One of the best things about Cabo living is the food.
We’re not talking tacos, although there are ample taquerias to satisfy just about any craving.
We’re talking high-quality, Michelin-star-worthy food. Equally as fun and tasty are the more casual restaurants.
Every time we return to Cabo, we try to knock off a few places on our continuously expanding – about like our waistlines – must-eat wish list.
Here are a few treasures we’ve found over the last few months that are worth a visit.
Casual Feel, Steak Deal
The moment we walked into this open-air, rustic restaurant, we knew we’d found something special. First of all, it’s filled with locals, especially if you go later in the evening around 9 when they like to dine.
Barrio de Tango is within walking distance of the historic downtown area of San Jose del Cabo. While we were there, roosters crowed (obviously very confused about the time of day), neighborhood dogs barked and the grill sizzled, creating the perfect ambience for a place known for its Argentinian-style steaks. Yet there’s so much more.
Begin with the empanadas, which are amazing. Quench your thirst with the restaurant’s signature drink, clericot. It’s actually almost a meal in a glass by the time you nibble on the chopped apples, nuts and other fruit floating along the top. Then proceed to one of several steak options. Each comes with a nice and tangy side salad to balance the meal.
We were surprised to find lasagna on the menu, but just like the restaurant, the dish was unique and delicious.
Another serious contender for an excellent, low-key steak dinner is El Patio. Tucked behind a parking lot smack dab in the historic center of San Jose del Cabo, you wouldn’t think there’s much to this place. However, it’s got a nice vibe and impressive food.
While the menu is more limited than Barrio de Tango’s, El Patio’s food is equally impressive.
Besides being fairly priced, another great thing about both restaurants is you can bring your own wine.
Run by a charming Texas gal, La Patrona is a class act from beginning to end. It’s a little bit oddly placed in a small high-end shopping center within San Jose del Cabo’s historic streets near the art walk. But once you approach the candlelit space, you know you’re in for a romantic treat.
The restaurant prides itself on the best seasonal ingredients and excellent service in an elegant but unpretentious environment. It exudes warmth and charm.
We enjoyed the oysters Florentine a la Patrona, seafood crepes and osso buco during our visit. There are so many more dishes to try. We will work through more of the menu very soon.
Keeping It Classy in Cabo San Lucas
While Cabo San Lucas is a part of the Cabo experience, I wouldn’t call it my favorite spot on the Los Cabos continuum. I much prefer the other bookend city of San Jose del Cabo.
If you’re going to revel in the Cabo San Lucas tourist-soaked scene, there’s no better perch than SUR Beach House. It has a classier feel than most of the area restaurants and impressive food.
We dined on a delightful lunch of fried calamari and tuna tostados during our visit. It also is a good jumping off point to stroll the beach.
When you walk into Flora Farms, you don’t know where to start. Tour the gardens and cottages, shop at high-end retailers including James Perse, pick up some beautiful organic veggies or head straight to lunch?
There’s so much to see and do when you arrive at the farm.
Every time we entertain guests, a trip to Flora’s Field Kitchen is a must. The food and service is excellent, but even more striking is the freshness of the decor.
Every nook and cranny tells a story – even the paper placemats describe the farm including its colorful family of dogs. As you maneuver the farm and restaurant, you have to be careful not to trip over the doggies. With live music serenading, it’s tempting to curl up next to the sweet furbabies on the sidewalk as they snooze in the sun, especially after massive amounts of food consumption.
It’s impossible to turn down the homemade bread, unique cocktails, fresh salads, tuna sandwich, pizza and really anything on the inviting menu. It’s all amazingly simple and good. Check out the lunch specials for two that include wine.
I enjoyed the carrot margarita, but my husband found it a bit too healthy for his tastes.
On the way out, stop for a dip of homemade ice cream. You may think there’s no room. There is. The vanilla ice cream with brownies is amazingly good, especially considering the liberal chunks of the chocolate goodie they pack in it. I’m salivating like Pavlov’s dogs with the memory of it.
Lunch is a great way to see the place, but dinner is equally divine. Either way, you’re in for a full culinary experience.
Another farm-to-table restaurant gaining a lot of attention is Acre. I would call choosing between it and Flora’s Field Kitchen a close draw. Therefore, you have to try both.
When comparing the two options, Flora's Field Kitchen lets the food shine through its wholesome and straightforward preparations. Acre adds a bit more flair and sophistication to its dishes.
I had some of the biggest and tastiest Baja oysters at Acre. You also can’t go wrong with the crispy Brussels sprouts, ceviche, beets on beets, cheddar biscuits and braised pork shoulder. Actually, I’m convinced anything you order here will take your taste buds on an unregrettable ride. My advice: Get adventurous and go for it.
Acre also excels at creative cocktails. If you want an essence of something added to your drink – or leave it to the bartenders' expertise to decide – you’ll be pleased.
Another activity to work in on your way in or out of the restaurant is a visit to the tasting room of locally crafted mescals.
Not Your Average Taqueria
La Lupita is not your average taco. Every one of them on its menu is a gourmet masterpiece and fiesta of flavor in your mouth.
Mix in a few parts of mezcal, the open-air patio and live music and you’re in for the ultimate Mexican taco experience.
Don’t miss the cheese crust pastor and Baja scallop tacos – two of our favorites. You can’t go wrong with ordering any of them. Plan to pace yourself with drinks and tacos so you can savor the total experience.
The Drunken Sailor offers a laidback atmosphere with a view of San Jose del Cabo’s marina. What else would you expect from a name like that?
Unfortunately during our visit, there was little breeze so we spent most of our time defending our order from a group of pesky flies.
My hubby ordered the fish, which was just OK. However, I ordered the falafel shrimp taco, which greatly improved my impression of the restaurant. If you want to check out the marina and enjoyed a quick bite to eat, this is a nice spot to visit. Just be sure to get seated on the upper deck on a breezy day.
This list just scratches the surface of Cabo’s cuisine scene. More research is ahead for us, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, what are your favorite Cabo restaurants?