Maria Corona Restaurant, Cabo San Lucas - Authentic Mexican Food at Reasonable Prices

A bartender shakes up a Mango Margarita at Maria Corona in Cabo San Lucas
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If you're a baby-boomer, you'll remember the show "Father Knows Best" where Robert Young's role was that of the all-knowing, all-caring dad of dads. Well, when it comes to truly traditional Mexican fare in Cabo San Lucas, Abuela (spanish for grandmother) is the one who knows best. The grandmother I'm referring to is Maria Corona, namesake of Jorge Gonzalez Sanchez's latest culinary project and Jorge's muse when it comes to authentic Mexican cooking.

I've yet to have the pleasure of meeting Maria, although one day I hope to. She is very much involved in the development of the restaurant's menu and also trains kitchen and wait staff in the proper preparation of her timeless dishes. Her wise palate is put to good use sampling the creations that parade from the open kitchen leaving a trail of heady aromas and watering mouths. A little more this, a little less that… that's how a visit from the matriarch of this family goes – nothing is right until it gets Maria's nod. It takes that kind of care and dedication to create not just another Mexican restaurant, but something authentic and truly special.

Exterior dining area at Maria Corona in Cabo San Lucas
Colorful Maria Corona has seating on the courtyard as well as inside in a nicely decorated building full of Mexican charm.

Maria Corona Mexican restaurant joins a family of eateries owned and operated by Jorge. His claim to fame in Los Cabos? Two other restaurants. Baja Cantina Dockside - a marina front restaurant and bar that is without a doubt a favorite amongst the sport fishing captains and crew members whose yachts lie just steps away and, Baja Cantina Beachside - on the ever popular sands of Medaño Beach. Both restaurants are proven winners and they play host to many of Cabo's premier events, sport fishing and entertainment focused alike. I've been a patron of both for quite some time and was thrilled to learn of Jorge's new venture and even more so when Jorge invited us to check out Maria Corona during its opening week.

Hostess station at Maria Corona A congenial hostess greets and seats you and soon the attentive waiters take your drink order and tell you about the day's specials.

As soon as you walk through the front door, you'll be greeted by Maria Corona's hostess. The restaurant's decor is colorful but not overdone with a visually pleasing balance of earthtones against vibrant color. A collection of lamps hang from the palapa roof and they not only light the interior, they themselves create so many focal points your eyes are drawn to each and every one.

Once we were seated, we began our culinary expedition with something we didn't see on the menu.... a delightful Cream of Poblano Chile Soup topped with Mexican cream and roasted corn kernels. The small bowls of soup arrived as an extra special treat – rich, creamy and full of roasted chile flavor. Next came an order of guacamole, prepared tableside. Of all the dining we've done in Baja, this was the first time we were asked how we liked it spiced... hot, mild or not spicy at all. We opted for mild and watched our waiter as he diligently prepared the guacamole mashing a single roasted Serrano chile in a Mocajete (a spanish stone mortar and pestal) combining it with fresh garlic, onion, cilantro and locally grown avocados.

Making guacamole tableside at Maria Corona Tableside preparation of Mexican classics like Guacamole adds a bit of flair to your dining experience at Marina Corona. Hot or mild? Your
waiter will ask then use just the right amount of freshly roasted whole chiles to make it just as you like it!.

More drinks were ordered and I opted to take the bartenders recommendation of a mango margarita poured into a chile and salt rimmed glass. The spiciness of the chile brought out the natural sweetness of the mangos and I have to say it was very, very good!

Our guests that night were Minerva Saenz Valenzuela and husband Bob Smith of Minerva's Baja Tackle. We wanted to bring along friends who really know Mexican cooking and Minerva knows it very well. In fact, her mother and sister own a very popular Mexican restaurant in Southern California and the entire clan is akin to Mexican food afficianados.

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The interior of Maria Corona Mexican restaurant in Cabo San LucasThe colorful interior of Maria Corona boasts a tall palapa style roof and loads of Mexican charm.

For starters, our group of four chose a few items – a bowl of Tortilla Soup, a bit spicy but very rich in flavor; Shrimp Aguachile, fresh shrimp bathed in lime juice, onions, serrano chiles, salt and pepper – also quite spicy but very, very good; Queso Fundido made tableside and a Chilled Cactus Salad – layers of cactus leaf topped with onion, cilantro, tomato and Cotija cheese – a surprisingly refreshing and cooling end to our appetizer selections.

Shrimp Tres Quesos at Maria Corona
Queso Fundido at Maria Corona is also prepared tableside. The melding of Mexican cheese with roasted corn and chorizo is an excellent starter.

For the entrees, the selections became a bit more difficult as the menu is quite deep. I wanted to explore some of Maria's recipes taken from the Yucatan so my choice was the Beef Yucateco – a tender beef shank marinated in Achiote chile, orange juice and a variety of spices slow roasted in a banana leaf. The flavor is deep and robust while the shank falls from the bone. My wife Dolores chose the Mayan style Pork Pibil – shredded roasted pork that also starts its journey to the plate in a tasty marinade and ends with a roast in a banana leaf. Both entrees were served with crisp grilled vegetables and rice.

Shrimp Tres Quesos at Maria Corona
Shrimp Tres Quesos served over a slice of grilled pineapple is just one of many tasty seafood dishes available at Maria Corona in Cabo.

Minerva opted for a combination plate, the Maria Corona Platterthat features Chile Relleno, Chicken Molé and a spicy Chorizo sausage that so pleased Minerva that she is on a quest to get the same quality product for use at home. Bob's selection was the Shrimp Tres Quesos – shrimp medallions sautéed in butter, herbs and bacon finished with a white wine and cream sauce made with three types of cheese. I'd like to comment on this dish, but Bob managed to finish the plate before my fork could sneak its way across the table to smuggle a bite! Stomachs full, we all shared a piece of Maria Corona's Sweet Cornbread for dessert with a cup of vanilla and cinnamon infused coffee.... good stuff!

To get an idea of the ambiance at Maria Corona, watch the short video above. The video was filmed during opening week back in 2009 and the courtyard seating was not yet completed.

Mi Casa is located in the center of Cabo San Lucas directly across from the town center just south of the intersection of Avenida Cabo San Lucas and Lazaro Cardenas.


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