Gourmet French Dining in Los Cabos - The French Riveria Restaurant

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A NEW KIND OF DÉJÀ VU. Ever had the feeling that you've
been somewhere before? Well, even if you've never been to
the French Riviera Restaurant in Los Cabos, the experience
will leave you with a new kind of déjà vu, one that makes you
wish you had been there before. The owners and staff make
you feel as if you are long lost friends or family who have
finally come home and the food, service and congeniality
will create a lasting impression.

Los Cabos has no shortage of excellent restaurants.
Whatever your appetite, you'll have little trouble finding food
that pleases the palate. Traditional Mexican, authentic
Italian, the freshest seafood, sushi, fondue and fusion,
they're all here. The cuisine that has garnered the least
attention has been French, the king of haute cuisine. Not
anymore. Nestled on the cliffs above the Sea of Cortez, just
a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of downtown
Cabo San Lucas, is an elegant yet unpretentious jewel in
the crown of Cabo culinary delights.

That jewel is the French Riviera Restaurant and Bakery. A
destined to be famous trio of eateries with locations in San
Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas and along the tourist
corridor in between the two municipalities. Until recently,
those seeking true gourmet French dining had a very small
selection from which to choose. Most offered French fare as
part of a mélange of vastly unrelated cuisine with the French
fare being a somewhat obvious afterthought. Others
claimed to have French trained chefs, but my taste buds told
a different story. It is with great pleasure that I report that my
taste buds have found true French cooking, and it is alive
and well in Los Cabos.

Begat by Jacques Chretien and his wife Sophie, the French
Riviera is a gastronome's paradise, an oasis of flavor
infused sauces, originality and decadence. Led by Chef
Jacques Chretien, the staff prepares some of the finest
meals that are likely to ever pass your lips, all the while
making guests feel more at home than any home should
have the right to feel. That, my friends, is no easy task, but
somehow these wonderfully hospitable folks make it look

Chef Chretien has the honor of belonging to a small
community - the world's greatest chefs. As recipient of the
Maitre Cuisinier designation (French master chef), he joins
a group that boasts only 200 members worldwide with only
forty or so outside of France. Mexico boasts a total of five,
Los Cabos has only one. The award is bestowed by the
French government and recognizes culinary excellence as
an art form unto itself. Couple Jacque's talent and passion
for fine food with Sophie's "joie de vie" and undeniable
warmth, and you have a five-star dining experience set in
one of the world's most picturesque coastal destinations.

The main restaurant is open for lunch (12:00 to 4:00) and
dinner (5:30 to 11:00 pm), bar service runs from 11:30 am to
11:00 pm. Decorated in with stone tables and wicker chairs,
the interior bathed in earth tones, the restaurant is warm
and inviting. Out on the terrace you are surrounded by lush
landscapes and an endless ocean view with Land's End
and the famous arch off in the distance. Sunsets here are

Chef Chretien's menu is an eclectic collection of original
dishes and classic French fare. For starters, your waiter
brings you a delightful trio of "welcome" canapés, sea bass
tartar with baby green onions, goat cheese mousse and
other seasonal delicacies. A nice touch that starts the
process of making guests feel truly special and welcome.

For an appetizer try the lobster cappuccino served with truffle
foam and a crispy zucchini stuffed ravioli; tuna & scallop
carpaccio flavored with walnut oil and lime, served atop
lamb's lettuce and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese;
or roasted heirloom tomatoes served with a comfit of
eggplant, zucchini and crab with cheese sauce. These are
just a few selections from the menu, making a choice is not
easy as they are all excellent.

For your entrée Chef Chretien has created a plethora of
unique dishes from which to choose. Items include; braised
red snapper served with potato-mushroom gnocchi in a
basil reduction; gilded frog's legs served with "Purée
d'Andouillette " drizzled with a foamed garlic, and parsley
butter sauce; roasted Sonora beef tenderloin served with
homemade fettuccine and a vanilla-ginger portabella
mushroom sauce; herb crusted loin of lamb served with
organic French green beans and black truffle jus; roasted
free-range chicken breast stuffed with eggplant and
vegetables with pan reduced au jus; or roasted lobster
raviolis with shitake mushrooms bathed in a garlic-basil
emulsion, just to name a few.

Each dish is prepared in full view of the restaurant thanks to
the open kitchen designed by Chef Chretien. Watching the
kitchen staff is a real treat. Co-owner and Chef Eric
Scianamanico is the perfect partner in the kitchen with
Chretien and the rest of the staff. A constant buzz of activity
takes place in the kitchen and one walks away hoping to
have learned techniques to use in their own kitchens, albeit
that watching is much easier than doing.

The wait staff does an outstanding job of pairing wines to
each stage of your meal and has a large selection of wines
from around the globe. One of the great surprises is the
quality of the Mexican wines the restaurant features. Until
recently, Mexico was not regarded as a wine producing
country but with the abundance of land and temperate
climate that exists here. Slowly but surely, Mexican wines
are being taken seriously by wine enthusiasts worldwide.
To make selection even easier, the restaurant menu offers
the option of adding wine selection to both single and
double entrée prix-fixe menus.

For the finish, dessert, and what a selection they offer. My
partner, Dolores Peralta, opted for a chocolate soufflé made
with Valrhona chocolate and served with fresh baked
cookies, goat milk and caramel ice cream. I opted for the
lemon soufflé with the same garnishments. Valrhona is a
wonderful French chocolate company. Their "Noir Amer"
chocolate literally translates as "black bitter", which is a fair
description of both the color and taste of this chocolate. For
the true chocolate aficionado, eating Noir Amer is almost a
religious experience. It is most likely as close as you'll ever
come to tasting pure chocolate essence.

In addition to the soufflés, the French Riviera also offers;
melted chocolate cake served with pear puree; a soft
hazelnut biscuit served with chestnut cream; a selection of
seasonal red fruit with "Sablé Breton mango coulis and
cocoa sorbet; or flambéed apples and bananas served with
Calvados chocolate dentelle.

Another aspect of the French Riviera experience is that it
does not have to end with lunch or dinner. Rise the next
morning and satisfy your morning appetite with a short trip
to either of the restaurants satellite locations for terrific
breakfast fare. Fresh baked baguettes, decadent pastries,
crepes and more await and there is nothing more
appetizing then the aroma of fresh baked goods carried on
crisp, clean coastal breeze. All in all, the entire experience
is, well, magnifique!

To learn more about the French Riviera or to reserve your
table, visit them online at
http://www.frenchrivieraloscabos.com or call 011 52 (624) 142-3350. Bon apetit!

Visit http://www.cabosbest.com for
more in-depth Cabo information.

Richard Chudy and Dolores Peralta are co-owners of http://CabosBest.com, a travel information portal for Los Cabos, Baja Sur, Mexico. An avid and frequent Cabo traveller, Richard brings his travel experiences to the web for others interested in exploring all that Cabo has to offer.

To reach him, email caborich@cabosbest.com or call 1-818-702-0876

Copyright 2005 CabosBest.com

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