Does anyone have recent updates on restaurants here? I haven't been that way in quite a while and things can change.
In Patzcuaro, is Cha Cha Cha better after it reopened? Are the El Camino, Mariscos La Guera, El Primero Piso, Viejo Gauco, Mistonga, La Surtidora still good. How about Dona Paca? Any new or better ideas?
In Morelia, can anyone recommend inexpensive or moderately priced restaurants without eating hamburgers? (Do you know what they put in that "meat"?)
I live in Morelia and try to keep my finger on the restaurant pulse both here and in Pátzcuaro.
--ChaChaCha is permanently closed.
--El Camino Real is still the workhorse it has always been.
--On the Plaza Tata Vasco, La Compañía was excellent last time I was there, a few months back. They're offering a comida corrida which is inexpensive and was quite good.
--Mistongo is the same. La Surtidora is the same. Doña Paca is the same.
--If you have never tried Super Pollo Emilio, a cenaduría for enchiladas placeras on the Plaza Chica, you have to try it. He opens at about 6PM and is closed on Tuesdays.
--The restaurant at the Gran Hotel is very serviceable for any meal, especially breakfast.
You don't say what your criterion is for inexpensive or moderately priced. Nevertheless, in Morelia:
--Restaurante LU in the Hotel Best Western Casino. I believe that it's the best alta cocina regional restaurant in the city. Prices are moderate for what you are eating. Read Mexico Cooks! for what I wrote about it on September 12, 2009.
--Fonda Marceva, for regional specialties of the Tierra Caliente.
--Hamburguesas Richards, in spite of what you say about hamburgers, is fabulous.
If you'd like to contact me before you get here, I'd be happy to talk with you further about choices. Email: email@example.com
For seafood, La Güera is still good, although we've noticed some diminution of portion sizes. There's a newer branch out on the Morelia-Pátzcuaro highway, at Km post 44.6. We think it's every bit as good as the original, in spite of its hangar-like ambience.
In Morelia, El Pescador is good for more varied seafood, but with somewhat higher prices than Mariscos La Güera . It's just off Avenida Madero Poniente, at Cuautla # 77.
I maintain that often the best food, especially in Pátzcuaro, is at fondas, mercado stalls and taco stands.
La Fonda de Mamá Lupe, on Calle Benito Mendoza, across from Bancomer in Pátzcuaro, is actually a sweet little restaurant with excellent breakfasts (excepting the weak café de olla) at bargain prices.
One of our favorite spots are the simple atole de grano puestos, on the corner of the Plaza Chica and Calle Iturbe. Inexpensive and delicious corn soup, lightly flavored with anise, served only from about 4 to 10 p.m.
The Cafe at the Gran Hotel does good breakfasts also. Try, for example, the espárragos, nopales y queso omelette. The coffee is outstanding. So is the coffee at La Surtidora, but not as consistently as at the Gran.
I made a Google Map of my favorite eating places in the Pátzcuaro area. As the URL is inordinately long, I won't post it here, but you should be able to find it if you Google "Pátzcuaro's Best Eats".
We, too, love Hamburguesas Richard's in Morelia. The French fries are among the best anywhere.
I would actually choose the Museo del Dulce (Candy Museum) over the candy market. The candy market is pretty much a tourist trap, while the Museo del Dulce is a fascinating glimpse into Morelia's past combined with an incredible chance to enjoy (and buy) artisanal and traditional candies and other sweets.
Below are the Pátzcuaro places on Anonimo's map. Anything else I should put on my list besides Super Pollo Emilio? Any particular stalls to look for at the mercado? Best places for corundas, minguiche, uchepos, churipo, chanducata, caldo michi, atápakua de epazote, sopa tarasca?
atole de grano at Calle Iturbe and Plaza Bocanegra
Gran Hotel Restaurant
Fonda Mamá Lupe
Birrería Don Prisci
empanadas y pasteles at Ibarra and Portal Hidalgo
Pan por la Pila, Calle Paseo near the corner of Calle Espejo
Mariscos La Güera
Restaurante Patio Las Brisas
Tienda "Don Chucho's"
Fábrica de Quesos
Panadería La Espiga
Restaurante "El Camino Real"
Comida Regional Tzurumútaro
Barbacoa a la penca Javier y Lety
Pollos Asados "El Tejaban"
carnitas and barbacoa stands in the plaza
re: Robert Lauriston
A vote for Fonda Marceva in Morelia.
I need to update that list from the Google Map, as some places are just "corriente" while a very few others stand out.
If you are going towards or coming from Uruapan, it's worth a comida stop at the outstanding Mesa de Blanca, in Ziracuaretiro. It's open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to about 6 p.m.
For true regional cooking, IMO, you need to know local cooks. A neighbor just gave us a bag full of freshly made corundas, redolent of the wood fire over which they were steamed.
The restaurant that was in the patio of the Tecnológico in Tzurumutaro came closest to making regional dishes in a restaurant setting. However, I'm not at all sure it is still operating. I haven't been there in several years.
As to El Pescador in Morelia, I took it off my favorites list as I found that the cooking was not of a high standard.
Now that I have more time, I'll comment and amend the list from my Google Map.
Lupita's: Nice restaurant with standard Mexican specialties; enchiladas, mole de pollo, plus a few "gringo" foods, such as fish and chips and hamburgers.
atole de grano at Calle Iturbe and Plaza Bocanegra: simple food, still a favorite with us when we are in Pátzcuaro in the evening.
Gran Hotel Restaurant: other than coffee, I haven't eaten there in several years. Chef left and founded Lupita's.
Fonda Mamá Lupe: Inexpensive and tasty.
Birrería Don Prisci: three locations, the Mercado, the Mercado Tariacuri (across the Libramiento from te bus station) and the most comfortable is the big branch near La Estacíon, on the outskirts of Pátzcuaro. Decent birria.
La Surtidora: coffeehouse, restaurant and gift shop. The Gringo Ground Zero of Pátzcuaro. Good coffee, pretty good standard Mexican specialties.
empanadas y pasteles at Ibarra and Portal Hidalgo: Alejandro, ambulant vendor, sells delicious emapanaditas and cakes from a glass case that he carries on his head.
Menudería Tere: o.k. menudo place under the Portales Salazar, across from Plaza San Francisco.
Cafetería Chio's: a nifty little snack bar featuring Mexican style hamburgers, the meat is superior because it comes from the related carniceria next door.
Pan por la Pila, Calle Paseo near the corner of Calle Espejo: wood oven baked teleras. Often not open or sold out. I recently learned that it's officially "Panadería El Huaje", although no one calls it that.
Mariscos La Güera: still our favorite restaurant in the Pátzcuaro area. Almost any dish with shrimp is good; but whole fish in a number of styles also good. Filets of fish usually made with boring tilapia, but of late they have been of mero (grouper). Ask, More elaborate dishes are less successful. They do have the odd, minimalist version of Pescado a la Verzcruzana. Not bad, just odd.
I also occasionally get the Ensalada de Mariscos, which gives you a choice of four cold seafood products. I choose camarones para pelar, tiritas al limón, camarones aguachile. You can get a couple of oysters on the half shell, or "pata de mula", but I don't.
Restaurante Patio Las Brisas: Seasonal, but may be closed. Grilled meats and a short seafood menu.
Tienda "Don Chucho's": Local tienda with a wide selection of merchandise and foods that foodies like.
Fábrica de Quesos: The cheese factory across the street from Don Chucho's. Nothing extraordinary, but products are fresh and good. Also sweet butter.
Panadería La Espiga: small bakery hidden away in a badly paved barrio street that makes the best teleras in the wood fired oven. Supplies usually run out by 10 a.m.
Restaurante "El Camino Real": the good old work horse of local restaurants, as described above by Cristina. Gets very busy weekend mid-afternoons. Can get sloppy at those times. Solid fare, good value.
Comida Regional Tzurumútaro: weekend restaurant run by local señoras. Corundas, tortillas hechas a mano, churipu, mole, etc. I don't know if it is still operating.
Barbacoa a la penca Javier y Lety: O.k. No big deal.
Pollos Asados "El Tejaban", Tzurumutaro: weekends only, Sr. Abel fires up the charcoal grill and cooks spatchcocked chickens painted with adobo. They are finished with juice of an orange. (We request no additional salt because they already have enough.) Served with hot tortillas hechas a mano and a simple cabbage slaw. There's also a medium fierce salsa roja picante. This place, under the shed roof, is a solid favorite of ours. Comida for two, with possible leftovers, under $100 pesos.
You can get drinks from them or from the Los Fresnos tienda a couple of hundred feet away. (Fresnos has cute mini kegs of Tequila and mescal on a counter. About $10 pesos a goodly shot.)
As you can see, we have a very small list of places that we frequent. I don't think there are many, if any, restaurants that offer creative fare, but there are still some reliable favorites.
Again, La Mesa de Blanca is worth a visit. I would call the style refined regional cooking. But it's in Ziracuaretiro and not in Pátzcuaro. It's about a 40 minute drive through lovely country.
The atole de grano was great. I looked at recipes to see if we could make it at home in California, but I'm not sure anicillo exists elsewhere.
La Mesa de Blanca was worth the trip. Lovely setting and delicious food. Stuffed chipotles, vegetable soup with squash and blossoms, and mixiote were all great.
I was surprised to see mezcal de pechuga at La Surtidora. Unfortunately it's not as good as the Oaxacan version I had in Ensenada. Nice place for a beer. Mushroom soup was tasty and unusual.
re: Robert Lauriston
re: Robert Lauriston
Re: La Mesa de Blanca:
My wife especially enjoys the vegetable soup (Sopa de Milpa, I believe) and we had the chiles chipotles rellenos on our first visit, but the chiles capones have become a must at nearly each return visit.
The mixiotes are among my favorites, but it's hard to decide between that or one of the rabbit dishes. Of the two rabbit dishes of the menu, it's easier to decide on the Conejo a Las Brasas than the Conejo en Tres Jugos. The latter has its merits, though.
I think the mezcal served at La Surtidora comes from the Paloma Mensajera distillery, at Oponguio, on the north shore of Lake Pátzcuaro.
We were walking to La Guera but due to heavy rain we changed course and tried Doña Paca. Chips were the best we've had here, cheese dip and refried beans both very good. Sopa tarasca decent. Enchiladas placeras were really good, nicely seasoned. Chile relleno with meat filling and macademia sauce was good and unusual. It was daytime but the lighting sems well above the local average.
re: Robert Lauriston
Robert, if you have not yet tried enchiladas placeras at Super Pollo Emilio (open evenings except Tuesdays in front of Pátzcuaro's municipal market), don't miss them. Truly the best in Michoacán.
And when you go back to Morelia, try the aporreadillo at Fonda Marceva. It will knock your socks off.
And one last 'and': rather than go back to Restaurante LU in Morelia, try Restaurante San Miguelito. Both are great and I think you'll want to experience the difference in the menu offerings.