When you enter the house, owner Pablo Velez moves about with the graceful demeanor of a dancer. Posters, paintings and newspaper clippings on the walls show him attired in a traje de luces, the traditional jeweled costume worn by matadors.
Having achieved fame in the bullrings of Mexico, Velez moved to San Jose del Cabo about a decade ago, creating his one-of-a-kind restaurant, El Matador, from scratch.
Every surface is covered with memorabilia. "The walls are the story of my life," he said.
His mother was a chef, his uncle a matador, and Velez fell as passionately in love with food and wine as he did with bullfighting, though he still appears in a few matches a year.
The intimate front room has an open kitchen and handful of tables. Last year he added a romantic courtyard with a fountain and palm trees at its center.
The engaging owner stopped by to chat. "You'll love the voice of my friend Carlos Vidal," he said.
Almost on cue, a handsome singer with dark black hair, dressed as a matador, began crooning tunes in Spanish and wended his way down the stairs from a balcony. Vidal also is a matador.
The menu is a fusion of Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine, and the bar offers an exhaustive list of tequilas, plus wines from Mexico and California.
Located on a residential street, El Matador is a destination restaurant, drawing diners with its artful blend of ambience, good food and service — and the legend of its unique proprietor.
El Matador Restaurant, on Paseo Los Marinos at the corner of Balandra y Portaviones Col. El Chamizal, San Jose del Cabo in Baja California. elmatadorrestaurante.com