Because Los Cabos has become one of the country's major resort destinations, the area is now home to a diverse population, and there are numerous restaurants representing the culinary styles and traditional dishes from many regions of México.
At smaller, family-owned establishments, the bill of fare typically showcases specialties from the owner or family's place of origin (Acapulco or Mazatlán, for example). Larger restaurants, however, particularly those located in tourist areas or at local resorts, will often offer a representative sampling of regional specialty dishes from throughout the country.
Los Tres Gallos is a bit off the beaten tourist track, but this charming eatery in downtown Cabo San Lucas definitely falls into the latter category, offering visitors a delicious introduction to some of México's most beloved regional cuisine. It may be the best restaurant in Los Cabos, with the memorable meals complemented by terrific service and a lovely courtyard dining area.
Regional Mexican favorites are also featured at Baja Cantina Group standout María Corona, where the recipes were handed down by the owner’s grandmother, and date back to the days of the Mexican Revolution. Mi Casa’s colorfully decorated dining establishments in Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo also excel at traditional Mexican cuisine, as do locals’ favorite María Jiménez and Campestre.
Hacienda Cocina y Cantina
Choose among al fresco dining on the terrazzo, open air indoor dining or the ever popular "tables in the sand" at this casual yet stylish bar and restaurant at Médano Beach luxury lodging Hacienda Beach Club and Residences. Highlights at Hacienda Cocina y Cantina include stunning views of the iconic rock formations of Land's End, as well as an excellent traditional Mexican menu created by famed Chef Andrea Blanco and executed by Chef Octavio Hernández. Start with margaritas or mojitos at the scenic bar, then progress to tropical or verde style ceviche, crab flautas with mango baja slaw and hibiscus sauce, and 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. (624-163-3144, 415-259-4170)
Miguel's chile rellenos may not be the best in the Baja California peninsula, as an enthusiastic reviewer from the New York Times once claimed, but they are amazing. The stuffed chiles - served with lobster, shrimp and scallops, cheese and in vegetarian form - are the signature dish at this beloved local haunt, generally considered the top stop in Todos Santos for traditional Mexican comfort food. Owner Miguel Torres' menu also features tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and chicken mole, as well as ice cold beers and tropical cocktails. Laid-back atmosphere and the delicious, budget-friendly offerings make this the perfect place to while away a lazy afternoon. ((612) 145-0733)
Girasoles de la Hacienda
Of all the great restaurants at Sheraton's Hacienda Del Mar, Girasoles de la Hacienda may be the most underrated. This standout eatery offers delicious and authentic regional Mexican specialties, as well as gorgeous terrace views of Punta Ballena, the Cabo del Sol Ocean Course, and of course the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez. Tacos, burritos, fajitas and other Mexican staples headline the menu selections, but there is always a slight twist to keep things interesting. The roasted duck tacos, for instance, are served with spring onion and green tomato sauce, offering a fresh take on a familiar favorite. Daily specials are served up throughout the week, and include molcajetes on Tuesday, and surf and turf combos on Wednesday. ((624) 145-8000, ext.)
Campestre Restaurant and Bar
Campestre is a bit off the beaten tourist track, and can be a bit difficult to find without a local tour guide or taxi service. Despite its out-of-the way location, however, this is one of the finest purveyors of traditional Mexican food in Cabo San Lucas, and well worth a visit. Campestre draws large local crowds for its "comida corrida," a budget-friendly afternoon meal that includes a soup and agua fresca of the day, and a choice of entrée options. The best lunch or dinner option for tourists is the Mexican combination plate, which includes flautas, quesadillas, chile rellenos and delicious guacamole. Mexican coffee and dessert options like fried bananas are also available. ((624) 143-8830)
This popular stop for traditional cuisine is located near two other locals' favorites, seafood specialists Mariscos Mazatlán and Tres Islas. All three offer authentic Mexican dining at budget-friendly prices, but María Jiménez is the preferred stop for those seeking signature comfort food standards like tacos, quesadillas, fajitas, chile rellenos and enchiladas. Combo platters featuring multiple options are featured, and there is a good selection of Mexican beers and tequilas on hand, as well as sangría and several delicious margarita varieties. Wines are served by the glass or bottle, primarily from México and the U.S. For dessert, try the caramel flan. ((624) 105-1254)
Pancho's Restaurant & Tequila Bar
Pancho's is one of the premier Mexican restaurants in downtown Cabo San Lucas, specializing in regional dishes such as Puebla-style chicken mole, Sonoran-style carne asada, and Oaxacan-style tamales wrapped in banana leaves. They also claim to have the largest tequila collection in the world, with over 500 labels represented. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but there is no question that the tequila and mezcal menus are enormous, with many labels you'll likely never see anywhere else. And it that isn't enough to pique your interest, the atmosphere is likewise exceptional, bright and airy, with traditional décor and accents, and live music nightly. (624-143-0973)
Grupo Mi Casa is responsible for some of the finest restaurants in Los Cabos, including Peacock's and Café Canela in Cabo San Lucas, and La Panga Antigua in San José del Cabo. Colorful Mexican décor and traditional standards are available at the group's eponymous restaurants in each of the cape cities, with charming locations overlooking the town square in San Lucas, and nestled amid the historic Art District in San José. Standouts at both Mi Casa restaurants include regional Mexican favorites like Chile en Nogada, Mole Poblano and Cochinita Pibil, as well as Baja style favorites like Almejas Rellenas, queen clams stuffed with bacon, cheese and veggies. Domestic beers and wines are also available, including some excellent selections from Baja's wine country, Valle de Guadalupe. Regional spirits like Damiana make an appearance on the dessert menu. ((624) 143-1933)
Owner Edith Jiménez is originally from the state of Guerrero, and her restaurant, a fine dining fixture in Cabo San Lucas for close to two decades, features a mixture of Baja and Guerreran cuisines, as well as generous helpings of fresh local seafood. The restaurant is located just a block from Médano Beach, has a comfortably yet upscale Mexican atmosphere, and operates the finest mesquite grill in town, as well as an air-conditioned wine cellar. Signature offerings include the Coqueta salad, the "Wally Special" with grilled lobster, garlic shrimp and mesquite grilled catch of the day, and the Pancho Villa with grilled chicken breast, stuffed poblano pepper and chicken enchilada. ((624) 143-0801)
The latest addition to the Baja Cantina Group of restaurants opened in 2009, and specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine. All the recipes were passed down from the owner's grandmother, and harken back to the days of the Mexican Revolution. The cooking and prep methods are likewise old-fashioned, from hand rolled tortillas to guacamoles prepared tableside. Menu highlights include tortilla soup, panela fondue, Mayan-style Cochinita Pibil, and the María Corona platter with chorizo packed chiles rellenos, and chicken smothered in mole sauce. The charming patio dining area reinforces the old-fashioned image, with colorful lights hanging from trees, and musicians Los Príncipes performing traditional Mexican ballads nightly. Air-conditioning is available in the indoor dining area, and cooking classes are also offered. ((624) 143-1111)
Los Tres Gallos
Named for three legendary actors from the golden age of Mexican cinema - Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete and Javier Solís were collectively known as Los Tres Gallos (The Three Roosters) - this charming and unpretentious downtown dining spot may be the best restaurant in Cabo San Lucas. All the lunch and dinner dishes are delicious, but the mole dishes, in particular, are spectacular. Tables are set in a romantic courtyard dining area shaded by tangerine, mango, and other fruit trees, and the service, like the food and atmosphere, is absolutely first-class. Best of all, Tres Gallos is very affordable, with everything on the menu save a few American style steaks priced at less than $20. ((624) 130-7709)