Cabo San Lucas has its cosmopolitan attractions: luxurious hotels, pampering spas and an impressive collection of world-class golf courses. But the popular "Land’s End" resort destination also provides ample opportunities to experience traditional Mexican culture and cuisine.
Maria Corona – a new member of the Baja Cantina Group of restaurants – is among the city’s premier stops for authentic Mexican dining.
Despite its relatively young age (The restaurant just opened in 2009.), Maria Corona offers an impeccable pedigree: all the recipes for the restaurant’s delicious regional specialty dishes were passed down from the grandmother of owner Jorge González, and they date back to the period of the Mexican Revolution.
Maria Corona is one of the premier restaurants for traditional Mexican cuisine in Cabo San Lucas — Photo courtesy of Maria Corona Restaurant
Cooking methods and food preparation at Maria Corona also hark back to earlier times and reflect the traditional techniques of mestizo cuisine. Not only are the tortillas hand rolled, the salsas made in stone molcajetes and the guacamoles prepared tableside, but also Chef Eliodoro Gutiérrez’ magical mole sauces are made from scratch, from the toasting of chilies to the grinding of almonds on stone metates.
The restaurant’s old-school approach may be seen, and learned, first-hand during Maria Corona’s much praised cooking classes, but it's best appreciated during the dinner hours.
Stop by the downtown eatery to savor Mexican standards like caldo tlalpeño (a traditional soup with chicken, chickpeas and carrots); ensalada de nopalitos (a healthy blend of grilled cactus leaves, tomato, onion and cilantro, topped with panela cheese); cochinita pibil (Yucatán-style, slow-roasted pork); and mole poblano (mole-smothered chicken à la Puebla).
And don't forget to sample margaritas and by-the-glass and bottle selections from Baja California’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe outside Ensenada.
Traditional balladeers Los Príncipes perform six nights a week at Maria Corona — Photo courtesy of Maria Corona Restaurant
The old-fashioned values of the restaurant’s namesake are likewise evident in the décor and atmosphere. The patio dining area is old-world Mexican style personified, with old wood furnishings and colorful linens and blankets scattered amidst trees festooned with festive lights.
For added flavor, romantic ballads and traditional canciones are performed six nights a week courtesy of local band Los Príncipes. The courtly service also helps to evoke the spirit of a bygone age.
The Baja Cantina Group’s other restaurants include eponymous eateries set on the marina boardwalk and on Médano Beach.
Baja Cantina Marina may be best known as the long-time headquarters of the world’s richest fishing competition, Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, but the dockside restaurant also serves up a generous array of Mexican and American comfort food favorites.
Baja Cantina Beach Club, meanwhile, is one of the top local spots for barefoot fine dining, with an excellent Canoa (canoe) buffet of fresh local seafood, and weekly fiestas featuring fireworks and folkloric dancing.
Baja Cantina Group has also recently launched a catering company, which, given the extensive event experience of Corporate Chef Manuel Arredondo (The Guanajuato native’s résumé includes overseeing banquet services at high-profile events like the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the 2000 World Series, the 2000 Republican National Convention, the 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and Super Bowl XXXVIII.), promises to be every bit as successful as its trio of popular restaurants.