We’ve been in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) for just over 3 months so far. I’ve put off writing this article many times because I needed to try a different restaurant before I published this. After finally eating at a popular taco cart, I feel ready to share my tips on places to eat in SMA.
I will start by saying that while there are a lot of places to eat here, there isn’t a lot of really good food here. There is a lot of average food, though. If you aren’t picky or a food snob, you’ll find lots of places you probably like.
I generally don’t include places I wouldn’t recommend someone go; however, there are some places that I have seen expats rave about that were way below the mark for me. In those cases, I have included information about that restaurant, why I didn’t care for it, and have used red font for their name. As in “red means stop.”
Many of the larger restaurants accept credit cards, but it’s generally a good idea to have cash on you. Sometimes the machine doesn’t work, or a website will say they accept cards but currently they don’t.
My Favorite Places to Eat in San Miguel de Allende
Even though I love to cook and bake, and I’ve certainly enjoyed doing that here, we eat out quite often. These are the places that we keep going back to over and over again.
This is a Lebanese restaurant that I decided to go to after hearing from a couple of people who were Lebanese or very familiar with the cuisine. They said it was excellent. After having eaten there, I thoroughly agree. I’ve had some really good Lebanese and Middle Eastern food before, but this food was so incredibly flavorful I was blown away. It’s one of the few local places I crave.
As far as flavor goes, I’ll say this is the top restaurant in SMA.
You’ll find it near the San Antonio neighborhood at Zacateros 73. They’re open for lunch and dinner. Prices are very reasonable. The dish in the above photo cost less than $5 USD.
Baja Fish Taquito
Not a very Mexican name, but their food is incredibly delicious. I highly recommend the tostada de jaiba, which is a tostada loaded with lump crab. I’m always a bit hesitant about ordering crab in some places since it’s often fake. That is not a concern here. It tasted like the ocean! I also enjoyed their marlin tacos.
The terrace seating with a beautiful view doesn’t hurt either.
Their prices are really good. You can get many combinations (which include a drink) for under $4 USD.
They are located at Mesones 11, a short walk from the main plaza known as the jardín. Their current posted hours are from 10:30 AM until 8 PM seven days a week.
Las Tres Virtudes
This is Tigger’s favorite, and I like it as well. It can be a bit tricky to find, though. It’s located inside the Hotel Mansion Virreyes very close to the jardín, very close to the Europea liquor store.
He always gets the chicken burritos, and I really like the huaraches. I’ve tried different dishes there, and they’ve all been good. It’s a great place for winding down and it is never crowded. Prices are quite reasonable.
Their official address is Canal 19.
This wonderful place is located in the food court area of the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez. Follow the signs to the fondas. Tigger has 2 favorites here: the torta cubana (a sandwich that is basically a meat fest) and the quesadilla de milanesa de pollo. I’ve tried a few different things and enjoy all their food; however, I tend to order the milanesa de pollo (basically chicken schnitzel) the most. It’s a lot of food, and I usually can’t eat again for several hours.
They’re also my favorite place for aguas frescas. You get a ginormous cup for 20 MXN (just over $1 USD). You can get a combination, too. I often get watermelon mixed with pineapple. Cantaloupe is probably my 2nd favorite agua.
The restaurant is packed with locals, and we’re usually the only gringos around. Our two meals and drinks usually come out to under $8 USD total.
The street address for the building is Calle Colegio 1. The food court is located inside the back of the building.
I only come here for the flautas (pictured above). They are the best ones I’ve been able to find in the city, and it’s also the most generous portion size I’ve encountered here. I’ve had some of the their other dishes, but they tend to be hit and miss. The flautas are consistently wonderful.
This is another “very local” place. If you’re a bit more jittery about hole-in-the-wall places, this may not be the best place for you. Seating is outdoors in the courtyard surrounded by residences with trees and bushes that drop leaves and flowers on you and the table. The bathrooms are a bit on the rough side, too. It doesn’t faze us, though.
You’ll find them at Dr. Ignacio Hernandez Macias 56.
On Saturdays, there is an organic market in the San Antonio neighborhood. Not only will you find some of the best-looking produce you’ve probably ever seen, but for me the top reason to come are the food vendors you’ll find on your left as you enter the market. I’ve eaten at most of the booths, and my favorite is the tamal place. They are high quality tamales and absolutely delicious. Make sure to try their sweet tamales, too.
In the far corner in the back there are some really good gorditas (imagine a thick corn tortilla stuffed with deliciousness). They make the tortillas fresh, and you can just point to whatever filling(s) you want for your gordita. I usually get two (which cost about $1.65 USD total), and they’re enough to be keep me satisfied until my next meal.
Tacos de Arturo
This is essentially what we would call a food truck. He sets up at the corner of Hidalgo and Insurgentes and is usually there beginning at 7 PM. There is very limited seating, but you can get your order to go or do like everyone else and just stand there and eat. They are the best tacos I’ve had in SMA. Mr. Finicky loves to eat here (he gets the al pastor).
There are plenty of places to find decent coffee in San Miguel de Allende. However, there are two absolute standouts for me.
As far as I’m concerned, El Café de la Mancha has the best coffee. They also sell their beans and will grind them for you if you need that service. They offer a variety of ways to prepare coffee including Turkish. It’s a comfortable location that usually isn’t crowded, and they have pretty good WiFi and a cute and super friendly dachshund mascot.
They’re located at Recreo 21, a very close walk from the jardín.
The second best coffee is found at Cafe Oso Azul located at Zacateros 17. They also have a small menu with some pretty decent food. Their outdoor seating has a lovely ambiance.
There are a few Chinese restaurants in SMA. We haven’t been to the newer one (Palacio Chino) yet but have heard very good things from people I trust.
The remaining two that we’ve tested out many times are very different. Dragón Chino has higher quality and prices. Their location is a bit inconvenient as well. However, they also deliver so that takes care of that problem. I particularly like their lemon chicken. Tigger always gets their General Tso’s chicken, but make sure to let them know how mild or spicy you want it. Their default spiciness is too much for him.
We usually get an order of cheese wontons plus two main plates (large portions and rice included) and we end up paying around $14 USD.
On the other side of the price spectrum, is a place much closer to the jardin. The sign above the door just says comida china (Chinese food) with some Chinese characters. This place is more like Chinese fast food, but it’s surprisingly good. And very cheap. We both get the combination that comes with 2 choices of a main dish and rice or noodles. I usually add an eggroll to mine. He gets a soda, and I usually get a beer. All that for around $7 USD.
When you plan on eating Thai food in Mexico, you obviously need to go in with low expectations. One place managed to meet my low expectations and the other couldn’t manage to reach even my lowest hopes.
Orquidea Thai is located near the San Antonio neighborhood in the basement of a building. The ambiance is fairly good, but the service was really poor. My green curry was passable, however. As in I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t thrilled either. Our friends weren’t as lucky, though. They reported the pad Thai was very vinegary. Other things like the Thai fried rice and springrolls were also disappointing. The satay was OK.
If you’re simply desperate for Thai food, this is your best bet.
The other place is called Thai Kitchen. They have lower prices, but the old adage of “You get what you pay for” holds very true here. The green curry tasted like butter soup. Almost everything I tried was quite bland (although their Thai iced tea was pretty good). The other dish I had can only be described as “Well, it wasn’t bad.” Service was extremely poor and incredibly slow. Two of us finished our dishes, while eating slowly, before the third person in our group finally got her dish.
Mexican and Mexican fusion
In addition to the above favorites, here are some other places to consider in San Miguel de Allende.
Restaurante El Correo, Correo 23. This is practically a stone’s throw from the jardín. Their prices are more moderate, but the food is consistently good as is the service. They have pretty good mole rojo and are one of the few places that serves chiles en nogada (pictured above) fairly regularly. And it’s pretty darn good.
Victoria’s Comida Mexicana, Ancha de San Antonio 35. This is a tiny place with very little seating, but it’s really good. They also serve the best pozole I’ve had in SMA.
Don Lupe’s Grill, Pila Seca 34. A family-run restaurant that serves what I would call Tex-Mex food. All the food I’ve had here has been really good. The last time I ate there, I also tried their cheese dip (called queso in Tex-Mex restaurants) with chorizo, and it was quite yummy. I could go there just for this dish!
La Casa de los Tamales, Canal 90. They have really good tamales that are high quality, and they have something like 27 different varieties. I usually get them to go and eat them at home, but they do have seating (and WiFi) there as well.
Empanadas D’Loreto, Soledad 12. These are very yummy and cheap. They have quite a wide selection, too, including some dessert ones.
Cenaduria La Aborada, Diez de Sollano y Dávalos 9. This restaurant practically abuts the side of the cathedral. Tigger’s favorite dish is the sincronizada (basically a quesadilla with ham and cheese). They also have good pozole. I’ve tried different things here, and they’re all pretty good.
I’m going to include pizza under this category even though it isn’t strictly American food per se. I’m going to recommend Casa Chiquita at Correo 45 for this cuisine. Their pizzas are baked in a wood-fueled brick oven, and the flavor is pretty good. However, they have a terrace with a fabulous view and some really good craft beer (they brew their own!).
I have seen many people recommend ChupAlitas. Not only was the food incredibly disappointing, but this is the only place I have ever eaten in my entire life where the ice cream was so disgusting I couldn’t finish it. I suspect some thaw/refreezing was involved. The service was also incredibly poor, although the owners are very nice and personable. I was actually relieved when I awoke the next morning without stomach problems.
You know me and my bagels. The Bagel Café has the best variety; however, their staff always act like I’m putting them out every time I place an order, so I stopped going there. La Mesa Grande has pretty much no variety (just one type of bagel), but their bagels are pretty close to New York style. They also have good WiFi. If you want to sit somewhere nice and go online, this is a good choice. There is a small menu if you want breakfast or lunch. While the food was good, the portions were a bit small for the price.
There are plenty of great bars around; however, Los Milagros Bar and Restaurant, located at Calle Relox 17, is a standout. During happy hour (5-9 PM, Monday through Friday) you also get a free botana (small plate of food) when you order drinks (one per visit). They have a few different choices, but trust me and order the enchiladas.
The bartender is pretty good and doesn’t hold back on the booze in cocktails either. Drinks are priced very reasonably, and it’s a nice atmosphere in the bar side.
Do you have a favorite place in San Miguel de Allende you’d like to recommend?
So, this is a problem. I decided to read your post just for fun since I am not in San Miguel de Allende. Now what do I do? Some of your descriptions and photos have me thinking, “Oh, that sounds like a fun place to try.” I guess it’s my own fault. 🙂
Worth a visit for sure.
Great post, Talon. And I agree with you on most of these recommendations. I loved the meal we shared at Baja Fish Tacos and I have to agree. That crab tostada was a stand-out! And a big YES on Los Farolitas inside the fondas at the Mercado. A favorite place for a truly affordable and excellent lunch with the locals.
My favorite “nice dinner out with with friends” place is La Posadita in Cuna de Allende. I almost always have the Cochinita Pibil, but their Pozole is pretty fine too. And the view from this upstairs terrace restaurant is glorious… the Parroquia at the front, a killer sunset view at the back.
Thanks for a great post.
I’ve seen that place on Foursquare and walked by it but haven’t eaten there yet. We should do Baja again before I leave. 😀