Friday, May 6, 2022

Where to Get The Best Burgers in San Miguel de Allende

No one loves a burger more than we do but when there are so many different types to choose from, having one less decision to make is a huge relief. We’ve created this burger bucket list to narrow down your selection of the best burgers in SMA. All of the restaurants on this list know the source of their meat short of raising the beef themselves. With the exception of Birdie’s Burgers, the restaurants are listed below in random order. When I lived in Chicago, I passed by Edzo’s hamburgers every day on my way to work. Eddie Larkin, the chef/owner, who did a stint at both Spruce and Tru, was inside grinding meat every morning, seven days a week. I talked to Eddie often and ate there a couple of times a week for many years. I discovered a thing or two about his holy trinity: burgers, fries and malts. So why were Eddie’s burgers always the best in town? Chef Eddie Larkin used only American beef– USDA choice chuck. The meat was never frozen. They cut and ground the beef every morning in the restaurant. He handled the meat gently and never over-worked it. Edzo’s also offers locally-raised, grass-fed beef as an upgrade option, along with organic ground turkey. I really don’t love turkey burgers but Edzo’s were some of the best.
Quality burgers come and go. In 2019, we found a burger at a stand outside of Mercado Sano that was created by local chef, Gabriel Ordonez. It was one of our favorite burgers; made of Short Rib, Chuck and Top Sirloin topped with a special sauce. It was short-lived though; in a couple of weeks the stand was gone; disappearing as fast as it came. We also loved the Arrachera burger that was made by Mama Mia but a new cook took over the kitchen and changed the recipe. We sadly just took this one off the list last week.
In the fall of 2020, we had one of the best burgers we’ve eaten in Mexico from Chef Aaron Mizrahi Ardon, who is the owner of Mizrahi Meats in Mexico City. Mizrahi Meats is dedicated to providing exceptional cuts of beef for chefs and restaurants throughout Mexico and the U.S. Chef Aaron Mizrahi Ardon was cooking at Barrica de Fuego Smokehouse and Grill at Vinedos Los Senderos for a group of SMA chefs. The hamburger was Black Angus meat; a mix of Rib Eye, Sirloin and smoked Brisket that had a balsamic reduction on a Pretzel bun with fried leeks and a special dressing. We still dream about that burger and although we can’t run up to Mexico City every time we feel a craving for a hamburger coming on, it’s our gold standard when it comes to judging burgers here in SMA, especially for the juiciness.
There are many blends of meat to choose from. Chuck and Brisket is a popular combination and your butcher can do it for you since many people don’t own a heavy-duty meat grinder. I also like Short Rib in the mix; a Filet Mignon, Short Rib, and Brisket. If you’re buying Chuck, buy Chuck Steaks not a Chuck Roast (roasts have too much sinew). You can also buy certified Black Angus, Kobe or Wagyu if you’re willing to pay the price. I like using good meat in my burgers.
Canada de la Virgin is a great, local brand of grass fed beef, used by Chef Donnie Masterton at The Restaurant for Thursday’s Burger Night; now celebrating their 14th year in San Miguel de Allende and in Birdie’s burgers. As a burger purist, I do not eat meat that’s mixed with anything. Some places put fillers in their meats, making good burgers harder to find. It’s so important to get the balance of meat and fat just right. 80/20 is a good start, depending on how long you’re going to cook it for.
I’m a total snob when it comes to burgers. Some of the ones we really loved were cooked over a wood fire. We tried them all and if the bun was the least bit dry or the ratio of fat was off, the burger fell down to the bottom of the roll and is not listed here. Just as a note, there were as many burgers in this category that we did not write about at all. Over a span of three months, Kouyin was the first burger we tried and Bulla was the last. Picking a winner is next to impossible because a lot of it comes down to personal taste and how much money you’re willing to part with. When it comes to getting a great burger in SMA, here are the ones that made our list of favorites. Buen Provecho!
Birdie’s Burgers If you’re going to eat a burger, order one from Birdie’s that's so delicious and sloppy it takes two hands and a stack of napkins to get to the finish. Birdie’s was the first burger we fell in love with in SMA so we’re listing it first. They’re 100% local, organic, grass-fed and grass-finished pasture raised beef, dry aged one month from Cañada de la Virgen, hormone, antibiotic and gluten free. How’s that for a mouthful? It’s prepared from a blend of sirloin, brisket and chuck, hand formed and served on a soft, toasted bun baked daily by The Restaurant. We also love it served with a side of extra crispy French fries for under $200 pesos. There’s no getting enough of one of the best burgers in town no matter how many times you eat it. For now, you can order them to go from The Restaurant at Sollano #16, but we’re hoping they’ll reopen soon. Like a repeat of Doce 18, we’ll be the first in line to order one when they do. We’ve been loyal to the brand since they opened in 2016.
Aquila Brasa When sharing a third round of all the usual favorites is still not enough, you know it’s time for a standing reservation. Some things are best repeated every week. Chef Arturo Sandoval is one of them. Three years ago, we called this chef one of the best new chefs in the city. He still is. With his arrival at Atrio in 2017, he offered some of the most creative and delicious meals in SMA. Now, 10 dishes into his new menu at another one of his restaurants, Aquila Brasa, we’re crazy about this restaurant too. Aquila is known for their excellent quality of meat cooked in a charcoal and wood oven. The hamburger is no exception; another Pat la Frieda cut with Rib Eye. The soft bun is made by one of our favorite bakery cafes, Café Umaran. Don’t underestimate this burger; it’s simple but it has such incredible flavor we could eat it every day. The Burger and fries run $280 pesos; a deal for the high-quality of a Pat la Frieda rib eye cut. Savor the burger after trying one of Aquila Brasa’s new appetizers: Aceitunas a la escolana’s made of Beef and Olives. Aquila Brasa Jesus #3, Centro San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700 Chef: Arturo Sandoval Daily 1:00 PM – 11:00 PM Phone: 415 152 4363
Bulla San Miguel With new restaurants opening in SMA every week, we managed to get in Bulla San Miguel, a last minute entry at $300 pesos where the burger is made of matured rib eye and beef filet with a touch of cured bacon and is served with French fries and artisan dressing. The day chef, Juan Manuel de Leon Robles, smiled when I asked him about the meat, purchased from SuSason, ground fresh in the restaurant and cooked over a wood fire. Bulla San Miguel is one of our favorite, new restaurants in SMA. Enjoy the beautiful, outside patio with many Spanish preparations on the menu including the to-share Txuleton rice with a 1.2k steak, matured 26 days, the best mashed potatoes finished with cream and butter and a grilled, whole cauliflower with white bacon sauce.
The dessert, a perfect, lemon cream with berries is a new favorite that feeds my obsession for lemons. This restaurant group, which includes La Unica, creates some of the most pleasurable desserts in the city. Bulla San Miguel Hernandez Macias 82, Centro San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700 Phone: 415 139 1712 Monday – Wednesday, Sunday 1:00 PM – 11:00 PM Thursday – Saturday 1:00 PM – 12:00 Midnight
Bastardo Who doesn’t love Chef Jorge Avendaño’s Juicy Lucy; a stuffed burger with cheese inside the meat instead of on top, resulting in a melted core of cheese. The meat is a blend from Sonora and some of the best in Mexico. Two bars in my hometown of Minneapolis claim to be the inventor of this burger: Matt’s and the 5-8 Club, while other bars and restaurants have created their own interpretations of the style, like Bastardo who makes this burger out of a blend of chuck and rib. The Juicy Lucy runs $250 pesos. Look for other types of burgers on the menu, all of them excellent, that are offered on Wednesday as a 2x1 special.They also make soft shell crab burgers; one of our favorite seasonal seafood’s.
As most of us food lovers know, you can never get too much butter so sink your teeth into this head of Cauliflower dripping in burnt butter and peanuts. You’ll also love Bastardo’s desserts, often using ingredients you normally don’t get on a post meal menu. Chef Jorge Avendaño always has something up his sleeve. Look for a fun surprise coming soon. Bastardo Highway to Dolores Hidalgo, km 7.4 - passing Hacienda la Presa 37770 Chef: Jorge Avendaño Phone: 415 181 7045 Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM/Friday - Saturday: 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM/ Monday -Tuesday closed.
W Cantina We’re convinced Chef JJ Castaneda can cook anything and make it taste great. He’s now a partner and the chef at W Cantina; totally overhauling the menu much to the delight of all the food lovers in SMA. When it comes to making one of the best burgers in town, the chef designed his burger after San Francisco’s In and Out Burger where he lived for many years. To say it tastes good is an understatement; it’s at the top of the list for one of the best burgers in town, proving once again that a hamburger doesn’t need to be expensive to taste good. The list price is $185 pesos. JJ’s beef comes from La Carniceria butcher shop on Quebrada near Mesones; the same guy he ordered the lamb from for Mesa Marrakesh. It’s made of two, 75 gram patties with fresh onion stuffed in a mustard crust with a house made brioche bun, pickles, Tillimook American Cheese and a homemade, Thousand Island dressing.
Pair this burger with his Key lime cheesecake with orange cream and Margarita granite or his legendary Chocolate Budino that went on the menu Easter weekend. We couldn’t be happier that they’re both back: JJ and the dessert! W Cantina Salida a Celaya #6 San Miguel de Allende, GTO Chef: JJ Castaneda Phone: 415 1531303 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM Tuesday: Closed Friday – Saturday: 2:00 PM – 11:00 PM Sunday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Tene Latin Cuisine When it comes to burgers, there’s beef and then there’s Wagyu, according to Chef Irving Cano, who only uses the best ingredients when he cooks. Wagyu, the beef from Japan, is considered the best beef on the planet because it’s highly marbled. With a higher fat content than most other cuts of beef, Wagyu is juicy and tender, lending itself to a much faster cooking time. It’s best cooked to medium-rare and that’s just how Tene cooks it. Tene is one of our favorite restaurants in town. The heat on this burger, cooked over a wood fire, can be adjusted by the amount of Habanero ash that’s added to the mayo, along with the fondue made of Guajillo chili. It’s served on a bun made with sweet potatoes that also balances the temperature. The bun is made in-house by one of our favorite Pastry chefs, Tene’s Gabriel Mendoza, who also makes the best chocolate pistachio croissants in town. Did we love this burger because of the meat they used? We did, but we also loved it for the flavor. Take one bite and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. High on our list of favorites, we can taste the difference that Wagyu makes in a burger, priced at $290 pesos. Tene Latin Cuisine Codo #3, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto Chef: Irving Cano Pastry Chef: Gabriel Mendoza Hours Daily: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM Phone 415 688 6981
Bovine Bovine looks like Las Vegas, London, LA, Miami, or New York but SMA? The elegant design and concept for BOVINE was created by Bruce James and carried out by Architect Juan Pablo Gallegos. It will impress even the most avid food lovers; there is no other restaurant like it in SMA.
Along with the open kitchen in the back where you can watch the chefs in action –Williams Cortes, Gabriel Garcia, Luis EdoValenzuela Rez., Daniel Licea and Daniela Moreno - it’s also got a simple yet gorgeous outdoor patio for drinking this picture perfect cocktail with Calle Aldama floating on top. The drink was created by Bovine’s Uriel Jonathan Frausto Tabares; the best Mixologist in SMA. The cocktail is made of Pineapple, Agave Cenizo from Durango ( I always learn something new when I talk with Uriel), Passion Fruit and Lineal Mezcal.
We started with a fresh peach and tomato salad with dehydrated olives and a balsamic reduction. Tomatoes and peaches are our favorite, summer mix. Bovine was one of the first restaurant in SMA to come out with a high-end, all beef burger; this one made of beef that’s Silver rated from Chihuahua. What makes this burger so special is the perfect pile of caramelized onions as a finish. It runs $330 pesos for the burger and French fries; another personal favorite. Bovine Canal #16, Centro San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700 Chef: Williams Cortes Phone: 415 121 6787 Wednesday - Sunday 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM Monday:Closed Tuesday: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Kouyin One of the many reasons we love Chef Marcela Bolano is that she never stops perfecting her recipes; she not satisfied until they’re textbook perfect. At Kouyin, she recently decided to replace the meat on her hamburger with a PAT LAFRIEDA cut from New Jersey - a mix of Chuck, Brisket and Short Rib from American black angus beef topped with teriyaki, cheese fundido, bacon and Kimchi Mayo. The burger is served with very thin slices of russet potato strings and that is the best possible finish for us. $420 pesos. We declared the burger wars on again in San Miguel de Allende because Kouyin immediately captured a top spot when it comes down to flavor and creativity. Kouyin Hotel Apapacho Bjd. del Chorro 11, Centro San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700 Chef: Marcela Bolano Phone: 415 154 9762 Wednesday - Thursday 6-10 PM Friday - Saturday 2:00 PM - 10:00 PM Sunday 2:00 - 7:00 PM Phone: 415 154 9762
Grandpa and Son Burger addiction? We’ve got it, but perfecting a now classic hamburger from Grandpa and Son is nowhere near as easy as it seems. Try getting its new burger, the Smashburger, right on your first try; in under a few minutes, especially since it’s a double. When you’re with Chef Michael Coon for lunch, you always get an added bonus: a lesson in food science. The flavor of this burger comes from what’s called the Maillard reaction - the extreme heat and pressure supercharges a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars yielding the most amazingly dark, crisp-crusted, flavor-packed patty that are the trademarks of a true Smashburger. We love burgers cooked this way; the difference in taste is distinctive and it’s one of our favorite burgers in SMA. Sometimes we like them thin and it’s not just the flavor of the meat. The bun, which is made off - site daily, holds its form and does not fall apart when you eat it. The blend of cuts is top secret; the beef imported, USDA Prime. So what will Felipe dream up next? Stay tuned - he’s going to have a hard time topping this latest version of the Smashburger; the hottest thing on the menu right now at just $155 pesos. Pair it with a side of crispy, onion rings. You can also order different, mini sliders; a delicious two bite burger that’s also a customer favorite. Grandpa and Son Fabrica La Aurora Calz de La Aurora, S/N-Interior 2A 37715 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico Daily: 12:00 Noon - 9:00 PM/ closes at 6:00 PM Sunday
Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar You’ve taken so many people to Luna Rooftop, don’t you think there should at least be a chair with your name on it? Try the Parroquia seats and savor the 360 view of Centro because you’ll never want to go home. Make reservations; there’s frequently a wait now, especially on the weekends. Chef Vincent Wallez uses high end Sirloin for the meat and it makes such a difference in the taste. This was one of the juiciest burger we ate, made with the addition of Morbier cheese, salted mushrooms and Chipotle BBQ with extra crispy fries covered in Parmesan cheese. $395 pesos. Who can beat a great burger with this view? A meal in itself, we were totally full half way through the burger. Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar at The Rosewood Hotel Nemesio Diez #11, Centro, San Miguel de Allende, Gto. 37700 Monday – Saturday: 2:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Pork Belly Pork Belly hits the high mark for its burger using a blend of both brisket and shoulder; $160 pesos. Their special pink mayo is made from scratch, along with a soft, brioche bun. Even the French fries are impressive; sprinkled with malt vinegar and topped with Parmesan cheese.
We don’t consider Pork Belly’s famous Mac and Cheese a side dish; it’s one of the best dishes in SMA made with Manchego, cheddar, blue cheese and homemade bacon. For added flavor, try a few slices of the bacon on your burger. Chef Medina brines pork belly in salt, brown sugar, Maple syrup and cured salt for 7 days then dries and smokes it for 8 hours with Mesquite wood. You don’t need to order a double helping of homemade bacon on the Mac and Cheese. Chef Erick Medina has you covered. Pork Belly Stirling Dickinson n. #10 San Miguel de Allende, Gto Chef: Erick Medina Hours: 10 AM - 7:30 PM/Closed Monday
Nirvana We think the saying “go with the flow” was coined at Nirvana because once you arrive, you’ll never want to leave. Nirvana is a sanctuary – a hotel, spa and restaurant, set in the beautiful countryside just minutes from SMA, near Atotonilco. Owner, Juan Carlos Escalante, is more than the perfect host, he’s the Master and also the head chef; one of the pioneering chefs in the development of fusion cuisine. Much of the organic food comes from his garden or farm. There are many delicious dishes on the menu. Take your choice of two burgers - one made of 80% beef and 20 % Pork or an Arrachera burger that’s cooked on the BBQ. They’ll give you an excuse to stay overnight so you can try them both. $180 pesos each. Don’t pass up a refreshing Margarita while you’re there; our favorite way to cool down on a hot summer day beside the pool. Nirvana Restaurant and Spa Calle Antigua Via FF.CC. No 21, Colonia El Cortijo, Atotonilco Guanajuato, GTO 37750 Chef: Juan Carlos Escalante Phone: 415 185 2194 Monday – Saturday 12:00 Noon – 9:30 PM Sunday 12:00 Noon – 7:30 PM
The Restaurant For 14 years, Burger Night has been a Thursday night tradition at The Restaurant and rightfully so; the burgers are the closest thing to textbook you can get, made of Canada de la Virgen meat; blending cuts of sirloin, brisket and chuck. Fries are sometimes a chunky mix of sweet and regular potatoes. If you’re a vegetarian, the Portobello Burger is great choice. In the ongoing battle to be crowned SMA’s best hamburger, there are many worthy contenders. We singled out their Blue Cheese Burger as one of the ones to beat; we’ll eat blue cheese on just about everything. Hamburgers run around $200 pesos on Burger Night. Burger Night is the place to see and be seen in SMA and if you can’t get in, The Bar at the R is our second choice. It’s one of our favorite bars in SMA. Try one of the delicious, Asian appetizers. The Restaurant Bar at the R Sollano #16, Centro, San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700 Chef: Donnie Masterton 12 Noon – 10 PM Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday; 12 – 11 PM Thursday, Friday, Saturday; Closed Monday
Panio When you get that burger craving and want it delivered fast, Panio is the place to order. This tasty burger is made of an all beef patty with parsley, Emmental cheese, bacon and beautifully, caramelized onions. It’s $190 pesos with free delivery. The bun is made of a dough just like brioche but with a different flavor; not too sweet and not too salty. It’s designed for the taste of the burger and uses poppy seed on top. Panio also has the buns for sale; a package of 4 pieces, in all of Panio’s bakery outlets.
Panio’s food is always fresh, using the highest quality ingredients. Panio has the best service in town - usually in 30 minutes and often delivered hot. I order breakfast every Saturday: a quiche with a salad (I put my own vegetables and fruit on top) and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice for $135 pesos; again delivery is free. Visit Panio’s Cumpanio restaurant in the Antea mall in Querétaro. We saw it for the first time last week and it’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in the mall. Panio Salida a Celaya 67-69, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto. WhatsApp for orders: 415 101 3003 Daily: 8:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Marsala, cocina con acentos Chef Marcela Bolaño's food speaks for itself. She doesn't have a long list of suppliers but the ones she does all offer top quality products. Her lamb burger is made in-house with potato bread, bacon and bourbon marmalade, homemade pickles, tempura onion rings, goat cheese from Cristina Gerez with homemade eggplant chips and baby arugula instead of lettuce. The Lamb is a blend of leg and breast and is purchased from XO Meats. For $395 pesos, it’s served with the homemade, eggplant chips. Don't forget Marsala's brunch on Sunday; the best in SMA, that includes another delicious burger: The Benedictina, which is bread baked in their kitchen - a potato bun like their lamb burger- with a Pat La Frieda blend of meat, the same as Kouyin, and bacon marmalade, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce with hash browns on top. We love the taste of this burger so it’s never a question which main course we’ll select at Sunday brunch although all of them are great. Try this breakfast burger with wake-up mimosas and a round of homemade pates, Greek yogurts and scones. Brunch: $590 pesos. Marsala, cocina con acentos Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias #48, San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700 Chef: Marcela Bolaño Daily 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM Sunday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Berlin Berlin’s burger is a eye-opener because this 80/20 sirloin and chuck burger has very few embellishments; the star of the show is the meat. There are lots of outstanding burgers on this list but this was one of the biggest burgers we ate. Can you devour the whole thing without surrendering to a doggie box? The juices running down your arm are a testament to the quality of these burgers. The burger will run you $210 pesos, served with a pile of French fries and a salad.
Berlin also has a more-than-generous pour of Chardonnay or an ice-cold, Vodka Martini. Bring friends and stay late; you can still afford it at these prices. Berlin Umaran #19, Centro San Miguel de Allende, Gto 37700 Monday – Saturday 5 PM – 1 AM; Closed Sundays
Ruby Joy Ruby Joy ran this burger as a special – a Santa Fe Dreaming Burger made of ground, organic turkey with duck fat, crispy beer battered poblano stuffed with challenger IPA infused English cheddar, creamed corn, tomatoes, scallions and a red chili dusting on a soft brioche bun with seasoned wedge fried potatoes and chili relleno. $200 pesos with French fries. If you’re into all the extras, this is the one to order. If you’re hoping for something a little more simple, just wait; Ruby Joy changes up her specials every week. That’s one of the things we really like about this restaurant; the menu is never the same two weeks in a row.
One of the only delivery restaurants in SMA, Ruby Joys offers really good food, most of it healthy, along with superb service. We’re also hooked on her salmon bowls; we eat them every week along with the Wednesday, Asian specials. Ruby Joy Delivery Restaurant Los Frailes, 37790 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato Phone: 415 690 2879 Monday – Friday: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hot Dog Bronx The next best thing to street food, Chef Gabriela Landin has opened a gourmet hot dog stand that offers one solo burger made of Angus certified beef. Don’t be confused because they call it Angus; it’s nothing like the 100% all black Angus beef available at better restaurants. This Mexican Angus is a guarantee that the meat is of good quality. It’s available from Proveas in Queretaro. The double patty is on brioche bun with double cheese, bacon jam, house dressing, lettuce and pickles; a bargain at $140 pesos. The burger was so big, we could barely wrap our mouth around it.
Along with a variety of decked out hot dogs, they also offer a vegetarian one for $130 pesos. Making good use of the space, this restaurant is Dolly’s Tortas by day and Hot Dog Bronx by night. Hot Dog Bronx Salida a Celaya No 5, Centro San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Chef: Gabriela Landin Hours: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM