Visitors to Los Cabos will find a sophisticated dining scene, one that offers much more than tacos and traditional Mexican fare. Cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo each showcase an increasingly diverse sampling of world cuisines, with great food available at a variety of price points.
Two major culinary trends have come to the forefront in Los Cabos during the past decade: an interest in fusion cuisines that first flourished with the Baja Med movement, but has increasingly become more Pan-Pacific in orientation, as regional chefs have linked Los Cabos’ Pacific influence to cultures as diverse as Peru and Japan; and a more pronounced focus on fresh and local ingredients – from fresh local seafood to organically farmed produce – that has produced a trio of superb farm-based restaurants, and influenced many chefs to source all their ingredients from regional fishermen, ranches, and farming communities like Miraflores.
Chefs Angel Carbajal and Masayuki Niikura invented Baja-Japanese fusion cuisine when they opened Nick-San in Cabo San Lucas in 1994. The mix of sushi and Mexican ingredients has proven so popular since that additional restaurants have sprung up in San José del Cabo (at The Shoppes at Palmilla), México City and Nuevo Vallarta. Chef Volker Romeike’s Pitahayas followed soon afterward, pioneering the Pan-Pacific approach that has since been taken up by Enrique Olvera at Manta, as well as a host of others.
The small rural community of Ánimas Bajas just outside San José del Cabo is home to the area’s famed farm-to-table restaurants: Flora’s Field Kitchen at Flora Farms, Restaurante Los Tamarindos at Huerta Los Tamarindos, and Acre Restaurant on a 25-acre property that now boasts the region’s first treehouse accommodations. All three restaurants offer amazing food and belong on this list, although to fully represent the area’s dining diversity, only Flora’s Field Kitchen has been included. For those lucky enough to visit in July, the three farm-to-table powerhouses join forces for a Mango Festival at Don Sanchez (whose chef Tadd Chapman now operates his own organic farm outside the city) in downtown San José del Cabo.
Los Tres Gallos, meanwhile, remains the top stop for traditional Mexican cuisine in Cabo San Lucas. Named for three movie stars from México's golden age of cinema, the downtown dining establishment offers superb regional specialty dishes in a charming courtyard dining area. No restaurant in Los Cabos offers the same quality of food and service for such affordable prices.