Sunday, July 30, 2017

THE HIT LIST: San Miguel de Allende's Most Popular Restaurants

Chef Marcela Bolano
San Miguel de Allende is attracting a different type of visitor today: the food lover.

In 2016, San Miguel took seventh in the 10 Best International Cities for Food

and in 2017, was named the “Top City in the World” by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.
The Chefs of Nomada
So how did this small, colonial town in the mountains of central Mexico become the #1 city on the planet? One reason: great food, thanks to all of the creative chefs who moved to SMA and opened first class restaurants. In late 2014, Chef Matteo Salas arrived from Mexico City to head up the kitchen at Aperi and changed the course of fine dining in San Miguel. These chefs, some who were already in San Miguel - like Donnie Masterton, Mariano Alverez, Bricio Dominguez and his culinary tribe - worked hard to establish the city as a major culinary center in Mexico. Their achievement is really amazing when you consider the short period of time it took them to do it.

Chef’s continue to foster properties, like Miguel Gallegos, the young chef at Mama Mia’s, who is working to create a more organic kitchen and chefs like Carlos Hannon, who came back from Dubai, to advance all of the menus at the Rosewood Hotel and Star Chef Enrique Olvera, who frequently fine-tunes the menus at Hotel Matilda.

Chefs continue to arrive in SMA, like Paul Bentley of Mango Brasserie in Guadalajara, who will take the lead at Bovine, Bruce James new restaurant at Canal #16,in the coming weeks.    

So if we’ve managed to convince you to come to San Miguel to eat and you only have a few days to do it, where do you start? We’ve made it easy and put together “THE HIT LIST”, a cheat sheet, of some of SMA’s most popular restaurants; where getting a great meal is all but a given.

When you come back, try all of SMA’s 350+ restaurants. The gastronomic offerings in SMA are now as diverse and vibrant as the city itself.

Good news for the #1 City in the World, who first and foremost loves to eat!

Buen Provecho!
Quebrada 101, Centro, 37700 in the Dos Casas Hotel and Spa
Phone: 415 152 0941
Hours: Comida: 2 PM – 4 PM/Dinner: 6:30 PM – 9 PM
Chef: Matteo Salas

Lauded as one of the best restaurant in SMA, if not Mexico, Aperi lives up to the hype. Book the Chef’s Table for a memorable, culinary experience. The seven course tasting menu is paired with outstanding Mexican and European wines and spirits. Outstanding meat and seafood selections. Some molecular accents. With an emphasis on organic, they source for the best local ingredients. Chef Salas hosts dinners with internationally recognized, celebrity chefs. He and Chef Eduardo Garcia (Maximo Bistrot, Mexico City) were the architects of one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten anywhere this past year. Chef Matteo Salas also owns Jacinto 1930 at Relox #18.
Nomada cocina de Interpretacion
Nemesio Diez 2, Centro, 37700
Phone: 415 121 9163
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM Daily/ Closed: Sunday
Chef: Marco Cruz/ Pastry Chef: Sofia Antillon/ Sous Chef: Pablo Nicacio
Nomada’s contemporary Mexican food is exceptional. The menus change weekly: a Street Food Tasting Menu on Monday, the Vegetarian on Tuesday, and the renowned Tasting Menu on Wednesday. These innovative dishes are a dining experience unlike any you've ever had before. The food is perfectly balanced, applying imagination with complex flavors and combinations. Everything that comes out of the kitchen is visually picture-perfect and never fails to surprise and delight. We all know Sofia is the best Pastry Chef in SMA. This culinary gem is a must, especially if you only have a few nights in SMA. Chef Marco Cruz also creates the menus for Buen Viaje’s Mezcal tasting room, Casa Viaje, along with Chef Hugo Tepichin, at Cuna de Allende, #15.
The Restaurant
Calle Sollano 16, Centro, 37700
Phone: 415 154 7877
Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12 Noon – 11 PM/ Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday: 12 Noon – 10 PM
Chef: Donnie Masterton
The Restaurant turns out excellent Mexican,American and Contemporary food. Thursday Burger night is a SMA institution. The food is made with fresh ingredients purchased from the farmers in SMA, many located within a five mile radius of the restaurant. Exceptional shaved Brussels sprout and kale salad. Outstanding appetizers are great for sharing. Excellent menu selections include salmon and duck. The knowledgeable Sommelier offers a wonderful collection of international wines. Chef Masterton also owns Birdie’s Burgers and Taco Lab in the Doce 18 Concept House, El Vergel Bistro and Market and will open a Moroccan restaurant and café, Fatima, in the Casa Blanca Hotel later this fall. We’ve already tried the Lamb Shawarma and are happy to report that the food at Fatima promises to be as spectacular as the views from its magnificent rooftop.
Marsala cocina con acentos
Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias 48, Centro, 37700
Phone: 415 152 0080
 Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday:1 PM – 10 PM/Friday, Saturday:1 PM – 11 PM/ Sunday: 1 PM – 5 PM/ Tuesday: Closed 
Chef: Marcela Bolano

Incredible Mediterranean cooking with an outstanding Sunday brunch; one of the best in SMA. A beautiful, outdoor courtyard and inside dining. The fireplace, with a pink, velvet couch and chairs, creates a cozy, conversation pit. From the homemade pita bread with za'atar and Tzatziki to her take on rib eye tacos and the splendid caramel pudding, all of her dishes are enchanting. Vegetarian’s will love a fresh tuna pyramid, lentil Summer Rolls and a perfect Quinoa Salad. Also one of the best Chiles en Nogada in SMA is served in season. Chef Marcela Bolano was featured on the television series, Top Chef Mexico, this season. An I Love Lucy look alike, Marcela Bolano is as refreshing as her style of food.

Buenos Aires Bistro
Mesones #62
Phone: 415 154 6390
Hours:1 PM – 10 PM Daily

Chef: Mariano Alverez/ Sous chef: Carolina Lopez Juarez

If it’s meat you’re after, look no further than this steakhouse who is known for putting a Mexican spin on Argentinean, world class food. All of the Italian pastas are outstanding. Many good sides and desserts, like the burrata salad and an Argentinean version of Bananas Foster. The meat selections are the best in SMA. This restaurant reminds us of the ones we loved eating at in Europe. Score the romantic table in front of the window. Chef Mariano Alverez also owns Patria Sur in Queretaro with Chef Nacho Avila. If you’re attending one of the many food festivals in SMA, chances are you’ll find this restaurant; it’s the stand with the longest lines.

Jacinto 1930
Relox 18, Centro, 37700 in Dôce 18 Concept House
Phone: 415 150 0075
Hours: Friday and Saturday: 12 Noon – 11 PM/ Sunday – Thursday: 12 Noon – 10
Chefs: Matteo Salas/ Sous Chef: Israel Loyola Espinosa
This restaurant hits all the high notes when it comes to creating great Mexican food, marking the cultural diversity of Mexico. With the first maize station in SMA, it produces fresh tortillas with incomparable flavors and texture. Chef Israel Loyola Espinosa, born in Oaxaca, collaborates with Chef Salas to create a menu that is made with the best ingredients of the region. The drink menu, by Welch born Beverage Director Adrian Evans, combines the very best Mexican spirits with European accents. The contemporary design and open kitchen are set off by an abundance of natural light that adds to the character of the space. It’s equally beautiful at night. Accenting the stunning architecture are the simple, copper lamps, designed and made by the Chef Salas’s brother Lucca. A 5 course Tasting Menu can be paired with exquisite Mexican and European wines. For a special treat, try the Esquites and the Lechón al pastor. Chef Salas also owns Aperi at Quebrada #101.

Calle Hernández Macias 97, Centro, 37700
Phone: 415 152 7482
Hours: Sunday: 3 PM – 10:30 PM/ Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 1 PM – 10 PM/ Tuesday: Closed
Chef: Greta Ortega Casanas and Davide Giribaldi (not pictured)/ Sous-chef: Cecy Alvarez

Serving outstanding, Italian food, we had a renewed love affair with MiVida this past year, eating there at least a dozen times. From the appetizers to the desserts, we think their food is some of the best in SMA. Their superb pizza is available on Sunday (and also Wednesday in season); topped with homemade Italian Sausage and parmesan cheese. You can order a different topping on the other half. We also love the fork-tender pork cheek and soon, pork belly will be on their menu. Reserve the private dining room for a romantic, candlelit dinner. 
La Parada
Recreo #94, Centro, 37700
Phone: 415 152 0473
Hours: Sunday and Monday: 12 Noon – 9 PM/ Tuesday: Closed/ Wednesday – Saturday: 12 Noon – 10 PM
Chef: Alexandra Gutt

Chef Alexandra Gutt is responsible for heightening the profile of mouth-watering, Peruvian flavors in San Miguel. This restaurant has consistently great food and is always in the top ten on Trip Advisor. The ceviches at La Parada are renowned. Last year, we discovered that La Prada is as good as many of the celebrated spots we ate at in Lima, Peru. Go for the chicken livers, chops and savor the Pisco Sours. If you go away with one great food memory of SMA that’s not Mexican, make it La Parada.
Cuna de Allende 15, Centro, 37700
Phone: 415 154 9776
Hours:1 PM – 2 AM Daily

Chef: Gonzalo Martinez/Sous-Chef: Erick Rojo

With in-your-face views of the Parroquia, we savor everything about this beautiful rooftop restaurant, especially the food created by Chef Gonzalo Martinez, who was previously at the Rainbow Room in New York City. The lamb, salmon and grilled tuna are all great choices. His desserts are textbook sweet and savory; take your pick of a moist corn cake or an attractive plate of sugar-coated bunuelos. This chef has breathed life into some pretty straightforward, Mexican dishes. The service: we were impressed when the waiter refolded our napkin when we got up to take a photograph. Quince finished a gorgeous upper deck with a large table that seats fourteen. It’s straight out of Martha Stewart and shows off a different view of SMA. Get here early for the best seats to take in the sunset; almost every one of them, like the food, is memorable.
Tarazo 1810
Hidalgo 8, Centro, 37700 in Casa 1810
Phone: 415 121 3501
Hours: 8 AM – 10 PM Daily
Chef: Alan Carias/ Pastry Chef: Aby Verde/ Chef-in-training: Santi Aleck Pirsch

This Contemporary Mexican restaurant just opened. It’s simple, glass design showcases gorgeous views of SMA. The only thing more impressive than the views is the food that comes out of the kitchen, courtesy of Chef Alan Carias. Many of his flavors are Asian; something that’s been missing in a SMA restaurant until now. One of SMA’s best Pastry Chefs creates outstanding desserts.
Exceptional seafood dishes on the menu. Mexican fish couldn’t be fresher: caught in the morning, shipped to Queretaro in the afternoon and cooked at Trazo that night. We think it’s one of the most beautiful spaces in SMA, with outstanding food to match.  
Antonia Bistro
San Francisco 57, Centro, 37700
Phone: 415 152 7295
Hours: Friday and Saturday: 8 AM – 11 PM/ Sunday – Thursday: 8 AM – 10:30 PM
Chef: Alejandro Cuatepotzo

The view, the food, and a wonderful collection of agave based liquors makes this restaurant the place to watch the sunset; grab the high table in the center for the best views. Choose from Antonia’s four signature cocktails along with a short but distinctive selection of tequilas and mezcals that play from uplifting to smoky. With an international, contemporary Mexican menu, we love the Octopus. Breakfast is always a reason to go back.

Restaurants for Breakfast
Lavanda Cafe
Calle Doctor Ignacio Hernandez Macias #87 
Phone: 415 152 1610
Hours: Wednesday – Monday: 8:30 AM – 4 PM (except Sunday closes at 2 PM/ Tuesday: Closed
Chef: Karla Becerra Martinez

SMA’s hot spot for breakfast, Lavanda is one of the most popular restaurants in town. The taste of the Huevos Rancheros will astonish even the most die-hard Eggs Benedict lover who has never given this Mexican gold standard a second look; a recipe that’s been in Karla’s family for years. Go when they open at 8:30 AM to avoid the long lines, especially on the weekends. Art on a plate, you’ll crave everything long after you pay the tab. Poached eggs, breakfast casseroles and great coffees pepper the menu.
Café Muro
San Gabriel 1 | Barrio del Obraje, 37725
Phone: 415 152 6341
Hours: Thursday – Tuesday 9 AM – 4 PM/ Wednesday: Closed

Take one look at this gorgeous restaurant up on the hill and you’ll want to hang-out here forever. Bringing the outside indoors, the space is full of light, with patios and views that are set off by the curved glass wall in back. It’s a quick 10 minute walk from town. We’re especially devoted to all of the breakfasts, both traditional Mexican and American and the cream cheese cupcakes as an after-breakfast treat. It’s been a favorite in SMA for years; it’s now one of our favorites too.
Café Oso Azul
Calle Zacateros 17 
Phone: 415 121 7402
Hours: 8:30 AM – 10 PM Daily
Chef: Maria Guadalupe Ramirez Soria

This cast-iron skillet, sizzling to the touch, is filled with Huevos Mexicanas: a combination of eggs, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and cheese. Add on a side order of delicious, homemade Italian sausage. Typically Scandinavian with its white walls and blue-washed wooden tables and chairs; you might even think for a moment you're in Denmark instead of San Miguel. Owner,Jens Kristian Moller, is a charming host and serves a delicious cup of coffee to pair with your eggs. Consistently in the top 10 on Trip Advisor, this place is popular with visitors as well as the locals.
El Pegaso
Corregidora 6, Centro | 37700
Phone: 415 152 1351
Hours:Thursday – Tuesday: 8:30 AM – 10 PM

This family run restaurant has been a part of the fabric of SMA for years. We're partial to the Eggs Benedict for breakfast but there’s also a wide-variety of ethnic dishes on the menu. The small, rooftop is a cozy spot for drinks. El Pegaso is known for their Chiles en Nogada and homemade desserts. The delightful space is immersed with beautiful, Mexican folk art.

Rooftops with a View
La Azotea
Umaran 6, Centro,37700
Phone: 415 152 4977
Hours: 1 PM – 12 AM Daily 

Tapas and a 2 for 1 Happy Hour are the trademarks of this rooftop bar. The star of the show: a Jicama Taco, one of the best Tacos in SMA, is topped with lightly breaded shrimp, fried leeks, chipotle mayo and a tamarind sauce. We can’t get enough of them, no matter how many we eat. Ask for Eduardo; he’s one of the many reasons people come here, along with the service. This is our favorite bar in SMA; it will be yours too. La Azotea is opening a new restaurant on Cuna de Allende shortly.

Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar
Nemesio Diez 11, Centro, 37700 in the Rosewood Hotel
Phone: 415 152 9700
Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 1 PM – 11 PM/ Monday – Thursday: 2 PM – 11 PM
Chef: Carlos Hannon

On the rooftop of the Rosewood Hotel, this is the place to bring out-of-town visitors to drink in the beautiful views of Centro; they're some of the best in SMA. Tabletop fire pits take off the chill when it’s cold outside or ask for a warm blanket; the staff aims to please. Luna offers a long list of tapa- sized appetizers with expertly prepared margaritas and other creative cocktails.
Nena Sky Lounge
Nemesio Diez No.10, CentroSan Miguel de Allende 37700 in the Hotel Nena
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12 Noon – 10 PM/ Friday and Saturday: 12 Noon – 11 PM/Sunday: 12 Noon – 6 PM

Near and dear to our heart, this intimate patio gives you a sense of why SMA is at the top of everybody’s list. Weekend fireworks from the Rosewood Hotel across the street are so close up, you’ll get caught in the afterglow and never want to leave. It’s stylish yet comfortable. Come dressed to kill; the beautiful people who frequent this rooftop make it the best place in town for your favorite SMA activity: people watching.

Outside of San Miguel de Allende  Centro

Trattoria da Laura a Los Mezquites
Rancho Los Mezquites, Camino aa Marroquin De Abajo
Phone: 415 124 243
Hours: Saturday: 7:30 PM – 10 PM/ Sunday: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Chef: Laura Buccheri

Chef Laura Buccheri’s Trattoria da Laura a Los Mezquites serves authentic, Italian flavors straight from her garden to your plate. A beautiful view of the countryside takes a back seat to the food; from the homemade cocoa tagliolini with walnuts, gorgonzola sauce and mesquite smoked bacon to the creamy, to the bacon-laden Carbonara and unbelievable desserts. Straightforward flavors transport you to Laura’s homeland of Sicily. This is the only comfort food you’ll ever need. You know it’s scratch cooking; Laura and her husband Justin make thirteen types of cheese, along with homemade sausages, Italian breads and Limoncello. 

El Vergel Bistro & Market
Camino la Alborada 17 | Predio la Alborada, 37880
Phone: 415 110 2254
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 9 AM – 6 PM/ Monday: Closed
Chef: Magda Elisa Pablos/ Sous Chef: Ari Vazquez

We don’t have to give you any reasons why we love French food; you already know. From the Steak Frites - a mouth-watering ribeye with pommes frites, laden with butter to the French onion soup - lightly caramelized onions and good broth and plenty of good bread for dunking - anyone who loves French food eats at least two desserts. We can’t think of a single Mac and Cheese that’s as good: Lyonnais Macaroni and Gruyere cheese with red wine braised Oxtail; we can eat it by the bucketful. A 10 minute drive from downtown SMA, this restaurant is the perfect escape from SMA, especially on the weekends. There’s a stand-alone market on the property loaded with gourmet goodies on your way out. You’ll love all of the unusual items they carry you can’t find any place else.

B’ui Cocina de Campo
On the equestrian grounds at Otomi’s residential area outside of San Miguel de Allende. Km 2 Camino a San Miguel el Viejo, C.P. 37700,
Phone: 415 688 0021
Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 1:30 PM – 10 PM
Chef: Stephanie Ceron

 Left to Right: B-ui Owner Daniel Estebaranz, Ricardo Trejo of SMAFF and Santi Aleck Pirsch
One of the most picturesque restaurants in SMA, B’ui creates beautiful, dishes with superior, contemporary Mexican flavors.The restaurant hosts many special dinners and equestrian events featuring internationally recognized, celebrity chefs. B’ui is home to SMAFF – the San Miguel Food Festival, held in June every year. Restaurant owner, Daniel Estebaranz, has a remarkable passion for what he does. He also owns La Estacion restaurant in Mexico City, which he started with Chef-legend Enrique Olvera. Order the tasting menu, along with a great selection of wines, many from Valle de Guadalupe.