San Miguel de Allende’s dining scene features a variety of cuisines and flavors. // © 2016 San Miguel de Allende Tourism
Feature image (above): Foodies are flocking to San Miguel de Allende, where several culinary gems are found near or in centuries-old buildings. // © 2016 San Miguel de Allende Tourism
San Miguel de Allende has been topping a lot of must-visit lists recently, and cuisine is one of the reasons. Indeed, you won’t find anything like a McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. in the historic city center. Instead, the local dining scene serves up a rich panoply of flavors, ethnicities and styles, led by a handful of local celebrity chefs and backed by a variety of decidedly creative minds.
The destination’s most noteworthy venues are located within the limits of the historic city center, which makes it easy for visitors to sample an array of culinary hot spots without walking far. Many are set in centuries-old landmark buildings, with artistic and often elegant decor, and central patios or rooftop decks that provide an especially memorable ambiance. And with such a diverse assortment of cuisines available, even the pickiest palate won’t get bored.
Here are a few places to sample some of the city’s tastiest creations.
Chef Matteo Salas oversees the expertly presented haute cuisine at this elegant venue, which “Travel + Leisure” named Mexico’s best new restaurant in 2015. Try the four-course tasting menu for a mouthwatering overview of Salas’ best creations, or reserve a seat at the chef’s table to watch the expert at work.
Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada
Set in a collection of historic buildings in the city center, Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada is home to Andanza, a contemporary Mexican venue that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The property also offers a romance-focused “Love Seranata” package that includes a three-course dinner with a bottle of house wine. To learn some of the chef’s secrets, guests can sign up for Sazon: Housed in an 18th-century mansion, the cooking school offers classes with various themes, such as healthy Mexican cooking; some classes begin with traditional market tours where guests choose their own seasonal ingredients.
Doce-18 Concept House
One of the city’s newest upscale shopping and entertainment complexes, Doce-18 Concept House opened its doors in April. The design-conscious attraction features an array of chic, small-scale retailers and stylish dining and drinking venues, set in spaces named to evoke parts of the restored 18th-century mansion where it’s located. The Dining Room on the interior patio is home to Jacinto 1930, a trendy Mexican restaurant headed by chef Salas of Aperi. The Kitchen houses a wide variety of fast-but-upscale cuisine, including Mac & Soup, San Mike Pizza Gourmet, Taco Lab and Birdie’s Burgers — all of which are perfect for a tasty bite after a few hours of shopping.
For a romantic night out, locals and visitors head to Mi Vida, an Italian restaurant with an extensive menu that includes octopus, beef carpaccio, ravioli and lasagna, all complemented by varietals from a well-stocked wine cellar. The on-site bakery, Salepepe, provides an irresistible opportunity to take fresh-baked bread and pastries back to the hotel for late-night snacking.
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
In November, one of the two most luxurious hotels in the city, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, debuted an open-air kitchen for cooking classes, private dining and special events. The attractive new venue, which accommodates up to 100 people, has a fire pit, and its garden grows herbs for use in the chef’s regional specialties. Among the property’s other dining venues are its signature 1826 Restaurant, which serves Mexican cuisine, and Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar, which has one of the destination’s most postcard-perfect city views.
Sabores San Miguel
This annual food festival, which takes place in June, draws invited chefs to Parque Benito Juarez, a historic city park, for three days of food and wine tastings. It’s an ideal way to sample some of the best cuisine from a range of noteworthy local restaurants.