The man making my Caesar salad at Edith’s restaurant is taking his task very seriously. First he mashes aromatic garlic cloves in a big wooden bowl along with anchovies, an egg yolk, dijon mustard, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, and white vinegar. Mix, mix, toss. Next, he lays three perfect, strong leaves of romaine in the bowl and tosses them gently in the dressing. Would I like freshly grated parmesan with my gorgeous, crunchy house-made croutons? Yes, yes, I would.
I take a salty, savory bite. It’s earthy and crisp. It is, as promised, one of the greatest Caesar salads I’ve ever had. In fact, the Caesar salad may be the most famous dish to emerge from Baja California: It originated in Tijuana.
I found a similar level of artistry and care in restaurants across Los Cabos. And, sure, I could find traditional Mexican food in this seaside city, but the olio of internationally inspired dishes on offer around town was a welcome change of pace.
Here are seven of my favorite foodie finds in Los Cabos:
Cocina del Mar: On site at the stunning Esperanza resort, Cocina del Mar is all about the ambiance. But the food easily keeps pace. Here, the executive chef brings to the table his own Argentine heritage along with his experience working with flavors from Costa Rica, Canada, and Chile. Lunch-goers can choose among an impressive selection of hearty and healthy salads, ceviches, and tacos, while the dinner set can dine on cool dishes like Peruvian quinoa, farro cakes, and “cowboy steak,” a sausage lentil stew. For a special treat, take in an incredible sunset view from one of the restaurant’s best tables — overlooking a cliff.
Flora’s Field Kitchen: On the outskirts of San Jose del Cabo, you’ll find Flora’s Field Kitchen, a delightful destination located on a ten-acre organic farm. Amidst a desert landscape, this surprisingly verdant escape remains a perennial local favorite where the lunch menu is full of oversized salads and sandwiches and the staff cares about organic and humane sourcing. In addition to offering a range of cooking and gardening classes and a small bed and breakfast on site, Flora’s even has a small gourmet grocery window where you can buy fresh bread and peak produce. You’re probably safe walking in for lunch, but I’d recommend booking in advance for dinner.
El Farallón: Dining at El Farallón is as close to traveling to another planet as you’ll get in Cabo. Though it’s located at the Capella Pedregal resort, it’s a short walk to a cliff where you can watch the Pacific Ocean crash into the shore below you. The day’s local catch is displayed on ice. Simply choose what looks best and the chef will prepare it to taste, filling the air with that gorgeous smoky grill smell.
Nick-San: My pick for the best sushi in Los Cabos is Nick-San (rumor is that George Clooney agrees with me). Choose the original Cabo San Lucas location or the Palmilla location on the Corridor. Make sure to try the house specialty: Buttery fresh-caught tuna served up with Asian spices and a rice cracker tostada.
The Restaurant (at Las Ventanas al Paraíso resort): I saved one night for dinner at The Restaurant, a place known for popularizing the term “Baja-Mediterranean” that boasts commanding views of the Sea of Cortez. Executive Chef Fabrice Guisset grew up in Provence and embraces ingredients that region is known for: mussels, oysters, olive oil, herbs, and fresh fish. Dishes are also inspired by members of the restaurant’s culinary team, who are asked to submit their family’s best-loved recipes for inclusion on the menu. Wines are procured from France and Italy but also from northern Baja, which continues to increase in popularity in the wine world.
Tequila Restaurant: The Tequila Restaurant‘s simple exterior belies the splendor you will find within — a gorgeous al fresco dining experience in a garden dressed up with white tablecloths and trees. Seafood, beef, and fresh vegetables are the stars of the menu here and many dishes are Asian-inspired (think curries and spring rolls). Try the Tequila shrimp to start to complement the namesake main-attraction. There are more than 50 varieties to choose from.
Edith’s: The tableside Caesar provided reason enough to rave, but the rest of my meal at Edith’s, a joyful place with some of the best seafood in town, didn’t disappoint. Settle into a colorful chair in a palapa with a rainbow of blankets at the ready if the air becomes cool while live musicians stroll around you. My advice? Go early, about an hour before the sun sets. That way, you can enjoy the partial view of the water as the day fades to black.
One Final Tip: Los Cabos is popular yearround because of its temperate weather and beachside locale. Book restaurant reservations in advance if you can.