Thursday, September 14, 2023

Ghar: Chef Hiran Patel's New Indian Restaurant


There’s one thing about Chef Hiran Patel - he’s one of the nicest chefs we know. He ALWAYS puts his people first. We place him in a group of chefs that have made a difference. Just ask his staff. He’s only been in SMA for a few months and he’s already had an impact.

Chef Hiran Patel threw out the rule book when he came to SMA; that’s the kind of guy he is. Some of the many perks of working for him are that he pays his people a living wage, he offers English lessons to further enrich their lives and possibilities, he takes them on trips so they get plenty of exposure to cooking and culture and he allows them the freedom to be creative. Don’t blush Chef Patel. We think Ghar is one of the best kitchens in SMA which also includes the other leadership of Enrique Garcia-Evans, the Director of Operations, Marketing and Sales for Casa Hoyos, where Ghar is located.

I knew Chef Patel in Chicago where he and his lifelong friend, Viral, shared a deep love of cooking that was immersed in Indian culture; family culture. Throwing caution to the wind to pursue their dream, Naansense was born. There is now a Naansense restaurant in Chicago and in suburban Naperville and Oakbrook as well. 

Mexico had become the number one spot for Indian destination weddings so when he first came to San Miguel de Allende, he was doing Indian weddings for Zumo Catering. He was approached to open a restaurant here and the rest is history. Amazingly, he put together a staff that operated as a team from the get go. They will tell you otherwise but we see it as one of the smoothest start ups in SMA history. His team includes Executive Chef Mauricio Hernandez Patraca, Pastry Chef Mayte Rivera, Beverage Director Sebastian Vasquez along with Hur Cupido Preisser.

Eight courses were served last Friday at Press day; most of them from a new menu where every dish was exceptional and delicious. I had to fight Chef Michael Coon for the last bite of Makai Esquites made with an espuma of roasted corn. It was one of the best dishes we’ve had and is now on our list of favorite things to eat in SMA. We loved every one of these dishes with emerging flavors of Mexico, like the Rib Eye steak with huitlacoche cardamom curry and onion pakora that will be on the menu soon. There will also be a new Sunday brunch menu coming out and the bar in front of the restaurant will open to feature out of the ordinary cocktails and Indian small bites.

We’ve posted a diagram on the Regional Indian cooking (@Sukhis) that GHAR will be offering down the road. With home to over 1.4 billion people, 120 languages, 9 religions, over 2,000 ethnic groups and 29 states – each having its own set of flavors and culinary style – you have plenty of exciting food to look forward to. It opens tonight at 5:00 PM.


Casa Hoyos

Mesones 14

Centro, San Miguel de Allende

Wednesday – Monday

5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Wednesday, September 6, 2023


A decade ago, there were just a few good Mexican restaurants in SMA but after a surge of openings in 2016, and again this past year, you have many restaurants to pick from.

There are many new interpretations of Mexican food that embrace authenticity. Some chefs are incorporating plant-based ingredients into more traditional recipes. New food sources, like Chinaberry Farms, who has hydroponic and aquaponic greenhouses, grow produce that makes eating Vegan really easy, especially when it’s cooked by the culinary master himself, Chef Jesus Vasquez Reyna of Aperi. He prepares an all inclusive menu at Aperi and offers a strictly Vegan menu at La Cabra Lluminada; a little café on Hidalgo he and his wife opened during Covid that has a large following today.

If you’re a food lover who’s been exploring new flavors from different states in Mexico, not just Guanajuato, you’re not alone. Chefs are doing that every day. Our Habitas San Miguel introduced us to a new dish from Chef Jonathan Navarrete’s home state of the Yucatan: Marquesitas - a crepe rolled like a taco that was stuffed with cheese. We’re about to get a better look as we prepare to embark on a two year journey through 12 different regions of Mexico.

Here are 7 new spots for you to check out; one for every day of the week. With the exception of Sunday brunch ($700 pesos) most of the items on these menus are under $200 pesos.

From a taco stand off the road to Mexiquito which fulfills a chef’s childhood dream to a restaurant that looks more like Tulum than San Miguel de Allende, every one of these restaurants has a distinctive quality that makes their offerings both new and unique. It’s a quick reminder that good food is just one of the many reasons we moved to Mexico in the first place.

Buen Provecho!



Aldama 57, Centro
Daily 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Closed Tuesday
Phone: 415 688 2284
Chef: Juan Carlos Hernandez
We love Cafe Aldama 57, just a few doors down from Hotel Matilda. The old walls of simple beauty are capped off by a wooden ceiling that makes this cafe seem both spacious yet cozy. The menu has a great selection of salads, Mexican breakfast items and delicious sweets.


Juan Carlos Hernandez is the restaurant’s chef and did a spectacular job on our new favorite - an Arrachera sandwich served with Matilda French fries with Parmesan cheese. It’s on a crunchy baguette with flawlessly cooked Arrachera, mustard, caramelized onions and fried leeks.


This spot is worth repeating weekly. It’s one of the best, new cafes in SMA, opened by the chefs at Matilda.



Salida a Celaya 69

Centro, San Miguel de Allende 

Daily: 12:00 Noon - 12:00 PM

Closed Mondays

Phone: 415 109 4848
Taqueria Los Originales de San Miguel is owned by an old friend, Jenaro Arroyo, who opened Zibu in Acapulco and worked for Chef Eduardo Palazuelos for ten years. He went on to open Zibu in Guadalajara, Monterrey and in San Miguel de Allende at Live Aqua. Jenaro worked in Cabo for thirteen years at Lorenzillos, the live lobster house and was the GM of Kookaburra in SMA until COVID shut it down. 


In January of 2023, he opened Taqueria Los Originales de San Miguel and offers dishes that are not available at other Mexican restaurants in SMA.  We loved the fried Cheese Chicharron, the Sirloin and Suadero tacos but my new favorite is the Pastor Arabe, made of pork cooked on a trompo, then cut super thin and dressed with a Habanero salsa with pina and a white salsa of pure garlic, lemon and salt. We give it a perfect 10 for the flavor. They also serve a steaming Queso Fundido with or without chorizo. Both the Pita and flour tortillas are brought in from Puebla.


A family affair, his sons, Mauricio and Gerardo, work with him at the restaurant along with his wife, Claudia, who makes all the delicious salsas.

Taqueria Los Originales de San Miguel also has a dark kitchen in the back where Davide Hidalgo is the chef and will offer all sorts of fresh seafood shortly. After 23 years of working with seafood in Acapulco and Cabo, we’re excited to see what Jenaro Arroyo will offer next.



Hidalgo 13

Centro 37700, San Miguel de Allende

415 112 7650

Daily: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Chef Jesus Vasquez Reyna of Aperi and his wife, Josefina, own this café; partnering up with Alain from Don Taco Tequila. The restaurant is pure delight for Vegans who are looking for a healthy dose of some of the most interesting food in SMA. The small coffee shop located up front has a large following of regulars and serves wonderful coffees from Chiapas.


Kicking off breakfast was an Affogato made with Hazelnut gelato. In the back, there’s a restaurant located in a small garden where you can take in nature while feasting on a variety of Mexican dishes. At breakfast, I had the Mexican pancakes served with flavorful, blueberry compote and at a later date, the French toast, which was made with Soy milk, dark chocolate and fruit. Chef Jesus Vasquez Reyna is there every morning to check on the chefs so you’ll get to say hello if you’re an early bird like me.


I liked the food, the tranquility of the space and the service so much, it’s now on my list of places to go when I want to dodge the crowds and actually get some work done. One of SMA’s best kept secrets, the menu is totally Vegan.



Fray Juan de San Miguel #19 on the road to Mexiquito

Thursday – Sunday/ 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Chef: Luvia de La Rosa

Chef Luvia de La Rosa trained with some of the best chefs in Mexico including Chefs Matteo Salas and Enrique Olvera. She proudly calls Chef Luis Arellano of Criollo in Oaxaca her long-time mentor and friend. This former chef from Oaxaca, who also worked locally under talented chefs Israel Loyola at Jacinto 1930 and Davide Giribaldi at Cien Fuegos, has opened a taco stand; a profession that’s deeply rooted in the food culture of Mexico. Los del Barrio Taqueria fulfills a childhood dream; seven of her uncle's were Taqueros, some of which are still in operation today. Her specialties include Chamorro and Suadero - a Mexican taco where the fat is key because where there's fat there's flavor. She also serves Barbacoa de setas (a vegan option) and Longaniza. Friday specials are Cabeza de Cerdo al Vapor (steamed Pork) and Consomé de Costilla (Rib consommé).

Chef Luvia de la Rosa is the official chef to French Doors where she meets the artist before the dinner and makes dishes to inspire their art. She also does private dinners under her catering company, La Mesa de Lu Catering.



1ro de Mayo 22

Ignacio Ramirez, 37748

Monday – Saturday 12 Noon – 8 PM

Sunday: Closed

415 100 3703

Delivery Service

If it’s Friday, it’s time to try the new food truck located in the garden called Lunch Box. The owners are two of our favorite food people: Daniela Flores, the daughter of Lolita restaurant owner, Lizette Angel and Nacho - Jose Ignacio Avila Padilla, the former Mixoligist at Pork Belly and Lolita. You’ll get lots of great, authentic border-style Mexican food here – border style as in mesquite-grilled meat, fresh ingredients, hand-pressed tortillas and sauces made in small batches.


Customers from California say Burritos Coronado is truly a taste of home.

Try the California Burrito with carne asada, guacamole, and French fries with cheese and cream or our new favorite: the Papas Coronado: a delicious batch of French fries covered with steak, grilled cheese, sour cream and guacamole. It’s a weekly fix that beats my old standby of chips, salsa and cheese. Burritos Coronado is the perfect taste for your next, Mexican fiesta so ask about their catering services.  



Calzada de la Estacion #185

Centro, San Miguel de Allende

Wednesday – Monday

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Chef: Vanessa Romero

This is the Vanessa Romero that we’ve known and loved for ten years now since she came to SMA. She was born in Mexico City and was educated at the Higher College of Gastronomy and the International School of Tourism. For 18 years she cooked for ministers and judges of the courts in Mexico City. She spent most of her time cooking with her grandmother when she was growing up. The cooking comes naturally; the recipes are in her head and she could cook them all with her eyes closed.


Her second restaurant, La Romero, is authentically Mexican – featuring the iconic dishes of Raices SMA, her restaurant on Salida a Celaya. The new location is inside the Hotel Arcada and features delicious Mexican fare, a full menu of cocktails and live music.


As with Raices SMA, anything you try at La Romero will be exceptional. Afterall, it’s cooked by one of the best Mexican chefs in SMA. We love anything smothered in her mole.  



Carretera San Miguel de Allende

A, Dolores Hidalgo KM 3.5 37713

San Miguel de Allende

Inside Los Senderos

Daily: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Sunday Brunch: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Chef: Jonathan Navarrete

We’re pulling inspirational quotes from the trees at Our Habitas San Miguel after Sunday brunch, where a quick trip to Tulum is the order of the day at this beautiful sanctuary outside of San Miguel de Allende in Los Senderos.

Their farm-to-table restaurant, Comunidad, offers a menu that showcases fresh, locally-grown ingredients. They have an amazing Sunday brunch that’s truly a Mexican feast, including Marquesitas from the Yucatan, where Chef Jonathan Navarrete is from. They also incorporate some outside, local ingredients into the mix, like the Ice Cream from La Michoana del Porton.


Our favorite eats were the Pozole with smoked Portobello mushrooms – a very different and delicious dish, the beautifully prepared and super-moist corn bread, Elotes and Chicharron Quesadillas – Chef Magda Pablos’s favorite dish. Any time we’re seeking a bit of harmony, this is where we head. The food, service and atmosphere are some of the best in SMA. It’s a trip to the beach without having to pack your bags.


Chef Jonathan Navarrete is also one of the owners of Ancestro.