Wednesday, December 13, 2023


ANCESTRO is one of San Miguel de Allende’s newest, hidden gems; on our list of the best 5 Mexican restaurants in San Miguel de Allende. There is a Mayan legend, written in the Popol Vuh that says that man was created from corn. Ancestro was born from this legend, honoring the essence of the grain from the root. Ancestro’s style of cooking is slow, just like their ancestors. Remember, all good things take time. Low and slow is the way to prepare food – at least in our book. Slow cooking allows flavors to develop over time, resulting in richer and more complex tastes. Many of the dishes on the menu were named after an ancestor.
Who said SMA is too expensive these days when there are restaurants like this one in town. We love the whole package. First off, the food is great; the essential element in any successful restaurant and believe me, this is going to be one. Chefs Diana Almanza Figueroa and Jonathan Navarrete Sánchez have a lot of experience cooking, not only in Mexico but also abroad for Michelin star chefs and in World and Latin American 50 Best restaurants, which was recently expanded to 100 and features some of the most esteemed dining destinations from around the world. The atmosphere is casual and laid-back, the service first-rate and then there are the prices. I can’t remember the last time I looked at a menu with prices between $45 - $165 pesos. Chef Diana Almanza Figueroa is originally from Durango. She has cooked at Diverxo and StreetXO in Madrid, Eleven Madison Park in New York, Au pied de Cochon in Mexico City, Benazuza, Cancún Kitchen Table in Tulum, Los Danzantes in Oaxaca and at Our Habitas in San Miguel de Allende where she met her partner in this venture, Jonathan Navarrete Sánchez. Her most recent collaboration was as a private chef for the Mexican soccer federation at the U17 World Cup Indonesia 2023. She is inspired by traditional cuisines, discipline and above all, is passionate about experimenting and creating from the heart.
Chef Jonathan Navarrete Sánchez is originally from Cancun, Q.Roo. He started his professional career at the very young age of 18. He worked at The White Box restaurant and since its creation in 2013, it has remained among the top ten best restaurants in Cancun. Chef Jonathan Navarrete was listed as a promising young chef of the Riviera Maya in 2017, being Executive Chef of the Azulik Resort in Tulum. Chef Navarrete has trained with world-class, renowned chefs: Chef Rafael Zafra (2 Michelin stars) at the White Box in Cancun, at NOMA in Tulum with Chef René Redzepi (3 Michelin stars) and worked for Chef Francisco Ruano at Alcalde, one of the World’s Best and Latin América’s 50 Best. Chef Jonathan Navarrete is currently Executive Chef of the Hotel Our Habitas in San Miguel de Allende, Tulum and Bacalar where we first met him. Quintana Roo has allowed him to fully explore and learn from local products over the years to create a concept attached to the flavors of traditional cuisine and respect for the work of local producers. He’s created a simple cuisine that is reflected in each of his projects. Also cooking at Ancestro is Chaac, which coincidentally is the Mayan god of rain; a young man from Guadalajara who showed his cooking skills while we were there. Starting in January, Ancestro will be serving breakfast; offering Chilauiles, Enfrijoladas, Quesabirrias and other traditional, Mexican dishes.
Try some of Ancestro’s drinks: Saka – Corn Hotchara; Tejuono – An ancient beverage of fermented corn with lemon, grain salt, chili powder and lemon sorbet; Tepache – fermented pineapple, prawn and lemon juice along with Lemon Lavender, Jamaica Ginger and Rosemary Orange. Two of the principal dishes from their kitchen are the handmade, blue corn tortillas, which are not only delicious but also balance the spicier elements of Mexican cuisine and the mole Amarillo; one of the seven Oaxaca moles that we can’t seem to get enough of these days.
We tried the following tacos; all which were really good: Pastor: a white corn tortilla with Pastor and roasted pineapple; Taco Norteno: a home-made, flour tortilla with rib eye, pork beans, roasted onions and chilaca and avocado puree - one of Ancestro’s best sellers - and Taqui Queso: White corn tortilla, cheese crust, avocado sauce and Suadero; a thin cut of meat from the middle of the cow, between the lower flank and the sirloin. Our personal favorite was the Suadero.
The two exceptional dishes of our meal were the Maiz Roasted Street Corn with salsa macha, mayonnaise with roasted garlic, grasshoppers, cotija cheese and lemon and the Marquesita, a crepe rolled like a taco and filled with cajeta or chocolate and cheese. This dish goes right up there with Churros and Bunuelos. Both dishes are rumored to be at San Miguel Y Sus Sabores this weekend. Try them both because one is as good as the other. They will definitely be two of the star dishes at the food festival this weekend. See you there!
Ancestro Salida a Celaya #26 – Local 1 San Miguel de Allende Phone: 415 113 5983 Hours: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM Starting January 1, 2024, the hours will be 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Tuesday – Sunday. Ancestro is located in front of Marios Mariscos, in a beautiful, newly remodeled strip mall next to Sofie’s Bakery.