Given Los Cabos' surfeit of high-end accommodations options, it should come as no surprise that many of Baja Sur's finest bars and restaurants are located onsite at area hotels. In fact, Me Cabo Hotel, a chic resort that boasts a privileged setting overlooking Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas, is home to two of the hottest clubs in Baja. Nikki Beach is the poolside scene of choice for Cabo's smart set, with weekend theme parties that showcase creative concepts, as well as drinks, dancing, and some of the world's most talented DJs. Passion Club is also a popular stop at ME Cabo, not only for those staying at the hip hotel, but as a late night landing spot for party cognoscenti.
Nearby neighbor The B, a stylish lounge at the luxurious Casa Dorada resort, is a perfect place to enjoy artisanal beers, gourmet pizzas, or snifters of cognac and a game of billiards after dinner. For budget conscious travelers, meanwhile, downtown landmark Mar de Cortez is home to one of the locals' favorite watering holes, Baja Peppers. Afternoon happy hour specials at Baja Peppers are not to be missed, particularly if you're saving your pennies to squeeze out a few more days in paradise.
10 Baja Peppers
Baja Peppers is the on-site restaurant at the Hotel Mar de Cortez, and is a favorite among locals for the superb combination of quality and affordability. Baja Peppers is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and their menu leans toward Italian and Mexican dishes. Their signature breakfasts include Eggs Benedict and their sensational Italian sausage omelets. Lunch features standards like BLTs and burgers, but also includes burritos, fajitas, and a selection of pastas. Unlike the breakfast and lunch menus, which feature a number of Mexican dishes, the dinner menu is almost completely Italian-themed, with salads, pastas, and seafood. The wine list is eclectic, and includes wines from California, Italy, Oregon, and Chile. The bar is also a popular spot, and like the restaurant offers very affordable prices, particularly during happy hour. ((624) 105-0339)
9 El Bucanero
Luxury accommodations, views of Medano Beach, the Sea of Cortez, and all the rock formations at Land's End? Check, check, check, and check. A full-sized pirate ship in the swimming pool? Villa del Arco is the only luxury resort in Los Cabos that can check that box, and to make things even sweeter the ship is home to a bar and cafe. El Bucanero is a hit with both children and adults, and why not? You can swim, walk the plank, or chill out on a deckside table aboard a Spanish galleon with food and drinks. The burgers are very good, and there's an excellent selection of tropical cocktails (the kids can have Shirley Temples). Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ((624) 145-7200)
8 Hacienda Cocina y Cantina
Located in the Hacienda Beach Club & Residences on Medano Beach, this casual yet stylish restaurant offers breathtaking views of the iconic rock formations of Land's End. Patrons choose from outdoor dining on the terazza or open air indoor dining. It also features a beachfront palapa bar and the ever popular "tables in the sand". With the ambiance well taken care of, the menu created by famed Chef Andrea Blanco and prepared by Chef Octavio Hernandez, more than measures up. Start off with the likes of freshly made ceviche, tropical or verde style. Move on to crab flautas with mango baja slaw and hibiscus sauce or the Oaxaca style beef medallions with ancho chile and peanut mole. Platters served family-style for the whole table are also available with choices such as marinated grilled skirt steak, slow roasted pork, or sea bass with garlic-chile sauce. End the night with dessert while watching the fireworks that happen frequently over the bay. (624-163-3144, 415-259-4170)
7 Tropicana Restaurant
The onsite restaurant at the Hacienda-style Tropicana Inn, also known as the Tropicana, has been considered one of the best in Los Cabos for over 20 years. It's certainly hard to beat the location, which offers al fresco dining in the heart of downtown San Jose del Cabo. Tropicana is located less than a block from City Hall, and two blocks from the old church, Misión de San José del Cabo Anuiti. The food is excellent, and Chef Antonio Aviles' menu focuses on traditional Mexican cuisine and fresh local seafood. In addition to the tables out front, there is a lovely colonial-style indoor dining area with colorful murals. (624-142-1580)
6 The Ridge Restaurant
The Ridge Restaurant is one of the toughest tickets in Cabo San Lucas, but for those lucky enough to be staying at the Ridge Luxury Villas at Playa Grande, this is a mandatory stop. The views alone are spectacular. Set beneath a palapa surrounded by Infinity pools, a water slide and panoramic views of Pedregal, San Lucas, and both the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean, this is one of the most spectacular locations in Los Cabos. The food and service are both first-class as well, and cocktail service is available from a marble column supported swim-up bar. Yes, really. Dining is al fresco, with a focus on seafood. The ceviches are superb. The pool bar menu is more affordable than the bistro menu, and includes some delicious gruyere sandwiches. ((624) 145-7575)
5 Baja Brewing Company
Baja Sur's first craft brewery now has three locations - the original in San Jose del Cabo, a roof-top spot on the ninth floor of Cabo Villas on Medano Beach, and on the Cabo San Lucas Marina at Puerto Paraiso - all of which have proved exceedingly popular with tourists and locals alike. The restaurants are open for breakfast lunch and dinner, and have menus that ranges from hamburgers and gourmet pizzas to filet mignon and other high-end entrees. The beers are superb, and are available by the bottle or on tap, and you can order flights of the draft beer to get a sense of their offerings. If you can only visit one of their locations, check out the roof-top location at Cabo Villas. The views of Medano Beach and Land's End are spectacular. ((624) 143-9199)
4 The B
The stylish B is one of the better hotel bars in all of Los Cabos, and boasts a large selection of international beers and tropical cocktails, as well as pizzas and other pub style favorites. It is located at the luxury resort Casa Dorada on Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas, and showcases a comfortable, if upscale atmosphere, mixing chic furnishings with bar staples like a pool table and satellite televisions tuned to the latest sporting events. The B's beer menu is first-rate, with several excellent craft brew selections from around Mexico, traditional domestic favorites like Victoria and Montejo, as well as international standards like Guinness and Moretti. Food items include burgers, pizzas, chicken wings, corn dogs, and onion rings. ((624) 163-5757)
3 Passion Club and Lounge
ME Cabo Resort and Hotel boasts of "an experience beyond mere accommodation," and they certainly deliver. In addition to a spectacular Medano Beach location and breathtaking views of Land's End and Bahia San Lucas, the hotel offers a stunning lobby with a sweeping spiral marble staircase that descends to the pool area (be prepared to make an entrance Hollywood style), 155 flawlessly decorated rooms and suites, and the trendiest on-site restaurants and lounges in all of Los Cabos. The Nikki Beach Club and Passion at Club and Lounge host the hottest events and theme nights in town, as well as providing excellent places to spend the day tanning on canopied Bali sunbeds poolside (Nikki Beach) or lounging to a cast of superb DJs in the evening (Passion and Nikki Beach). ((624) 145-7800)
2 Agua by Larbi
One & Only Palmilla as long been a standard of excellence in Los Cabos, and is often rated as the best resort in all of Mexico. It shouldn't come as any surprise, therefore, that the resort's signature restaurant Agua offers superb food and impeccable service. Set amidst an atmosphere of colorful elegance, with glass mosaics, patterned tiles, and a dining aea anchored by a beautiful colonial-style fountain, Executive Chef Larbi Dahrouch has crafted a menu that blends Mediterranean cuisine with traditional Mexican accents. The Sea of Cortez views are magnificent, as is the cuisine, with highlights including the prime aged New York steak, and the roasted pork chop with wild mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, and beef and foie gras reduction. The Agua Bar boasts incredible Sea of Cortez views, and is a great place to enjoy a postprandial digestif. ((624) 146-7000)
1 Nikki Beach Los Cabos
Nikki Beach is the hippest spot in Cabo, with a great cast of international DJs pumping out pulsing dance music, and a poolside atmosphere rich in champagne bottle service and professional swimsuit models. This is where Baja's beautiful people congregate, with spectacular Sea of Cortez views, a swim-up palapa bar, attentive food and beverage service, and a nonstop party atmosphere (the Nikki Beach Energy Dancers are on hand if the collective enthusiasm starts to wane). Sexy theme parties are a weekend staple at Nikki Beach, and often transition into Sunday brunches around daybreak. The annual White Party is a mainstay of the Cabo social scene. (624-145-7800, 624-144-3253)
About Chris Sands
Chris Sands is the author of Bohemia by the Bay, and writes about wine, golf and travel for publications such as Baja.com, Fodor's Travel, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, U-T San Diego and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.
Read more about Chris Sands here.
Connect with Chris via: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | StumbleUpon