San Miguel de Allende Restaurants
- sweeterpea Jan 7, 2008 08:13 AM
We will be heading to SMA in about a month and wondering if anyone has been to these restaurants and any opinions out there:
I would suggest, as an alternative, (much less expensive) recommendation that you give a place called La Posadita a try. It is almost directly across the street from La Capilla and also has a great roof top dining area, which if the weather is warm enough, is as good a the views from La Capilla. The food at La Posadita is standard Mexican classics but everything I have tried has been wonderful. They also mix a damn good margarita too. You have to walk up a narrow flight of stairs which has a small sign over the door. If you want to try what, in my humble opinion, is the best place in SMA don't miss Rstaurante Da Andrea which is about a 20 minute (100 pesos) taxi ride outside Centro. They are only open Thursdays through Sundays and reservations are a must but if you like really excellent Italian food food served in a beautiful old hacienda don't miss this place. Many people consider this restaurant as the best in SMA and I would certainly agree. It is light years better than Tio Lucas albeit on the expensive side for SMA. If you check out other SMA posts on this board you will find one I posted earlier last year in which I wrote a very extensive review.
After trying several restaurant with so-so food in lovely settings here in San Miguel we were disappointed to find that La Posadita was closed for renovations until mid-June. Will have to try on our next trip. The best meal so far has been the pollo and calabacita along with chiles stuffed with corn and Oaxacan cheese my husband made in the lovely kitchen of the house we rented on Umaran.
The best ice cream was found at a cart on on the corner of Hernandez Macias and Canal. Try the rose petal, pistchio, or pinon. I'd put it up against the vendors in Dolores Hildalgo (although it is still worth a trip there anyway).
Just returned from SMA yesterday with a list of "best" restaurants, in order of preference:
1. Woolis Kaban: brand new in March 2009 located on San Francisco: Mexican owned/run, traditional cuisine from the south east of Mexico, esp Oaxaca & Tampico. EXCELLENT! Opened by the restauranteur who opened Harry's in SMA. Contemporary decor, excellent service. Also SUPERB breakfast, cheap. We ate there twice for dinner, once for breakfast.
2. La Capilla: Ambience is unbeatable: in a 16th century chapel attached to La Parroquia--wonderful views of the cathedral lit up at night and the Sierra Madre mountains. Excellent food, good service. It may be the most expensive restaurant in SMA, but dinner including drinks ran us about $75 U.S. dollars -- far less than it costs in a comparable restaurant in our own town!
3. La Posadita: Good ambience, esp on rooftop, across from La Capilla, though not as extraordinary ambience. Excellent traditional food, excellent service, less expensive--maybe $50 U.S. Great cakes. We ate there twice for dinner.
4. On Canal Street, under the Quebrada street walking bridge, there is a little old lady who makes the world's best gorditas on a brazier for 20 pesos (just over a dollar). We purchased them and walked up Canal to the churchyard of Las Monjas to sit in the shade and eat. We ate them four times on this trip, and have visited her several times on each of our five trips to SMA over the past twenty years. (Some people caution about eating street food; we've never had a problem. Our caution is to take acidophilus for the month prior to and during our trips.)
4. For cooking classes: http://www.mexicocooks.com/
I actually really love going to La Capilla. Do I think that the food is the greatest ever? Not at all, but I think that it is one of the prettiest settings/restaurant that I have ever been to, especially on the weekend when the Parroquia is lit up. The patio with all of the twinkle lights is beautiful and the dining room is pretty stunning. I also think that their Don Julio margaritas are one the best margaritas in San Miguel and I have done extensive taste testing. :-) They also make their own potato chips which I adore. If they don't bring them, be sure to ask for them. As for entrees, I have generally been happy and only once really happy. I usually get the salmon, which has always been good.
I think that La Posadita is a great idea also. I would go there also and skip Tio Lucas, which if fine but nothing special.
If you live anywhere that has really good food I would not have super high expectations for SMA. I don't think that any of the food in San Miguel is that amazing so I just kind of go to places that have "good" food but have something else to offer such as a view, great ambiance, music, etc. It sounds as though Da Andrea may be the exception, I just haven't ventured out, as I am not a huge fan of Italian to start.
Enjoy your trip.
I think you can see that I am a huge fan of Da Andrea but I have to say that this is not your typical "Red Sauce" Italian restaurant. Yes it certainly very Italian but nothing like most of Italian - American places that exist in the USA. In fact in the times I have visited I have never seen one dish offered with tomato sauce of any type.
I have to agree with bbleu2 about the restaurant scene in SMA. There are a number of good to very good restaurants but if you come from a major metropolitan city in the the USA you will not find anywhere near the quality and diversity in the SMA restaurant scene. For example, SMA is in serious need of a really Asian place and I have always wondered why there aren't any. It could Chinese, Japanese, Thai, whatever but I think it would be a success if it was good restaurant. The Asian places that do exist are very close to abysmal in my opinion.
Some of the smaller more causal places offer good Mexicana and maybe not stunning but feel more authentic and less touristy, beauty in their own right.
El Correro- on Jesus #23 offers the best breakfast, nice casual cafe. Fresh juices and good coffee love the Chilaquiles a true dish of Guanajuato. Lunch is good too- great tortilla soup and enchilades, good corundes a tamale without filling. Just off the Jardin.
La Finestra Cafe- on Hernadez, across form the Belle Artes School, tucked in a back court yard also makes a lovely homemade style breakfast, very charming sunny little spot.
Love El Ten Ten Pie- on Cuna de Allende #21, good local spot, mother and daughter run the place..good, honest food, cheap. Casual simple and cute.
Cannot beat Cha Cha Cha- warning their hours are never what they are suppose to be, check before heading over..I love the walk over more interesting residential and with just some commerical buldings in this area. They have a small patio, feels like you are at someone's house. I enjoyed the Chicken Mole..everything was good and so cheap and great!! Westside neighborhood, Calle de Abril #28, at Rosales sorry I don't have their number. Some might consider this a hole n the wall, but a find it so adorable.
San Augustin Cafe across the street from the San Francisco Church is a great spot for a mid day snack, good coffee drinks, nice glass of wine, tapas and known for their Mexican Hot Chocolate and Churros! Great for people watching.
Not to be missed is the Aurora Fabrica an old textile mill converted into art galleries, furniture and jewlery shops. The Food Factory is excellent food, local and Asian influences, this is at the enterance to your left when you enter the Aurora Fabrica. You could have dinner here, lovely place and great food, small and quaint. They also have serve lunch. I like the little wine bar next door, we went there after spending about three hours touring and shopping the galleries in the Auroa Fabrica. We had some wine and a cheese plate..sitting on the terrance, splendid!
I find this is the easiest way to walk over, you could take a taxi over as well-
From el Jardin, walk North on Hidalgo (there is no other option) for four (4) blocks. You will pass the following streets, San Francisco/Canal; Mesones; Insurgentes; Callejon del Pueblito; Privada de Hidalgo and the entrance to the Mercado de Artesanias which is called Andador Lucas Balderas. Once you do this, you will be right at the intersection of Hidalgo and Calzada de La Luz right at the stinky bridge (hard to miss). Keep going North-East on Calzada de la Aurora for three or four (4) more blocks, depending on which side of that street you walk. You will find the following streets: Mario Talavera; Maria Greever and Av. H. Colegio Militar. Then you will pass a bridge with a cross in the middle on the right hand side and the entrance to La Aurora will be on your right also immediately after the bridge. There is a circus tent (Restaurant La Carpa) by the entrance. The best days to visit here is on Friday when most all the galleries are open.
da Andrea is very special agreed with others on this place.
L’Invito - beautiful Italian food as good and if not better than some of the places here in San Francisco. This is in the Institute Allende in the back left side of the as you enter the courtyard of the school.. One of the best views in front of the restaurant. I love going here not only because of the food but I love the space, old bones, semi rustic, fireplace. Silvia Bernardini is the owner and very nice she is also the President of the Convivio of Slow Food of San Miguel de Allende. She and her husband also have a place about 8 miles out to Dolores called Green Ranch. They have events and times to go taste various food from all the local producers of the areas, this is something quit fun to do.
Tio Lucas and La Capilla are both less than trilling. Agreed with RoyRon go across the street to La Posadita same view as La Capilla and better food for a lot less..and yes good margaritas! This was our spot we stopped in to before heading back for a siesta. Lovely sunny patio.
Berlin Bar has wonderful food, good spot and nice bar.
If you want beautiful atmosphere go to Casa de Sierra Nevada, a very young well known chef and a lovely dining area. I had much better breakfast elsewhere but its a lovely setting, if you do sit outside bring a wrap it does get drafty. For dinner there Casa del Parque is more informal and the Andanza is more refined with table linens and such. The Andanza has a nice bar if you just want to stop in for a drink. The house I rent is about 1/4 mile a way so this was a nice stop before heading into the center of town.
Go to the Mercado for wonderful real deal foods and sample the local traditionaI foods, I never miss the main markets when I go anywhere in Mexico. I go here for my carnitas sandwich fix and other delights.
re: Lori SF
I agree with many of Lori's suggestions.
Ten Ten Pie, on Cuna de Allende and Cuadrante, now has an outside terrace across the street, just down from the fountain. Very nice with umbrella tables and orange trees in tubs. But it is not, in fact, run by a mother-daughter team. It is owned and run by Juan Villasenor. Sometimes his mom are around, usually having mid-day comida, and occasionally his sister Susana lends a hand. But mostly it's Juan's staff, who have been there for years. Don't miss the avocado/tomatillo salsa.
Alas, l'Invito is no longer at the Instituto. Silvia has moved the restaurant to her place in the country.
For the absolute best coffee in town, bar none, go to Cafe on Correo.
Best spot for Sunday brunch: Cafe la Parroquia on Jesus. I love their omelet de la parroquia, which is a Spanish style omelette, with potatoes, bacon and onions. Francoise will keep your coffee cup filled until you can hardly walk out.
Another wonderful breakfast spot is Casa Crayola, with steaming hot fresh-baked bread, choose-your-ingredients omelettes, and great chilaquiles.
A brand new place, Olivers, on Zacateros, is getting rave reviews though I haven't been there yet.
Some of the best pies and cakes in town are at El Buen Cafe on Jesus & Cuadrante. Kris Rudolph bakes everything in house.
And Hecho en Mexico near the Instituto has great salads.
My husband and I have a couple of favorites: Nirvana, a fusion restaurant with a new menu, as of a week or so ago; it's in an elegant setting with dramatic artwork on the walls. Sierra Nevada en el Parque, on the other side of the Juarez park, also has a new chef and menu and specializes in traditional (and not so traditional) Mexican cooking; the patio overlooks a lush garden and mini-waterfall. Market Bistro specializes in country French cooking; wonderful homemade pates. Bugambilia is a lovely, old restaurant with, again, traditional Mexican dishes, including Chiles en Nogada. Casablanca has an eclectic menu--including a first-rate curried meat, shrimp, and fruit dish called Fru Fru.
Well... you get the picture. There's a lot from which to choose!
Just remember that in Mexico, the main meal of the day is usually eaten between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. That might explain why your cook doesn't work after 3:00.
It's usually best to follow Mexican custom rather than wait till Canadian supper time to eat your main meal.