Los Cabos Goes Locavore
Sun-kissed beaches, epic natural scenescapes, and now, a seriously delicious local food movement: What can’t Cabo do?
Travelers come to Cabo for a few key activities: basking poolside in the sun, indulging in a spa treatment, sipping on refreshing palomas, and, depending on the season, witnessing one of the world’s great migrations. Recently, another must-do has gained traction as well: a farm-to-table dinner.
The movement was kicked off two decades ago by organic hot-spot Flora Farms, but it remained an outlier until recently. Now, Cabo’s food scene easily competes with those in the Riviera Maya and other Mexican resort areas—an evolution that goes hand in hand with Mexican cuisine’s long-overdue acceptance as a serious culinary player (thanks to chefs like Pujol’s Enrique Olvera and Noma’s buzzy 2017 pop-up in Tulum). The area’s edge? Local restaurants devoted to sourcing from the desert peninsula’s surprising bounty, if not from their own backyard.
Longtime Cabo visitors have watched the food scene evolve over time, but newcomers may be a bit taken aback. Chef Anand Singh, for one, moved here a year ago to open Arbol at Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort, after a decade at the stoves in the Maldives, the Seychelles, and the United Arab Emirates. He’s been struck by what he calls the “fanastic quality” of area restaurants and their commitment to local cuisine and seasonal ingredients. “I love Mexico’s culture and culinary traditions,” says the Mumbai-born chef. “I wanted to explore a new country and its cuisine to broaden my experience as a chef.”
Here, Singh shares his favorite spots to experience Cabo’s locavore renaissance.
When California couple Patrick and Gloria Greene opened a small-scale organic café in town here in 1996, they quickly realized that local purveyors couldn’t supply enough organic produce for them. So they bought a 25-acre plot up a rugged dirt road in the hills east of San José del Cabo and began farming for themselves. Over the years, they’ve expanded to include a boutique, gelato cart, bar, and full-service restaurant—the beloved Field Kitchen, serving vegetable-forward dishes and pasture-raised meats. “It makes you feel at home,” says Singh of the rustic-chic, indoor-outdoor space, which looks out over rows of vegetables, fruits and flowers.
What to Order: Chef Guillermo Tellez’s menus vary with the harvests, but the “flavors are always on point,” says Singh. His favorite dishes: patatas bravas, fried potatoes topped with a tomato sauce scented with ‘nduja sausage, and the ravioli stuffed with chicken, zucchini, and roasted onions, and served with a cilantro vinaigrette.
Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar
Overlooking the sea at Punta Ballena, fifteen minutes east of Cabo San Lucas, chef Richard Sandoval’s pan-Latin Toro opened in 2016. The Mexico City-born restaurant impresario, whose global empire encompasses 45 outlets from Costa Rica to Tokyo, draws inspiration at Toro from two of the region’s sub-cuisines: Chinese-Peruvian Chifa, and Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei. Ingredients for the seafood-focused menu are sourced locally.
What to Order: Singh heads here for the ceviche, which has a “unique combination of ingredients from Latin America,” he says. Case in point: the Central American Tostones, scallops and fresh fish tossed with avocado, sauteed chili, cilantro sauce, and crispy plantains.
“Acre has everything,” says Singh of this 25-acre farm and restaurant, serving vegetable-focused dishes and locally sourced seafoods and meats. “It’s chic, it’s delicious, it’s happening.” Just down the road from Flora Farms, the newcomer features contemporary design—cool cement floors and planters filled with towering palms and agave trees. The look, coupled with the revolving menus, add up to “an organic piece of art…anywhere you take a photo is flawless.”
What to Order: Singh pairs a refreshing Greek salad, made with Persian cucumbers from the garden, with the wood-fired Tomahawk steak, which comes with potatoes au gratin.
Chef Singh brings the flavors of Asia to the Sea of Cortez at his new indoor-outdoor restaurant at Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort. While the flavors—curries, paneer, coconut milk—hail from overseas, what’s on the plate often comes from Los Cabos, with seafood sourced from Baja California Sur. Fittingly for its name (which means “tree” in Spanish), the space showcases seven treelike sculptures from Guadalajara-based artist David Luna that sparkle with more than 500 birdcage lanterns. Singh’s cooking at Arbol recently earned him the Chef Revelation award at the inaugural Culinary Awards Los Cabos.
What to Order: “My inspiration came from childhood memories of India and my love for Asian flavors,” says Singh. Dishes that are particularly close to home for him: the chicken curry with butter cream and tomato; bami goreng, a fried-noodle dish with chili sauce and mixed vegetables; and the green-papaya and prawn salad, served with red onion, cashews, and mint leaves.
Flora Farms: Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 30; +52 624-142-1000
Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar: Carretera Transpeninsular Km 6.5; +52 624-104-3184
Acre: Rincón de Las Animas, Calle Camino Real S/N; +52 624-171-8226
Arbol: Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort, Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 19.5; +52 624-144 -2800