Although many local chefs rely on locally grown, organic ingredients, Los Cabos has never been known as a hotbed for vegan or vegetarian cuisine. Seafood remains king in the southernmost part of the Baja California peninsula. The Los Cabos area does boast a few veggie-friendly eateries, however - most notably Healthy Restaurant and Wine Bar in Cabo San Lucas.
The aptly named Healthy Restaurant is one of Los Cabos' top spots for vegan and vegetarian cuisine — Photo courtesy of Healthy Restaurant and Wine Bar
Healthy Restaurant owner and chef - Panaco Castillo - is originally from Puerto Vallarta. Before opening his Healthy Restaurant, he spent many years working at El Squid Roe, perhaps the most boisterous nightclub in a city that prides itself on late-night revelry.
Considering Panaco's resume, Healthy - a charming, off-the-beaten-path restaurant specializing in green cuisine and Latin American wines - was a bit of a departure. But the new venture allowed Panaco and his son Ian to go into business together, and to build a family-owned and -operated restaurant from the ground up. Ask Panaco to show you a picture of what the property looked like before Healthy Restaurant opened in 2011, and you'll appreciate the amount of hard work they've had to put in to make the restaurant a success.
Three years later, the downtown dining fixture showcases a relaxed, romantic atmosphere, with elegant wooden tables artfully arranged in a vine-shrouded patio dining area. Indoor seating is set amidst colorful furnishings and a collection of vintage photographs, including large-as-life portraits of American icons Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe.
Healthy Restaurant's fare is not strictly vegetarian or vegan, but the menu offerings are designed to appeal to health-conscious diners. The owners' goal is to offer a range of culinary options for visitors without sacrificing their overarching philosophy: delicious dishes made from scratch using local, organic ingredients.
Vegetarian omelets and traditional Mexican style crepes are among the highlights of Healthy's breakfast menu, while lunchtime visitors may enjoy an array of leafy salads and healthy sandwiches. These include a superb red salad -featuring chicken breast, strawberries, goat cheese and chipotle dressing - and a filling portobello burger on multigrain bread, topped with roasted peppers, arugula and sweet potato.
Stopping by for dinner? Sample the vegetarian lasagna or fajitas. Or try a vegan spring spaghetti with organic herbs and vegetables. Espresso drinks and fine wines are also specialties at Healthy, and selections of the latter are available by the glass or by the bottle from premier producers in Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Francophiles and sparkling wine lovers will also appreciate the presence of Moet & Chandon Champagne on the wine list.
For dessert, there is only one option: thick slices of sweet corn cake.