Art walks are a staple of the seasonal calendar in San José del Cabo, the lesser-known half of the popular Mexican resort area known as Los Cabos. (San José's neighbor Cabo San Lucas typically gets top billing.) Every Thursday night from November through June, gallery owners in San José del Cabo's art district spotlight works from their roster of artists, while offering complimentary wine and cheese.
Meanwhile, visitors punctuate their painting perusals with stops at the downtown neighborhood's best bars and restaurants. Chef Roberto Valle's Voilá Bistro falls into the latter category, and in terms of sheer visual appeal, it's a perfect complement to the area's hip collection of galleries and boutiques.
Voila Bistro is located at Plaza Paulina in the heart of San Jose del Cabo's Distrito del Arte — Photo courtesy of Voila Bistro and Catering
Set amidst the remains of an 1860s-era hacienda at Plaza Paulina, Voilá Bistro boasts a chic look that combines contemporary appointments with old-fashioned craftsmanship, such as the beautiful palo de arco pergola that shades the outdoor bar area.
This sort of eclecticism is also reflected in the restaurant's menu. Chef Roberto Valle trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, and his approach to contemporary Mexican cuisine is liberally spiced with French and Asian influences.
Although longtime locals and return visitors may remember Valle from his stint as executive chef at the Q Restaurant and Bar in the exclusive Querencia development, Voilá showcases the chef at the peak of his powers. Here he creates delicious culinary fusions using only the freshest local ingredients.
Voilá's claim that its lobster burritos are world-famous may be a bit overstated. But there's no question they're beloved by locals, and the most popular option on both the lunch and dinner menus.
Visiting Francophiles will enjoy some of Valle's other lunch options, which include French standards like croque monsieur and quiche lorraine. Despite these occasional continental detours, the majority of midday dishes are takes on traditional Mexican favorites like enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas and taquitos.
And as with most of Los Cabos' best restaurants, there are also generous helpings of the fresh local seafood. All the dishes, however, have something that distinguishes them from similar offerings at neighboring establishments. The Voilá Burger, for example, pairs Angus beef with roquefort dressing and serrano ham.
Chef Roberto Valle's menu showcases contemporary Mexican cuisine with French and Asian influences — Photo courtesy of Voila Bistro and Catering
In addition to the international feel evident in many of Voilá's dishes, there is also the slight sense of unreality involved in sharing unlikely dinner companions like the Vol au Vent of Roasted Duck in Five Pepper and Rose Petal Sauce and Grandma's Vegetable Soup. Yet, Valle's eclectic menu offerings and unexpected accents are precisely what makes Voilá such a delightful experience. The restaurant is the perfect ending to an evening spent strolling the streets of San José's magical art district.
Voilá Bistro is also known for its generous happy hour specials, which are available from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. In addition to those attracted by the two-for-one deals on beers and cocktails, the outdoor bar is also popular with martini fans, as well as aficionados of other custom-crafted cocktails.
The specialty of the house - the signature Voilá Martini - is something of a cross between a Sex in the City-style Cosmo and a Sex on the Beach. It's made with vodka, peach liqueur, Cointreau and cranberry juice. This drink is best enjoyed on a Friday evening, when the restaurant offers live jazz courtesy of Diego Ramirez and Luciano Callado. Ramirez's frequent collaborator, chanteuse Daline Jones, stops by on the final Friday of every month.
San José del Cabo's Art Walk season begins on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, and will continue every Thursday through June 2014. Voilá Bistro is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and it's also one of the premier caterers in Los Cabos. Gourmet home delivery menus are available for guests at area hotel and vacation rentals. Service staff is optional.