BY LISSETTE VALENTIN
And just when we thought we had all the trendy Farm to Table restaurants we could handle, where chefs harvest the produce and feature it on their menu as a true straight crop-to-plate experience, an incredible concept opened last year. Picaro Garden Cuisine by Romeo and Julieta Restaurant (the super famous Italian restaurant in downtown Cabo San Lucas) is the latest addition to the Solmar Group, a gastronomic revolution inside the gates of Rancho San Lucas a 15-minute drive on highway 1.
Picaro, which in Italian means, mischievous or playful , was the nickname first given to the executive chef Christian Ricci for his peculiar charming personality, and then to the restaurant, by Mr. Bulnes junior son of Don Luis Bulnes, which long ago was a cannery manager and shortly after became the founder of the Solmar Group of resorts, restaurants, and fishing fleet.
Mr. Don Bulnes was one of the most important figures in the transition of Los Cabos, from tuna packing fishing village in the 60s to an exclusive tourist destination that it is today.
The architecture of Picaro reflects the environment within Rancho San Lucas development, luxurious and serene, the interior was designed by Holly Regan, a traveler, craft beer lover and amateur chef.
It features black and white minimalist clean strokes and defined industrial forms with an atmosphere of harmoniously highlights, in addition to the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the glamorous cozy countryside feel surrounded by edible gardens of herbs de Provence, lavender bushes, olive and lemon trees, which immediately transports you far across the Atlantic to Europe.
In an interview with Chef Ricci, he said, “Picaro has a casual menu nevertheless refined with a Mediterranean – Mexican twist, it showcases high-quality local produce with an array of flavors, I use cooking methods discovered from rich traditions, this is the kind of place where you could easily spend an entire afternoon or just stop by for a garden-inspired cocktail. It is like at home you eat what you want when and where you want. That is what we would like this space to be. We want you to feel comfortable and satisfied with every glance of every bite, whether you are sitting close to our open kitchen, the bar, the terrace or the cellar dining area.”
The dual themes of wine tasting and farm-to-table cuisine run through their private cava dining room adjacent to the main dining area. The room features a long, wooden dining table that seats up to eight guests. Inside, diners are surrounded by tastefully displayed cases of wine in a temperature-control room. The wines at the cellar are some of the best in Baja and from around the world wine growing regions like California, France and Italy.
The name of the game here is local and artisanal and it’s apparent in every bite. The bread (focaccia among others) and pastas (fettuccine and rigatoni) and many of the cheeses (ricotta) and meats are prepared in-house, Italian charcuterie ( Capicollo, salami, pancetta), and so are the preserves and confits from the French confire, “to preserve”, but also used for fruits or vegetables. Savory confits are made with garlic or fennel and virgin olive oil.
Chef Ricci said “In the past, dishes matched the ingredients available during that particular season. If summer brought fresh tomatoes that is what was used. However, they also preserve them for the winter months, as a Pomodoro Sauce or a Panna Cotta. I am sure you already know there are many organic crops all along the coast and the sierra between Pescadero and Cabo San Lucas and from Miraflores to Santiago, this land is such of incredible abundance so we try to take advantage of it by following a seasonal cycle. Hopefully, soon we will have our own greenhouse so we can grow our own on-site. We are in love with produces, they are the crown jewel of our menus as it’s the presentation, since offerings are generally seasonal, presentation never gets dull.”
Most dishes have an element of a locally grown wood oven and are very earthy and comforting. The menu is always inventive, “a statement of knowing where your food comes from,” which is why the day’s options are scrawled on a dry-erase board. But not to worry no matter what you order you will be slouching in your seat afterward, wine glass in hand, satiated in delight.
The large bar is a gathering place for celebration and also open for dining, a structure of black polish clean concrete below modern chandeliers. Along with traditional cocktails, wine and beer served in sophisticated glassware, the bar offers a full range of fruit, vegetable and herbs infused author cocktails like the Picaro Carajillo, the Coniglietto, La Frida or La Picara. I must say the presentation is such that even the ball like ice, not a cube, with a fresh lavender flower, straight from the garden, floating in the middle looks so inviting.
So now just try to Imagine having the entire restaurant, cava, patio and gardens to yourself for the evening or for your event or wedding! Picaro is available for private events depending on existing reservations and with advance notice. Without a doubt, at Picaro, you are guaranteed to find your vice and a grand (Solmar) time. Make sure to keep your eyes open for the fall menu coming up soon.
For menu viewing and reservations please visit :
Tel: 624 689 0050
Address Grand Solmar Rancho San Lucas,
highway to Todos Santos km 120.