San Jose del Cabo, 20 miles up the road from Cabo San Lucas on the southern edge of Baja California peninsula, is the more sophisticated sibling of the two towns. With its arts district, colonial architecture, and festive central plaza, it’s no wonder that Mexican transplants, an older demographic, and expats are adopting this place. The hotels along the beach are complemented by real locally-owned restaurants and accommodations. A sanctuary on the north side of town attracts birders, and the hills beyond that are welcoming new residents and businesses, like Acre Restaurant and Cocktail Bar.
Established by the Vancouver duo Stuart McPherson and Cameron Watt, Acre is an exciting new addition to San Jose del Cabo, founded on principles of locally sourced food served in an open air environment. The restaurant is constructed of local materials, and is designed for intimate dinners, al fresco casual crowds, or the party-hearty late night drink and dance divas. It’s easy to visualize weddings and other special occasions right here.
This Acre oasis is built on 25 acres of farmland, and the restaurant feels like a giant porch. The lounge and multi-leveled dining areas are covered by pergolas created from local Palo de Arco trees. Views extend over landscaped paths to small vegetable plots and expansive orchards, then to the hills beyond. We found the owners in the orchard just as it was getting dark, adjusting some new lighting. Their planning began before Hurricane Odile hit in 2014. Damage to trees was significant, but the storm didn’t deter them. Their patience and perseverance emanates from every detail and each plate of food.
The tasting menu, happily, is a regular feature, and it’s hard to imagine ordering any other way. Seven chef-selected courses (1100 pesos, or about U.S. $60 per person) demonstrate the kitchen’s respect for the gamut of ingredients. The ‘small bites’ starters combine textures and temperatures, like the gazpacho with tomato gelee, tempura flakes, radish, and sorbet, or the hibiscus-cured catch of the day. Tartars are sampled along with roasts, root vegetables along with candied kumquats. The sensations of crisp and cold mingle with zest and warmth. Graciously, cocktails and desserts are treated with the same creativity as fish and meats.
There is time to take it all in. Losing track of how many courses were to come, we felt our way through the meal. Between courses we admired the decor, breathed in herbs from the garden and the kitchen, and rested our eyes on the smooth flowing staff and preparations in the elegant open kitchen.
In the property’s next phase, treehouse accommodations will offer a high-end overnight experience in tricky little sky boxes that allow air flow and peeking out, while protecting privacy within. Acre’s lofty future continues to be grounded in the landscape it inhabits.
If you go
Acre Restaurant and Cocktail Bar http://acrebaja.com/