Los Cabos is a destination that holds many culinary secrets. This guest post by Stuart Gustafson takes a deep dive into the amazing food that can be found. Enjoy Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México.

I am so glad that my wife and I started visiting the Los Cabos area at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula over fifteen years ago.

We were both still working at that time, and what began as a one-week break in February gave the opportunity to escape the cold winter of Boise, Idaho, and enjoy warm weather, sandy beaches, and exposure to some nice and tasty restaurants.

We’ve lengthened our stays to two to four weeks at a time, and we’re usually there two to three times a year. There are a lot of other places we go to in the world (such as our two-month stay in Paris, France, a couple years ago), but it’s in Los Cabos where we feel comfortable when we just “want to go somewhere.”

This year’s two-week stay in February included going to some new restaurants in addition to a few of our normal haunts (We ate at over a dozen different places in the Cabo area; for the blog posts and reviews of some of the other experiences click here.)

While both sister cities, Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, have the word Cabo (meaning Cape) in their names, most people are referring to Cabo San Lucas when they say, “Cabo.”

It’s pretty obvious than that “San José” refers to the quieter town of San José del Cabo, about twenty-two miles north of Cabo along the coast of the Sea of Cortez, aka, the Gulf of California.

This article is going to focus on three superb restaurants in San José where I was recently treated to some amazing choices.

Don Sanchez Restaurant on Boulevard Mijares in downtown San José del Cabo. It’s easy to miss the entrance to this exquisite dining locale on the newly renovated main road into San José. Aside from the relatively non-descript sign on the brightly colored two-story building, nothing really stands out—from the outside, that is.

The experience begins once you step inside and are led into one of the three unique dining venues: the classic Hacienda Courtyard; the private Guadalupe Terrace, or the intimate Wine Cellar.

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

It was a relatively slow Sunday evening when we were there; football fans were crowded into other restaurants and bars where the Super Bowl was being shown.

Owner/Chef Tadd Chapman told me that he doesn’t want a television set inside Don Sanchez because he wants his guests to have an enjoyable dining experience.

We dined in the Hacienda Courtyard pictured above and we opted for a Sampler Menu where each item was carefully paired with a glass of delicious wine (their wine cellar holds more than 350 different wines; so there are always plenty of perfect choices for your selection).

We began with a Jalapeño Margarita that was made with Cointreau, Jalapeño-infused Tequila, Lime Juice, garnished with a fresh Basil Leaf and a Carmelized Jalapeño Pepper!

The staff kept watching to see if we would chew on the pepper, but we did know better. Our first appetizer was
Scallop Esquite; it’s a fried WonTon skin that’s topped with scallop, some Habanero Pepper, Roasted Corn, Shallots, and a touch of Cotija Cheese.

It was colorful and artistic, but that didn’t’ stop us from enjoying the delicate combination of flavors that was accented with a light guacamole.

Breads are a staple in most restaurants; Don Sanchez serves some unique artisan breads, the kinds that you can just enjoy as a dish on their own.

Our homemade breads were served with a pesto-oil combination that we drizzled over the warm bread as we enjoyed each appetizer that was paired with the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc wine—our favorite white wine!

Our next appetizer (Yes, they kept coming!) was a Jicama Sashimi that consisted of thinly sliced Jicama and served with fresh fruit (we had papaya; they also use mango in season), spinach, oil, Serrano Pepper slices, and peanuts.

Winning the title of “The Most Picturesque Appetizer” was the plate of Textured Vegetables pictured below. This artsy-inspired dish of sliced vegetables with perfectly matched sauces was definitely a delight for the taste buds, and it was a shame to mess up the “artwork.

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

While we are being treated to an amazing smorgasbord of tastes, flavor combinations, and spectacular wines, our ears were being serenaded with beautiful violin music with synthesizer backing.

It was the perfect touch to make a classic meal that much more enjoyable.

Our final appetizer (We did want to save some room for the main course) was the Mar-Tierra Taco.

The fried tortilla was left flat, somewhat like a tostada shell, and was topped with a combination of crispy beef pieces, some soft-shell crab, accompanied with an avocado mousse.

The lemon wedge delivered the right amount of acidity to this delightful play on Surf ‘n Turf.

Our first main course was a Beef Tenderloin that was cooked to perfection. I had a Medium-Rare while my wife had Rare.

Both of these selections were tasty, tender, juicy, and a perfect match with the Pinot Noir from Portugal that was poured for us.

The steak was served with a Hollandaise Sauce, some potatoes, asparagus, and a poached egg that had been dipped in flour and breadcrumbs with Parmesan Cheese, and then fried. What a truly unexpected delight!

As you can imagine, we were getting fairly full by this time. But wait; there’s more! We had one more entrée, but at least his time it was a single one that we could share.

The Catch of the Day was a coated Yellowtail Tuna sitting on a bed of Quinoa. We continued to enjoy the violin music and the pleasant ambiance as we were told to get ready for a super creation.

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

Originally designed as a New Year’s Eve special, this Chef’s Fantasy White Chocolate Piñata was stuffed with a dozen different types of BonBons.

I had to smash the hard outer coating of white chocolate with my spoon and then break up the pieces so I could mix them with the BonBons.

After all that had already been served, it was actually a struggle to consume this creative dish, but at least my wife was willing to make the sacrifice and help me—it was chocolate, of course!

And finally, the last dish arrived. Accompanied by a nice Madeira Port wine, the more subtle pastry plate was served with some ice cream and a Fig Compote.

I think the staff was surprised that we were actually able to eat (and enjoy) all of the delightful combinations and different items that were served to us.

But when you’re not being rushed and the portions were the proper size, it’s very easy to enjoy such a delightful dining experience as we had at Don Sanchez.

You can read the blog posts along with the reviews of Don Sanchez Restaurant and the other places we ate it San José and in Cabo.

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

Javier’s Restaurant is part of the beach-front Cabo Azul Resort along Hotel Row in San José del Cabo.

Like many warm-climate fabulous resorts, Cabo Azul has an impressive frontage and open-air entrance way that invite you to step in and enjoy the experience of indulging luxury.

Our recent visited included a delightful evening at Javier’s, one of the finest restaurants in all of Baja California. Making our way down the tree- and fern-lined winding path, we were warmly greeted by Señor Castillo, the restaurant manager, as we stepped inside.

Our arrival time of 7 PM coincided with the beginning of Mariachi Night; the delightful table-side music from the four musicians was a nice complement to the sounds of the crashing waves along the sandy beach.

I asked for some “Happy Music” when they came to our table, and my YouTube video was the result of my request; it was indeed happy!

They sang at every table, and so we heard many familiar songs (“La Bamba,” “La Cucaracha,” “Besame Mucho”) and then some we didn’t know—but they were all good and well received.

Being right on the beach shortly after sunset meant there was a slight breeze coming off the water; some diners had a blanket draped over their shoulders for warmth, but we were fine.

Rather than having the customary Margarita, we opted for a bottle of 2015 Santo Tomas Tempranillo-Cabernet wine, a very nice blend of Mexican and Spanish varietals.

It turned out to be a perfect complement throughout the entire meal; even with the introductory basket of chips and a somewhat-spicy (but tasty) salsa.

I started with the Javier’s Salad (no shrimp or chicken) that consisted of fresh greens with slices of avocado, onion, tomato, cucumber, sweet corn, grated Monterrey Jack Cheese, and a very nice house dressing. It was all very good, especially the generous portions of avocado!

Darlene had the “Traditional Mexican Caesar Salad” served with chopped Romaine lettuce, crispy tortilla strips (those were a great addition), and a light Caesar dressing.

The dressing seemed a “little light,” and so we asked our server Gregorio about it. He told us that when locals have a Caesar Salad, they don’t like a strong dressing; so the restaurant (in keeping with local flavors) uses a lighter dressing.

Thus the name, “Traditional Mexican Caesar Salad.” My wife said that the crispy tortilla strips really made the salad into something special; we’ll have to give that a try at home!

One of the [many] things that we like about going to Los Cabos is the abundance of fresh fish, and Sea Bass is always a popular choice.

It was their Catch of the Day, but we decided to have one of the specialties, the Especialidades del Mar, the “Specialties of the Sea.”

I had the Cabo Azul which was a Shrimp Taco (on a separate plate), prepared Ensenada Style and served on a flour tortilla (waiter Gregorio recommended that I eat this first).

The second plate had the Lobster Enchilada in a light creamy pasilla sauce, and a grilled Chili Relleno stuffed with shrimp and topped with cotija cheese. The rice and black beans filled out the plate.

I was able to eat the taco, half the enchilada, and half the relleno. The rest of the second plate became my lunch for the next day. The open-faced taco and the mouth-watering enchilada are shown below (I couldn’t get the best photo of the dark relleno at night).

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

The Mariachi music continued on as my wife enjoyed her Seafood Enchiladas, a plate of two enchiladas that were stuffed with shrimp and crab, sautéed in garlic and onions, then covered in a tomatillo sauce and garnished with avocado slices and sour cream.

Somewhat confident that she wasn’t going to be able to eat both of them, she neatly ate one of the enchiladas, while the second one plus the remaining rice and beans ended up in a container and became her lunch for the next day.

Even though we didn’t have “the best view” of the beach at night, we could hear the waves coming ashore, and we did see one cruise ship with its lights on as it headed out of Cabo San Lucas toward its next port of call.

A nice warm coffee (alcohol-free for the drive home) went great with the super-moist Pastel de Chocolate (Chocolate Cake)—thankfully, only one slice was brought out as it was huge! And tasty!

The next time you’re in San José del Cabo (or drive up from Cabo San Lucas as we did), you really should make reservations at Javier’s Restaurant inside the Cabo Azul Resort along the hotel zone.

You’ll love the food, be enchanted with the view (even at night), and you’ll be charmed by the wonderful service. Don’t forget—Monday night is Mariachi night!

CarbόnCabrόn Restaurant in Koral’s El Mercado on Los Cabos Corridor; next to the Pemex Station at KM 24.5

I’ve driven the road (locally called the “Corridor”) between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo at least one hundred times, maybe even two hundred.

When I saw the Koral Center taking shape last year, I thought to myself, “Who’s going to leave town (Cabo or San José) to come here?” Well, it turns out that a lot of people are going to the Koral Center (and not just for the excellent hospital or the great Hampton Inn).

The food choices inside El Merkado and the specialty shops have been designed to be complementary without overlapping each other. (We ate at over a dozen different places in the Cabo area; for the blog posts and reviews of some of the other experiences click here.)

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

Without thinking too much about the restaurant’s name, I quickly came to realize that the focus of the cooking here was, yes, with Carbon—you know, that element with atomic number 6 in the Periodic Table that we all memorized in Chemistry class and immediately forgot once the class was over.

Stacks of wood that have been “burned” to give them a darker color are used as dividers between the rows of tables, but that wood is never used for cooking.

Chef Alfonso (“Pancho”) showed me the wood that they use for cooking; they use so much they have it re-stocked twice a week.

Charcoal (or ash) is incorporated into most of the dishes. The Margarita (served with Mezcal instead of Tequila) had some ash mixed in to give it a dark coloring.

Sweetbreads (not sweet bread), without going into detail what parts of an animal are their origin (you can find that out on your own), made an excellent appetizer.

They were so tasty, I had to know how they were prepared. Our waiter Ivan gave me the details: After blanching them for 10-15 minutes in milk and nutmeg, they are marinated in lemon and clarified butter and chilled.

They are then put on the charcoal grill for just a short time, turning once, so they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

The plate is garnished with some purple onions and a grilled lemon wedge, and the final touch is a tasty slice of watermelon radish. Tender they were, and tasty, too!

It should be pretty clear that wood was everywhere; coasters are a thin slice of a tree branch, and each serving of sweetbreads was served on wood. Speaking of the appetizers, there were more!

We each had a plate that had a half ear of grilled corn, two spinach stalks, some shredded radish and a few mayonnaise dollops for dipping the corn.

I wasn’t expecting to be eating without utensils, but they brought plenty of napkins to sop up the dripping mayo and whatever comes off of cooked corn. Was it time for the main course? Not yet.

Next was a sharing plate of Yellowtail Ceviche and homemade bread. The Yellowtail was combined with chopped pineapple, Persian cucumber, charcoaled habanero, and lemon.

Apparently, the little purple flowers aren’t part of the recipe, but they didn’t taste all that bad. The daily-fresh Yellowtail was excellent, so tender, moist, and flavorful.

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

We were enjoying every delicious morsel, but we were getting full. Thankfully when Ivan brought the entrées, they were smaller portions.

We each had one piece of bone marrow that was topped with a Parmesan crust, some avocado mousse, and served with tortilla toast for eating it like a chip and dip.

This could be a tasty appetizer when only one half-bone is served. I’m certainly not complaining about portion sizes as we had all that we could eat.

Three Delectable Restaurants in San José del Cabo, México

We were enjoying every delicious morsel, but we were getting full. Thankfully when Ivan brought the entrées, they were smaller portions.

We each had one piece of bone marrow that was topped with a Parmesan crust, some avocado mousse, and served with tortilla toast for eating it like a chip and dip.

This could be a tasty appetizer when only one half-bone is served. I’m certainly not complaining about portion sizes as we had all that we could eat.

The final entree was a super-moist and tender Wagyu Beef, with four slices for each of us. I had to personally compliment Chef Miguel as he was the one who prepared the sweetbreads, the bone marrow, and the Wagyu (from our state of Idaho) over the charcoal grill.

I’ve had plenty of Kobe Beef in Kobe, Japan, and I thought Miguel’s serving was every bit as good (in fact a little tastier) than the super-premium Kobe Beef we’ve had in Japan.

Rather than describing the Creme Brulee dessert, I encourage you to watch the 45-second YouTube video I took while our server Ivan was explaining it.

When you come to Los Cabos at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, you really need to go a little out of your way. Make plans and have a great dinner at CarbόnCabrόn Restaurant and enjoy the magnificent food that Chef Alfonso (“Pancho”) and Sous Chef Daniel lovingly prepare Monday through Saturday.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

Stuart Gustafson loves traveling so much that he’s had the U.S. Registered Trademark America’s International Travel Expert® since 2010. As a luxury traveler and a travel-based mystery novel author, he’s been to 55 countries, and you might catch him on your next cruise as he speaks on cruise ships all over the world. Connect with Stuart and read more about his exciting travels at www.stuartgustafson.com.

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