Sunday, June 16, 2024

A first look at Tiger Woods’ new restaurant in Cabo San Lucas

In November 2023, within a week of the first-ever PGA-sponsored golf tour event teeing off in Cabo San Lucas, a new restaurant also opened in the Land’s End city. 

That these things happened so close together was not an accident. The same man was responsible for both: legendary golfer and now golf course architect and restaurateur Tiger Woods. It was Tiger and his design team who crafted the course, El Cardonal, that the pros played during the World Wide Technology Championship, and it was Tiger who was responsible for the opening of The Woods Cabo, the restaurant that within days of its opening was already among the best in Los Cabos. 

It’s a testament to the increasing presence Tiger has in Los Cabos and the legacy he is building here. In addition to El Cardonal and The Woods Cabo, he has also designed a 12-hole Oasis Short Course and is expected to premier a new course, The Legacy Club, next year at Diamante, the resort community associated with all his local projects. The difference between the golf courses and the restaurant, however, is that only the latter is open to the public. The golf courses are all private. 

But according to Tiger, that’s all part of the plan. “TGR Design has been a part of Diamante since we broke ground on El Cardonal in 2013, so opening up The Woods Cabo at Diamante seemed like a natural extension of our partnership and the perfect backdrop for an elevated sports bar experience,” he told Mexico News Daily. “I look forward to enjoying The Woods Cabo as much as I hope the public will.”

What to know about The Woods Cabo

The Woods Cabo, like The Woods Jupiter in Florida, is billed as a sports bar, for obvious reasons – Tiger is one of the most famous sports figures of the past 30 years. But despite the televisions mounted around the bar and dining area, and despite a bar menu featuring lollipop chicken wings, this is as much a steakhouse or a fine dining restaurant as it is a sports bar. Hence, Tiger’s qualifier: “elevated.”

Poshly appointed, with a setting overlooking the 18th hole at El Cardonal (the terrace surveys a nearby driving range), The Woods Cabo is an oasis of wagyu steaks, sushi, fine wines, and other gustatory pleasures, and offers a dining experience completely unlike any other in Los Cabos. If that seems incongruous, it should be noted that Tiger isn’t the only legendary figure associated with the project.

The chef is a Los Cabos legend

When Chef Larbi Dahrouch came to Los Cabos in 2003 to helm what eventually became Agua by Larbi for benchmark local luxury resort, One&Only Palmilla, he was already famous in the culinary world. That was due in part to his long working relationship with Jean-Louis Palladin, who earned two Michelin stars in his native France and subsequently opened an acclaimed restaurant at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. that hosted everyone from President Ronald Reagan (for his 70th birthday party) to iconic ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov. 

Dahrouch eventually ran that restaurant himself, as well as several others – including the Country Inn in Princeton, Massachusetts – and even helped launch Euro Disney before coming to Los Cabos. At each stop, his cuisine was premised on, as the chef himself puts it, “the freshest possible ingredients, but with a twist.” In Los Cabos, that twist has often been what Dahrouch refers to as “Mexiterranean”, meaning a blend of Mexican ingredients with Mediterranean influences. Palladin may be the “father of the farm-to-table movement in America,” per the Michelin Guide, but his former executive sous chef deserves plaudits aplenty, too, for enhancing the focus on great ingredients first, locally sourced if possible.

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the farm-to-table movement in Los Cabos, which has produced great restaurants like Flora’s Field Kitchen and Acre, where Dahrouch also served a stint as chef, began to flower soon after he arrived. 

The menu is unlike any other in Los Cabos

Dahrouch doesn’t take credit for the bar menu at The Woods Cabo, but the dinner menu is all his and features many of his trademark specialties, like a focus on fresh local ingredients. The restaurant sources many ingredients from its nearby garden, for example, and much of the seafood is regionally caught.  

Not all of it, though. The sublime trout, served with a green lentil stew that reflects the chef’s Moroccan heritage and an achiote sauce, is sourced from Tasmania; and the superb wagyu steaks are from eponymous cattle in Margaret River, Australia. The chef has also scoured the globe to find outstanding selections for the restaurant’s wine list, with fine offerings from France, Italy, the U.S., and elsewhere. México, whose burgeoning wine scene has now expanded well beyond Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, is also well represented. 

Some of these food and wine selections are quite expensive. If you want to try a 35-ounce wagyu tomahawk steak for two and order a bottle of Cheval Blanc to accompany it, the former will cost 5,520 pesos, the latter 48,530. But more reasonably priced fare is available (the trout entrée is 940 pesos), including discounts during Happy Hour from 3 to 5 p.m.

How to experience The Woods Cabo

Diamante is a very private resort community where many famous people have homes. Tiger himself has a home there. So given the very public status of his restaurant, it’s built on a corner of the 1,500-acre property on the Pacific Coast north of Cabo San Lucas (Diamante Blvd., to be exact), so diners who don’t live there don’t have to deal with Diamante’s notoriously unobliging gate guards. There’s a public entrance, although that too is manned by a security guard, albeit a much more friendly one.

Actually, there are two entrances to the restaurant. One for Diamante residents, and one for locals or visitors who want to sample one of the best dining experiences in Los Cabos. Reservations are strongly recommended in either case (call 624-144-2960), however, and if you’re interested in Los Cabos real estate, a new development will accompany The Legacy Club course from TGR Design. The restaurant, meanwhile, is open daily from 2 to 10 p.m. This includes its bar area and also the onsite butcher’s shop, where fine cuts are available from around the world. The former is a good place to watch the Masters Tournament, which Tiger has won five times. The latter is a grill master’s dream.

Chris Sands is the Cabo San Lucas local expert for the USA Today travel website 10 Best, writer of Fodor’s Los Cabos travel guidebook, and a contributor to numerous websites and publications, including Tasting Table, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Forbes Travel Guide, Porthole Cruise, Cabo Living and Mexico News Daily. His specialty is travel-related content and lifestyle features focused on food, wine and golf.

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