Cabo San Lucas Dining Guide
Restaurants abound in Cabo! You should define a large part of your vacation with Cabo's eclectic eateries.
That picture to the right? It's one of the many places you can go to get your nails done while eating a Cabo taco.
There's plenty that we don't cover below, like run-of-the-mill awesome restaurants and whatnot, but we give it the ole college try. We cover:
Did you know
Cabo used to be a thriving commercial fishing Mecca? Well, until Jacques Cousteau discovered the enigmatic and fragile "sand falls" off Cabo Point
Environmentalism and tourism delivered a one-two punch to the fishing industry, but good news is that sport fishing and SCUBA now thrive side by side and you can still visit the ruins of the old tuna factory.
We've got three words for you. Chorizo, chorizo, chorizo, chorizo. Oh hell, that was four words, but that's OK. Chorizo is a tasty Mexican sausage seemingly made for tacos. You can get other meats to top your tacos, but why bother? Chorizo is so good! (Tofu taco fans are out of luck in Cabo.)
Taquerias run the gamut. Some are posh indoor affairs with table service and appetizers while others are literally mobile operations that come and go. The fly-by-night taco stands sell incredible edible wares for as little as fifty cents a pop. Customers just linger near the stands ordering taco after taco. You should try it!
Almost all tacos in Cabo (and in any other self-respecting taco-town,) are of the soft shell variety, and it's usually a corn tortilla as opposed to their "flour" brethren. Even the street vendors offer a generous selection of salsas and other accouterments for garnishing and flavor enhancement. And if you're into cilantro, you're in luck! Cilantro abounds at Cabo taquerias.
While you might be tempted to try the pescado ('fish') tacos, consider taking a raincheck on those 'til you're in Hawaii. Whereas Maui fish tacos are a fresh mahi mahi engagement, replete with zesty tropical salsas, the Cabo fish taco is a boring and heavily breaded deep-fried experience. They're not bad, but they pale compared to Chorizo. Try asking for no breading, or just pick it off and enjoy the fish as Jah intended, all naked and stuff.
Our favorite taco joint is a divey stand in a grocery store parking lot a few blocks up Jose Ma. Morelos. It's called Cilango's Taco, but that won't necessarily help you find it. The picture above is about as good and as close as we can get you. They even have ice cold Coke in 16-ounce bottles!
Is your palate feeling uninspired? No problem. If it's an eight dollar burger you crave, the Hard Rock Cafe and a slurry of other familiar touristy US big-box restaurants have you covered. You can find hot dogs, plain-Jane steaks, pasta and even Pizza in Cabo. There's a Little Caesar's downtown if you're jonesing for a quick Crazy Bread fix. I know I am.
But if the image of Mexican Ronald McDonald cruising the streets of Los Cabos isn't enough to dissuade you from choosing the lifeless bland 'American' options, then there's nothing we can say to stop you. Unless you believe us when we say that unique Cabo eateries blow corporate proto-cuisine out of the culinary water.
Cabo's McDonald's and other bastions of corporate cuisine don't differ much from that with which you're familiar, but you'll notice subtle differences if you look for them. At least give those a shot if you can't kick the habit completely.
If the heat's getting to you and you're itchin' for a famiiar panacea, stop by Jonny Rockets at the marina and grab a good ole USA chocolate malt. Easy sleazy!
Visit a local joint called Restaurant Paty's for excellent Mexican breakfast cuisine. It's on a side street in town a short walk from the marina. (Just ask around to find it.) Try the huevos al gusto for about three bucks and enjoy the fresh coffee in the authentic indoor/outdoor decor. Oh, and enjoy the freaky ex pats staring at your food too! It doesn't look like much from outside, but the breakfast is great! A quick video of Restaurant Paty's "interior" is hanging out just to the right of this writeup.
Tacos aren't the only street-food option in Cabo. We talked a little about the numerous candy stands in the In Town section, and they're a lot of fun, but if you ask around, you'll be able to find a hot tamale lady or two selling delicacies from a giant pot! Fresh tamales are a tasty cultural treat best experienced curbside in Mexico, but don't take our word for it.
The street vendors in Cabo exhibit an entrepreneurial flair that'd make Adam Smith proud. Some crafty peddlers cart wares around in wheelbarrows. That's taking the whole, "location is everything" mantra to a colorful extreme. If you're lucky, you'll even be able to find the "chocolate clam guy." His clams aren't chocolate, but they're fresh, raw and deliciously served with other recently dead scrumptious seafood. Get curious and creative. Who knows what sort of new street meat you'll discover!
If you're renting a house or lucky enough to have a full kitchen in your temporary domicile, we heartily suggest a trip to one of the many Cabo grocerias.
A good rule of thumb is, if it doesn't smell like yummy food when you walk in, turn around and find another store, but don't be to picky or you'll be shopping for a long time. Your options run the gamut and your nose is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. But don't let that canary prevent you from trying some of the local flavor. If it looks and smells strange and you don't know what it is, toss it in your cart and try to cook it.
The beach and marina eateries represent a dichotomy of sorts in that they're potentially exotic and unique but you run the risk of dining next to drunken gringos farting along with the Macarena. (And you thought they couldn't make that song any better!) Hell, there's a fifty-fifty chance that you're one of those farting Americans, but that doesn't make it okay, damnit. (Sushi, Negra Modelo and boats pictured above.)
Most restaurant options in these trendy tourist areas offer menus for your perusal near the entrance. The faire ranges from seafood or burgers to tacos and steaks. Look around to see what you suits you. For a few pesos more at select eateries you can purchase a serenade from world-class or even no-class table-side musicians. Give it a shot.
Popular beachfront hangouts like The Office, (get it? I'm going to the office, hon.) are a mixed bag, unless you like raucously loud crap-rock blaring while you down expensive well drinks. If you walk a few hundred yards further, you'll find more intimate candlelit tables waiting for you. Some even offer table-side fire pits or chimineas. Very classy. Very romantic. Tobascos (pictured above) is one such place we visited. There's nothing like staring at the stars eating shrimp while you listen to the surf... and the crappy music.
Walk just a little further down the beach and you'll come to Cabo's best kept fine dining secret. Club Cascadas offers succulent delights for almost any palate in a romantic oceanside, sand-in-your-toes environment with great service. The sea bass and scallops are to die for. The chocolate cake in a cloud is an unholy union of every sweet thing, and they make the best chile relleno this side of la luna!