Enchanted Evenings: 10 Most Romantic Restaurants in Los Cabos

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hart Shelby
By Chris Sands, Cabo San Lucas Local Expert

Los Cabos has been one of the world's premier locations for destination weddings, honeymoons and renewal of vows ceremonies for well over three decades; basically, since Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards married supermodel Patti Hansen at Hotel Finisterra in Cabo San Lucas in 1983. Now that the region's spectacular natural advantages–golden sand beaches, year-round sunshine and the confluence of the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortés–have been paired with an influx of talented young chefs and an emergent world-class cuisine, Los Cabos has also become a popular destination for romantic wining and dining.

Two of the area’s most celebrated resorts, The Resort at Pedregal and One&Only Palmilla, are home to muy romántico dining spots. El Farallón at The Resort at Pedregal combines fresh market style seafood with a magnificent cliffside setting perched above crashing Pacific Ocean waves. At Palmilla's Agua, Chef Larbi Dahrouch's "Mexiterranean" delights are accompanied by mood enhancing music and moonlight dancing on the Sea of Cortés.

Of course, Los Cabos' most breathtaking setting may belong to Sunset da Mona Lisa, a Tourist Corridor based restaurant that looks westward across Cabo San Lucas Bay towards the natural rock formations at Land's End. Sunset dining at this Italian bistro and seafood eatery provides a feast for all five senses, and remains one of the area's most memorably romantic experiences.

10. Hacienda Cocina y Cantina
Photo courtesy of 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 Uziel Torres. Start with margaritas or mojitos at the scenic bar, then progress to verde style ceviche, crab flautas with mango baja slaw and hibiscus sauce, and Oaxacan style beef medallions with red mole sauce. 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 plantains and pico de gallo.

9. Los Tres Gallos
Photo courtesy of 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 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.

8. Flora's Field Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Flora Farm

Flora's pioneered the farm-to-table dining scene in San José del Cabo, and remains a mandatory stop for visiting foodies. The restaurant looks out over a 10-acre organic field at Flora Farm, so close diners can almost reach out and touch the food they'll soon be eating. Well, actually the meat is sourced from a nearby ranch, but you get the picture. This is fine dining at its most intimate. And it is fine dining. The food is superb, and ranges from gourmet pizzas to heartier fare like farm-raised pork or homemade pastas. Sunday brunch is especially popular, although reservations are recommended for any visit to the restaurant. The adjacent Farm Bar serves up fresh fruit juices, wine, craft beer and cocktails. In addition to the onsite bar, bakery and organic grocery, the property also includes boutique shops and some quaint culinary cottages.

7. Pitahayas Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Olvera

The culinary fashion in Los Cabos has shifted in recent years from Baja Med to Pan-Pacific fusions that draw heavily on Mexican, Peruvian and Japanese influences. Such fusions may be fashionable now, but they're old hat to Pitahayas Chef Volker Romeike, who for over two decades has been creating unique dishes from an eclectic mix of Pacific influences that range from México and Hawaii to Japan, China, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. Romeike's Pitahayas is the signature restaurant at Sheraton's colonial style Hacienda del Mar, a Tourist Corridor based resort known for its elegant seaside dining options. The dining area is gorgeous, with tables arranged in concentric circles that fan out from an enormous palapa, and colorful tree-wrapped lights and ornament foregrounding the glittering blue waters of the Sea of Cortés. In addition to the stellar food and views, the wine cellar at Pitahayas, La Cava de Santiago, is one of the best in Baja California Sur, with over 400 labels from premier domestic and international producers. It received a Wine Spectator Award in 2015.

6. Agua by Larbi
Photo courtesy of One&Only Palmilla

A perennially popular draw at benchmark ultra-luxury resort One&Only Palmilla, this elegant seaside eatery from Moroccan born and Jean-Louis Palladin mentored chef Larbi Dahrouch is distinguished by its superb food, impeccable service, and romantic candle and moonlit views of the Sea of Cortés. Dahrouch and his staff serve up exquisite Mexican cuisine featuring Mediterranean influences - call it "Mexiterranean" - with menus that change seasonally (and sometimes daily) to reflect the finest available ingredients. Many specialties are made tableside, including handmade tortillas, guacamoles, ceviches and moles. Start at the bar for sunset cocktails, framed between an infinity pool and a dramatic meeting of sea and sky.

5. Caborey
Photo courtesy of Caborey

The 144' luxury catamaran Caborey is the premier cruise ship in Los Cabos, best known for its perennially popular margarita and dinner cruises. The dinner cruise is one of the great local dining experiences, particularly for those who are in town for a short time and want to get a feel for the local landscape, culture and cuisine. Enjoy romantic sunset views of Cabo San Lucas Bay, Médano and Lovers' Beaches, and the unique rock formations such as El Arco that stretch out towards Land's End. There are two belowdecks areas for dinner, depending upon your ticket preference. There is a buffet on the middle deck, and a sit-down dinner on the lower deck with a choice of entrées. After the sit-down dinner, there is a rousing Las Vegas-style floor show featuring Mexican and Latin American singing and folk dances, headlined by a passionately romantic Argentine style tango.

4. Manta
Photo courtesy of Thomas Hart Shelby

Set at retro chic The Cape: A Thompson Hotel, Manta is helmed by acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera, whose Mexico City based Pujol and New York City restaurant Cosme are currently ranked among the 100 best in the world. The hotel enjoys a superb location overlooking legendary surf beach Playa Monumentos, and Manta showcases spectacular views - particularly at sunset - of the granite rock formations at Land's End in Cabo San Lucas. Olvera's rotating menu focuses on Pacific Rim cuisine and fresh local seafood, with 15 - 18 dishes available on a nightly basis. Multi-course tasting menus are the preferred dinner option, with excellent pairing advice provided courtesy of the onsite sommelier, whose generous wine list includes numerous options from Baja's wine country, Valle de Guadalupe.

3. LaFrida Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach

There are two artists on prominent display at LaFrida, the signature fine dining establishment at Pueblo Bonito's elegant Sunset Beach resort. The first is legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, examples of whose work and wardrobe adorn the walls of the restaurant's sumptuously appointed dining room. The second is Chef Carlos Contreras Sánchez, who learned to cook at his grandmother's knee as a child in Oaxaca, and has since mastered the techniques and recipes of traditional Mexican cuisine, albeit with a few fresh twists of his own devising. The chef has a particularly deft touch with seafood focused fare like the Baja style Abalone Taco, although meat lovers may prefer the suckling pig or Jojutla style Barbacoa Lamb Shank, baked in maguey leaf from a pre-Hispanic recipe. For an extra dollop of tropical romance, dine on the al fresco terrace for stunning sunset views set against a gorgeous Pacific Ocean backdrop.

2. El Farallon
Photo courtesy of The Resort at Pedregal

El Farallón's wow-factor asset is a magnificent cliffside setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the exclusive Resort at Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas. The restaurant pairs fresh local seafood with its romantic atmosphere, adding decorative touches like lanterns and beautifully crafted wicker chairs, fine linen and polished silver. The fish is fresh daily, and diners pick their 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 with an array of fresh chilies. Soups and salads are included with all entrées, and rib-eye steaks are available for those who 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 the addition of a new Champagne terrace only enhances the romance factor.

1. Sunset da Mona Lisa
Photo courtesy of 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 spectacular sunset 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.).