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Friday, February 6, 2015

Best of Cabo

I’m just returning from January in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.   I rented an apartment and did something I have never done---I did not cook one lunch or dinner for the month.  I grew up on Mexican food and think of myself as somewhat of an expert, so I made it my personal mission to seek out Cabo’s best.  Here’s what floated to the top of my list:

Best Overall Restaurant
                                                               Tortilla soup like no other you have ever had

Hands-down the winner was Misiones di Kino.  This place rocked on food quality, atmosphere and service.  If you want authentic cooking, Mexican charm and a lovely garden setting, this is your place.  Do not miss their complex tortilla soup (the best I have ever had),  and the sublime flan (a yummy mixture that tasted somewhere between a typical light flan and a cheesecake. According to the owner, this special recipe has been in his chef's family for generations).  Their chile relleno was also a standout, and margaritas were one of the best in town.  Can’t praise this place enough.  A real gem.

Best Atmosphere:
 Tropicana was a real fave

A foodie-in-the-know friend of mine recommended Tropicana to meet for dinner.  Knowing her, I knew the place would have good food, but what awaited me was one of the best surprises I've had in a long while.  Located just off of San Jose del Cabo's historic main square, Tropicana was the most atmospheric spot I've dined in Baja California.  I felt like I had stepped back to elegant 1920's supper club in Manhattan, but in the style of an old hacienda. It's swanky, it's sexy and it's electric...all in an understated way.  All 6 persons who I dined with loved their classical Mexican cuisine, and I particularly enjoyed the table-side service on their delicious caesar salad.  A definite do not miss.

Best Setting:
                                                            Hacienda y Cocina offers the best overall venue

This one was a no-brainer:  Hacienda y Cocina.  There’s no better place in town to watch the sunset than in this quietly elegant and super sexy beachside spot.  Be sure to reserve for a table on the outside terrace.  My favorites were their shrimp (Camarones Baja) and their marinated grilled skirt steak (Arrachera) served with the world’s most scrumptious avocado salad.  The drop-dead gorgeous setting, refined atmosphere and excellent service more than justify the slightly higher prices.  Actually, all considered, it’s a bargain.

Best Local Color
                                                                                          Don't miss Maria's
And the Oscar goes to…Maria Jiminez!  Maria’s former tiny restaurant was so successful that she recently expanded into the corner building next door.  I love this place.  It oozes character…from the colorfully dressed woman making handmade tortillas right in front of you,  the attractive local art on the walls, and the beautiful handmade ceramic plates that food is served on, it’s all a good-vibe.  The food is very good with the chile rellenos being the star of the show.  My only complaint is the margaritas…strongly recommend you opt for the sangria or one of their beers.

Best Hole in the Wall
                                                                                   High quality, low cost

Los Claros has 3 spots in Cabo, an attestation to its immense popularity.  There’s one in the Wyndham Hotel complex, however, my beloved spot is its simplest place located across the street from the Paradiso shopping center atthe end of the Marina, on the town’s main drag.  The shrimp tacos were the best in town, and the salad bar for the taco toppings was an added bonus.  Best value in town.

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