I’ve just returned from a 17-day Mexican visit, split between San Miguel de Allende and Michoacan. There is not much recent info here on San Miguel eating, so I will offer a few brief notes on the experiences of two American females during a 9 days in the city in late February, 2016.
We sampled eateries from upscale restaurants (two dinners at Aperi) to market stalls and street stands, with the majority of our meals being in the latter categories. Due to the favorable exchange rate for the US dollar, prices were quite low, with our most costly dinners (at Aperi) costing well under the equivalent of US$100 for two with alcohol. Although I managed to contract some kind of bronchial ailment, neither of us were laid low with intestinal malaise, despite eating everything from fresh fruit to ice cream to cheese--mostly from simple street outlets.
While San Migiuel has a reputation as being a gringo mecca, I can attest to the fact that while one could stay a year witihout sampling Mexican fare, it is also possible to eat each meal surrounded by locals and national tourists, in places that, for lack of better descriptors, I would dub “authentic” and “local.” While American and Canadian tourists are pretty evident in the historic center, I imagine that it is also possible to venture into neighborhoods where you could pass an entire day without hearing spoken English.
I flew into Mexico City from Miami and had a wait of 5 hours before my friend’s flight arrived. For those without access to a VIP lounge (I was not allowed to enter after arrival), the lobby of the on-site NH Hotel makes a pleasant enough place to spend a few hours. There is a restaurant and bar in the hotel lobby.
Once my friend arrived, we set off by private car, booked with BajioGo, for the four-hour drive to San Miguel, broken with a stop for my much-loved barbacoa de borrego (lamb barbecue) at Barbacoa Navarrete, on the right side of the highway near the town San Juan del Rio at Km 149 on the road to Queretaro.
BARBACOA NAVARRETE, San Juan del Rio
The restaurant was recommended by the taxi driver and it made an excellent choice for our first meal of the trip. We stopped on a Saturday around 4pm, but I believe they offer barbecue daily. The restaurant is enclosed, very clean, and with excellent barbecue along with a wide range of other fare. We shared a couple of plates of excellent, moist tacos de barbacoa, at $28MP per taco, along with an order of quesadillas de flor de calabaza (zucchini flower quesadillas), $75MP for a trio.
With a few soft drinks and two tequilas, the total bill for three diners came to $423MP, or about $23 USD.
LA POZOLERIA, San Migiuel de Allende
I generally adore the soups in Mexico, so tried to sample quite a few during our stay, including during two visits to this endearing little eatery, slightly north of the center. As the name indicates, they specialize in the hominey-based pozole--red and green-- but also offer other soups along with various tostadas, flautas, and a few other dishes, along with one or two fruit-based aguas. It’s a modern little place, decorated with signs in English and Chinese, and the soups we sampled were excellent. Closed Mondays. Calzada de la Luz, 51A, Colonia Guadalupe. (Makes a good stop if you are heading to Fabrica La Aurora or the “artisan alley”); easy walk north from the Jardin.