Monday, November 6, 2023

Top New Chef in SMA: Andrea Rivera


There’s nothing better than getting a great deal in SMA these days and MAEH Bakery and Restaurant is the best find we’ve had in the decade we’ve been here. 

You’ll never complain about the price. MAEH offers a $350 pesos brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM. Price aside, the food is so good and when we asked to see the new chef, we were reminded why.

We went to Mexico City to eat with SMA chef, Marco Cruz, who owned Tres Tonola in Roma, and also trained this chef, Andrea Rivera, who was in the kitchen at the time. That credential is good enough for us because in the 10 years we’ve been in SMA, Chef Marco Cruz was always one of the best chefs here. Chef Rivera has been in MAEH’s kitchen for less than a month and is already creating a buzz; using locally sourced ingredients and cooking all Mexican dishes. It’s great to have another female chef at the helm of a SMA kitchen; especially a Mexican one. The new GM was also familiar, Vizcaya Arellano Edgar, who was trained at Grupo Levain and Co and worked or cooked at many of their best restaurants - Dos Casas, Aperi, Los Olivos and Cumpanio. She’s one of the few women we know in SMA who is responsible for multiple brands: Recinto, Huitzil and MAEH.

The brunch was simple and delicious. Take your choice of juice or a Mimosa, Chilaquiles with red or green sauce or Mole Almendrado and a bowl of mixed fruit: Pear, Cantaloupe, Papaya, Blueberries, Blackberries and Raspberries with a Passion fruit honey; a homemade recipe from the chef which we suggested they sell as the flavors were remarkable. We also loved the Chilaquiles. We ordered half salsa verde and half mole; the mole was in the category of DIVINE.

The French Macarons stuffed with Orange and White Chocolate are some of the only French Macarons we’ve eaten that we really loved and the Pan de Muerto was filled with a Mandrin cream and topped with fresh fruits. Both had marigold accents and were baked in-house by Chef Jafet Flores, who hails from León and worked for Panio before coming to run the MAEH Bakery. The bakery is open to the public and has some of the most original and interesting baked goods; many changing with the seasons.

The service was fantastic. Our waitress, Izamar Lopez Gonzalez, knew the answer to every question we asked. It was surprising considering that many of the questions were quite complex.

Their hotel, El Recinto, won an architectural design award in Mexico. Hilda, the owner, is charming, fun and totally down to earth. Her staff changes started a few months back and both the food and service have taken a giant leap forward. This past month, the new, young Mixologist, Johnathan Soto, who doesn’t look old enough to drink himself, came over from two of the best restaurants in SMA - Atrio and La Dona. Today he made a seasonal cocktail to celebrate Day of the Dead with Casa Dragones, Mandrin and Aperol. Interestingly, it’s the only drink we’ve ever liked made with Aperol.

Also look for new, handmade pizzas which have recently been added to the lunch menu. At the more formal restaurant downstairs, Huitzil, Chef Andrea Rivera will surprise you with a menu of simple, classic Mexican specialties. In our book, simple cooking is where it’s at.

We can’t say enough about the owner, who clearly hired some of the best trained staff in SMA. The quality of the experience is one of the many reasons that this is one of the top new restaurants in SMA. And the best news is you can also afford to eat here!

Buen Provecho!

MAEH Bakery and Restaurant
Huitzil Restaurant
El Recinto Luxury Hotel
Quebrada #113
Centro 37700
San Miguel de Allende, Gto
415 688 5246
Daily 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM