Santo has great intentions and hidden gems. Genuinely trying to better itself, to spar with the best in Cabo, to make it to the top and make a name for themselves. To make Cabo culturally richer and carry on despite hard times.
Making Cabo culturally richer; These are the kind of goals we should stand behind. The economic setbacks of covid caused many to change course. Santo Restaurant had to put aside its culinary aspirations to make ends meet.
Yesterday I got to have dinner at Santos Restaurant with Chief of Design, my partner in remaking Los Cabo Magazine, Leon. We did our best to order the most unique options on the menu. Santo is a curious restaurant genuinely trying to earn its place. Right now might not have been the best time to visit Santo, or so I thought at first.
I’ve been to Santo before, before writing, I remember having the best Marisco Tower, a literal tower of seafood, shrimp, octopus, fish, and clam. Salty the way the sea is salty but surprisingly refreshing, salty refreshing. Alas, it’s no longer on the menu. (Unless you somehow heard of it and ask Chef Luis to make it for you. You’re welcome.)
Here’s where I got worried, the menu replaced exquisite seafood with sports bar food, you know, ribs, hamburgers, personally I don’t appreciate or consider these to be forms of fine dining. Not something worth writing about, not a culinary experience. We avoided most of these new additions. With exception of the ribs to give the new concept a shot.
The ribs were alright, but not really anything special to mention about them. They were well-cooked ribs, but that’s it, not anything you haven’t already had before.
Al pastor Octopus, Miso Tamarindo fish of the day, and Tune Chicharon were the highlights of our meal. Al pastor is a Mexican-Midleestern pork marinade, Santo does it with octopus. Chicharon is pork-fat fried pork skin. Santo does it with Tuna fish. Miso Tamarindo Fish of the Day tastes like barbecue fish. So Santo is experimenting. They were all good, notably, The Tuna Fish Chicharon on a bed of guacamole was really really good!
Drinks were great, my favorite was served in a small clay pot, I can’t recall what was in it other than grapefruit and mezcal, but it was really really good. Think a light refreshing, vibrant, think sport-drink that packs the soothing kick of mezcal.
At the end of our meal we got to meet up with Chef Luis Lopez, we talked about the menu. I straight up said that I thought the so far called “sports bar” options were in my opinion lacking and asked why this sudden shift away from the exciting meals I had previously come to appreciate.
To which the answer was, well, simply put covid. I at times now forget what it was like. What for many it still is like, many business owners had a really hard time staying alive during this recession. Many are still in debt and trying to save the business. Santo was no exception. To keep the doors open, the restaurant had to part itself in two halves, keeping one side for its “fine dinning” and turning the other half into a sports bar.
In a similar fashion, the menu had also been modified. Half great meals for the abid eater, half sports bar food to hedge their bets. It was a compromise. One that kept the doors open. Here we are and thanks to everything done to stay afloat. Before covid started Santos was trying to get in the scene, they’d tried to compete in Los Cabos Culinary award but got smocked by the competition, Santos goal then was to make its mark, to compete against the best and maybe not win, but put up a fight in contending to be Cabos best, then Covid struck. This is still the goal, and as things go back to normal Santo wants back in the game.
The goal is to create genuine culinary experiences and try to be the best at it.
Anyone putting in the effort, and genuinely trying to better their community can count on me to help out. Not without rough edges, the menu is lacking, it’s poorly written. It’s really hard to tell apart the really special dishes, from those added to make ends meet. I can see past that, I personally offered to write them a menu as a gift. And I think this is the kind of establishment we should all stand behind.