A wonderful week in Cabo (San Lucas and San Jose)
Long-time visitor here, but decided to sign up after the great advice on these boards for eats in Cabo. I stayed in the Cabo Azul resort in San Jose and then proceeded to eat and eat and... well eat.
For San Jose, I started simple with the seafood ceviche truck that hangs around in the art district. The mixto ceviche with scallop, clam, and shrimp is a great cool snack while wandering about town. The scallops are juicy sweet little morsels and the highlight of the ceviche. Fun to watch them make it to, since they chop up tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion to go with the seafood. Then some leche de tigre (seafood marinade/juices) and lime to top it all off. Inexpensive and tasty. Thumbs up!
Jazmin's Restaurant was the next stop, good solid Mexican food and a coupon they offered at the front door too! I didn't realize it yet, since this was early in my trip, but my meals in San Jose were some of the best bang for the buck during my entire trip. Portions here are plenty for me and I'm always a fan of smoky rich sauces like the chipotle sauce on my chicken here. I would describe Jazmin's overall as a solid choice to just take in the local food in the tourist area.
El Chilar on the other hand is more of a fine dining spot, though the prices are also a bit higher (around $20-ish). My impression is that the cuisine here isn't specific to this region, but that's fine as it was the best fine dining I had during my trip. Compared to Javier's in Cabo Azul resort, I liked El Chilar better. A+ choice for nice sit down.
Javier's is more expensive ($30-ish per entree) and a little less bold on the flavors to me. I probably wouldn't have even tried it if not for the free food credit for staying at Cabo Azul. I had butter garlic shrimp and the SO had the fish in Veracruz sauce. Both are fresh and good with the Veracruz sauce being the highlight of the entire meal. Tortilla soup as a starter was probably the next best thing, but I'm a huge sucker for tortilla soup. =)
Back to San Jose proper, I stuck with local food for the remainder of the trip. Visiting the Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market) I had a delicious meal at Zulema's. Husband and wife there were both incredibly nice and the salsas and dried/smoked peppers with the meal were exactly what I was looking for. I had the pozole con puerco (pork in a tomato soup with corn) which was chock full of ingredients. This is much more home-y food, but it brings a smile to my face eating it. Rolling some smoked peppers up in fresh tortillas makes a great accompaniment to the soup. I also shared some of the SO's sope con camarones (shrimp stew), which was absolutely stuffed with shell-on shrimp. Simple soup that lets you enjoy the shrimp. Last but not least, I just want to say local joints do salsa right. If you can handle some kick, Zulema's spicy salsa with a hint of habanero is perfect! End of the meal I was stuffed and it was $6 US for two people. Big thumbs up here.
Last, but not least is Tacos Rosy a bit of a way's from the municipal market. I'd recommend for most people visiting to go from the municipal market to Tacos Rosy as it's a bit of a ways from the art district where all the nice sit down restaurants are. Sticking with some Chowers recommendations I got a bunch of seafood tacos (fish, shrimp). I wanted to get scallop or octopus etc, but was out-voted (siiiiiigh) and was too full to eat much more. I'll sum this one up quick - Go here, it's great, if you love tacos you will love it, if you love seafood you will love it. Also, like Zumela's, the price is more than fair.
The only thing I was sad to miss out on was Taqueria El Ahorcado (Hangman's Tacos). I hear it's great and I would have loved to try it. Any recommendations on best items there for next visit? Also how does it compare to Gordo Lele's in San Lucas? While I ate many tacos during my stay, I'm almost embarrassed to say that my favorite meat tacos might be the Al Pastor tacos at Cabo Azul resort (made by Javier's chef on Taco Day). Their Al Pastor is unlike any of the ones I've had in the Bay Area/San Francisco. It's a 1/3 fat and 2/3 meat pork chunks that was juicy and tender on the inside with a nice crisp grill on the outside (possibly even fried?). Then the sauce was a beautiful mix of spices and smoked pepper goodness instead of the more soy-sauced based flavors I usually see here. If anyone knows what this kind of Al Pastor is, please inform me *grins*.
Now I've noticed this post is getting long, so I'll continue my comments on San Lucas below.
Now I was really excited to go to San Lucas and it definitely is a more bustlin' town. The Marina is packed with people, cruise ship tourists, vendors, and guys trying to sell boat rides everywhere. Also saw more pelicans than I've ever seen at once in my life, seriously 20+. Skipped the mall other than a brief walk-through and went straight for Solomon's Landing on the Marina. As I understand most of the restaurants/bars around the Marina are about the same so I only tried the one. Solomon's Landing has pretty average margaritas, fruit margaritas, pina coladas, and mixed drinks overall. Prices are eh.... not terrible, but not great. Didn't eat here, but the chicken fingers being eaten next to me looked decent and good portioned.
Moving away from the Marina I decided to get a bite to eat at Gordo Lele's with the singing chef Javier. Took a bit to find, but not too much trouble as it isn't far from the Marina. Walking in the place smells good with onions and cooking meat. Beatles posters/pictures cover all of the walls which is a hoot and gives something for you to do while Javier cooks your food to order. I had the carne asada, pollo, and chorizo tacos. Usually I'm not too big on chicken everywhere I go, but Javier makes great chicken tacos. The chicken is grilled and mixed with buttered corn. Top that taco off with a non-spicy, lightly smokey red sauce and some fresh creamy green sauce and you have the makings of a very tasty taco. The carne asada is shaved thin and cooked with onions until fragrant with a hint of char. Also a hit in my book. Lastly the chorizo is actually chorizo - juicy, fatty, and an almost disturbing bright red. In my book chorizo is sausage, not just ground beef/pork with taco seasoning and a hint of chile pepper like I often see at american breakfasts etc. Here the chorizo taco is great and I would definitely get again. Not a real surprise as Gordo's was really solidly recommended on the boards. For those curious if it's for them I'll try to describe them overall. Fairly large soft warm tortilla is topped with a huge helping of meat and avocado slices. Then you top with red and green sauce to your taste. The prices are incredible for the quality and portion of food. This is however, not fancy upscale tacos, so if that's your thing then this might not be for you.
From Gordo's, I waddled about a bit before making way to a drink stop at Happy Endings Cantina. While I started with just the two beers and two tequila shots for $5, it ended nearly an hour later with a comprehensive "tasting" of almost every Reposado and Anejo tequila between me and my SO. For those who love tequila I will say Don Julio 1942 was up there as one of the smoothest anejo tequila I've had, though a bit too sweet personally for extended sipping. Have a few notes on the many Tequilas I tried so if anyone's interested feel free to ask and I'll put it up. Overall Happy Endings is great fun and fairly priced. Definitely enjoyed it there.
For seafood stops, made a quick beeline to Tacos Gardenia. Passed by El Pescador on the way, which I thought was closed? but seemed open to me. Almost went straight in to try it, but was worried it might be a new different and possibly less good one. Was pretty full when I reached Gardenia, but still managed a few seafood tacos. Their shrimp taco is great with a nice sauce. When I come back to Cabo for another trip I'll definitely be trying more of their food. This place definitely stood out though as a tasty taco stop.
While I ate a few other places in San Lucas, I'll leave them out for now as every time I made it into San Lucas it was a battle between food and Tequila. Thus I can't be sure of my taste buds later on when suddenly everything tastes great. =P For bar/drinking spots I can say Desperados was also a lot of fun and I *think* the food was good too (I'm pretty sure it was good, but it was getting late by the time I stopped in there head a-spinnin' from a multitude of margaritas and tequila shots).
That's all for now, hope this info helps others looking forward to their Cabo Trip!
We;re down here now..a week in Todos Santos.and a while in CSL. Solomon's used to be 1 of my fave places on the marina but we haven't eaten there this trip. Prices are way up from last year.
Love Gordo Lele's but only1 lunch so far.
El Pescador is good..as is Tacos Gardenia's...TG 1 of the best.
Watching the beautifyl sunset and grilling some red snapper that I bought this PM on the "fishing beach"
So glad to read you enjoyed it here.