Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Atrio: One of SMA’s Best Restaurants

When someone asks us for a restaurant recommendation, Atrio is one of the first places we send them to. 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 was our pick for the best, new restaurant opening and chef in 2017 and it still reigns as one of the best four years later.

The staying power of a restaurant comes down to just one thing, the food. In the case of Atrio, the fabulous service, incredible ambiance and the spectacular view of the Parroquia have as much to do with the restaurant’s success as the food does; it’s another total package. 

And then there's the view...I remember the first time I climbed an unfinished stairway, holding on to the back of nephew, Eduardo Pérez Calvo, for a peek at what was to be Atrio in a few months. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t the restaurant I looked at first but the spectacular view of the Parroquia. I was totally captivated then and continue to see it in a different way every time I’m here.

We’ve eaten nearly everything on the menu since they opened; each dish perfectly prepared, flawlessly seasoned and executed by the Master himself, Chef Arturo Sandoval. We think the chef has got a whole lot of magic going on because he has the most amazing sense of flavors. The menu at Atrio is always a work in progress - the best dish is likely to be the one that Chef Arturo Sandoval recently created, like these two new dishes: 

a Beef Cannelloni with Foie Gras: beef stew sautéed with fresh truffle and foie gras, topped with a cheese and truffle sauce, accompanied with an arugula, tata and almond salad and the Unagui Roll, stuffed with eel and foie gras tempura, wrapped in avocado, bathed with eel sauce and smoked. You’ll be totally amazed by what the smoke does to sushi. It was served with a glass lid; the rolls still smoking when manager, Luis Vela, removed the dome. The presentation was one of the best we’ve had but with many others coming close. 

One of the more obvious differences in sushi is the quality of the fish. Chef Arturo Sandoval uses only the best quality in each and every dish; a skill he perfected when he worked for Chef Moma at Restaurant Osaka Pedregal in Mexico City specializing in Peruvian-Japanese cuisine. He also worked for him in Lima, Peru and at KO Asían Cuisine with Chef Gianfranco. 

In addition to the new dishes, we shared two others - a pan of their famous Rib Rice, perfectly cooked in the Josper charcoal oven and the Oriental Bao Bun with Pork Belly. Both dishes have been on the menu since they opened and remain two of our favorites. 

My favorite thing in the world is to share great food and long time friends, Pepe Martinez, Jay Jones, Michael Moore, Craig Wilson and Jere Halligan were enthusiastically along for the ride. We also sent a friend over this past week to taste the crunchy red snapper marinated with spicy oriental red chilies, chipotle and citric sauce. We’re not surprised when he reported back that it was the best he’d ever had. We claimed it as our favorite dish back in 2019 and it’s still at the top of our list two years later.

Atrio owners, Chema and Chus, recently celebrated another successful restaurant opening with Aquila, right around the corner from Atrio at Jesus #3. 


Cuna de Allende #3, Centro

Chef: Arturo Sandoval

Reservations suggested - Call: 415 688 1405

Opens 1:00 PM Daily

Masks required/removed for photographs and consumption

Health First certified by the city of SMA