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Alta Cocina Mexicana: Five Ways to Experience San Jose del Cabo Gourmet Cuisine

By Yesica “Yeye” Pineda

Image by Angel Carbajal de Nick San

Food that nourishes the body also nourishes mind and spirit. Pay close attention: food not only affects your health at the physical level, but science and meditation both confirm that food is directly linked to your mood and the quality of your thoughts.   “We are what we eat” is not just an old adage, but a true natural law that proves itself every time we bring something to our mouth and ingest it. Keep this in mind when you travel to San Jose del Cabo.

San José del Cabo is known for its culinary trend called alta cocina mexicana, gourmet creations of traditional Mexican dishes. Rich in organic produce and ancient mexican food culture, chefs around the world find in San José del Cabo an inspiring creative environment for their practice.

A good chef knows that combining, preparing, and cooking  food is not only a matter of good taste, but also a matter of well-being. A dish can taste delicious but make you feel sick afterwards, drain your energy or leave you in a dull state of mind; so always seek food that will have positive effects on your body.

Here are five ways you can experience San Jose del Cabo Gourmet Cuisine:

  1. Go to the Restaurants

Chef Jacobo Turquie

Mexican chef Jacobo Turquie, who owns La Panga Antigua in San Jose del Cabo, has lived here the last 14 years. His restaurant has been awarded the “Excelsis Award” by Global Quality Foundation and has appeared in magazines such as Food Arts, Vanity Fair,, Chicago Tribune, Savoir French American, Northwest Airlines World Travel, Palm Springs Life, México for Beginners, Baja Traveler, la Guía de Restaurantes, and Estilos Gastronómicos.

As a chef, his curriculum speaks for itself as a graduate of the Culinary Institute in America in New York.  Today, Jacobo is not only the Municipal Director of Tourism in Los Cabos, but his role as President for the Baja California Sur Chefs Association has brought San Jose del Cabo into the spotlight as an epicenter of Baja culinary paradise. Every year, under a full moon by the ocean, he and his team at CANIRAC service more than 1,000 people in our Historic Center, marking  San Jose del Cabo as an original gastronomic international destination.

Jacobo’s favorite restaurants in San Jose del Cabo are Casiano´s, Nick San, Market, Agua, The Restaurant, Flora Field Kitchen and of course La Panga Antigua.  He reminds us all that most of the restaurants in San Jose del Cabo use local ingredients, organic produce and seafood from Mar de Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, so he recommends that regardless of which restaurant you choose, try any dish that uses produce of the region.

2. Experience a private chef

Many Baja travelers choose the Villa experience; a Vacation Rental Home for your stay is an excellent option and it is very likely that you will be offered the opportunity to enjoy a private chef. If that is not the case, do not hesitate to ask for the service. Our town priority is your happiness. Even better, we at will take care of it for you.

In case your Villa or Hotel does not have private Chef service available, here is a list of links to favorite chefs in San Jose del Cabo:

Chef Casiano Reyes
Angel Carbajal
Alex Thiel
Fabrice Guisset
Volker Romeike
Drew Deckman
Pia Quintana

Don’t get discouraged thinking that our celebrity chefs are most likely busy or expensive, the worse that can happen is that you will get their recommendation of an excellent chef that suits your timing and specific needs.

3. Take a class

Have you ever taken an international gastronomic tour? A great way to experience food in San Jose del Cabo is taking a culinary class.

Chef Pia Quintana

San Jose del Cabo is home to excellent Chefs like Pia Quintana, who owns PQ Culinary Consulting & Catering. Pia Quintana moved to San Jose del Cabo 8 years ago. For two years she was Sous Chef of Ventanas Al Paraiso High End Resort before she created and designed the first organic restaurant in Los Cabos in partnership with chef Angel Carbajal. After a journey of extraordinary educational experiences in Europe, USA, and Mexico in the world of cuisine, she now herself  to her intimate interests that include Mexican Gastronomy adapted to foreign taste, International Gastronomic Tours, and teaching how to cook. Pia Quintana is a specialist in healthy Mexican Cuisine and focuses in organic products. To be part of her cooking classes, private events, and demonstrations is one of a kind experience–a San Jose del Cabo kind of experience.

Enrique Silva, owner of the famous Tequila Restaurant  gives a harvesting, cooking and wine tasting class at his organic farm  “Los Tamarindos”, not more than 5 miles from San Jose del Cabo.

Patrick and Gloria Greene at Flora Farm offer not only regional cooking classes, but they also invite you to bring your family together by preparing and sharing food and creating traditions to pass down through generations. Stay at one of their Culinary Cottages, let the season suggest what you eat, and live life on the land you farm.

In San Jose del Cabo you can also find walk-in Creative Culinary Classes at the cooking school Aroma at Plaza Peninsula. They also offer Summer Cooking Camps for children!

You could also include a road trip and visit the magic town Todos Santos. Once there, you can stay a week for a cooking adventure with Dany Lamote, head chef of the famed Hotel California and Iker Algorri, owner of the Todos Santos institution Café Brown, and experience cooking as seen in the segments featured on Chef Rick Bayless’ PBS Show Mexico, One Plate at a Time.

4. Celebrate your event in  SJC

Are you getting married? Is it your anniversary? A family reunion? Maybe you are celebrating your honeymoon? Organizing a yoga retreat? A conference? A concert? A romantic rendezvouz? An organic food workshop?

Whatever the inspiration for your event, let your favorite Chef or Restaurant cater for you. The options are endless.

5. Be your own chef

Last but not least, be your own chef. In San Jose del Cabo you will find organic produce at the Farmer’s Market, and local ingredients are available in our Mega store and several local businesses. Courtesy of president of The Chefs Association of Baja California, here is our gift to you, a San Jose del Cabo Gourmet recipe from chef Jacobo Turquie:

Trilogía de Mariscos
Seafood Trilogy

Serves four

4 jumbo shrimp size U-10, peeled and de-veined
2 – 2 lb red or rock lobster, split in half lengthwise
8 sea scallops, shucked
1/4 cup salted butter
1 tsp salt
1 lime, juiced
2 bok choy stalks washed, rinsed and split in half lengthwise
1 lb organic baby vegetables (zucchini, patty-pan, carrots, French beans)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups Spanish chorizo risotto

Grill the shrimp, lobster, and scallops with butter and a dash of salt until they are cooked
but tender. Once done, squeeze a lime over the seafood for extra flavor. Grill the split bok
choy and place on a side of the serving dish. Sauté the organic baby vegetables with olive
oil and season. Place the split lobster next to the bok choy and arrange the shrimp and
scallops over the lobster tail and the organic baby vegetables on the side.
Scoop some Spanish chorizo risotto over the lobster head as an accompaniment.
Serve with optional melted butter, garlic butter, or any other sauce for seafood.

Do you have any special ways that you experience food and dining in San Jose del Cabo? Let us know!

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