Jerrod Carmichael
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Culinary Guide to Cabo San Lucas

Culinary Guide to Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas has long had a reputation for being the Mykonos of Mexico: the country’s party central, where it’s spring break for the college set year-round. While that subculture is still visible in some areas, it’s being displaced by chef-driven restaurants with farm-to-table menus, craft cocktails, small-production Mexican wines, and destination resorts that serve as base camps for your dining exploration.

First, a little geography. While Los Cabos is the name for the whole area, San José del Cabo is the city you fly into, and its historic city center with cobblestone streets, third-wave coffee shops, and a well-preserved 18th-century church is where to go for the local vibe, while Cabo San Lucas is the resort town 25 miles south.

 

Culinary Guide to Cabo San Lucas

Endless ocean from Cocina del Mar at Esperanza

 

The best hotels and villas are tucked along the beaches (some sandy, some rocky), and each offers its own architectural and culinary style. Unlike many resort communities, the restaurants at Cabo’s best hotels are worth a detour in and of themselves. Add to these the local dining outposts, and you could easily spend a week exploring world-class options without ever repeating yourself.

Where to Stay

Of the many worthy hotel options, a pair of related properties excel in the food realm, and their parent company, Auberge Resorts, has an explicit inclusion policy, and it’s no surprise to see LGBTQ+ couples and families lounging around the pools. While Cabo in general is safe and welcoming, this added layer of spoken embrace goes a long way.

The more classic of the two is Esperanza, which has both rooms and rental villas in Spanish-colonial grandeur decorated in a contemporary Mexican style and featuring full-frontal ocean views. Chileno Bay Resort, part hotel and part residential community, has a minimalist, modern design and an inherent feeling of spaciousness, with luxurious soaking tubs and outdoor showers. The former has the 24/7 drama of the surf crashing on the (private) rocky shore, while the latter has a swimmable beach that’s one of the best in Cabo for water sports. (aubergeresorts.com)

 

Where to Eat

■ Comal: Located at Chileno Bay Resort, Comal is chef Yvan Mucharraz’s magical restaurant that brings Latin-inspired techniques to local ingredients. Don’t miss his exquisite seafood preparations, especially the grilled chocolata clam, and any ceviche on the menu. Down by the beach, his lunch-only TnT (Tacos & Tequila) has terrific barbacoa tacos with homemade salsas. 

■ Cocina del Mar: Esperanza’s fine-dining restaurant is helmed by Alexis Palacios, who has brought range and depth to the menu, with dishes like beet-cured kanpachi with fermented raspberry juice and black beer-braised short rib. Take a sea foraging class with Palacios, then learn to prepare aguachile.

 

Culinary Guide to Cabo San Lucas

Fresh oysters at Manta

 

■ Manta: Enrique Olvera’s fine-dining spot inspired by ingredients from Peru and Japan, Manta (at Thompson Hotels’ The Cape) is an elegant space with a simple menu. (thompsonhotels.com)

■ Flora Farms: In the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains is an organic farm and the menu at Flora’s Field Kitchen is composed of the farm’s fresh produce and meats. (flora-farms.com)

■ Los Tre Gallos: Come for the area’s best traditional Mexican foods, including pozole and various mole dishes. (facebook.com/lostresgallos)

This piece originally ran in Out Traveler print magazine. The Spring 2022 issue is now available on newsstands.

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