Pablo Velez

Pablo Velez in his Matador Restaurant in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. (Jerome Levine, for the Tribune)

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