San Jose del Cabo Specialty
Carr. Transpeninsular, San Jose del Cabo
El Merkado was a new (and very welcome) discovery for us on a recent trip to Cabo. The large, warehouse-style building just off the Transpeninsular Highway looked so rustic, so out of place amidst all the resorts, we had to pull in for a closer peek. Inside, we found an assortment of restaurants, including Italian (the pizza and pasta dough is made fresh daily) and Mexican, plus a salad bar, burger joint, and everything in between. Toward the end of the building is a little shop selling beautiful stemware, enamel dinnerware (we couldn't resist a set of red-rimmed ceramic espresso cups), and cocktail-making accoutrements. For a casual meal, El Merkado nails it.
Benito Juarez 1717-3 (Plaza 1717), San José del Cabo
This little coffee spot in downtown San Jose looks like it might be more at home in Brooklyn than Mexico—the modern interior features minimal wooden stools and a gleaming white espresso machine. The patio is set up with scattered tables that are great for chatting with locals while snacking on a panini or breakfast sandwich (which are always made fresh). Ask about the smoothies.
Plaza Caracol on Paseo Malecon, San José del Cabo
When you’ve spent a few too many meals indulging in tequila and refried beans, head to Cynthia’s for fresh, vegetable-heavy salads and light fish dishes. It’s also an especially good choice for vegetarians and vegans, who sometimes have a hard time finding dishes they can eat on Mexican menus. The seabass and guacamole are both must-orders, and there’s a lovely market on the side if you’d like to do some cooking of your own.