Thursday, February 15, 2024

150 0f Our Favorite Foods from Insiders News

We are happy to team up with Camie Fenton of the Insiders News to bring you 150 of our favorite foods in San Miguel de Allende; a tribute to the many chefs who created them. Over the course of the past 10 years, we’ve eaten in just about every restaurant in SMA. One thing we know: it takes a long time to find your favorite foods. The list was ongoing, adding the final taco last Friday. Every restaurant or chef listed also has a link back to their social media. I can’t operate without a list, especially given all the great food in over 600+ restaurants, so we thought we’d give you a little help to jump start your own list of personal favorites. Some of these places have been around forever and others are brand new. We think the mix defines the food profile in San Miguel de Allende today. The dishes are grouped by food type and are in random order. Press on the link below to bring up the article. Buen Provecho and happy eating! https://www.insidersnews.net

Eleven of Our Favorite Restaurants in SMA

When you come to San Miguel de Allende, the first thing you’ll ask is what should you eat. Why not try a little bit of everything? Here’s a cheat sheet of eleven of the most interesting restaurants in the city – Atrio, Café Aldama 57, Pork Belly, El Pato, Trazo 1810, Culinarian Expeditions, Sophie Fine Bakery, San Expedito Miracle Café, Tostévere, Tacos Terco and Kan Bei. Just as we we’re catching our breath from the opening of three of them, the increase in activity continues. With the wide variety of food available in SMA now, we’re completely spoiled. The bar continues to be set higher and higher and it takes something pretty incredible to impress even the average palate. Here’s a quick look at the ones that impress ours; where getting a good meal is all but a given. Buen Provecho!
Atrio Eat Well Travel Often is our motto and we love table #2, where you’ll get an in-your-face view of the Parroquia - the iconic symbol of SMA. Atrio is at the very top of our list of the best restaurants in SMA and has been since the day they opened. We kicked off our visit with a celebratory toast to the staff who make dining at Atrio a terrific experience. Manager, Luis Vela, has consistently made sure that the minute a guest walks in the door that he’s giving them something that will bring them back for more. The menu at Atrio is always a work in progress and the best dish today is probably the one that the chef just created, like these delicious, smoked beet rolls stuffed with jocoque and agave honey and small but tasty Brioche balls with butter and rosemary honey. You’ll be amazed at how thin the beets are and what the smoke does to their end flavor. It’s one of our favorite dishes, much like the Burrata with Tomatoes and Pesto, the almond covered asparagus and artichokes swimming in butter. We also shared a pan of their renowned Rib Rice; our top favorite dish, along with the crunchy, Red Snapper. We’ve eaten everything on the menu at Atrio and each dish is perfectly prepared by the master himself, Chef Arturo Sandoval – one of the best chefs in SMA. Atrio Rooftop/ Cuna de Allende 3/ Centro, San Miguel de Allende/ 415 688 1405/Daily 1:00 PM - 10:30 PM/ Chef: Arturo Sandoval
Cafe Aldama 57 The beautiful wooden ceiling and small, cozy feel inside Cafe Aldama 57 makes this space appealing. We immediately think old world the minute we step in the door and head for the seat by the window; our favorite table for breakfast. The menu has a wonderful selection of breakfast items and delicious appetizers and sweets. In fact, the dishes are all very different, many which you wouldn’t find at any other restaurant in SMA. We can’t say enough about Café Aldama 57’s chef, Juan Carlos Hernandez, who is always there to greet you when you arrive. Try the remarkable Arrachera sandwich, served with caramelized onions, fried leeks and Matilda style French fries. For some reason, this sandwich always tastes best before noon. And who doesn’t love ice cream as a wake up call when its served on a thick slice of caramelized French toast. One of the best breakfast spots in the city just got better with the addition of Hummus; a favorite of Chef Patsy Dubois. Café Aldama 57/ Aldama 57/ Centro San Miguel de Allende/ Daily 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM and closed Tuesday/ Phone: 415 688 2284/ Chef: Juan Carlos Hernandez
Pork Belly From Kansas City, Memphis, St. Louis, Tulsa and Central Texas, we love BBQ so much that we’ve traveled just about everywhere to eat it. We even went to the Memphis World BBQ Championship one year to spend a week with the judges. Here in SMA, Pork Belly is the place for incredible, smoked foods. Chef Erick Medina is committed to growing everything himself so his dishes are at premium flavor. Surprisingly, he also makes bacon and ketchup. Yes, go right ahead, diners have been known to eat it by the spoonful it’s that good. There’s absolutely nothing we love more than a great burger and every one of his hamburgers hit the high mark. The Mac and Cheese is to die for; made with Monterrey, strong Cheddar and Blue cheese. We also like a good Brisket; it’s on our list of favorite foods and leads us straight to his brisket tacos. Also on the menu is the restaurants namesake, Pork Belly, along with lots of Short Rib and sirloin. There’s something for everyone with an unparalleled assortment of meat and vegetarian choices on the menu. SMA is not the most logical place in the world for BBQ but we think this very passionate London chef has turned the city on to something special. It’s so good in fact, it seldom needs sauce and that’s the true sign of a really great BBQ chef. Pork Belly/Stirling Dickinson n. #10/Hours: 12:00 Noon - 8:00 PM Closed Monday/ 415 104 8415/ Chef: Erick Medina
El Pato The best street food in SMA is this version of your mother’s Sunday pot roast. Pilar and Jose Luis have been dishing up Mixiotes in the early morning hours since they opened in 1995. Every time we go there, we learn something new and recently found out that it’s Pilar who makes the flavorful sauce to mix in the broth every day. The blend would surprise you and it’s a well kept, family secret; part of their morning ritual. The meat is Lamb not mutton and Jose Luis cooks it in the ground overnight for 12 hours. They recently celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. Like everyone else here in the restaurant business, Pilar use to work for Chef Donnie Masterton at The Restaurant. El Pato continues to look for a restaurant in Cento to serve their Mixiotes as a special for breakfast. On Trip Advisor, El Pato has consistently been in the top ten dishes in SMA for years and it’s also a favorite of SMA food bloggers Don Day, a.k.a Glenn Griffith and Valen Dawson. El Pato/ Calzada la Estacion 121/ San Miguel de Allende/ Hours: Friday - Sunday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
Trazo 1810 Trazo 1810 has a brand new chef and we were totally taken by the seven course meal he recently cooked for us, which included Risotto, Lamb Arancinis, Tuna Tiradito with homemade lavash bread, Mushroom Hummus, Veal, Suckling Pig and two desserts: Maracuya Pavlova and Caradamon Crème Brulee. It was all top-quality, including the wine parings of Ruffino Pinot Grigro, which we always enjoyed back in the states only this time it was better and the Damana 5, a 2020 Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero. The maitre, Eduardo Hernández, selected the wines and both were exceptional. The chef had his full team there that night including Tene’s Sous Chef, Natalia Lopez; another up and coming young chef in the Casa 1810 Collection. Chef Erick Martintz De La Cruz is originally from the State of Mexico. He studied gastronomy at the Coronado Culinary Institute, in Tlalnepantla, Edo. After finishing his degree, he did an internship at Chef Alfonso Cadena's La Leche restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. He left the position of Sous Chef at the age of 22 and by 24, he was already Executive Chef in charge of the restaurant. After 5 years, he made the decision to move to San Miguel de Allende to expand his culinary knowledge and started working at Trazo 1810. After a year and a half, he worked at the Rosewood and later took a job at Selina Rooftop as a Sous Chef, in charge of the kitchen where he worked for well-known chef, Abel Hernández, for two years. He then moved to Todos Santos in Baja to work as a Chef at the Guaycura Boutique Hotel. He’s now back in SMA in charge of Casa 1810 Collection which includes Trazo 1810, Tené Kitchen and Bar and the new and spectacular Tené Rooftop. Trazo 1810 has always been on our list as one of the top 10 restaurants in the city and now we have another good reason to go - it took just one bite of the mouth-watering veal to convince us that this chef is going places. Stay tuned. Trazo 1810/ Hidalgo #8/ Centro San Miguel de Allende/ Phone: 415 121 3501/ Executive Chef Erick Martintz De La Cruz/ Hours: Monday – Thursday 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Friday - Saturday: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM and Sunday 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Culinarian Expeditions So much great food comes out of Gilda Carbonaro’s kitchens - the one in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and the one in Florence, Italy where she wrote a cookbook during the pandemic called A Tiny Kitchen in Florence. Always come prepared to work hands on; she’s one of the most experienced chefs we know. Culinarian Expeditions is a touring company that takes small groups to Italy and Mexico and also teaches cooking classes. She does market-to-table tours as part of the tour; exploring the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez in San Miguel as well as the Mercato di Sant-Ambrogio or Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo in Florence. A great start would be to go on her culinary trip to Italy this fall. I love Italian food and wanted to learn to make the authentic, Italian sauces so I took a cooking class from Gilda where she taught me how to create Pasta al Pomodoro, Pesto di Pomodoro, Raw Tomato, Mattriciana, and Puttanesca in the most incredible Grilla Del Testo Romagnolo pans from Italy. She also recently turned me on to Scamorza, a cheese from Ramos, and Saint Agur blue cheese. Finally in the know, I’m totally hooked on both. Gilda and I share a love of reading cookbooks. A lifelong educator, both in and out of the kitchen, Gilda Carbonaro is one of our favorite chefs. https://www.culinarianexpeditions.com
Sofie Fine Bakery There are many things that Chef Sophia Rivera Pedeazzi is known for at this newly opened bakery - beautiful wedding and celebratory cakes with an assortment of great pastries, including a cake made out of pure butter. I even ate a second helping for granddaughter Olivia - my butter half and the princess of the baking line in the York’s home kitchen back in the states. Chef Sophia Rivera Pedeazzi is a native of Mexico City and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Culinary Arts and a Master’s in Food Styling from Colegio Superior de Gasronomia. She worked as a cook at La Hacienda de los Morales and then as a Food Stylist and Content Creator for five years at Kiwilimon. For those of you who don’t know, Kiwilimon is the largest digital cooking platform in Mexico with over 33 million social media followers, over 18,000 recipes and has become the leading cooking channel for advertisers. Chef Sophia Rivera Pedeazzi opened her own bakery, Buttery, in Mexico City and later moved to San Miguel de Allende and started making cakes and dessert tables for weddings. She also opened a crepe corner with her husband Mauricio and later decided to open Sophie Fine Bakery, located in the newly remodeled, upscale strip mall at Salida a Celaya 26, along with another one of our favorites, Ancesrtro. Sofie Fine Bakery/ Salida a Celaya 26/ La Lejona/ Hours: 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM closes Sunday 6:00 PM and closed Tuesday/ Phone: 55 1576 0077/ Chef Sophia Rivera Pedeazzi
San Expedito Miracle Café The best kept secret in SMA is a cup of Chiapas coffee at the San Expedito Miracle Café but the magic comes in owner/storyteller, Fay Hart and her champion, San Expedito, the patron saint of urgent needs. If you happen to have any, buckle up and come along with us for the ride. Fay Hart is a teacher, a poet and the dueña of San Expedito Miracle Café. She’s lived in Florida, London, Barcelona and Ireland and is now settled in to San Miguel de Allende, where she tells, among other things, the stories of this mysterious saint. It all started when she found a prayer card of San Expedito in a tree years ago and once she tuned into him, he kept coming back to encourage her. Unrecognized by the Vatican, she felt an immediate connection with him. It took her years of praying and visualizing but little by little, money came in dribs and drabs and unexpected gifts had begun to arrive that turned her into a believer. She tells the story much better than we do. San Expedito happens to like things that are red - candles, roses and wine - and she has kept him in abundance for years. She finally came to recognize that he’s best served with pound cake, which she started to make and now also sells it to Cheryl Finnegan, the owner of Café Rama, who was the one that turned us on to this little gem in the first place. One of the customers at Café Rama recently told us how she bought a nicho of San Expedito from Fay and suddenly, all of her problems disappeared. Growing up Catholic, I figured it was worth a shot. A nicho came home with me today because we figured out that the simpler things in life are best achieved with a bit of coffee, a slice of pound cake, a portion of magic from Fay and a whole lot of prayers to San Expedito. San Expedito Miracle Café/ Xaltocan 4/ San Felipe Neri/ 37733 San Miguel de Allende/ Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM/Owner, Poet and Storyteller: Fay Hart
Tostévere The small but mighty Tostévere delivers some of the best food in the city. Located between downtown and the Ancha, the offerings are classic Mexican with a twist; compliments of Chef Jatzirin Blanco. Try the Seared Tuna and Avocado Tostada and the Tempura Shrimp Taco with fried leeks; both using premium seafood from the coast of Mexico. Tostévere’s Sweet Potato French fries are served with mayo and chipotle and are so good, they’re rated the best in town. Ask anyone about Tostévere and the first thing they mention are the fries. With a high temptation to lick the bowl, dessert was Fried Bananas with Passion Fruit Ice Cream; a winning combination. It’s one of my favorite new desserts. Tostévere is part of a conglomerate owned by the Aranda Lavalle brothers and include restaurants La Choperia, Tostévere, BocaLab and Bocaciega. They also own Mr Emilio, a food logistics delivery service and will also be opening a casual, Italian restaurant in March. Tostévere celebrates its fifth year anniversary this year and La Choperia recently celebrated their tenth. Tostévere/Codo 4/Centro, San Miguel de Allende/Hours: Sunday 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM/ Monday and Wednesday 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM/ Thursday – Saturday 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM/ Phone 415 121 3075/Chef: Jatzirin Blanco
Tacos Terco We’re happy to find yet another new taco place in town; this time from Taquero, Edgar Gutierrez, who hails from Nayarit. Tacos Terco is in a black and yellow taco truck parked in a lot at Sterling Dickinson #22. It’s got plenty of seating with picnic tables out front. We liked all of the tacos – the Chorizo, Tongue and the Adobada Pork, which were charred and not sloppy with sauce. They also make great Quesadillas and salsas. For dessert, get a slice of a cheesecake made from his Grandmother’s recipe. The star of the show is the classic Nayarit taco, made with beef steak and panela cheese. It went on our list of favorite tacos the minute we took our first bite. There’s no other taco like it in SMA and that’s just another reason to love it. He and his staff, Paulina and Christian, all worked together at Hacienda Los Picachos for five years before he decided to open his own taco truck. His wife, Giselle Pena, is also opening a new store on the property called Pocket Supply Market, which sells products from both the US and Europe. Tacos Terco/ Stirling Dickinson/Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM/415 216 5559
Kan Bei Be totally prepared for a whole new level of luxury when you walk into Kan Bei. Architects are visionaries and this one had his eye on the prize. The property is gorgeous. When Tito, the owner of La Unica, stops on his motorcycle as you’re standing outside and tells you this restaurant is beautiful, you know that it is without even looking. Every detail of the property comes down to balance and harmony; the Feng Shui principles which are fundamental to Chinese architecture and this one’s is a beauty. Fostering a totally serene and uplifting setting, one of the owners, Bei Wong, has been in SMA working on the property for over 3 years. Bei Wong previously owned Chinese restaurants in Monterrey, Mexico. Kan Bei is by reservation only and the front door will remain closed. When you make a reservation, you will be given a code to unlock the door. That may change when they move the restaurant to the second level. Their eye-catching, Chinese bar is the most beautiful bar in SMA. The restaurant, which seats 52 people, uses an enclosed open space for its dining area and will have an upper deck that will open in May to expand their seating to 120. Kan Bei is located in the La Senoria Hotel, which has not opened yet. It has four guest rooms that are decorated in the same black and white elegance as the rest of the property. The restaurant opened to the public this past Sunday. We knew the young chef, a recent transplant from GHAR where Chef Hiran Patel told me that it’s a perfect fit for Chef Diego Alberto, whose specialty is Asian cooking. Kan Bei will also cater weddings and other special events. The food – right now, it’s appetizers and drinks; many are specialty like the Saki Martini and a really good Pina Colada. Main dishes will be added when the restaurant moves upstairs in May. There are plans to roll out new dumpling, noodles and other Chinese dishes in the coming weeks so every time you go there, the menu will have a lot of surprises. We tried a number of dumplings dishes and loved them all; most ranging in price from $250 to $450 pesos. Our favorite was a plate of 4 steamed dumplings stuffed with Shrimp and Pork Belly which had a flavorful, spicy chili sauce to top it off. It’s going to be interesting to see where this restaurant takes us in the next few months. Stay tuned for their progress. Kan Bei Asian Eatery/14 Zacateros/ Centro, San Miguel de Allende/Hours: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM. Closed Monday/415 125 1488/Chef: Diego Alberto