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.
Recommended for Take Out because: El Torito is beloved locally, and offers the best take out seafood dishes in Cabo San Lucas. Delivery is also available.
Chris's expert tip: Hot sauce lovers should ask to sample from the bottle of Da Bomb: Beyond Insanity. It has a Scoville rating of about 200,000 units, and should be tried in very small doses.
Los Cabos is a dangerous place for the waistline. Between the late night tacos and the lax anything goes attitude, it's easy to fall into some bad eating habits. Healthy Restaurant & Wine Bar is, as the name suggests, the best place in Cabo San Lucas to get some vegetables into your system. The restaurant features an array of salads and healthy sandwiches, as well as delicious pastas and pita wraps. Healthy is not vegetarian, although there are some good vegetarian options, including the Green Salad with mixed lettuce, celery, cucumber, tomato, carrot, spinach and basil dressing, and the 100% Healthy Sandwich with sprouts, spinach, tomato, onion, and panela cheese on multigrain bread. All foods are made with organic ingredients.
Recommended for Take Out because: Healthy offers excellent takeout and delivery options for vegetarians and vegans.
Chris's expert tip: Hamburger aficionados will love the restaurant's portobello version, served on multigrain bread with sauteed peppers, arugula, and sweet potato.
It isn't hard to find Mexican and American breakfast favorites in Los Cabos. For lovers of French-style pastries, chocolates and crêpes, however, French Riviera is the mecca. It's worth a visit solely for the aromas of freshly baked bread, which envelop the entire block on which this San José del Cabo treasure sits. The food is terrific, from breakfast offerings like delicious homeade pastry samplers with brioche and croissants to omelets, fresh fruit and granola. French Riviera also serves wonderfully strong and aromatic coffees, sourcing all their beans from the highlands of Chiapas, one of Mexico's signature growing regions. For dinner, try Chef Dave's Boullabaise, Cassoulet Toulousain or Loire Valley style Coq au Vin.
Recommended for Take Out because: French Riviera is the premier bakery in San José del Cabo.
Chris's expert tip: Home to the best pastries and coffee in Los Cabos.
This local favorite used to draw its biggest crowds on Sundays for barbacoa (pit-roasted lamb), but following a change in ownership is now best known for its bar and Mexico City style menu items like tacos á la Villamelón (tacos campechanos from the recipe made famous by Taqueria El Villamelón, a landmark eatery located near the bullfighting ring in Mexico City). The décor is casual, but enlivened by vividly colored paintings of classic Mexican movie stars and celebrities like María Félix and Pedro Infante. For the maximum amount of local color, drop by to watch the dominoes games on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Recommended for Take Out because: Baja María is a popular take-out stop for tacos á la Villamelón.
Chris's expert tip: Baja María is one of the few downtown spots with a regulation-sized pool table.
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 Take Out because: Las Guacamayas is one of Los Cabos' premier providers of authentic Mexican cuisine.
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.).
Taquería El Gran Pastor is hugely popular with tourists, primarily the late night bar crowds that spill out from downtown bars like Rips, Cabo Lounge, Cabo Wabo, Tanga Tanga and Jungle Bar. There is no seating here. This is a stand-up taco shop, and the crowds are often three deep on the sidewalk out front. Gran Pastor specializes in tacos al pastor, of course, made with meat from a giant spit of marinated pork. These tacos should also include cilantro, onions and pineapple (traditionally cooked on top of the pork so that an enzyme found in the fruit will make the meat particularly tender), but the pineapple isn't always a given in Cabo San Lucas. El Gran Pastor, therefore, is a happy exception, and one of the town's great late night pit stops.
Recommended for Take Out because: This is the best stand up taco shop in downtown Cabo San Lucas.
Chris's expert tip: El Gran Pastor opens at dusk, and closes at dawn.
Set near popular locals' bar Tanga Tanga in Plaza de la Danza, Tio Guido's is the premier stop in Cabo San Lucas for hoagies, cheesesteaks, reubens and other traditional deli-style favorites. Enjoy bratwurst, kielbasa, and sauerkraut dogs, or sandwiches with corned beef or pastrami. The rye bread is fresh, and all the meats are sourced from the U.S. Soups and salads are also on the menu, as are burgers, and Italian dinner favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, cheese ravioli and baked penne. Kids and nostalgic types will appreciate the grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Catering services are available, as are boxed lunches for fishing trips.
Recommended for Take Out because: Tio Guido's makes the best reuben and corned beef sandwiches in Los Cabos.
Chris's expert tip: Enjoy al fresco dining at Tio Guido's outdoor table.
Wicked is perhaps the best of the downtown pizza parlors, and boasts an excellent late night location next to El Squid Roe, Cabo's liveliest nightspot. The name is a nod to the place's Boston heritage, and the pies are made East Coast Italian style with thin crusts, hand-tossed dough, and homemade tomato sauce. Wicked offers great specialty pizzas - including Hawaiian, Meat Lover, and Veggie options - and the house pie is topped with Italian sausage, meatballs, mushrooms, onions, pepperoni and roasted peppers. Flat-screen televisions showcase the latest Mexican and American sporting events, and this is the only pizza parlor in town with a full bar. Wicked also offers free delivery.
Recommended for Take Out because: This is the best late night pizza take out and delivery option in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris's expert tip: Wicked is the only pizza parlor in town with a full bar.
Although best known for its excellent omelets, burgers, sandwiches and tortas (a form of sandwich), Rico Suave also has the freshest fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies in town. Nothing gets the blood pumping in the morning, particularly after an introduction to Cabo's late night party scene, like a heady mixture of beet and carrot juices, or a sweet melon and papaya smoothie. Rico Suave is open for breakfast and lunch, and offer a full-menu of healthy, non-alcoholic pick-me-ups which, like the tortas, boast colorful or regionally distinctive names. Given its central downtown location, Rico Suave is a popular take-out stop, but the restaurant also offers prompt delivery service throughout Cabo San Lucas.
Recommended for Take Out because: Rico Suave has the best fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies in Cabo San Lucas.
Chris's expert tip: Delivery charges vary by neighborhood, but none exceed $1.50 U.S.
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 Take Out because: Pollo de Oro is the best take-out stop 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.