Restaurants in Cabo San Lucas have become more sophisticated in recent years, with a new breed of creative chefs crafting innovative menus that fuse traditional Mexican cuisine with a variety of international accents. But despite the influx of talented chefs and their increased commitment to locally sourced ingredients and organic produce, the single defining aspect of the Los Cabos dining scene remains the reliance of restaurants on the region's incredibly abundant and diverse seafood. Nearly every restaurant in Los Cabos offers fresh local fish dishes, and many devote the majority of their menu space to seafood specialties.
Cabo San Lucas has a wealth of great seafood restaurants, but none better than El Farallón, which offers succulent market-style seafood and an unforgettable cliffside dining experience. Although El Farallón is the premier seafood stop in Pedregal, each of the city’s neighborhoods has its treasures. The lobster house Lorenzillo's and the high-end sushi restaurant Nick-San are two of the best seafood eateries in the Marina area, while Edith's and Baja Cantina Beach Club are among the top spots on Médano Beach, the two mile stretch of golden sand that hosts most of the city's luxury resorts.
For more affordable options, try local favorites like Mariscos Mazatlán and Mariscos Mocambo, which are located near the downtown shopping area, and Mariscos El Torito, an off-the-beaten-path restaurant popular with local families. Other seafood spots of note include the marisqerías Tres Islas and Tacos Los Claros.
Mariscos El Torito
This place is a bit off the beaten tourist track, but it's a favorite of locals, and a popular spot for family dinners and celebrations. The menu features great ceviches, fish tacos, and other seafood specialties, with the pescado zarandeado being of particular note. An entire fish (often snook, or robalo as it is known locally) is laid out on tin foil, brushed with chile sauce, layered with onions, tomatoes and bell peppers, and then placed in a wire basket and smoked over a charcoal grill. It is one of the best local delicacies, and usually weighs out at close to a kilogram, meaning it can easily feed three or four people. ((624) 144-4682)
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)
Mariscos Mocambo specializes in seafood done in traditional Mexican style, especially a la Veracruz, and is a favorite with tourists and locals alike. Enjoy shrimp, lobster, crab and octopus done in a variety of ways, sample some of their excellent ceviches, or share one of their enormous seafood platters with clams, sea snails, shrimp and lobster. There are a number of tequilas worth trying, and the wine list is international in flavor, with selections from Argentina, Chile, the United States, and red and white options (Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc blend) from San Lorenzo in Mexico's Valle de Parras. (624-143-2122)
Baja Cantina Beach Club
There's fine dining...and then there's fine dining with your bare feet buried in soft sand, moonlight illuminating the rock formations at Land's End, and the soothing sounds of the Sea of Cortez lapping gently against the shore. Baja Cantina Beach offers the latter, and the romantic setting pairs wonderfully with relaxed yet detail-oriented service and a menu filled with seafood, steaks and traditional Mexican favorites. The signature Canoa fresh seafood buffet is an excellent option, and specialty menus are offered on Wednesdays when the restaurant hosts its Fiesta Mexicana with margaritas, mariachis, fireworks and folkloric dances. The palapa-shaded bar area has its own sushi menu, and provides a sports bar style respite from sun and sand. This is one of three Baja Cantina Group restaurants in Cabo San Lucas. There is also a dockside restaurant on the Marina, as well as traditional Mexican cuisine at downtown dining spot María Corona. ((624) 143-1111)
What started as a taco stand is now a fixture of the Marina dining scene, with a corner location on the waterfront, just behind Tesoro Los Cabos Resort. Solomon's Landing is popular with both locals and tourists thanks to a combination of first-rate food, first-class service and affordable prices. The menu covers a lot of ground, but Chef Brian Solomon specializes in seafood. Like most area restaurants, there is a "you hook it, we'll cook it policy," and whether you've brought your own catch or are sampling from the menu offerings, the kitchen staff will prepare your choice of fish any way you like it, including a la Veracruz, Rockefeller, and many other styles. There is also an onsite sushi bar, and plenty of great happy hour deals from the island bar. The bar has its own menu, with more casual fare, and more budget oriented prices. ((624) 143-3050, (624) 143-7606)
Sunset da Mona Lisa
This is one of the most romantic restaurants you will find anywhere, with tables perched seemingly atop the Sea of Cortés and breathtaking views of Land's End. Pastas and fresh local seafood are the specialties - the place has its own fishing boats, and will cook up your catch for dinner - but there is also an upstairs bar and pizza lounge, and a newly installed Taittinger Terrace Champagne and Oyster Bar. Considering the magnificence of the setting, it is perhaps not surprising that they have wedding services available. Both the food and the service here are outstanding, but it is the romantic and awe-inspiring atmosphere that makes dinner at Sunset da Mona Lisa such an incredible experience. Reservations are recommended year round, and are an absolute necessity for sunset dining during the tourist season (Oct. - May.). ((624) 145-8160)
Lorenzillo's Live Lobster House
Not only is Lorenzillo's the premier lobster house in Los Cabos, it is one of the area's top stops for traditional fine dining. Lorenzillo's is the sort of place where Oysters Rockefeller and Lobster Thermidor are still menu staples, and wooden drink carts are wheeled around after dinner bearing brandy and coffee cocktails. The original Lorenzillo's was founded in Veracruz during the late 1970s, but relocated to Cancún shortly thereafter. The Los Cabos restaurant was opened in 2002, and holds down a privileged corner spot on the Cabo San Lucas Marina. There are three main dining areas: an air-conditioned, nautical-themed indoor dining area; an expansive patio terrace that looks out over the marina towards Luxury Avenue; and a shaded sidewalk café on the marina boardwalk, where passing pedestrians can check out the live lobster selection. The wine list is extensive, and features a lot of seafood-friendly whites from México, Spain and Argentina. ((624) 105-0212)
Since its inception in 1994, Nick-San has been one of the most popular local sushi restaurants, with Chefs Angel Carbajal and Masayuki Nikura crafting a creative and innovative fusion of Japanese cuisine with traditional Mexican ingredients. This sort of fusion has become quite common among area restaurants, but Nick-San was the first, and remains the best. Sample their extensive menu of rolls, as well as house specialties like tempura oysters curry yaki, blue fin tuna sashimi, and beef filet serranito. Lobster lovers may choose from an embarrassment of riches that includes clear lobster rolls, lobster angel sautéed in mustard sauce, fried lobster curry, and lobster sambal marinated in saki, soy sauce, ginger and garlic, and bathed in sweet and sour chile sauces. In addition to the Cabo San Lucas location, there is also a restaurant at Las Tiendas de Palmilla (The Shoppes at Palmilla). (624-144-6262, 624-144-6263)
This local's favorite boasts an abundance of delicious yet budget-friendly seafood dishes, ranging from soups and ceviches to fish tacos and combo platters for two with a sampling of shrimp specialties, or the catch of the day paired with crawfish, lobster, shrimp and octopus. There are over a dozen styles of shrimp alone, as well as Mexican seafood delicacies like pescado zarandeado, and traditional favorites like lobster thermidor. The décor matches the menu, with colorful aquatic-themed murals, a fountain of frolicking dolphins, and a variety of stuffed fish mounted on the paneled walls. Popular Mexican standards like carne asada and fajitas are also available, as are kid-friendly plates featuring chicken fingers, hamburgers and spaghetti. ((624) 143 8565)
El Farallón is located at the luxurious Resort at Pedregal, and features a spectacular cliffside setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant pairs fresh local seafood with the romantic atmosphere, as well as decorative touches like lanterns and beautifully crafted wicker chairs. The fish is fresh daily, and you pick your dinner market style, choosing from a selection of sea bass, red snapper, striped bass, shrimp, tuna, dorado, clams and lobster. The fish is then weighed and taken to the chef to be grilled for you with an array of fresh chilies. Soup and salad is included with all entrées, and rib-eye steak is available if you want the views without the seafood. This ranks with Sunset Da Mona Lisa as one of the most romantic dining experiences in all of Los Cabos, and like Sunset da Mona Lisa, El Farallón has recently added a Champagne terrace. ((624) 163-4300)
About Chris Sands
Chris Sands is Editor at Baja.com, co-writer of Fodor’s 2015 guide to Los Cabos, and a regular contributor to Los Cabos Magazine and 10 Best/USA Today. He lives in Cabo San Lucas.
Read more about Chris Sands here.
Connect with Chris via: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | StumbleUpon