While many restaurants can boast a decent sunset view, it would be near impossible to rival the horizon provided by Sunset da Mona Lisa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Carved into the side of a cliff, every table on the Sunset da Mona Lisa terraces is prime seating to watch the sun sink behind mountains cradling the Bay of Cabo San Lucas. Breathtaking even when one is prepared, I arrived without any prior knowledge of the restaurant or the visual feast I was about to encounter.
My friend and I were greeted in front of a building where I assumed we would be dining. However, instead of heading indoors, the host directed us around the side of the building. We had barely rounded the corner when a brilliant view stopped me short.
After snapping a few photos, I continued along the tiled path to discover that our meal would not be inside the building, but perched on the side of a cliff.
We walked over pools that were (unfortunately) temporarily without water and wove through other diners along the curve of the bluff until we reached our own seats – arguably the best in the house.
Nestled in the far corner on the lowest of several terraces, we were treated to an unbelievable panorama of the Atlantic Ocean, El Arco and the Bay of Cabo San Lucas. Despite arriving after our dinner companions, we managed to show up just in time for the sunset.
After a significant amount of time spent soaking in the landscape, it was time to eat. The food was just as spectacular as the sights. While nibbling on appetizers and complimentary breads we began the daunting task of choosing entrées.
Having recently swum with sharks in the Sea of Cortez, I felt it would be fitting to enjoy something from the same waters.
Tonno Campari e Mirtilli – roasted Sea of Cortez tuna with caramelized endive and Campari-flavored cranberry scent. The caramelized endive was delicate to the eye but rich, sweet and savory in taste. The tuna was perfectly prepared and each ingredient blended in fresh, flavorful harmony.
A special dish of the evening was more tuna – seared, tartare and grilled, served with a trio of complimentary sauces.
Salmone all’ aceto – braised Alaskan salmon with broccoli puree, fennel confit and lemon grass foam.
Stinco D’Agnello all’Italiana – lamb shank confit (cooked for 18 hours) with fondant potatoes, spinach and lavender backed apricot.
The food is served with a friendly professionalism and several items (Maiale and Filetto di Manzo alla Pietra Lavica) are prepared tableside, seared and cooked on lava rock.
As the sun finally dipped below the mountaintops…
…a select number of servers, strategically placed on different terraces, blew conch shells. A ritual that is attributed to endless areas (including the Bahamas and Hawaii), blowing the conch at sunset can be interpreted as a celebration, saying goodbye to the day or a giving of thanks. A single conch turned into a chorus with brief pauses as the musicians turned methodically and played in specific directions. By the glow of candlelight we studied the dessert menu.
After a decadent but light Millefoglie e Meringa (pastry filled with chantilly cream, raspberries and strawberries, strawberry sorbet and a meringue) our party received a complimentary dessert tray that included coconut balls, macarons, candied guava and chocolate liqueur.
Go for the view but be blown away by the entire experience.