Metate: Cabo’s Best Kept Secret—Until Now
Cabo San Lucas Tourist Corridor, Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Rattlesnake mescal, rattlesnake included. Crispy scorpion tacos served on scrumptious azul corn tortillas. Fruit and pistachio trees pepper the dining space and beyond, bathed in the glow of twinkling lights entwined in their fertile branches. Welcome to Metate. Tina, a soft-haired, energetic Pit puppy, runs through the legs of patrons, nipping playfully at her chocolate-colored, four-legged companion. Nobody minds—least of all the dogs, as they’re often fed off table corners and stroked gently by staff and visitors alike. Besides, there is far more to see (and taste) here.
Opened in October 2017 by owners Andres Azaola and Abraham Tamez, Metate isn’t your typical restaurant. Everything here is hand crafted and local as can be, from the savory chorizo, arrachera, and Oaxaca cheese-topped namesake, Tlayuda Metate, to the eclectic bar menu. As Chef Abraham describes to me, Metate serves “traditional Mexican street food turned to plated dishes in the ambiance of the backyards of grandmas.” In this spirit, he keeps his prices low and his focus on community high. It’s important, he says, to support local farmers and use ingredients often so fresh, they’ve never touched a refrigerator. And the drinks? Chef Abraham, with the help of his Mexican Mixologist, is proud to have “rescued the old drinks grandpas like to have.”
It turns out more than just grandpas like Metate’s bar menu—and for good reason. The spirits don’t get any more flavorful or aromatic, as many ingredients are grown right there on the property—an array of citrus fruits, pineapple, mint, mango, and many more.
It soon becomes clear to me that Metate is more than a restaurant. Chef Abraham tells me his number one commitment is to give back to society—and he does. Metate hosts programs for children, showing them how to prepare dishes and helping them cultivate a love of local food and flavor. They support groups that help dogs. They raise awareness when a local amigo or amiga needs a surgery or other kind of support. The main goal, Chef Abraham tells me, is to make Cabo a better place. If my brief time there is any indication, they’re doing just that.
On my visit, a black-and-white movie plays behind the bar, projected on deconstructed wooden pallets. My companion sips his pinot noir, and I my cucumber/mint margarita—an item not on the menu, but one Jorge, the lead mixologist, makes for me before leading us on a tour of the grounds. We see a new, intricately-decorated bar area currently being constructed near—of course—fresh cilantro, Papalo, hierbabuena (peppermint), and others. We walk along the garden, among the rows of melon, tomatoes, and other seasonal crops used in dishes like the sweetcorn (and grasshopper!)-based Ese Gallo Quiere Maiz and the Tomatoes Salad, served with orange, lime, and just the right amount of spice.
We walk past pits where pork is sometimes roasted in the traditional way, past yet more fruit trees in bloom. We walk near the outdoor seating area, flanked by cacti and licked by the light of the flickering tiki torches and the pastel Mexican sunset. In this moment, I am warmed by more than the satisfying meal, the ideal company, and the thick Baja air. I become keenly aware of what sets this eatery apart: Metate not a place. Metate is alive.
I’ve visited this region many times and eaten at my fair share of beautiful local restaurants, but Metate isn’t just an establishment with delicious food and drinks—it’s an experience that nourishes and satisfies more than just your palate. Metate feeds your soul and epitomizes what I love about this region of the Baja: the color, the flavor, the authenticity, the culture, the people, the ingenuity, the joy, the generosity, the spirit of a country. All—somehow appropriately—found down a little dirt road in Cabo.
Metate Cabo, Crispin Cesena s/n, Colonia Tezal, behind the Modelrama, Cabo San Lucas 23454, Mexico
Phone: +52 1 624 157 8760
Directory Listing Page: www.loscabosguide.com/metate-cabo/