In the coolest city in Baja California, the diverse dining scene flits between ultra high-end seafood spots, hip taquerias and hole-in-the-wall joints serving local specialties.
The cultural heart of the Los Cabos resort area – which fringes the far south of Baja California – San José bristles with high-end hotels. But there’s more to the dining scene than resort seafood restaurants with an ocean view – San José’s hinterland is speckled with rustic ranch houses offering estancia-style barbecues under the stars while the arty urban centre has a choice of lively local eateries popular with Mexicans and expats alike.
With its raw wood awning, lilac walls (daubed with artsy Day of the Dead skulls) and musicians’ mezzanine, this San José hipster hangout is always buzzing with young expat Americans and Mexicans. The food formula is simple; great tacos, great mezcals, great prices. And the bar snacks are terrific too. Try the Taste of La Lupita – with Mayan Sikil Pak (pumpkin seed and tomato dip), field grasshoppers, guacamole and mini tortillas.
Brazilian Picanha steaks, Venezuelan arepa and empanada pastries, Argentinian chorizo buns; tacos, guacamole; Choriarte offers all manner of grilled and fried Latin American dishes, served al fresco on an airy terrace in downtown San José. There’s live music at weekends and great pan-Latin American cocktails, including an excellent Gin Mate, Maracuya (made with Mezcal, passion fruit juice and basil) and big pitchers of sangria.
This lively family-run cantina sits in the heart of the downtown art district and is popular for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus and portions are huge. For all-day-fuel, breakfast on the Fried Eggs Motuleños served with corn tortillas, grilled cheese, tomato mole sauce, peas and plantains. There are light lunch salads for the heat of the day as well as grilled meats and Mexican classics such as enchiladas and tacos. At night there’s a live music and dance show in the adjacent street.
Sitting under a palm-roofed palapa right over Acapulquito Beach, the Seven Seas is so close to the surf you can practically taste the spray. Fresh fish of the day is appropriately the focus, grilled to perfection by chef Alejandro Rodrigues Ponce. Red Snapper, grouper and lobster are always reliable, especially paired with wines or craft beers from the menu. With Pacific Ocean views this good, this is a great spot for a pre-dinner aperitif. Try the house mojito, made with seasonal berries, rum, lime and mint.