Articles written by travel writers always include the most expensive restaurants in town. Habitually, they are Aperi, Zumo, a relative newcomer, The Restaurant, Moxi and Andanza. All of these restaurants, I presume,
have publicists and marketing firms to contact writers who come to town for a couple of days and write
something about the town while including some or all of these restaurants in their articles. Out of over 300 restaurants in San Miguel now, these are continuously mentioned in articles.
Interestingly, however, when it comes time to name the Top Ten Restaurants through DonDay's SMART
awards, seldom are those restaurants in the running. (See DonDay's blog on the blogroll on the right side of this post)
The locals have a whole other set of criteria and spending a fortune at some of the above mentioned restaurants is for the visitors to town, not the locals. That is not to say that the ex-pat community does not
have as sophisticated a palate as the visitors, but we've been here longer and no the secret, wonderful places
that provide ambiance, superb food, and excellent service without breaking the bank.
Since I basically live on Social Security, I'm one of those people that watches every peso but still enjoys
dining out from time to time.
While looking back through Picasa for the past year to find photos to share with you of the places that I'm
going to name, it was surprising how often meals out are at friends' homes. To me, those are always the
most enjoyable. They allow for plenty of time for great conversation, laughter and delicious food.
The first restaurant I'm going to mention is FIRENZE. Antonio has moved his location a few times, but never has the food suffered. Now with a special little place located on Recreo near Solutions, it is my
place to go for, IMHO, the most delicious Italian food in town. In addition, for lunch there is a prix fixe
menu for 150 pesos. Which today, with the strength of the US dollar means lunch is around $8USD.
Second is NECTAR. Nectar is a whole environment in a courtyard filled with hummingbird feeders and, of course, hummingbirds zipping around. It is attached to a delightful shop known as Camino Silvestre on
Correo. This company sells the hummingbird feeders, hence their hanging in the courtyard cafe.
The menu is unique with many vegetarian selections. The soups, salads and sandwiches are delicious.
Inevitably if someone allows me to choose where to have lunch, I say "Nectar".
My favorite item is the carrot soup with either the Nectar salad or a half of a sandwich. Here are a few photos. Presentation is lovely, always.
For breakfast, I have two favorites. Posada Corazon on Aldama, only a few blocks from the jardin and Cafe Monet located on Zacateros down near the V where two or three streets intersect.
To dine at POSADA CORAZON, one must call and make reservations, then ring the bell on the front door to be admitted to the Boutique Bed and Breakfast. Walking through the gardens one comes to the glass enclosed restaurant which has a lovely living room with a fireplace and other amenities. Breakfast is cooked to order, which allows for plenty of time to visit with friends while waiting.
The prices will astound you, causing you to wonder how you could possibly eat that inexpensively. The coffee is tasty as well. Sorry, I have no photos to share, but I will say that the first time I visited the cafe I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty of the paneling, the art and the whole feel of the place. Still am.
Not far down Ancha de San Antonio is HECHO EN MEXICO. One of the most well run restaurants for lunch and dinner in the town. The service and quality of food is impeccable. Owned by a graduate of one of the leading hotel and restaurant colleges in the USA, this fact shows on a daily basis. It's a go to place for either indoor or outdoor dining. I've been dining there for fifteen years and have never had a bad meal - ever.
Also in this general area, over facing Parque Juarez is the bed and breakfast, VILLA SANTA MONICA. It is a hidden gem. Whenever I want to get a taste of how dining in Mexico was twenty-five years ago - calm, not rushed servic, not swarmed with visitors, this is it. If I want to share with people the beauty of Mexico, my choice is Villa Santa Monica. The grounds, the courtyard, the waiters, all is extraordinary. I won't say the food is extraordinary, but with all the other things, the food is satisfying and enjoyable.
LA FRONTERA is in a small group of shops out on Sterling Dickinson. The owner is also the chef, and Noren is always there to make sure the food is served promptly and the customer is satisfied. There are daily specials. Most are good home cooked food such as meat loaf on Monday and fish tacos on Friday.
It's the go to place for our lunch bunch that usually dines there every Friday. One does not have to have the daily special because the menu has many things that one cannot find anywhere else in San Miguel. Her brisket sandwich and home made fries is a favorite with the group along with the fish tacos.
MILAGROS on Relox just down from the jardin,, Chamonix, on Sollano right near the jardin are two other restaurants that I frequent when possible. Milagros is the choice of the coffee klatch group on Mondays for many reasons. There is an extensive menu for one. The waiters all know our names, but best of all the food is delicious. Somehow, even if we walk in with 12 or 15 people, there is good and prompt service.
CHAMONIX has courtyard dining along with two small dining rooms. It is a favorite of mine because the menu has items on it that are not found in other places in town. Always excellent.
Going out of town, somehow, the destination for dining is always NIRVANA. It has grown from a restaurant to a restaurant and retreat. The owner/chef of the restaurant originally came from Mexico City and opened a tiny restaurant on Hernandez Macias with about six tables, if that many. I dined there about 16 years ago. I've never forgotten that meal. That's saying a lot, as at that time in my life I was very involved in the culinary world in the USA. It was an exceptional dining experience, not because of the ambiance or service, but the cuisine itself. No, I can't tell you what I had to eat, but I've never forgotten that little place. When I moved to San Miguel, I searched for Nirvana and by then it had moved into larger accommodations on Mesones and eventually found its perfect place in the country.
Again, it is a unique menu with things like huitlacoche and squash blossom soup on the menu. An arrachera burger. Unique salads. Delicious desserts. All served either inside the restaurant, on a patio under a palapa roof or out on the grounds with grass overlooking a little stream. What's not to love?
Pizza Pig now does home delivery as well. I can attest to the fact that they get it to you fast, hot and just as delicious as dining at the restaurant.
I could not finish this list without again mentioning lunch on Sunday at MANSION DE MONTITLAN located on Montitlan in Balcones. This is a huge private home. In order to dine there, one must ask to be put on the email list, then when wanting to go there, email your reservations with your entree selections and voila, a very unique dining experience. I've written about "Gayle's place" as locals call it so many times, but it is quite outstanding. Here are a couple of photos to tempt you.
more places come to mind. Buen provecho!