Cabo San Lucas  offers a wide range of culinary delights, including some world-class dining; however, many of its restaurants are expensive tourist-oriented establishments, rather than authentic local eateries. You’ll have to venture away from the marina district to find enjoy real Mexican food at uninflated prices.
Located in one of the oldest adobe buildings in town, Mi Casa (Av. Cabo San Lucas, opposite the plaza, tel. 624/143-1933, www.micasarestaurant.com , dinner 5:30–10:30 P.M. daily, lunch noon–3 P.M. Mon.–Sat., mains US$15–30) prepares authentic Mexican specialties, including chile en nogada (a traditional Independence Day dish) and cochinita pibil from the Yucatán.
The restaurant has its own tortilla station and makes its own mole poblano from scratch, and it takes a staff of 15 cooks to keep up with the demand. The ambience is festive, with hand-painted murals on the walls of an indoor/outdoor dining area, primary colors for chairs and tables, and mariachi groups passing through all evening long. In recent years, though, many readers have reported underwhelming and inconsistent dining experiences here.
The more contemporary O Mole Mío (Plaza del Sol, Blvd. Marina, tel. 624/143-7577, 11:30 A.M.–11:30 P.M. daily, mains US$10–20) specializes in various kinds of chicken mole. An artist from Guadalajara designed the unique interior of the restaurant with glass and metal accents.
At Edith’s (tel. 624/143-0801, www.edithscabo.com , 6 P.M.–1 A.M. daily, mains US$20–30), near Playa El Médano on the west side of the Camino de los Pescadores, you can enjoy views of Bahía Cabo San Lucas and Land’s End as long as the sun’s up and a hearty dinner of prime rib, rack of lamb, or any number of regional specialties through the evening hours.
Join the locals at La Perla (Lázaro Cárdenas at Guerrero, no tel., 9 A.M.–4:30 P.M. Mon.–Sat., mains US$4–5) for inexpensive and tasty burritos, enchiladas, chilaquiles, tacos, licuados, and comida corrida (1–4 P.M., US$5). Another option for real Mexican food is Lonchería Lolita’s (Niños Héroes at Matamoros, tel. 624/143-6586, 7 A.M.–7:30 P.M. Mon.–Sat., mains US$7–13), where you can order huachinango and champurrado (hot chocolate made with cornstarch).
Family-run Las Gardenias (Camino al Hacienda at Niños Heroes, no tel., 8 A.M.–5 P.M. Tues.–Sun., tacos US$2, mains US$10–25) is a mainstay that attracts a loyal following of visitors and locals. Plastic tables and chairs and minimal decor put the emphasis on the food: tacos of nearly every kind, including barbacoa (lamb), nopales, and cochinita pibil, and the house specialty, shrimp molcajetes served in a mortar.
Portions are large at Pancho’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar (Hidalgo, off Blvd. Marina, tel. 624/143-0973, 7 A.M.–11 P.M. daily, dinner mains US$18–40) but prices still seem high. Breakfast is a slightly better deal, and the bar pours hundreds of different kinds of tequila. English is spoken.
Amber glassware and a free pomegranate tequila aperitif are nice touches at Los Garcia (tel. 624/143-4601, mains US$8–15), one of the newer restaurants located at the street level of the Puerto Paraíso mall, serving upscale tacos, barbecued ribs, lobster salad, and other Mexican fare.
Tequila shrimp, made with the restaurant’s own label, and lobster burritos are standout entrées at Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Restaurant (Guerrero btw. Madero/Lázaro Cárdenas, tel. 624/143-1188, www.cabowabo.com , 11 A.M.–11 P.M. daily, mains US$17–28). Try the Waborita cocktail to start the meal off right. Downstairs, the Cabo Wabo Cantina serves a more casual menu.
Known for its signature salsa bar, which has some 20 different variations on the theme, Felix (Zapata and Hidalgo, tel. 624/143-4290, 4–10 P.M., mains US$15–20) began serving tacos and has expanded to a full menu of shrimp and traditional Mexican dishes such as posole over the years. The restaurant shares its indoor and outdoor space with Mama’s Royal Café during the day.
Desperados Restaurant and Cantina (Morelos at Niños Heroes, tel. 624/143-4331, 1 P.M.–midnight Mon.–Thurs., 1 P.M.–3 A.M. Fri., 1 P.M.–4 A.M. Sat., 1–11 P.M. Sun., mains US$10–30) serves hearty fare with a Mexican/Tex-Mex theme. Free Wi-Fi makes this a good place to stop in for just a drink and some botanas. You can also watch whatever sports event happens to draw the biggest crowds that day. On Saturday nights, a Latin rock band called La Flaca plays 10:30 P.M.–2:30 A.M. Pay US$12 cover and your cervezas cost just 1 peso each the rest of the night.
Happily removed from the bustle of downtown, La Fonda (Hidalgo btw Obregón/12 de Octubre, tel. 624/143-6926, 1–10 P.M. daily, mains US$10–30) serves some of the best traditional Mexican dishes in town. The menu features empanadas, sopes, ceviche, chicken mole, cochinita pibil, and, for adventurous eaters, some more exotic delights.
Just about every Cabo San Lucas restaurant offers seafood on the menu. A few are willing to hang their hats on it: Casual Mocambo de Los Cabos (Vicario and 20 de Noviembre, tel. 624/143-6070, noon–10 P.M. daily, mains US$10–20) has an extensive menu of seafood cocktails, plus fish and shellfish entrées like a fish fillet gratin and a grilled pargo (red snapper) fillet.
Try the pescado zarandeado (red snapper served whole in a tomato-based broth) or grilled fish meniore style (in a sauce of garlic, butter, white wine, and capers) at Mariscos Mazatlán (Mendoza and 16 de Septiembre, tel. 624/143-8565, lunch and dinner daily, mains US$10–15). The menu also includes 12 different preparations of shrimp. This restaurant has a second, less touristy location in San José del Cabo, on the west side of Mexico 1 on the way to the airport.
Near the Ace Hardware store at the corner of Camino Real and Paseo de la Marina, Mi Casa de Mariscos (tel. 624/143-1858, salesmicasa [at] gmail [dot] com, 1–10:30 P.M. daily, mains US$13–29) has a raw bar with shrimp, scallops, and oysters; “barely touched” dishes like ceviche and seared fresh catch; and fully cooked entrées like huachinango frito a la talla (fried whole red snapper). The restaurant is located in a striking hacienda-style building, and it’s owned by the same folks who operate Mi Casa and Peacock’s.
Japanese and Mexican flavors meet at Nick-San Restaurant (Lte. 10, Blvd. Marina, tel. 624/143-4484, www.nicksan.com , 11:30 A.M.–10:30 P.M. Tues.–Sun., mains US$20 and up), and sushi connoisseurs cannot rave enough about the results: tuna tostada, pulpo carpacchio, cabrilla misoyaki, hamachi curry, and sashimi serranito are just a few examples. The restaurant ranks among the world’s best in its class. Plan to spend about US$50–100 per person.
On the marina near the Marina Fiesta hotel, Baja Lobster Co. Seafood Grill (formerly El Shrimp Bucket, Blvd. Marina Locals 37–38, tel. 624/145-6011, 6 A.M.–11 P.M. daily, mains US$10–20 and up) specializes in all things lobster: tacos, curry, pasta, salad, bisque, and more. At The Shrimp Factory (Blvd. Marina at Guerrero, tel. 624/143-5066, noon–11 P.M. daily, mains US$10–20), you can order shrimp or lobster by the kilo (US$20–30 per half kilo)—served with bread, salad, and crackers—and go to town.
For upscale dining on the beach, you can’t beat Las Palmas (Playa el Médano, a few buildings northeast of Camino de los Pescadores, tel. 624/143-0447, laspalmascabo [at] hotmail [dot] com, 10 A.M.–11 P.M. daily, mains US$10–15). Choose a table on the raised patio or on the sand below, order the signature shrimp carousel dish, and enjoy the views.
On the marina, family-oriented Solomon’s Landing (tel. 624/143-3050, 7 A.M.–11 P.M. daily, mains US$10–30), behind the Tesoro Hotel, prepares a variety of tasty shellfish entrées.
The shrimp and lobster combo (US$17) is the way to go at Maro’s Shrimp House (Hidalgo btw Madero/Zapata, tel. 624/355-8060, mains US$14–20), where owner Maro and his high-energy staff greet a loyal clientele by name. Start with a bowl of tortilla soup; then order the fresh shellfish by the kilo and the house-special Bulldog, if you dare. The best dish for landlubbers is the sizzling molcajete (stone bowl) with slices of skirt steak or chicken. For dessert, Maro’s wife makes homemade coconut and chocolate ice cream as well as chocolate cake. This small open-air restaurant is easy to find across the street from La Dolce and Mama’s Royal Café. A half kilo of medium-size shrimp costs US$14, and a half kilo of lobster is US$20.
On the marina next to Pisces Fleet and near the Tesoro Resort, Captain Tony’s (tel. 624/143-6797, 6 A.M.–9:30 P.M. daily, mains US$11–30) will cook your fresh catch. A bucket of five beers goes for US$10.
On Plaza Amelia Wilkes, next to Mi Casa, newcomer DOC Wine Bar (Av. Cabo San Lucas btw Lázaro Cárdenas/Madero, tel. 624/143-8500, www.docwinebarcabo.com , 1–11 P.M. Mon.–Sat.; mains US$8–15) draws a crowd for wines by the glass and Italian fare.
Southern Italian defines the hearty cuisine at Capo San Giovanni (Guerrero at Madero, tel. 624/143-0593, 5–11 P.M. Tues.–Sun., mains US$13–32). The restaurant is located roughly across from Cabo Wabo.
Near the Solmar and Finisterra hotels, Romeo & Julieta (Camino al Pedregal, tel. 624/143-0225, 4–11 P.M. daily, mains US$10–20) aims to create a Spanish/Mediterranean feel with a menu of mesquite wood–fired pizza and homemade pasta dishes.
In the plaza below the Puerto Paraíso mall, Amarone (Store #107, tel. 624/105-1035, lunch and dinner daily) prepares starters like antipasti or prosciutto and melon for US$12 and lobster or veal filet for US$38. Also downtown, La Dolce Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria (Hidalgo and Zapata, tel. 624/143-4122, 6–11 P.M. daily, mains US$10–20) serves a full menu of pastas and pizzas, plus Italian starters and desserts.
The appetizer list at Peacocks Restaurant and Bar (Camino de los Pescadores at Vicario, tel. 624/143-1858, 6–10 P.M. daily, mains US$20–30) demonstrates the creative powers of its chef: salmon tartar tower, calamari fusilli in a cilantro pesto, and sautéed lobster dumplings. Combined with the lovely garden setting, the menu makes for an enchanting evening.
Olé Olé (Plaza Bonita Loc. 3A, tel. 624/143-0633, 7 A.M.–11 P.M. daily, mains US$15–40) faces the marina at Plaza Bonita. The large outdoor tapas bar features Spanish cuisine and dinner combos. Paella (US$22) is served from 1 P.M. on Sunday (and sometimes on Friday).
Salvatore’s Italian Restaurant (Zapata btw Guerrero/Hidalgo, tel. 624/105-1044) serves up hearty lasagna, chicken parm, and osso buco in a courtyard setting. The large portions of American-style lasagna, reasonably priced, are a hit.
Popular with Corridor residents and Baja old-timers, Latitude 22 Roadhouse (Km. 4.5, tel. 624/143-1516, www.lat22nobaddays.com , 8 A.M.–11 P.M. Wed.–Mon., mains US$10–20) prepares a Croatian-influenced menu of slow-roasted prime rib, steak, burgers, ribs, shrimp, fish, chicken fried steak, and pastas. Ocean views, reasonably priced cocktails, and giant flat-screen TVs add to the dining experience. Formerly a downtown hangout, “Lat 22” is now located next Costco and behind the power plant.
Serious carnivores have some choices: Brasil Steakhouse (Zapata at Hidalgo, tel. 624/143-8343, 5–11 P.M. daily, US$25 pp) serves an all-you-can-eat feast of top sirloin, New York strip, arranchera, sausage, ribs, and more. The chef slices meats from a serving skewer at the table while the waitstaff delivers fresh salads and vegetables. The chicken wings that come as an appetizer rival the best you can find in the United States. Try the caipirinha cocktail to start—essentially a mojito without the mint.
These days, the best steaks in town are grilled to order at the understated
Patagonia (Niños Heroes near Matamoros, tel. 624/143-3874, www.patagonia.freevar.com , Mon.–Sat., mains US$15–30), an Argentinian steakhouse located just a few blocks away from the main restaurant zone. The setting is no frills, and the food is top-notch—as in grass-fed beef and sweetbreads that rank among the best anywhere. Order a bottle of red wine or an ice-cold beer to wash it down.
The English-speaking staff at the Stop Light Bar and Grill (Lázaro Cárdenas and Morelos, tel. 624/143-4740, breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, mains US$6–19) serves a decent breakfast of eggs, pancakes, and chilaquiles. Portions are large, and cocktails are served in glasses, not plastic. Dinner fare includes ceviche, snails, sandwiches, salads, and enchiladas as well as lobster, steak, and pasta.
To find the local fast-food options, you need to venture away from the marina. Calles Morelos and Ocampo are good bets for tacos, tortas, seafood cocktails, and the like. The Carnitas Los Michoacanos chain has two locations in town (Vicario btw Carranza/Obregón, tel. 624/105-0713, and on Mexico 19 across from Soriana, tel. 624/146-3565).
For tacos al pastor (shepherd’s style, served from a rotisserie grill), try El Palacio del Taco (16 de Septiembre btw Morelos/Vicario, cell tel. 624/147-6894, 8:30 A.M.–3 A.M. daily).
Las Quesadillas (Blvd. Marina at Lázaro Cárdenas, tel. 624/143-1373, 7 A.M.–2 A.M. daily, mains US$6–13), opposite Arámburo Plaza, is a good bet for late-night dining.
In the plaza below Cabo Wabo, Taco Loco (Guerrero btw. Madero/Lázaro Cárdenas, no tel.) serves bean, chicken, pork, and shrimp tacos for US$1 each. La Luna (Camino Real, tel. 624/105-0132, noon–10 P.M. Tues.–Sat., noon–6 P.M. Sun.), behind the Pueblo Bonito Rosé resort, serves wraps, burgers, and tacos.
Gordo Lele’s (tel. 624/109-1778), on Calle Matamoros, does tacos with a twist: carne asada with tomatoes and corn mixed in, and a Beatles performance while you dine. Authentic it is not, but for most travelers, a meal here turns into a memorable experience.
Across from the City Club on Paseo del Pescador, Lenny’s Deli (tel. 624/143-8380, 7 A.M.–4 P.M. daily) bakes fresh bagels, sourdough, and rye breads daily and prepares authentic New York and Philly-style subs. Its box lunches are good sustenance for a day of fishing. You can also order sandwiches at La Europea (no tel., 9 A.M.–8 P.M. daily, mains US$5–12), just outside the Puerto Paraíso mall. There are a few tables out front, overlooking the marina.
Air-conditioned booths are a comfortable place to grab a sandwich (and check your email with free Wi-Fi) at Señor Greenberg’s Mexicatessen (tel. 624/143-5630, 24 hours daily, mains US$5–12), which has several locations, including a new deli next to Johnny Rockets in the Puerto Paraíso mall.
One of the best places to get breakfast in Cabo San Lucas these days is
Mama’s Royal Café (Hidalgo btw Zapata/Madero, tel. 624/143-4290, 7:30 A.M.–2 P.M. daily, mains US$7–15). Brightly colored woven linens serve as tablecloths in this small indoor/outdoor café. Start with the signature mango mimosa, served in a giant sundae glass. Then move on to the traditional breakfast burrito or the chef’s creative interpretation of chilaquiles, in which the tortillas are cut in strips instead of wedges and served with a medley of seasoned vegetables (avocado, mushrooms, spinach, and tomato) instead of smothered in sauce. The menu features exceptionally fresh ingredients. The only downside: no espresso drinks.
Starbucks has finally made an appearance in Cabo (Plaza Bonita), but so far, the cafés are holding their own. Theory Café (tel. 624/143-5518, from 10 A.M. daily, mains US$8–12), in the center of Plaza Bonita, serves lattes, mochas, and frappes, and plays music like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Use your laptop or theirs for wireless Internet.
Cabo Coffee Company (Hidalgo and Madero, tel. 624/105-1130) has expanded to a new Internet café with high-speed wireless connections, across from its original roasting facility. This is your stop for 100 percent organic brews. A satellite location is also available outside the Giggling Marlin (Matamoros at Blvd. Marina).
Among the many dockside restaurants by the marina, Baja Cantina (Dock L–M, tel. 624/143-1591, mains US$7–15) serves tasty jalapeño poppers, artichoke and spinach dip, and other starters for US$5–8, as well as fish, burgers, and Mexican plates for dinner. Wireless Internet is a plus. Look for a second location at Playa El Médano near where Camino Pescadores ends at the beach (tel. 624/143-9773).
A string of dance club bar/restaurants lines the beach at Playa El Médano in front of Casa Dorada: One of the best known among these is The Office (Playa El Médano at Camino Pescadores, tel. 624/143-3464, lunch and dinner daily), but travelers often cite inflated prices here.
A better option these days is Nikki Beach, the trendy beach club of the ME Cabo resort. A lounge music beat keeps people moving all day long and well into the night. Nonguests pay a day-use fee for access to the pool, towels, and lounge beds. Sunbathers eat from a menu of pricey sushi rolls (US$10–15), Kobe beef sliders (US$20), and fish tacos (US$15). Choose a shaded table on the deck, enjoy full sun at a table on the sand, or retreat to the poolside terrace restaurant. Drinks tend to be watered down, but the service is prompt and friendly.
Las Palmas (tel. 624/143-0447, lunch and dinner daily) offers a somewhat classier dining experience and a menu of burgers, seafood, and Mexican plates (lunch mains US$8–15; dinner menus are more expensive).
In the same vicinity, Billygan’s Island (tel. 624/143-0402, lunch and dinner daily) and the Mango Deck are similar.