San Miguel dining: from street food to chic food

San Miguel de Allende (SMA) in Guanajuato, Mexico, is a food lover’s paradise. San Miguel dining options are boggling with choices range from street tacos to upscale eateries at a fraction of the price you pay in the USA. We had diverse dining experiences during our few days there. Here are some places we dined at that we think you’ll enjoy.

Breakfast

El Pegaso San Miguel de Allende photo Billie Frnak

You’ll pass San Francisco de Asis on your way to the loo at El Pegaso, photo/Billie Frank

On our first morning in SMA, I had to go visit the dentist. Steve left me at the dentist’s so I tried to call Steve to see where he was. When I didn’t reach him I set off to find him. Impossible you think. You’d be wrong. I found him in the second café I ventured into. He had wisely discovered El Pegaso (Corregidora 6), which turns out to be a very popular place with both locals and tourists. Steve went for a basic egg, meat and potato breakfast. I threw caution to the winds and ordered Eggs Benedict. The ample plate that arrived had one of the best Bennies EVER. The sauce was rich and thick and flavored just right. The walls are full of Mexican art and it’s mostly for sale. Even if you don’t need to use the facilities, head upstairs to the loo, The Saint Francis perched in the open window looking out the balcony is worth the trip. We must have tipped well as when we ran into our server at an event at the Instituto Allende several nights later- he was moonlighting as a banquet server- he gave us BIG hugs.

Cafe MuRo San Miguel de Allende photo Steve Collins

Cafe MuRo on Loreto in San Miguel de Allende photo/Steve Collins

Our second day in SMA, we met Sandra Kennedy a new Facebook friend who was spending a few months in the city. We met at the Café MuRo (Loreto Loreto 10B). The large café is busy and welcoming. Our server didn’t speak English, but there was an English menu which made ordering easy. Steve had the Eggs MuRo (scrambled with Spanish-style sausage and nopales). I went with the Huevos Mexicana (eggs scrambled with onion, green pepper and tomato) accompanied by chilaquiles smothered in tangy tomatillo sauce and beans. It was delicious.

 Lunch

De Temporada San Miguel dining photo Steve Collins

The menu board at De Temporado is constantly changing, photo/Steve Collins

Farm to table fans will love De Temporada (Rancho la Trinidad, Camino a San Miguel Viejo 8). The funky, hand-built eatery, opened in October 2012 by Mexican-born culinarian, Iliana Lanuza, is in San Miguel Viejo about 15 minutes by car or cab from El Centro. Located on Rancho de Trinidad, an organic farm her mom and step-father own and run. You won’t find Mexican food here. Lanuza, who was raised in Mexico eating European and American foods, prefers cooking the European and American-influenced foods she grew up with. This creative cook uses seasonal produce, much of it grown on the family farm. The menu officially changes weekly, though it may vary on any given day depending on her mood. She runs the restaurant with the help of one woman and does most of the serving and pretty much, everything else by herself. She built the mostly outdoor restaurant from recycled materials including packing skids. The outside patio overlooks El Presa, a large reservoir. Due to an excess of rain this year was really full the day we were there. Food is creative and delicious. Start your meal with the refreshing agua fresca of the day and then, figure out what appeals to you from the hand-written menu board. De Temporada serves lunch only from Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5pm. There’s no bus service to San Miguel Viejo. You either have to have a car, take a taxi or ride a bike to get to the restaurant.

San Miguel dining Sabores de Frieda photo Steve Collins

Chef/owner Nicolas Marcial of Sabores de Frieda in San Miguel, photo Steve Collins

It turns out we had a treasure right across the street from Perla, our apartment on Organos. We didn’t notice it when we arrived, as it was closed on the weekend. But Monday, we looked out the window and discovered Sabores de Frieda (Organos 52). We probably wouldn’t have dined there had our guardian angel, Jose Luis, not mentioned it to us. He said it was great so off we went. He introduced us to chef/owner Nicolás Marcial and then off he went, leaving us in Marcial’s very capable and talented hands. The small colorful interior, with a handful of tables, is decorated with papeles picados and pictures of Frieda Kahlo, the restaurant’s namesake. Marcial keeps it simple; he offers one dish each day. On this October Monday, it was chile rellenos filled with ground beef. The delicious, well-flavored dish was preceded by a big fresh bowl of well-dressed salad. Lunch was accompanied by delicious fresh limeade. We were happy and full at the end of our meal. The really good news: the tab was 55 pesos per person (about $4.50 at the exchange rate when we were there). You can’t beat that! Sabor de Frieda serves lunch Monday through Friday.

White linen for lunch at La Maison de Montitlan, photo/courtesy Gayle Paulson. La Maison

White linen for lunch at La Maison de Montitlan, photo/courtesy Gayle Paulson. La Maison de Montitlan

If you stay in San Miguel long enough, you might want a taste of home. Head for Sunday lunch at La Mansion de Montitlan. Started in 2011 by expats Gayle Paulson and Connie Mullis at Paulson’s home, they are only open for Sunday lunch from 1 to 3pm (and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner). The three-course prix-fixe lunch menu starts with a salad, offers a choice of three entrees (their “famous southern fried chicken” is always on the menu) and a choice of three desserts. Food is mostly regional American with as emphasis on Southern but diners may find French, Italian or Asian entrees as well. Reservations (and meal choices) must be made in advance. Reservations made be made by emailing Gayle at [email protected] or by phone. They have a US number (713) 900-9181 as well as a San Miguel one (415) 152-1352, (country code if calling from the USA is 52).

Dinner

San Miguel dining Moxi at night photo Steve Collins

Moxi’s outdoor dining patio at night, photo/Steve Collins

We were invited to dine at Moxi, the chic café at the Hotel Matilda. The creative Mexican restaurant is under the helm of Mexico City celebrity chef, Enrique Olvera whose newly-opened NYC eatery, Cosme, makes him one of the most celebrated chefs on the contemporary culinary scene. Olvera takes the traditional foods of Mexico and presents them in new ways that meld the past and present with flavors that surprise the palate. Diners may choose from either an a la carte menu of opt for the seven course prix-fixe Menu del Dia. At 750 pesos per person, it’s a bargain. Olvera uses the foods from his native Mexico in unusual and witty ways including contemporary interpretations of classic dishes including street food. Food is sourced local growers and producers. Portions were ample and we left feeling sated. The service at the upscale café is as extraordinary as the food. Wine pairings were unexpected and worked well with the menu.

San Miguel dining La Posadita photo Steve Collins

We had a great view while dining on La Posadita’s rooftop, photo/Steve Collins

On Tuesday night we set off for dinner. Our destination was Mi Vida, an Italian restaurant, that’s a favorite of expats living in SMA. Fortuitously, it was closed. We really wanted to try the local cuisine. I remembered La Capilla had been highly recommended and that it was near the Parroquia (the cathedral). We had no idea where the restaurant was so we asked a policeman for directions. He made a phone call and directed us to Calle Cuna de Allende, one of the streets branching off El Jardin, the main square. No La Capilla in sight. We were hungry and getting a bit grumpy. We passed La Posadita, but couldn’t get a feel for the upstairs restaurant from the menu posted at street level. Spotting an open shop, we went inside to inquire about La Capilla. “Closed.” came the response in a mix of Spanish and English. Asking for a recommendation, the owner sent us back to La Posadita (Calle Cuna de Allende 13). As we came out onto the rooftop dining area with its stunning views, we knew we’d chosen right. Twi delicious salsas, a red and a green and a large basket of fresh corn chips were delivered to the table. The staff, who spoke little English, was really helpful. When asked which of two pork dishes I should order, our server recommended the Chamorro, a pork rib cooked in a red chile mojita sauce. The huge (and delicious, melt in your mouth) portion could have fed three. It came with rice, beans and guacamole. Steve opted for the chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and spinach in an avocado-based sauce. We should have asked for a copy of the menu It was accompanied by nopal and grilled scallions and rice. The meal was memorable and the view superb. It was a great find!

San Miguel dining- El Milagro

We were serenaded throughout our meal at Los Milagros, photo Steve Collins

We ate a late lunch at Los Milagros (Relox 17), one day. A young man I’d met at the cultural tourism fair we attended recommended it. His family has owned and run a local hostelry since the late 1940s. The décor of the bar/restaurant was, not surprisingly, milagros; the charms that symbolize miracles in Mexico. A guitarist on a low stage serenaded us throughout our meal. The portions were huge and for us Americans who prefer a large meal in the evening, I’d recommend it as a dinner place. It was way too much food for us for lunch. We’d discovered San Miguel restaurants seem to serve VERY ample portions. We started off our meal with chips and salsa, a red and green as seems common in San Miguel. We thought we were clever, sharing an appetizer and main course. The ceviche taco appetizer would have been a filling lunch for anyone with a good appetite. It was so ample that two people with moderate appetites could have shared it and been satisfied. The beef tampiqueñas was a HUGE piece of beef with a tomatillo sauce accompanied by rice and beans. While it was a bit more touristy than we’d have chosen, the food was fine and the ambiance, fun. Prices were reasonable by U.S. standards.

 Street food

San Miguel dining- street food tacos

Pork al pastor hanging at a busy taco stand on Insurgentes in San Migiel, photo/Steve Collins

Because we had a late lunch at De Temorada our first day in San Miguel we weren’t really hungry for dinner. After drinks at the fab hacienda of our apartment hosts, Christina Ruckel and Gary Cook, we headed off for some street tacos at a place they recommended. At 9:30pm the streets were crowded and lively. We found the stand on Insurgentes at the intersection of Hidalgo, a few blocks from our apartment. It was mobbed. All the stools that sat in front of the stand were taken so we ordered four tacos to go. The pork for the tacos al pastor was cut from a vertical rotisserie topped with a pineapple at the front of the stand. I got two al pastor tacos (one in a flour tortilla and one in corn) and Steve ordered a pork taco and a chorizo one. We retreated to a set of steps down the street just past a busy bus stop and tucked in. Delicious! We decided to go back for more. This time there were seats available so we took them. We both ordered the al pastor. Sitting at the stand was a way better way to eat our street tacos. They served them with grilled onion bulbs and tasty, hot salsa (the to-go ones came with salsa in a plastic wrap packet tied so tight we couldn’t get it open). We savored these tasty morsels and were sated. The grand total for seven tacos was 70 pesos- a bit under $6 at the exchange rate.

We barely touched the surface of dining in San Miguel. We have to go back and eat some more. On our next visit to San Miguel, we plan to check out more street food finds. They’re a great way to eat authentically and inexpensively.

Have you dined in San Miguel? What are your favorite dining experiences there?

Read more of our San Miguel posts

Overview posts
SMA 101: a basic San Miguel guide for newbies
San Miguel de Allende: mural at the Instituto Allende
Photo of the week: Sunburst balcony in San Miguel de Allende

Posts for other sites
Falling in love with San Miguel de Allende
Explore the Historic Streets of San Miguel De Allende, Mexico

Lodging
San Miguel lodging: Hotel Matilda, contemporary chic in a colonial town
Visiting San Miguel? Pamper yourself – stay at the luxe Casa de los Chiqueados

Dining
San Miguel dining: from street food to chic food
San Miguel dining: put a little Moxi in your life
San Miguel dining: farm to table at De Temporada

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32 Responses to “San Miguel dining: from street food to chic food”

  1. Agness
    November 12, 2019 at 1:25 pm #

    Although I’ve never been here, I feel like packing my bags and going there right away. It’s so wonderful and this landscape’s absolutely stunning. Would you fancy going back there soon?

    • Billie Frank
      November 14, 2019 at 4:42 pm #

      We do! Hoping to get back for a month this spring.

    • Donna
      November 19, 2019 at 2:28 am #

      Agness - You really do need to come. The food, the people, the color, the music, the WEATHER… it’s all divine.

      • Billie Frank
        November 19, 2019 at 7:41 am #

        I totally agree! Though it’s not, except for dining and walking a $25 a day city- from what I’ve seem lodging can get a bit pricey- thought I didn’t investigate hostels.

  2. Lance
    November 15, 2019 at 7:15 am #

    What is the best way to fly there from Albuquerque, NM ?
    L

    • Billie Frank
      November 15, 2019 at 8:42 am #

      Not the way we went! We were flown into Mexico City- on a good day, 31/2 to 4 hours from San Miguel. There are no flights directly from ABQ to anywhere in Mexico. You have to research and find out which airlines offer service. . The best place to fly into is Leon, less than an hour from SMA. I believe Aero Mexico and a few other airlines provide service there. I believe there’s bus service from there to the city, you can rent a car or arrange for a car to pick you up if you don’t need one for your SMA stay.

      • Donna
        November 19, 2019 at 2:22 am #

        Yes, Leon (BJX) is the best airport for San Miguel. Your ticket might be a bit more but you will save both money and time not having to travel from Mexico City. Several airlines serve BJX from the US, including Delta, United and American, with connections thru Dallas, LA and Houston. The best way to get from the Leon airport to SMA is to take one of the shuttle services. I always use BajioGo. It costs about $28US OW. They will be standing at the door when you come through customs with a sign with your name and will take you to your door in San Miguel, about 1 1/2 hrs. The airport is small and easy to negotiate. It’s hard to miss them. http://bajiogo.com/ BTW, Billie, you nailed it on the restaurants, hit almost all my favorites. I would add Cafe La Parroquia for breakfast (on Calle Jesus) and Ten Ten Pie on Cuna de Allende to sit on the terrace (full disclosure-the owner’s a good friend of mine :-) ) Also Cafe San Agustin on San Francisco for Churros and Chocolate when you need a break (but it’s very crowded on weekends because the owner is famous Mexican actress and Mexican tourists line up to get a glimpse of her). But the churros are divine. Finally, Hecho in Mexico on Ancha de San Antonio is an ex-pat favorite with great food and friendly service on a pretty covered and heated terrace. Buen provecho! (My web address is for my blog which is not yet up but WILL be in a few days!)

        • Billie Frank
          November 19, 2019 at 7:40 am #

          Thanks, Donna! Both CAfe La Parroquia and Ten Ten Pie, and Hecho en Mexico (we went by it a lot!) are on the list for next time along with a lot of others. Steve met a Facebook friend at San Aghustin one morning. As I don’t do dairy I couldn’t have their chocolate- did taste the fab churros. I went shopping a but while they chatted. If you email me or message me your San Miguel post links, I can add them to my post. Would also love to read them. I’m devouring everything on SMA these days. Lots to learn!

          • Donna
            November 19, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

            Besides my soon-to-be-ready-for-prime-time blog for Baby Boomer women travelers, I have a whole site devote to San Miguel. WARNING: It is sadly in need of updating… scheduled to happen gradually over the next 6 months. But much of the info is still accurate. http://www.experiencesanmiguel.com

          • Billie Frank
            November 20, 2019 at 12:47 pm #

            I’ve been to your sight and it’s so comprehensive. There’s a lot of great San Miguel travel info there!

  3. Greg Vaughn
    November 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm #

    I enjoyed lunch in the patio at Bugambilia, but my trip was 5 years ago and I’ve heard that they have moved to a new location. I also like the patio setting of La Felguera.

  4. Donna Janke
    November 17, 2019 at 6:37 am #

    I’ve never been to San Miguel but am certainly intrigued by what you’ve written. What a wonderful collection of eating places. Chile Rellenos is a favourite of my husband’s. If it is on the menu, he’s likely to order it.

  5. Donna Janke
    November 17, 2019 at 6:39 am #

    San Miguel sounds like a tasty place to visit. What a wonderful collection of restaurants. Chile rellenos is a favourite of my husband’s.

    • Billie Frank
      November 17, 2019 at 10:10 am #

      It is indeed a wonderful place for food. We can’t wait to go back and eat some more!

  6. Nancy
    November 17, 2019 at 6:47 am #

    I so have to visit San Miguel de Allende! I’ve known about their writer’s conference for years but still haven’t made the trip. It’s on my list - even more so after reading about the fabulous restaurants you enjoyed.

    • Billie Frank
      November 17, 2019 at 10:11 am #

      All I can say is GO! If you go for a conference, plan some time on your own either before or after. We were there for an event with a few extra days before and it just wasn’t enough.

  7. Leigh
    November 17, 2019 at 5:32 pm #

    I haven’t even been to San Miguel but my mouth is watering reading your suggestions. This is a blog post worth saving for anyone I know of heading in that direction.
    What a food lover’s paradise.

    • Billie Frank
      November 17, 2019 at 9:25 pm #

      I know and we just slightly scratched the surface. Want to go back and eat some more!

  8. Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    November 17, 2019 at 5:53 pm #

    Looks like you didn’t want for a good meal in San Miguel. My favorite meal there was at Bugambilia.

    • Billie Frank
      November 17, 2019 at 9:28 pm #

      I just discovered Bugmabilia from a comment someone left earlier in this thread. On the list for next time.

  9. michele Peterson
    November 17, 2019 at 11:43 pm #

    Wow, an amazing round-up of great spots to eat in San Miguel de Allende. I really want to try MOXI next time I’m in town and you’ve identified a few more to add to my my must-visit list. The table setting at La Maison de Montitlan is a beauty!

    • Billie Frank
      November 19, 2019 at 7:31 am #

      Moxi is a must. Chef Enrique Olvera is one of the hottest chefs in the world at the moment. His new NYC restaurant Cosme opened last week. If you live in or are heading to NYC, make a reservation well in advance- this will be a hot spot. The best news is the prices- they’re extremely reasonable for NYC and for a star chef. Entrees are in the $20 range. Moxie was a memorable experience. We’re going to write a dedicated post about our dinner there- stay tuned.

  10. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    November 18, 2019 at 4:41 am #

    San Miguel Allende has long been on our list of places to visit and you make it look even more enticing! We love tacos al pastor although I’ve never had them with pineapple. And the price can’t be beat!

    • Billie Frank
      November 19, 2019 at 7:35 am #

      The pineapple sits on top of the pork- not sure how much it impacts the flavor. We just touched the surface of the food scene and hope to get back and eat a lot more,

  11. Larissa @ Agave Villas Mexico
    November 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm #

    I just arrived in San Miguel today and can’t wait to check out some of these great recommendations! Thanks for sharing!

    • Billie Frank
      November 28, 2019 at 4:09 pm #

      Our pleasure. Let us know what you think.

  12. Allison's Adventures
    March 6, 2019 at 4:54 am #

    Great post and great inspiration from south of the border. We spent over two months touring mexico but somehow missed both San Miguel and Guanajuato but they will be first on our list next time we go back to Mexico. P.S. I love Sante Fe too, especially the Christmas chile burritos!

    • Billie Frank
      March 7, 2019 at 5:02 pm #

      Definitely put it on your list. We loved SMA and hope to get to Guanajuato City next time. Glad you like our burritos! Try the carne adovada next time!

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