strip, and flank steaks, turkey breast and bacon, and barbecued ribs, as well as savory sides of cucumber-carrot and red cabbage salads, rice, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and dipping sauces. À la carte entrées include linguine with shrimp in red sauce and garlic sautéed sea bass. An excellent Argentine Malbec is poured by the glass, with bottled offerings from premier wine producers in Argentina, Chile, Italy, Mexico and Uruguay. Calle Vicente Guerrero and Francisco I. Madero, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-0273. Tue.–Sun. 4 p.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $$–$$$ C.S.
There are few things more disappointing than arriving in paradise only to realize there’s no place in town to view your alma mater’s biggest game of the year or that all-important Game 7. Fear not, sports fans. Mango Cantina—part of the esteemed Mango Group that also includes Arre Mango and Mango Deck—broadcasts the NHL, NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, NBA, and boxing throughout the week. Watch them on one of 17 HD screens or the supersized 180-inch TV while enjoying selections from an all-star menu of Mexican favorites and pub standards or taking advantage of Mango Cantina’s all-day two-for-one beer specials. Start with Knock Out raw shrimp or a Nascar Salad, sample Heisman Tacos, Touchdown and Super Bowl burgers, and Yankees Chicken, or dig into a collection of combo platters that allow you to mix and match comfort food favorites like Angus flank steak, barbecue baby back ribs, chicken breast, shrimp, and fish fillets. The Hole in One lobster is also a popular choice, served with butter, baked potato, and vegetables. Sweet meal cappers include a selection of cakes, ice creams, and homemade brownies. The restaurant was recently awarded the prestigious Distintivo M, a sought-after government certification identifying model, modern businesses with consistently superior quality control. Cabo San Lucas Marina, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-3012, www.mangocantina.com. Mon–Fri. 8 a.m.–11 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 8 a.m.–midnight. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
Médano Beach is home not only to the most swimmable beach in Cabo San Lucas but also the hottest of all hot spots: Mango Deck. The restaurant, bar, and beach club boasts stellar views of the Cabo San Lucas Bay and has long been the place to visit for a lively meal—any time of day. Here you can have whatever experience you want: a relaxed tanning session with toes in the sand and book in hand; risqué spring break rowdiness; fun during the weekly all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet; or a sophisticated sushi feast. There’s a dizzying array of contests and shenanigans as well as a menu that could hold up against any restaurant. Here the food is affordable and appetizing, allowing guests to enjoy tasty selections that include everything from raw chocolate clams and perfectly piquant ceviches to Asian fusion and hearty breakfasts (with American and Mexican favorites, natch). Mango Deck’s friendly, bilingual staff is always up to the task of meeting customers’ every need. Don’t miss the signature all-day two-for-one beer specials. Médano Beach, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 144 4919, www.mangodeck.com. Daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m. MasterCard and Visa accepted.” $–$$$. F.R.
For romantic atmosphere, warm service, and memorable Mexican cuisine, it’s hard to beat María Corona. A member of the Baja Cantina restaurant group, María Corona is a trusted guardian and preserver of traditional Mexican recipes and cooking methods. Chef Eliodoro Nava and his staff do things the old-fashioned way, and thank goodness for that. Tortillas are hand rolled; salsas are prepared in stone molcajetes; and guacamole is prepared fresh at guests’ tables. Even the restaurant’s moles are made from scratch, starting with the toasting of chiles and including the grinding of almonds on traditional stone metates. This commitment and attention to detail lead to predictably delicious results. The mole poblano is absolute magic, and, in fact, all of the dishes are superb. Start simply with tortilla soup, sample the melted glory of panela fondue, then finish with the Mayan-style pork pibil or the María Corona platter with chorizo-and-panela-packed chiles rellenos, and chicken covered in a rich, chocolaty mole sauce. Tacos, quesadillas, carne asada, and other traditional culinary pleasures are also available—all complemented by a romantic courtyard dining area, with colorfully lit paper lanterns and live music from contemporary balladeers Los Principes (they perform Mon.–Sat. 6 p.m.–10 p.m.). Parking is free and abundant at the adjoining lot, and an air-conditioned dining area is on hand for those seeking to beat the afternoon heat. Prospective kitchen maestros ought to ask about the restaurant’s cooking classes. Calle 16 de Septiembre, between Morelos and Leona Vicario, Cabo San Lucas, (624) 143-1111, www.mariacoronarestaurant.com. Daily 3 p.m.–11 p.m. AmEx, MasterCard, Visa, and vouchers accepted. $–$$$ C.S.
Hand-painted wall murals, distinctive folk art, and a lush garden patio help create an hacienda-like atmosphere. Executive chef Edgar Roman has created a menu with regional favorites and a few twists that meld ancient recipes with contemporary flair. Take, for example, the enchiladas made with assorted mushrooms sautéed with local goat cheese and glazed with pureed pinto beans and tomato sauce. Start with a “shot” of lobster chipachole, a spicy seafood soup with a base of tomato and chile guajillo, garnished with cilantro and lime from Veracruz. Don’t miss the traditional chiles en nogada from Oaxaca or one of the ancient mole dishes such as oven roasted pork short ribs baked in a smoked chile and tamarind adobo. A chocolate terrine dessert is the perfect ending. Live music, balloons for the children, and a tortilla-making booth make it a perfect family restaurant. 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. $–$$$ S.A.B.