Santiago's signature dining stop, the Palomar Restaurant and Hotel — Photo courtesy of Michael KullSantiago is a charming little town about a one-hour drive north of San José del Cabo, near the crossing point for the Tropic of Cancer. Home to a zoo and botanical gardens, and a lovely traditional-style church, the town also features one of the better lunch restaurants in Baja Sur. Palomar has been a popular stopping place for food and refreshments since the days when Hollywood stars like Bing Crosby and John Wayne would visit Santiago for the world-class white-winged dove hunting (now illegal, by the way).
Sergio Gómez, who co-owns the restaurant and hotel with his brother, is always happy to show guests photos of Bing Crosby with his mom, or point out photographs of other celebrities who have dined at the restaurant during the past fifty-plus years.
The garden-shaded courtyard dining area is ringed by the hotel's six double-rooms, and is a comfortable place to enjoy seafood specialties or traditional Mexican favorites like guacamole, enchiladas and chile rellenos. The pescado mojo de ajo (the catch of the day cooked in garlic butter) is a perennial favorite, and American-style comfort food standards like hamburgers and french fries are also available.
If you want to hang out with the locals, order a cold beer at the indoor bar. The walls are filled with photos and mementos of the Baja of days gone by. For day-trippers driving up to Los Barriles or Buena Vista, Palomar is a perfect place to stop for lunch. For those who wish to stay overnight, the rooms at the hotel are relatively inexpensive, particularly by Los Cabos standards, and there are waterfalls and hot springs nearby that are definitely worth exploring.