This local's favorite offers 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.
Poll locals on the best place to get tacos in Los Cabos, and Los Claros will be the consensus winner. Maybe that's why there are now six plus locations in downtown Cabo San Lucas - as well as the original in San José del Cabo - with new sites popping up at semi-regular intervals. Seafood is the specialty of the house at Los Claros, with tortillas filled with ingredients like clams, shrimp, oysters, scallops, octopus and marlin. The fish and shellfish are brought in fresh daily, and diners can enhance their tacos with a choice of fixings and hot sauces. Quesadillas and tostadas are also available.
One of the premier Mexican restaurants in downtown Cabo San Lucas, Pancho's specializes 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 impressive, 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.
Recommended for Downtown because: In addition to its fine regional cuisine, Pancho's boasts the best tequila collection in all of Los Cabos.
Chris's expert tip: The air-conditioned dining room is a popular spot during the summer months.
Pan di Bacco is a Neapolitan-style bakery, deli, restaurant, wine bar and coffee shop that opened in downtown Cabo San Lucas early in 2013. Pan di Bacco specializes in locally sourced, artisanal ingredients, and as one might imagine, the culinary pleasures here are legion. Fresh breads, egg-based dishes, salads and paninis highlight the breakfast and lunch menu, while dinner delights include antipasti, gourmet pizzas, mix and match croquettes, soups, pastas, custom cutting board options and decadent desserts. Wines are offered in small or full pours, with the former perfect for tastings and small plate pairings. Excellent beers and coffee drinks are also available, as are take-out breads, cakes and cookies from the onsite bakery.
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 hark 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.
Named for Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, the Jesuit mission builder who proved that Baja California was a peninsula rather than an island, Misiones de Kino was one of the first local restaurants - it opened in 1997 - to feature both Mexican and Italian dining options. Tortilla soup, tacos, fajitas and seafood burritos share menu space with pasta aioli and baked rigatoni. Other highlights include the intimate, tropical style bar area, revolutionary era photos, al fresco dining amid lush foliage, and of course the owner's secret garlic sauce. The house coffee, spiced with brandy and Kahlua, provides a perfect dessert pairing with the banana flambé.
Recommended for Downtown because: Misiones de Kino is a favorite of locals and long-time visitors.
Chris's expert tip: Try the cabrilla con salsa de frambuesa (sea bass with raspberry sauce).
Rodizio is not the only local showcase for Brazilian churrasco-style dining, but it is much cheaper than its competition despite offering comparable food quality and superior service. In fact, its $14 price for salad, vegetables, rice and garlic bread, plus a parade of choice meat cuts (arrachera, ribeye, New York, chorizo, chicken, etc.) and palate cleansing pineapple may be the best dinner deal in town. Only one block away from downtown Cabo San Lucas, Rodizio nonetheless feels a bit off-the-beaten-path, not least of all because of the eclectic block in which it is situated, which includes everything from restaurants and residential homes to a parking lot, strip club and law offices. It is family owned and operated, and the staff extend the warm family atmosphere to guests. Tables are set up on the sidewalk for aficionados of al fresco dining, but the colorful interior dining area, with its ceiling and wall-mounted fans, is preferable during the hot summer months.
Under the guidance of Chef Enrique Díaz, Alcaravea Gourmet has evolved over the past decade from a small eatery into one of the benchmark fine dining restaurants in all of Los Cabos. Guests enter through trellised vines and flowers into a casually upscale dining room, with an atmosphere perfect for romantic dinners, family outings and special events. The menu features Italian cuisine with Mediterranean accents, and is complemented by warm Mexican service from the well-trained staff. All entrées include salad, pasta and bread courses, and wines are available by the bottle or glass from their international wine list. Alcaravea also offers the best lunch deal in Los Cabos: soup or salad, entrée with veggies or pasta, plus dessert and drink, all for $10.
Family recipes, an excellent temperature-controlled wine selection, and picturesque views are the highlights at Invita Bistro, a popular Italian themed eatery located across from the town square in Cabo San Lucas. Several of co-owner and chef Antonello Lauri's dishes, including the delicious eggplant parmesan, are made from recipes passed down from his grandmother. And the homemade focaccia breads, a complimentary tableside touch, are to die for. In addition to culinary delights from Rome native Lauri, the bistro features a warm, intimate atmosphere, with an open kitchen and old-fashioned bar framed by an enormous ode to Bacchus from local painter Yandi Monardo. Temperature controlled wine selections are touted on the barfront blackboard, and an expansive picture window looks out across the town square, Plaza Amelia Wilkes. Al fresco dining is available.
Recommended for Downtown because: Invita Bistro features the finest Roman style cuisine in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris's expert tip: Start with the Tocho Morocho, the chef's choice of five signature appetizers.
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 entrée options 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 $25. The authenticity is ramped up another notch on Fridays between 9 and 11 p.m., when Los Tres Gallos features its Noche de Mariachi with a live charro-clad band playing Mexican favorites.
Recommended for Downtown because: Los Tres Gallos is the best restaurant in Los Cabos.
Chris's expert tip: The mole dishes (mole is a popular Mexican sauce, made in several regional styles) are magical here, particularly the enchiladas de mole.