BY ROBERT GLAZE
I am back in San Miguel de Allende and have delayed my return to Chicago due to snow and cold weather there for the next two days. But this is certainly not a hardship as it is going to be a high near 70 degrees today and there are so many new restaurants and things to do, that I have a hard time keeping up. Now that it is again ranked the number one city in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine and the number one small city destination in the world by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, it continues to be a very popular destination for travelers from the Midwest and Chicago, particularly in the winter months. For those of you heading down soon to escape the cold, I hope my new recommendations will help you while you are in town.
Where to Eat
There are many new restaurants that opened in 2017 and even more are planned for 2018. My recent new restaurant recommendations include:
Trazo 1810 is located at Hidalgo #8 in the Casa 1810 Boutique Hotel. I enjoyed an excellent meal in their rooftop bar and restaurant. The views are stunning and the food outstanding. I highly recommend this great new spot close to the Jardin. Nomada Cocina de Intrepretacion: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is the restaurant that recently moved to a new location at Hernandez Macias #88. Opened by talented chef, Marco Cruz and his wife Sofia, this is a great addition to the SMA food scene. They also feature a tasting menu on Wednesday evenings. I went to their attractive new location and had a great meal with local friends. The presentation is always lovely.
Another new spot is El Vergel Bistro & Market. Located at Camino la Alborada 17, a short drive outside of town near Candelaria, this is a restaurant and market with Chef Donnie Masterson as one of the owners. On my first visit, I enjoyed a lovely lunch on the terrace with local friends on my first visit. On my second visit, I went at night to enjoy a great meal and listen to jazz. It is a great spot to go to when San Miguel gets crowded during festivals and holidays. In addition to a great restaurant, there are some lovely galleries and shops to visit before or after you eat. The Market, run by Luna de Queso has some great food items to purchase. Vinos + Tapas, at Insurgentes #63, is one of my favorite new spots in town. I heard about their excellent mussels so had to go with local friends. The decor is sleek and contemporary, the staff excellent and the food really outstanding. I enjoyed mussels along with octopus pintxos and a tapas of figs and goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto. I highly recommend it. I am looking forward to going back to check out their new rooftop dining.
Marsala, Cocina con Acentos, opened at Herdandez Macias #48. They redid the former restaurant space into a comfortable, contemporary space with very good food. I enjoyed my quinoa salad and a great lamb ragout. Make sure to add it to your list of places to try. I recently went back and had an even better meal and experience.
Bovine: This is a sleek, new spot with a really stunning, contemporary décor was opened by chef Paul Bentley from Magno Brasserie in Guadalajara. I enjoyed a meal with local friends and we all loved the food. The fish entree was really excellent and the side of brussel sprouts and grilled cauliflower were outstanding and some of the best I have eaten. Reservations can be made through their website. You can also reserve the private dining room called Mesa Dragones, featuring Casa Dragones tequila. Here you can try a special tasting menu created just for them with tequila pairings. Canal 16.
La Azotea and Pueblo Viejo’s new fine-dining restaurant ATRIO means atrium. When you make the climb to the rooftop restaurant you get one of the most spectacular views of the Parroquia in the entire city. It is located in the old La Fragua space at Cuna de Allende #3. I went on the first night it opened and loved the food. It had lovely wines and a large cocktail menu. Panio’s new bakery and cafe is really attractive at Salida de Celaya #69. This is their third location in town. Here you can find coffee, pastries, baked goods, sandwiches and more. I really loved the sandwich with prosciutto, goat cheese and sundried tomatoes for lunch on the first week that they opened.
In addition to fine dining options there are some wonderful casual Mexican/neighborhood spots to try while in town. My recent finds include: Marchanta Comedor: Located in the former Nomada location, the owners have opened a great new casual Mexican spot featuring upscale Mexican street food including tacos and tostados. Nemesio Diez #2.
A block away is the recently opened Jardin Rama at Nemesio Diez 8. One of my favorite restaurants, Cafe Rama, took over the former La Palapa restaurant across the street, built a new permanent structure and are now offering wonderful tacos and other Mexican street food. It has a fun, colorful design and is the perfect spot for a casual lunch. I tried the shrimp and fish tacos and loved the experience.
Mercado del Carmen: Zacateros #45. The newest food hall in San Miguel has a very attractive contemporary design. It features Mexican and international cuisine with a number of vendors selling beer, ice cream, cocktails, burgers, crepes, salads and more.
Nicasio Comedor Mexicano is located in front of Hotel Aqui es Mexico, upstairs at Hidalgo #28 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The restaurant is open every day except Tuesday from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm for breakfast and 12:30 pm to 8:00 pm for lunch/dinner menu. It has a very casual atmosphere. I enjoyed the breakfast menu with friends. Manny the owner is very engaging.
A new spot in town is Sabroso Taqueria at Zacateros #41. This is a fun, casual and colorful spot that features a large number of tacos made with different preparations. I enjoyed the chicken tacos with cheese. It came with a number of salsas you can add. They also feature a number of sides as well. On nice days, I recommend eating upstairs in the Raffaele rooftop terrace and bar. I read about and just tried Ki’bok Coffee at Sollano 25, A block off of the Jardin, this a fun spot for coffee that has a rooftop patio with great views. This cafe is the second one after their original in Tulum. I have now been several times to Geek & Coffee at Fabrica La Aurora. It is located to the right of the entrance just outside the main complex. It has a great indoor space as well as an outdoor terrace under the trees. In addition to coffee drinks, they serve breakfast and lunch items. It is a great place to eat or grab a coffee while you visit the many shops, galleries and artist studios in the complex.
Where to Stay
Also recently opened is Casa No Name, a Small Luxury Hotel at Hernandez Macias #52. Thanks to local friends who found it. It has a lovely courtyard where you can eat breakfast, a sitting room off the lobby and rooftop bar. The rooftop bar is perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail before dinner in town. There is also a new boutique off of the lobby as well.
Within a short drive of San Miguel are now five wineries complete with tasting rooms. I just went yesterday to visit the new winery at Vinedos San Lucas.
La Santisima Trinidad recently opened Vinedos San Lucas across from Vinicola Toyan a short drive from San Miguel by taxi.
This is a stunning property that features a boutique hotel, restaurant and spa. There are vineyards and a new winery that has recently opened last November.
Tastings are available by reservation three times a day except for Tuesday. I had an excellent brunch in the elegant restaurant overlooking the property
before my tour and tasting. You feel like you are in the middle of Tuscany!
The hotel rooms are really outstanding. They offer horseback riding and other activities as well. The winery, complete with a photography exhibit, is really stunning and one of the most attractive I have seen anywhere. I enjoyed the tour by Argentinian born, winemaker Mailen Obon who I had previously at the other location. It was followed by a lovely tasting in the winery/tasting room that featured local cheeses and four wines, a chardonnay and three red blends from La Santisima Trinidad. All were excellent and impressive. San Lucas just had its first harvest and the wines are now aging.
After the tasting, you can buy their wines, their olive oil and their lavender oil, sachets and soaps made from lavender grown on the property. They also opened a casual restaurant at the winery where you can enjoy salads, pizzas and sandwiches. It was a really wonderful experience. I hope you make it to San Miguel this winter, to enjoy the great weather, the art, wonderful music, the Mexican culture and really amazing food, tequila and wines.
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