Culture & Dining

Cabo Dining Scene Has a Star: Enrique Olvera and His Manta

Manta at the Ocean Desert of Cabo

by David Galindo

photo by Manta

At the end of a long hall made of parotta wood and concrete, you will find in a simple corner an elegant yet sober dining room, probably no more than 10 tables. The protagonist, without a question, is not the interior design, neither the name of the chef but the Pacific Ocean. You can hear breaking waves on rocks, you can smell salt always present on the fresh breeze of an ocean - with dessert.


We arrived in a hurry; we did not want to miss the sunset. You know, it does not matter how many times you have watched, there are never enough times for a human being to watch the sun going down on an oceanic horizon, where the warm colors of deep blue are  like the night and the ocean.


Abrir boca” with a cocktail, an artesian beer or a Mezcal was Metre's suggestion, so we decided to try all three.  The food showed up, and the first in line was a jurel (Hamachi) finely sliced boasting without shyness -the astringent juice of the Mexican lemon, absolutely acidic, without competing for flavor with the cilantro and the sal de gusano, and on the fish some orange supreme trying to make peace on the palate.


Even without finishing the day's catch, the rest of the dishes flocked to the table, instantly turning the table into a canvas -roasted, sweet and smoked vegetables, in guacachile, an occurrence that the artist is forgiven for. Crispy beet ceviche, in ginger and habanero tiger milk, in a perfect balance of flavors and textures. So far, Enrique’s humility was noticeable. The author, without  pretentiousness, let the ingredients be the leading actors of his work, but when the sweet potato in mole almendrado arrived, it was clear that there were modern and ancestral techniques behind the alchemy that is a good mole; they are not and never will be for the improvised.


A good glutton should never pass on a cochinita pibil taco. In this case a cochinita pibil Corean Bon with cilantro and habanero. The cochinita, made with achiote and sour orange, is somehow similar to a garam masala, but without the sweet notes of cardamom and with an accentuated acid flavor at the end. Tres leches cake, my childhood dream cake, is reinterpreted and enhanced with a scoop of coconut ice-cream on top - my inner child is happy.


Honest, bluntly, Olvera, in his own style, gives us a walk through well-defined and strong flavors; ceviches, aguachiles,moles, cochinita, dishes that are served on any Sunday in any household in our country.  Flavors that we took for granted, but that today are taken further, to be discovered and later be missed by diners from all over the world that have had the Manta’s experience.



Fish slices, orange, chile serrano, worm salt

Roasted vegetables with guacachile

Beetroot ceviche, ginger, habanero, leche de tigre

Roasted sweet potato and almond mole

Suckling pig cochinita,steamed bun, cilantro, habanero


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