All in San José del Cabo

Tacos Rossy

San José del Cabo has some of the freshest seafood in Mexico. Being on the Mar de Cortez and a stone's throw from Pacific makes San José one of the premier fishing destinations in the world. For many coastal restaurants in Baja California Sur, seafood is brought in daily -- sometimes even twice daily. The fish is thrown on the grill or simply splashed with lime and served raw. When fish is this fresh, it really doesn't need that much preparation. Taquería Rossy has exceptionally fresh fish. The restaurant's decor -- much like an abandoned high school cafeteria with the fluorescent lights permanently off -- is not representative of the quality of the food. It's a local restaurant that has become popular during lunch and the staff, much like everyone else in Baja California, is relaxed and comfortable with the foreigners who have discovered this fantastic place.

Cenaduría Sinaloense La Espiguita

If there were one rule to remember while eating in San José, it's this: if a restaurant says "Sinaloa," it probably has really good food. As the nearest land mass across the Mar de Cortez, Sinaloa is the neighboring state to Baja California Sur. This explains why a large portion of San José's residents are Sinaloan: they moved west during Baja California Sur's massive development thirty years ago. With them they brought the tastes of Sinaloan cuisine.

Cenaduría Sinaloense la Espiguita is the restaurant of Sinaloa native chef Sandra Luz Zepeda. It's a local place visited by residents who live in the adjacent Colonia Chamizal. Here, a tabletop stereo plays Sinaloan banda while Señora Zepeda takes orders and returns to the kitchen to prepare them. The outdoor restaurant serves a variety of antojitos, meats, and soups including red pozole. But what the restaurant lacks in fancy decor it makes up for in flavor. I find myself visiting "La Espiguita" pretty often.

Taquería Liliana

I always thought a taco implied a hardshell. At least in the US, I grew up with the crispy yellow pre-folded U-shaped shells that were stuffed to the brim with ground beef, iceberg lettuce, flavorless tomatoes, and buried in orange cheddar cheese. Only after visiting Mexico (a lot), I learned, or at least I thought I did, that truly authentic tacos consist of double-layered soft corn tortillas -- each no bigger than 6-inches in diameter -- dotted with a sprinkle of meat. Turns out this was wrong, too. The contrast of authentic tacos being smaller in size with a soft shell versus the oversized crispy-shell impostors is overly simplistic. The texture, size, shape, and filling of authentic tacos varies tremendously. Some of Mexico's most delicious tacos are in fact hard-shelled, native to regions like Los Mochis and Baja California Sur.

Mariscos el Sinaloense

Off Highway 1, halfway between San José Centro and the airport, is a humble concrete blue-roofed restaurant teeming with incredibly fresh seafood. The restaurant, named Mariscos el Sinaloense ("Seafood by the guy from Sinaloa"), is just to the side of a dirt parking lot with iron bars protecting open-air windows. What the restaurant lacks in appearance it makes up for in flavor. At the back of the simple restaurant -- open only for lunch -- is a magical red Igloo cooler filled with a colorful palette of the morning's fresh catch. Sr. Olegario Yañez, chef/owner of Mariscos el Sinaloense, originally came from Culiacán, Sinaloa nearly twenty five years ago. The original restaurant, just a fraction of the current size, was located in San José. Overflowing with customers, Mariscos el Sinaloense moved a few miles north on Highway 1 to expand six years ago. Since then it's been relatively quiet, a pit stop for locals travelling along the highway.

Barbacoa Vicky

A few miles inland off a recently-paved road lies a concrete white utilitarian building stamped with the logos of Pepsi and Pacifico. The sturdy building is adorned with exposed electric and telephone lines. Despite being wrapped in ten layers of paint, the true age of the restaurant is revealed through hints of peels and flakes. The hot sun of San José -- a place where the sun shines 364 days of the year -- beats down incessantly on the fading pained script logo: "Restaurant Vicky." While the surrounding buildings have been occupied and abandoned over the last thirty years through Baja California Sur's development, like a church, Barbacoa Vicky has held strong. It offers a unique delicacy: the best slow-roasted lamb tacos in town. Barbacoa at Vicky's comes from sheep, slow-roasted underground in hot embers for eight hours. The resulting meat, ordered here by the kilogram, develops a soft and stringy texture intertwined in pockets of juicy fat. The meat is typically rife with moisture and arriving early in the day ensures the juiciest cuts. The fresh corn tortillas -- speckled with coarse grains of yellow corn -- absorb the excess fat, much like spreading butter on cornbread. Wrapped with a splash of lime, a dash of cilantro, and a small dollop of guacamole and the barbacoa taco is ready to go.