For all of my friends out there, that Cocina Del Mar might be my favorite restaurant in the world is no secret. For all of my Cabo Friends whom I haven’t had the pleasure of developing our relationship, now you know! Just take a look at this picture! The view itself is nearly enough to land this restaurant in my Top 10 Restaurants in Los Cabos list!
Just 13 days from now, my dear friends (family really) Krista and Dan will be joining Victoria and me for dinner here. This is a special occasion for several reasons. First, although we go to cabo with this lovely couple nearly every year, we’ve never experienced Cocina Del Mar together. We had reservations for the day after Hurricane Odile, but as you can imagine, that event managed to cancel our reservation! Second, this trip is for my 40th birthday, which I’ve been planning for over 12 months. The excitement and now anxiety is starting to become overwhelming; I’m excited for this trip, and focus on my daily work and responsibilities has become a near impossible task.
What Makes Cocina Del Mar So Special?
If you follow Tripadvisor, or any of the various Facebook groups dedicated to Cabo San Lucas, there are 1000s of posts and discussions about what is the best restaurant in Cabo, which restaurant is the most romantic, which restaurant has the best view. The amazing thing, for me, is that Cocina Del Mar is top 2 in all of these categories. The view and location easily rival El Farallon, the ambiance is unbeatable anywhere in the world, and the food is incredible; far better than El Farallon in my personal opinion.
So with all of these superlatives, would it shock you that they aren’t even the top reason why I love this place? If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’d like to tell you a little story… Well, a kind of long story.
In 2013, Victoria and I booked a reservation at the restaurant just for the two of us. It was a little bit last minute but they were able to fit us in. The reservation was late in the evening, around 8:00pm I believe. We got dressed up, my wife in a beautiful dress, and I wore my favorite Tommy B. silk shorts and signature button up.
They put is in a table for two, just above where you see the couple sitting in the picture above. I ordered a nice glass of scotch and my wife a glass of red wine. I ordered the seafood tortilla soup, as it is a signature dish, and it was amazing. As the meal progressed, the server and I got to talking about food, preparations, and pairings. While I’m no chef, I love to cook, and am a self identified foodie, so I was really having fun with the server. I had the Butter Fish for dinner, which was easily the best seafood dish I’ve ever had. It was really incredible.
Well, the next thing I know, our server is walking to our table with the Executive Chef! Chef Cerda is a wonderful man, with a jovial smile, and a genuineness that is evident from his every mannerism. We talked about our meal, what a great job the server was doing, and our overall elation with the experience we were having. He talked briefly about the deserts they had prepared that evening, and then had to disappear back into the kitchen.
That experience alone would have been amazing, but it didn’t stop there. Chef Gonzalo then returned to our table, and while our deserts were being prepared began to tell us a very lovey story about his special ring box that he has on his dresser. The box was given to him by his wife, and every night before bed, he removes his rings, reflects on his family, and says his prayers before putting the rings in this box. He then pulls out of his pocket, a small, hand painted ring box, and gives it to my wife. Inside was a lovely hand written note, and a truffle.
I’m pretty certain at this point my wife and I were on the border of tears. Anyhow, we had another 10 minutes of conversation with the chef, during which we learned that his wife was 4 months pregnant. So…..
Returning To Cocina Del Mar 6 Months Later
We returned to Cabo with some of our friends, and convinced them we needed to get out to Cocina Del Mar. I was able to get a sunset reservation, and we were all quite excited. Victoria and I had purchased a baby blanket and swaddle from our favorite brand, and had schlepped the wrapped box with us from Seattle, and were anxious to give it to chef! Well, as it turns out, soon after having the baby, Chef Ganzalo decided to take time from work to spend with his family, and he was not at the resort. We arrived early to have drinks at the bar, and when I asked for chef, the bartender asked me “which one?”. He did a good job of giving me the news… Victoria and I were deeply disappointed, but completely understood.
Well… Apparently the server working the bar heard our conversation. About 10 minutes after we were seated at our table, he walks out and hands me his cell phone. I’ll be darned if he hadn’t called up chef and let him know that we were there looking for him and had a gift for his baby. I discussed this with chef, and asked him if there was a place we could meet him so we could give he and his wife our gift. This next part blows me away…
Chef Gonzalo drove 45 minutes to join us for dinner!!! It is a moment in my life I will never forget, seeing chef arrive at the restaurant.
My 40th Birthday Dinner at Cocina Del Mar
I’m happy to report that chef hand selected his replacement, who is another Argentinian chef trained at the same school at which Chef Ganzalo trained. The food and service is still incredible, and I can’t wait to get back there. As for Chef Gonzalo, he has been hired to be the executive chef at the new Costa Palmas Four Seasons resort on the East Cape of Cabo. When the resort opens, you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be there! Chef Gonzalo, if you ever read this, thank you so much for your hospitality, and great character. You are in our hearts and minds forever. Thank you.