Named for the macaw, each of Las Guacamayas' three locations - two in Cabo San Lucas, and the original in San José del Cabo - feature colorful parrot-themed murals, as well as authentic and affordable regional Mexican cuisine. Popular among visitors for their excellent tacos al pastor, quesadillas are their claim to fame locally, particularly the delicious quesadillas chilangas, a Mexico City style version featuring fried tortillas and a variety of tasty fillings. Other menu highlights include homemade chicharrón de queso and churros. The newest location in Cabo San Lucas opened in September, 2013, and can be found on Blvd. Lázaro Cárdenas between Matamoros and Melchor Ocampo.
Recommended for Homestyle because: Las Guacamayas is one of the premier local purveyors of Mexican comfort food specialties.
Chris's expert tip: Las Guacamayas' three locations do not necessarily share the same hours of operation, but all stay open very late (until at least 3 a.m.).
Beloved by locals and tourists alike for its laid-back beachfront atmosphere, Zipper's offers excellent cantina fare and easy access to some of the area's best surf breaks. Set on Costa Azul Beach - site of the annual WSL sponsored Los Cabos Open of Surf - this is the kind of place where you can enjoy a delicious Angus beef cheeseburger or a rack of BBQ ribs while watching the waves, and wave riders, roll in. Hamburgers are a big draw here, but Zipper's does everything well, including deli sandwiches and Mexican comfort food fare. Lunch is the best time to catch the beach scene, but combo dinners at sunset while kicking back with beers or a bottle of wine isn't too bad either. Satellite televisions show all the big games.
Recommended for Homestyle because: Zipper's serves the best BBQ ribs in San José del Cabo.
Chris's expert tip: Zipper's is one of the few places in Los Cabos to serve Victoria, Mexico's finest beer.
Miguel's chile rellenos may not be the best in all of the Baja California peninsula, as an enthusiastic reviewer from the New York Times once claimed, but they are amazing. The stuffed chiles - available with lobster, shrimp, cheese and in vegetarian form - are certainly the signature dish at Miguel's, the top stop in Todos Santos for traditional Mexican comfort food. Tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and chicken mole are also on the menu, and this is a congenial pit stop for ice cold beers and tropical cocktails. The atmosphere is very casual and laid-back, perfect for whiling away a lazy afternoon.
Recommended for Homestyle because: The New York Times was right: Miguel's has the best chile rellenos in Baja.
Chris's expert tip: The chile rellenos are mandatory, and it's not a bad idea, particularly when dining with friends or family, to order all four options.
La Casa Country started in Mazatlán, and has since opened an additional location on the Marina in Cabo San Lucas, where diners can enjoy downhome Mexican and American comfort food favorites while watching fishermen weigh their catches, wave runners and other water craft being loaded in and out of the water, and tourists fending off over-eager cigar and silver salesmen. The atmosphere is cowboy casual, and the views and people watching are excellent. The menu primarily features steaks, BBQ, hearty Mexican dishes and fresh local seafood. Breakfast options include omelets, combo platters and American favorites like French toast, as well as healthy fruit cocktails with yogurt and granola, and freshly squeezed juices.
Recommended for Homestyle because: La Casa Country is the top stop on the Marina for steaks and hearty downhome fare.
Chris's expert tip: La Casa Country boasts the best BBQ baby back ribs in Cabo San Lucas
People come to Santiago to see the nearby waterfalls, or to visit the zoo, and Palomar, located just off the main plaza, is a popular stopping place for food and refreshments. The restaurant and hotel - there are six double-rooms ringed around the courtyard dining area - has been around forever, or what feels like forever in Baja California Sur. Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Bing Crosby used to fly in for the world-class white-winged dove hunting, and co-owner Sergio Gomez is happy to show visitors pictures of his Mom with Bing Crosby, or photos of other celebrities who have eaten at Palomar over the years. The menu mainly features seafood and Mexican cuisine. The pescado mojo de ajo (catch of the day cooked in garlic butter) is excellent, as are the combination plates with Mexican favorites like enchiladas and chile rellenos (stuffed chiles). The hamburgers are pretty good, too.
Tim Galluzzo may as well be mayor of Calle Emiliano Zapata, with multiple restaurants located on one block of the downtown street: most notably Italian favorite Salvatore's, and popular comfort food purveyor Sammy G's. The latter is ostensibly a sports bar - with a few mounted televisions showcasing the latest games but is more of a laid-back hangout for locals, who from barstool perches can watch the world go by outside the pull-up picture windows. The food is simple but satisfying, and includes a generous array of burgers, and pizzas, as well as the area's best pulled pork sandwiches, French fries and freshly made potato chips. Daily happy hour deals offer cheap beers and budget-friendly food specials.
The popcorn, made fresh daily, is the best in Los Cabos, and that's only a complimentary snack at this cool downtown eatery. The restaurant concept is based around separate food trucks - whose presence lends a downhome feel to the casual dining area - but guests order off one menu, which encompasses everything from salads and fresh local seafood to pizza, burgers, and BBQ grilled in an enormous Texas Smoker. Picnic style tables add to the casual, comfortable atmosphere, and wine, beer and cocktails are available from the onsite bar. Affiliated restaurants may be found in Baja California peninsula cities Ensenada and La Paz.
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.
Black Smoke is the newest and best BBQ restaurant to open in Cabo San Lucas, and is rivalled only by Tourist Corridor based Kilogram as the best BBQ restaurant in Baja California Sur. Located on Calle Hidalgo - the city's unofficial "restaurant row" - Black Smoke showcases a retro rustic dining area, local craft beers, and weekly live music along with its savory downhome cuisine. Texas style BBQ offerings include brisket, ribs and pulled pork, accompanied by sides like macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, and Canadian favorite poutine (French fries slathered in brown gravy). Generous sampler plates are a great option for first-time visitors.
Recommended for Homestyle because: Black Smoke is the best BBQ restaurant ever to open in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris's expert tip: Bone marrow appetizers and Canadian style poutine are among the most creative, and delicious, menu items.
El Pollo de Oro is the best comfort stood stop in Cabo San Lucas, and does a booming business with both locals and tourists. The place has been around forever, at least by Los Cabos standards, and long-time visitors may remember its previous incarnation on Blvd. Lázaro Cárdenas. The present location features a spacious well-ventilated dining area, as well as a large entry area that accommodates scattered groups of cops, firemen and other locals who are hanging around waiting for takeout. Chicken platters are the specialty of the house, although Pollo de Oro also boasts the best pork ribs in town. The smart move is to order a combo platter with half a chicken and half an order or pork ribs, served with sides of macaroni salad and brown rice.
Recommended for Homestyle because: Pollo de Oro is the best comfort food restaurant in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris's expert tip: Go for the combo platter with half a chicken, and a half order of pork ribs, plus sides.