Travel

The Los Cabos Guide

Los Cabos—commonly known as Cabo—is actually a catchall name for two distinct cities along the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula: beachy Cabo San Lucas and artsy San José del Cabo. Because of its pristine beaches, excellent Mexican cuisine, cozy proximity to LA and relative closeness to NYC—two- and six-hour flights, respectively—Cabo has always been a consistently reliable—if a little touristy—warm-weather getaway. In the last few decades, and thanks in no small part to the mess left behind by Hurricane Odile and other hurricanes before it, the area is enjoying much rebuilding and upgrading. What’s emerging is a strong community with its eye on preserving the region’s history and traditions while also making room for new businesses, modern resorts, and sustainability-minded restaurants (to that point, many of the neighboring farms that provide local kitchens with fresh produce are transitioning to all-organic, sustainable methods). Here, the best of both worlds.

Flora’s Farm & Flora’s Field Kitchen

Carretera Transpeninsular San José del Cabo Km. 30, Col. Las Ánimas Bajas, San José del Cabo | +52.624.355.4564

This island of tranquility is located in San Jose del Cabo, about 40 minutes outside of Cabo. Lined with homey vegetable and flower beds and mowed green lawns, everything you’ll eat at the on-site restaurant, Flora’s Field Kitchen, is grown either on this property or at the larger farm a few miles away—that’s everything from the house-made sausages, to the jams, to the toast, to the veggie-laden Bloody Marys, to the grapefruit danishes. Meanwhile, the pristine restaurant setting—a modern farmhouse—looks like it was lifted straight out of East Hampton. There's also an old timey ice cream cart small grocery store on property, stocked with just-plucked produce, sweets, and jars of the addictive house granola. Flora Farms has been around for about 20 years, slowly but surely adding more bells and whistles—among them, exclusive cottages and a private beach club—to its organic, all-American paradise.

Manta

Carretera Transpeninsular Km 5 Misiones, Misiones del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.163.0010

Chef Enrique Olvera may just be the biggest name in Mexican cuisine, which means that his new coastal restaurant at the Cape Hotel is a must-hit for any foodie. In a vast, dark space dotted with copper highlights and huge floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a renowned point break, he’s serving up a comforting, homey brand of Mexican with a Japanese Izakaya–meets-surfer bent—think miso fish tacos, steak tacos dipped in oyster sauce, grilled avocados, cactus and purslane salad, the list goes on. Even the waiters' outfits are a clever mix of traditions: elegant black guayaberas (A coastal Mexican style of linen shirt), baggy trousers and black skater shoes.

El Farallon

Camino del Mar 1, Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.163.4300

If the reservation gods are smiling down on you, snagging a table at El Farallon can mean front row seats to a mind-blowingly spectacular sunset, followed by some of the best stargazing in the world. The restaurant is carved into a series of cliffs (it’s one of four belonging to Capella Pedregal, a seaside hotel steps from downtown Cabo San Lucas), which serve as a fitting backdrop to the drama of the indoor-outdoor dining room. Chef Yvan Mucharraz plans his multi-course menus around the day’s fresh catch, which you get to pick out yourself from the on-site fresh fish market after an in-depth discussion of the options with a resident seafood expert.

La Lupita Tacos & Mezcal

Calle José María Morelos, Centro, San José del Cabo | +52.624.688.3926

The patio at this San José taco joint feels a lot like a backyard party—rustic mismatched furniture, the smell of sizzling tortillas, seemingly endless supplies of cold cervezas, and a live band that goes on as soon as the sun sets. The small-but-mighty menu has something for purists and adventurous types alike. For the former we suggest the classic Baja fish tacos and a side of guacamole; the latter will go nuts for the duck tacos and the grasshopper appetizer. The other specialty here is local Mezcal, which you can consume in shot form or mixed into craft cocktails (the mojitos are the best, but trust us, go slow).

Los Tres Gallos

Calle 20 de Noviembre, Centro, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.130.7709

Named after three beloved local actors, the leafy courtyard-turned-dining room is one of the more romantic settings in town. The food offering—prepped in a beautiful tiled open kitchen (legend has it the elderly owner regularly pops in to cook for guests)—is rife with classics like fresh queso, chile rellenos, and killer mole, which doused over just about anything is a must-try. Finish with the tres leches cake and a cup of their excellent Mexican coffee.

The Office

Playa El Medano S/N, El Medano, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.143.3464

While the menu has been thoroughly Americanized (burgers, fries, and the like), and the margaritas come in goblets the size of your head, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is the quintessential beach cantina experience, thanks in no small part to the unobstructed views of El Arco and deep roots within the community (the owner is Edith, as in Edith's restaurant and La Coyota). What’s more, the Mexican breakfast, sizzling fajitas, and enchiladas, fresh ceviche and pretty much all seafood-centric dishes are legitimately good.

Edith’s

Camino a Playa El Medano S/N, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.143.0801

Here, the tenets of traditional Baja cuisine—lots of fresh seafood marinated in traditional spices and local produce cooked just right so no flavor is lost—translate to perfectly cooked meat and fish dishes and veggie-centric sides (many are prepped table-side, it is a tourist town after all) every time. It’s this respect for local culture—not to mention the lovely outdoor setup and wine cellar stocked with a very respectable selection of both regional and imported wines—that makes Edith’s a favorite for residents and visitors alike. The flan deserves its own special shout out, its that good.

Don Sanchez

Blvd. Mijares S/N Edificio Eclipse Int 3, San José del Cabo | +52.624.142.2444

The official designation for Chef Tadd Chapman’s brand of elevated regional comfort food is "Baja Contemporary"—and it couldn't be more spot-on: Dishes like duck ravioli, chile Wellington, and coconut milk ceviche are prepped using fish sourced from a neighboring fishing town and humanely raised, hormone-free meats from a local farmer. A year ago, they took over Sanchez Organico farm and turned it into the main source for the restaurant's produce, resulting in a rich veggie-centric offering of hibiscus flautas, jicama sashimi, beet mole, and more. The outdoor courtyard—complete with twinkly lights and colorful furniture—is an idyllic spot for working your way through the wine list to a soundtrack of live jazz.

Tequila Restaurant

Calle Manuel Doblado, Centro, San José del Cabo | +52.624.142.11-55

There's Baja cuisine, and then there’s Baja Mediterranean cuisine, which splices traditional Mexican ingredients (lots of local fish and veggies) with Mediterranean grilling techniques and liberal use of olive oil. Tequila—set up inside a traditional adobe house with a beautiful tree-shrouded patio—is particularly well equipped for Baja-med cooking, being that the kitchen is supplied with produce from its own certified organic farm and just-caught seafood from local fishermen. As the name suggests, the margaritas here are top notch, as is the extensive wine selection. There’s also a walk-in humidor, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tacos Gardenias

Paseo de La Marina, El Medano Ejidal, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.355.4871

This is where the locals go for tacos. Close to 30 years ago the tiny mom-and-pop operation started out serving simple Baja-style shrimp tacos—to this day, it’s still the most popular menu item—and has since broadened its repertoire to include taco versions of nopales, cochinita pibil, grilled cactus, and more. Everything is made using time-honored family recipes and the freshest local ingredients.

Huerta Los Tamarindos

Calle Lás Ánimas s/n, Animas Bajas, San José del Cabo | +52.624.105.6031

The garden restaurant at Los Tamarindos is the epitome of farm-to-table dining in that you can literally see the farm that supplied your meal from your table. Minutes from central San Jose del Cabo, this 17-acre working farm is 100% committed to spreading the gospel of sustainable farming techniques, so make sure to sign up for a walking tour before settling in for one of Chef Enrique Silva’s excellent seasonal meals. And don’t leave without popping into the gift shop for traditional Oaxacan textiles and silks or artisan-made clay and tin products. Better yet, take it one step further and sign up for a cooking class. If you’re brave, buy a few jars of habañeros and black mole from the tiny organic market.