Just returned from a week around Lake Pátzcuaro. Stayed with friends who cooked constantly, thus limiting time at restaurants. Here's one I enjoyed:
Cha Cha Cha -- International Cocino
7 Buenavista Street, Pátzcuaro
8:30am - 9:30pm = closed Wednesday
There has never been a plethora of great restaurants in Pátzcuaro. After dining on gourmet food at Priscilla's and El Primer Pisa, we were left with good restaurants like El Patio and Compueste Aleman, the German restaurant featuring trout, outside Pátzcuaro on the road around the lake to Eronga.
Priscilla opened La Puerta Roja, a Spanish tapas restaurant next to the Basílica and across from Posada de la Basílica Hotel. Everyone cheered. Food was great, but attracted a following. The restaurant changed locations and is now across the street from her B & B, La Casa de los Sueños, on Ibarra Street.
In it's place is Pátzcuaro's newest restaurant, Cha Cha Cha. When we walked in one afternoon for an early dinner, we were greeted by the owners, Rick and Enrique. They suggested the bright patio area and we joined several couples already eating.
The chef stuck his head out of the kitchen and sang us a friendly "hello." My dining companion waved and mentioned that Carlos was the former chef at Compueste Aleman, when the restaurant was at it's peak. Our waiter, Rubin, greeted us and was my favorite from the Cafe at Hotel Gran.
After ordering drinks, were were served a basket of warm bread with bowls of red and green sauce. The butter had a rich flavor with a deep, yellow color and was imported from New Zealand.
Breakfast menu had fresh juices, omelets, hotcakes, and my favorite, Eggs Benedict.
The 3 page lunch and dinner menu had a wide variety of International food. First page was Cocina Mexicana. The selection of Mexican specials included a brown rice torta covered with shrimp, and half dozen quesadillas, and chile rellenos.
Appetizers included huge shrimp in chipotle sauce and guacamole with homemade chips. Several soups were available and included Minestrone with Chicken meatballs, Creamed chile with 3 cheeses, and Seafood Chowder.
Several pastas were listed. One table was raving over the Lasagne, while the Spaghetti with Squash Blossom sauce and Parmesan looked good.
The menu has a vegetarian section included a Casserole of Sweet Potato, Tofu in Spinach Sauce and Angel hair pasta with sesame, basil, dill and parmesan cheese.
There was a Grilled New York Steak, Arrachera, a marinated, tender flank steak, and several other pork dishes, including a Pork Pinwheel filled with nuts, raisins, and apricots, covered with a pineapple/mango sauce.
Fish included trout, shrimp, and salmon, prepared with either a chipotle cream sauce, creamed dill sauce or macadamia in butter sauce.
Menu ends with chicken dishes such as Chicken Rolls of Cheese, spinach, and shitake mushrooms, Sauteed Chicken and Cornish game Hens baked with onion and bacon.
My first visit started with the Garden-Mix salad, made from their garden out back. The large plate had mixed greens, including watercress, in the middle, surrounded by alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, cold asparagus, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. All of this was topped with sesame seeds, slivered almonds, ribbons of Nori seaweed, paper thin slices of baby red onions, and drizzled with honey, oil and vinegar dressing.
My salmon was cooked to perfection and covered in macadamia nuts in a butter sauce. Included on the plate was a fresh broccoli laced with a light cheese sauce.
But the new potatoes were my favorite and were sauteed with caramelized onions. Just before serving, sliced green onions and celantro were added for a fresh flavor.
The second visit, I tried a popular dish served in every Mexican home, but NEVER seen in restaurants. Rick thought Morisqueta has Spanish origins, but it tasted more creole to me. The large plate was rimed with delicious pinto beans, the center filled with rice, and topped with diced tenderloin of pork in a sauce of red, green, and yellow peppers. It was too much to eat, even for a hungry person like me.
With food like this, it is easy to see why Pátzcuaro is once again cheering.