There’s no quicker way to start an argument in Los Cabos than to stake a claim of supremacy for your favorite taquería. Tacos are serious business in México, and local residents are happy to argue a case for their own favorite purveyor based upon what are often a complicated set of criteria involving price, ingredients, location, hours of operation, tortilla protocols, regional specialty items, etc.
Ultimately though, it’s like arguing over pizza. Even if it’s impossible to decide which region or business makes the best, we can all agree that these are magical foods, perfect in any setting, at any time, and in any condition…indoors or out, day or night, drunk or sober.
And most cabeños would agree that over the course of many years–in some cases decades–certain places here have established themselves as benchmarks, meccas that must be mentioned in any conversation about the best taco destinations in the area.
Tacos Los Claros (Blvd. Mijares) is frequently nominated by locals as the best taquería in the area, and its proponents have a strong argument: if this place doesn’t serve the best tacos in Los Cabos, how is it they seem to open a new franchise every few weeks? By my count, there are at least eight Los Claros locations in Cabo San Lucas alone. But the first and best is in San José del Cabo, along the city’s broad central boulevard. Forget the marlin tacos, which are tasty, but also come with ethical problems. Stuff your tortillas with fish, shrimp, lobster, scallops, octopus or oysters, and try not to sprain your arm heaping on the fixings.
Tacos Rossy (Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 33) also boasts a cadre of loyal supporters, thanks to a 25 year run of superb tacos. Like Los Claros, Rossy is known for its seafood options; for a good introduction, try a trio of gobernadores, traditional Baja California style shrimp tacos. Rossy is also known for its excellent almejas (chocolate clams…chocolate referring to the color of the shell, not the flavor), another traditional regional staple, as well as terrific tacos deshebrada (with shredded beef) and adobada (with marinated pork).
Tacos Gardenias (Paseo de la Marina, between Acuario and Camino Viejo) too has a long history in the area, and has for over three decades has provided quick fish taco fixes for those enjoying sun and fun at nearby Médano Beach. Given its proximity to the Sea of Cortés, it will come as no surprise that the fish and shrimp tacos are first-class. But the most underrated menu option is the barbacoa. Many places in Los Cabos offer barbacoa tacos (beef or better yet lamb cooked in a pit covered with maguey leaves), but most do it once a week as a specialty…in much the same way some local restaurants offer the occasional bowl of menudo or birria. Delicious barbacoa tacos are a daily menu feature at Gardenias, however, as are tortillas topped with crunchy chicharrón (pork rinds).
Los Michoacanos (Leona Vicario between Carranza and Obregón) has a specialty–carnitas –and when it comes to these savory braised pork tacos, no one else is even close. They’ve basically cornered the market. The smart move is to buy them by the kilo and repair to your resort or rental, where you can make and devour tacos at your leisure. Just make sure to pick up some cerveza Pacífico or Victoria on the way back to the room. Nothing brings out the flavor of carnitas like ice cold Mexican beer.
Asi y Asado (Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 3.8) is the preferred pit stop for taco lovers traveling between the cape cities. Over two dozens types of tacos are offered at this beloved comfort food haven–notably featured on the Guy Fieri hosted Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives–including tasty vampiro, arrachera (marinated skirt steak) and pulpo (octopus) options. Asi y Asado also offers a huge array of fresh juices, and has recently opened another location across from Plaza San Lucas, better known to locals as the home of Walmart.
The best new taquería to appear in recent years is La Lupita Taco & Mezcal (Morelos, between Obregón and Comonfort) in San José del Cabo. Situated next to Baja Brewing Company in the city’s historic Distrito del Arte, La Lupita treats tacos with the same artistic integrity as local painters treat the canvases displayed in local galleries. Some may gasp at the prices–a few of the taco options are as much as 50 to 60 pesos each–but this is a gourmet experience, and well worth the cost. The must try appetizer is a Taste of Lupita featuring blue chips, pumpkin seed and tomato dip, guacamole, and my personal favorite, fresh chapulines (mezcal is the preferred pairing option with lime and chile roasted grasshoppers). Taco classics like lamb barbacoa and pastores are, of course, well represented here, but the best bets are less commonly carried options like duck with mole sauce, or El Torero with cecina (a thinly sliced, specially cured beef), local chorizo and chicharrón. Creative cocktails are also a specialty.
La Lupita is the best late night option in San José del Cabo, staying open until 2 a.m. from Wednesday through Friday, and until 3 a.m. on Saturday nights. In Cabo San Lucas, where nightlife is both more boisterous and pervasive, the best late night pit stops are located along Blvd. Lázaro Cárdenas.
El Gran Pastor (at the corner of Matamoros) has long been the most popular stand-up taqueria in the area, particularly with the crowds that spill out of nearby nightspots like Cabo Wabo, Giggling Marlin, Jungle Bar and Hooliganz. After midnight, the crowd on the sidewalk is often three deep, with more refined types sitting curbside to scarf their tacos. As the name suggests, tacos al pastor are the signature offering.
Tacos Guss (at the corner of Melchor Ocampo), meanwhile, is more conveniently close to clubs like Mandala and El Squid Roe, and has the added attraction of picnic bench style seating. My Mexican friends claim Tacos Guss makes some of the best, freshest tortillas in town, and although many have been turned off by rising prices and the place’s discovery by masses of tourists, this remains a benchmark local taqueria. And like El Gran Pastor, it’s open until the break of dawn. In addition to tacos, Guss also features late night ballast like alambres and huaraches (fried masa in the shape of a sandal, with a choice of toppings).
Las Guacamayas originated in San José, but maintains two colorful, macaw-themed locations in San Lucas: on Morelos at Alikan, and on Lázaro Cárdenas between Matamoros and Melchor Ocampo. Like El Gran Pastor and Tacos Guss, Las Guacamayas excels at pastores. But it is also famed locally for its excellent quesadillas, particularly Mexico City style quesadillas chilangas.
The Best Tacos in Los Cabos