San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Going to San Miguel for first time.....Has anyone been before to this town in the mountains northeast of Mexico City? Any suggestions for this neofite leaving in two weeks? Mexico City tips also welcome. I am interested in Mexican and not-just Mexican cooking. Thanks!
I think La Capilla is closed now. The best food (bust simple atmosphere) is Cafe Rama off Zacateros- a Vancouver chef named Craig just opened it. The is s good italian fusion place called Mi Vida that is new and good. La Posadita across from the parroquia is good for Mexican. For some authentic mexican Poxole go to La ALborada right near the Jardin. For something upscale go to Jackies in colonia San tAntonio next to San Antonio church. In Mexico city if you are in Condesa fo to Mezcaleria La Botica for their own brand of Mezcal- very arty place.
SMA is a very charming town, in a Carmel-like way, and you'll definitely be able to relax and enjoy the good life there. But the food scene overall is quite disappointing, especially given how wealthy it is. There is plenty of western food, but not much Mexican food (mirroring the population there, I guess, which is not very Mexican). So while you'll probably do better in D.F. for food, here are at least are a few things I can tell you (was there 3 months ago):
--For exquisite margaritas, great bar chips, and a gorgeous setting, go sit on the patio of La Capilla, the fancy restaurant behind the cathedral on the right, as you face the cathedral. There's also food, but I didn't sense it would be worth the price. But truly a great spot for 4:00 pm drinks...the light is awesome.
--Do NOT try to do the same thing at the fabulously located terrace on the zocalo directly to the LEFT of the cathedral (as you face the church). It seems like it would be a good spot to sit and watch the action, but it was the worst food we had in Mexico, and we tried to keep it basic. NOTHING was edible, the margaritas sucked, the staff was surly, so we left hungry.
--Hecho en Mexico, on the road down near the Institute, was a very tranquil patio setting with good food for noshing and relaxing. Not outstanding, but good--had good pesto, but sopa azteca was disappointing, but accommodating staff.
--Aqui es Mexico, on the other side of the zocalo, had a very good dark red mole, and a pretty good sopa azteca, but really boring tacos.
--Didn't mean to, but ended up one night at Mama Mia. Ok lasagne, and a really good filete de res--very flavorful and tender. A bit pricy there, but good. Check out the roof deck, it's quite a view.
--At lunch time, there seem to be some really good food carts or market stalls on the road that leads down to the Institute, on the left where two roads merge together. It was the best looking stuff I'd seen in town in a while.
--This isn't a restaurant, but if you want to talk food, stop by Sazon, a shop almost directly across from Capilla (to get there, face the cathedral, and go down the road on the right. The store is on your right). It's a cooking gear /kitchen supply/ cooking school/ cookbook store/ foodie center run by Armando, a Mexican, and Teresa, a Minnesotan. It opened in August when we were there, and we wandered into this gorgeous demonstration kitchen and were greeted with slices of an exquisite fig cake, glasses of cool lemon water, and much hospitality. They teach cooking and entertaining classes, and just 2 weeks into the biz, were already overrun with business. They also sell Gorky Gonzalez' pottery at good prices, the very same you'd get if you went to Guanajuato to Gorky's workshop (I checked). They're lovely people, and it seemed clear they knew much about food. I don't have any idea how often there are classes, but you could call ahead and ask. They have a website but I don't know the address--google it.
There's better Mexican food and Mexican life to be had over in Guanajuato, which isn't far away--if you go, Tapatio (directly across the stairs to the university--this makes sense once you are there) is a restaurant from Jalisco with excellent green posole and green enchiladas.
Don't have any specific tips for you other than those recently posted re Mexico City. Re Mexico City, don't overlook the fact that this is a large cosmopolitan capital with residents from all over the world. As a result, at least at the high end you will find, for example, very good French food.