Los Cabos has been one of the world’s premier locations for destination weddings, honeymoons and renewal of vows ceremonies for well over three decades; basically, since Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards married supermodel Patti Hansen at Hotel Finisterra in Cabo San Lucas in 1983, with bandmate Mick Jagger serving as best man.
Now that the region’s spectacular natural advantages and gorgeous year-round climate have been paired with an influx of talented young chefs and an emergent world-class cuisine, Los Cabos has also become a popular destination for romantic wining and dining.
Two of the area’s most celebrated resorts, The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal and One&Only Palmilla, are home to muy romántico dining spots perfect for Valentine’s Day dinners or other special occasions. El Farallón at the Waldorf Astoria showcases fresh market style seafood with a magnificent cliffside setting perched above crashing Pacific Ocean waves, while Sunset MonaLisa–not to be outdone–serves up its fine fare to diners entranced by breathtaking sunset views of the evocative granite monuments and aptly named beach (Playa del Amor) that comprise the half-mile Land’s End promontory at the southernmost point of the Baja California peninsula.
Perhaps the most singular of Los Cabos’ romantic dinner experiences, however, is the sunset cruise aboard the luxury catamaran Caborey. Not only are couples treated to a multi-course sit-down dinner with a choice of signature entrées, but a postprandial La Vegas style floorshow headlined by a passionate Argentine tango.
Choose among al fresco dining on the terraza, open air indoor dining or the ever popular “tables in the sand” at this romantic restaurant at Playa El Médano based luxury lodging Hacienda Beach Club and Residences. The views are jaw-dropping regardless, a panoramic vista that stretches from the iconic granite monuments at Land’s End to the boats cruising Cabo San Lucas Bay and the expansive golden beach with its two-mile sweep of restaurants and resorts. Tasting highlights include creative mezcal and tequila focused cocktails and a menu rich in traditional Mexican fare and fresh local seafood. A surf and turf trio featuring chile relleno, arrachera (skirt steak) and shrimp enchilada is among the best dinner entrées, although couples may prefer one of the “shared” dinner-for-two options. For dessert, try the house churros served with chocolate and caramel sauces.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Hacienda Cocina y Cantina is set at the foot of Médano Beach and features superb views of Land’s End and Cabo San Lucas Bay.
Chris’s expert tip: The resort is private so reservations are required to access the restaurant.
Flora’s pioneered the farm-to-table dining scene in San José del Cabo, and remains a mandatory stop for visiting foodies. The restaurant looks out over a 10-acre organic field at Flora Farm, so close diners can almost reach out and touch the food they’ll soon be eating. Well, actually the meat is sourced from a nearby ranch, but you get the picture. This is fine dining at its most intimate. And it is fine dining. The food is superb, and ranges from gourmet pizzas to heartier fare like farm-raised pork or homemade pastas. Sunday brunch is especially popular, although reservations are recommended for any visit to the restaurant. The adjacent Farm Bar serves up fresh fruit juices, wine, craft beer and cocktails. In addition to the onsite bar, bakery and organic grocery, the property also includes boutique shops and some quaint culinary cottages.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Flora’s Field Kitchen is al fresco dining at its finest.
Chris’s expert tip: Good luck finding this place without directions. Luckily, they’re available for download on the restaurant’s website.
The culinary fashion in Los Cabos has shifted in recent years from Baja Med to Pan-Pacific fusions that draw heavily on Mexican, Peruvian and Japanese influences. Such fusions may be fashionable now, but they’re old hat to Pitahayas Chef Volker Romeike, who for over two decades has been creating unique dishes from an eclectic mix of Pacific influences that range from México and Hawaii to Japan, China, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. Romeike’s Pitahayas is the signature restaurant at Sheraton’s colonial style Hacienda del Mar, a Tourist Corridor based resort known for its elegant seaside dining options. The dining area is gorgeous, with tables arranged in concentric circles that fan out from an enormous palapa, and colorful tree-wrapped lights and ornament foregrounding the glittering blue waters of the Sea of Cortés. In addition to the stellar food and views, the wine cellar at Pitahayas, La Cava de Santiago, is one of the best in Baja California Sur, with over 400 labels from premier domestic and international producers. It received a Wine Spectator Award in 2015.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Pitahayas offers one of the most romantic settings in Los Cabos, with candlelit tables, fine wine and moonlight views of the Sea of Cortés.
Chris’s expert tip: Romantic dinners for two may be arranged in the wine cellar.
A perennially popular draw at benchmark ultra-luxury resort One&Only Palmilla, this elegant seaside eatery originated by Moroccan born and Jean-Louis Palladin mentored chef Larbi Dahrouch is distinguished by its superb food, impeccable service, and romantic candle and moonlit views of the Sea of Cortés. The kitchen serves up exquisite Mexican cuisine featuring Mediterranean influences – call it “Mexiterranean” – with menus that change seasonally (and sometimes daily) to reflect the finest available ingredients. Many specialties are made tableside, including handmade tortillas, guacamoles, ceviches and moles. Start at the bar for sunset cocktails, framed between an infinity pool and a dramatic meeting of sea and sky.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Set at the area’s most luxurious resort, Agua offers superb fare, first-class service, and incredible seaside views.
Chris’s expert tip: Agua has an excellent selection of wines from México’s best grape growing region, Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California.
There are two artists on prominent display at LaFrida, the signature fine dining establishment at Pueblo Bonito’s elegant Sunset Beach resort. The first is legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, examples of whose work and wardrobe adorn the walls of the restaurant’s sumptuously appointed dining room. The second is Chef Carlos Contreras Sánchez, who learned to cook at his grandmother’s knee as a child in Oaxaca, and has since mastered the techniques and recipes of traditional Mexican cuisine, albeit with a few fresh twists of his own devising. The chef has a particularly deft touch with seafood focused fare like the Baja style Abalone Taco, although meat lovers may prefer the suckling pig or Jojutla style Barbacoa Lamb Shank, baked in maguey leaf from a pre-Hispanic recipe. For an extra dollop of tropical romance, dine on the al fresco terrace for stunning sunset views set against a gorgeous Pacific Ocean backdrop.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: First class fare and romantic terrace-based sunset views distinguish LaFrida as one of the region’s finest restaurants, as does its sumptuously appointed interior dining room.
Chris’s expert tip: Check the daily sunset time to optimize your terrace dining experience.
The signature restaurant at the newly opened Chileno Bay Resort & Residences is certainly a feast for the eyes, with stylish décor from a high-profile Los Angeles-based designer, and a picturesque perch overlooking the Sea of Cortés. The sense most likely to be gratified, however, is taste, thanks to its two top talents: Chef Yvan Mucharraz, formerly Director of Food and Beverage at The Resort at Pedregal; and Beverage Manager Osvaldo Vazquez, fresh off a notable stint creating the innovative cocktail menu at The Cape. Although broadly billed as a celebration of Latin American cuisine, what Comal does best is to offer contemporary twists on traditional Mexican favorites, from ceviches and chilpachole broth to duck carnitas and chicharrón. A generous wine list offers plenty of pairing options – including many from Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe – and Vazquez unveils freshly minted cocktail recipes on a regular basis.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The best cocktails in Los Cabos and breathtaking Sea of Cortés views headline the romantic attractions at COMAL.
Chris’s expert tip: For further tasting adventures, stop by the Chileno Bay Resort’s TnT to sample a range of delicious tacos and tequilas.
The 144′ luxury catamaran Caborey is the premier cruise ship in Los Cabos, best known for its perennially popular margarita and dinner cruises. The dinner cruise is one of the great local dining experiences, particularly for those who are in town for a short time and want to get a feel for the local landscape, culture and cuisine. Enjoy romantic sunset views of Cabo San Lucas Bay, Médano and Lovers’ Beaches, and the unique rock formations such as El Arco that stretch out towards Land’s End. There are two belowdecks areas for dinner, depending upon your ticket preference. There is a buffet on the middle deck, and a sit-down dinner on the lower deck with a choice of entrées. After the sit-down dinner, there is a rousing Las Vegas-style floor show featuring Mexican and Latin American singing and folk dances, headlined by a passionately romantic Argentine style tango.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Caborey’s romantic dinner cruise offers fine dining and drinks, and a romantic floorshow featuring Latin American singers and dancers.
Chris’s expert tip: When passengers are jockeying for prime rail position for photos at Land’s End, know that the captain is going to turn the boat around. Thus, the opposite rail will eventually become prime photo territory itself.
Set at retro chic The Cape: A Thompson Hotel, Manta is helmed by acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera, whose Mexico City based Pujol and New York City restaurant Cosme are currently ranked among the 100 best in the world. The hotel enjoys a superb location overlooking legendary surf beach Playa Monumentos, and Manta showcases spectacular views – particularly at sunset – of the granite rock formations at Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas. Olvera’s rotating menu focuses on Pacific Rim cuisine and fresh local seafood, with 15 – 18 dishes available on a nightly basis. Multi-course tasting menus are the preferred dinner option, with excellent pairing advice provided courtesy of the onsite sommelier, whose generous wine list includes numerous options from Baja’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The views of Land’s End are incredible, and the food and the service are absolutely first-class at this restaurant from acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera.
Chris’s expert tip: The name of the restaurant, Manta, has dual meanings: one, it’s the Spanish word for blanket, and thus signifies a commitment to the comfort of guests; and two, as a reference to manta rays, and by extension the restaurant’s reliance on fresh local seafood.
El Farallón’s wow-factor asset is a breathtaking cliffside setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the exclusive Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas. The restaurant pairs fresh local seafood with its romantic atmosphere, adding rustic elegant touches like lanterns and hand-crafted furniture and accents to its spectacular views. The fish is fresh daily and diners pick their dinner market style, choosing from a selection of sea bass, red snapper, striped bass, shrimp, tuna, dorado, clams and lobster. The fish is then weighed and taken to the chef to be grilled with an array of fresh chilies. Soups and salads are included with all entrées and rib-eye steaks are available for those who want the views without the seafood. This ranks with Sunset MonaLisa as one of the most romantic dining experiences in all of Los Cabos and the addition of a Champagne terrace has only enhanced the romance factor.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: El Farallón drips romance, with tables set on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Chris’s expert tip: Sample the restaurant’s signature margaritas.
This is one of the most picturesque restaurants you will find anywhere, with tables perched seemingly atop the Sea of Cortés and breathtaking views of Land’s End. Pastas and fresh local seafood are the specialties – the place has its own fishing boats, and will cook up your catch for dinner – but there is also an upstairs bar and pizza lounge, and a popular Taittinger Terrace Champagne and Oyster Bar. Considering the magnificence of the setting, it is perhaps not surprising that they have wedding services available. Both the food and the drinks here are excellent, but it is the majestic, awe-inspiring atmosphere that makes any visit to Sunset MonaLisa a memorable experience. Reservations are recommended year round, and are an absolute necessity for sunset dining during the tourist season (Oct. – May.).
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Sunset da Mona Lisa boasts the most romantic setting in all of Los Cabos.
Chris’s expert tip: It can get pretty chilly after dark during the winter months. Sweaters or light jackets are recommended.