In addition to fine dining options, here are some wonderful casual Mexican restaurants and a growing number of ethnic neighborhood spots to try while in town. I always add to my list each time I am back in town. My top recommendations include:
Silverya’s Restaurant: I just went to this new restaurant in my neighborhood after hearing about it on Facebook. I learned that Keli and her husband Ruben Silveyra moved to San Miguel from Kansas City, MO, where they were both in the restaurant business, and decided to open restaurant featuring American cuisine in the lower level of their house in Ojo de Agua. I went and learned that she also grew up in my hometown of St. Joseph, Mo. I really enjoyed by omelette with toast and hashbrowns and my friend the Boca Feliz breakfast sandwich. In addition to a breakfast menu, they offer sandwiches for lunch.I enjoyed it so much that I went back and loved the pulled pork sandwich! It was better than many that I have had in Kansas City which is known for its BBQ. Privada de Prol Aldama #8
Another recent opening that I wanted to share with you is Siete Cielos Cocina Mexicana at Prol. de Pila Seca 50A. It opened in October 2021 and is a small place with attractive patio and indoor dining room. The owners are really delightful. On my first visit, I went at noon and enjoyed a great omelette and fruit plate. Breakfast is served from 9am to 1pm. Then their lunch menu is served until 5pm. I had to go back for lunch one day before I left to try their fish or shrimp tacos. They were great as was the guacamole. I love supporting small local businesses!!
Formerly at Calle Del Rosal 3 in Col. San Antonio. Kenten’s has moved to a new location that they share with Café de Barrio at Calle Antonio Villanueva #7 in Col. San Rafael. They are open for breakfast and lunch from Tuesday through Sunday. Kenten Marin was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin but grew up in Peru. He became a chef and completed an internship at the famed Mugaritz in Errenteria, Spain in May 2012. His varied work experience includes kitchens in Lima, Peru, and Tokyo, and notable Houston restaurants including Underbelly, Brasserie 19, Stella Sola, Plonk and Holley’s Seafood.
Spending time in New Orleans, while in Houston gave him a love of Southern cooking. After moving to San Miguel and opening Bar Margaret, he opened Kenten’s with a menu of dishes from the Southern U.S. with vegan and vegetarian twists of Mexican cuisine. He is known for his fried chicken. I like his former spot so wanted to try his new location I enjoyed my fried chicken breast and a jicama ceviche.
Café de Barrio is a popular neighborhood spot, frequented by locals, that is known for it coffee, bagels, burritos,egg dishes and Middle Eastern mezze plates. They have an attractive outdoor patio.
At the suggestion of a local friend, I tried Café Lula at Jesús #27 and had a really great experience. Opend in the summer of 2021, it has a menu for breakfast, lunch and cocktails. While I had wanted brunch, I was there on Taco Tuesday, and had the shrimp tacos with charred pineapple and cilantro along with guacamole. They were the best tacos that I have had in a long time. I will definitely go back. The outside patio is most attractive and the service was excellent. The chef moved down before the opening from Oakland, CA. I read that other good dishes to try include their chilaquiles with chicken tinga and the shrimp ‘n’ grits tamal. The waffle de mochi, with a gluten free waffle, charred figs, candied pecans, honey and saffron whipped cream sound great.
Polp S.M.A. Gastrobar: Polp means octopus in Catalan. The Catalan reference is a nod to the time that, San Miguel born, chef and co-owner Patricio Fuentes Alvarez spent in Barcelona, working at the Michelin-starred Restaurante Hofmann. Patricio and his partner, Jose Pablo Diez, have created a small but great menu of Spanish-style tapas along with wines and cocktails. I enjoyed the typical Spanish omelette and the great scallops served on a perfect cauliflower cream. My friend really enjoyed the mushroom risotto. I just went back and enjoyed it for the second time. It is a small spot at Relox #3 just north of the Jardin.
After reading about the recently expanded Inside Cafe at Insurgentes #66, I had to try it. I went for lunch and really enjoyed the experience. The delightful owners are Teu Campbell from New Zealand and David Barajas from San Miguel. They opened it just as a coffee shop, but have expanded to a rooftop restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. They feature a menu of breakfast and lunch items including sandwiches and salads. I thought the grilled cheese sandwich was one of the best I have had anywhere! I had to go back and have it again. It was so good. They recently added a second upstairs terrace for more seating.
Mercado del Carmen: Zacateros #45. The newest food hall in San Miguel has a very attractive contemporary design. It features Mexican and international cuisine with a number of vendors selling beer, cocktails and more. I recently enjoyed a delicious salad and tacos on a recent trip. There has been some turnover in some of the restaurants.
Another fun spot now in Mercado Del Carmen is Chikitana. I enjoyed lunch with new friends who are buying a house in San Miguel. They feature a menu of Latin and Asian cuisine. I enjoyed the coconut fried rice with shrimp and chicken, plus a tostado with grilled pineapple, plantains and a tamarind salsa. Chef/owner Aleysha Serrato Garfias, is from Mexico, but lived in Berkeley, CA for several years. Here she loved trying Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants with her friends. When she opened the new restaurant in San Miguel, she wanted to focus on the Asian cuisine she loved with Mexican flavors. It was formerly located at Hernandez Macias #68 in the back of a gallery space, but has recently moved.
I heard that a new spot, Mesa Marrakesh recently opened there featuring Morroccan cuisine. I cant wait to try it.
TURK, is a casual spot for Mediterranean street food at Salida a Celaya 16. I enjoyed dinner with a local friend. The owner Ali Sarraf, of Iranian and Mexican descent, grew up in Los Angeles. I was able to share some great dishes including a beet salad, tabouleh, humus and baba ganoush.
Bananas a casual diner-style restaurant, at Salida a Celaya #6, featuring salads, soups, asta, pizza, tacos, burgers and sandwiches. I went for the first time for lunch. I had a perfect salad with grilled shrimp and tasty piece of key lime pie! The service was excellent and the atmosphere fun.
Upstairs in the same building is Lima, a casual Peruvian restaurant. They feature ceviches, shared plates and other Peruvian specialties. I went with local friends at the recommendation of others. I had a tasty rice dish with shrimp, octupus and squid. They have a lovely outdoor terrace and feature live music during the week. Salida a Celaya #6, 2nd fl.
Across the street is another new find, Raíces SMA. This is a small restaurant with outdoor patio dining that is open for breakfast and lunch. On my list of places to try, I went recently with a local friend and really liked the experience. The food and the presentation of the food was really excellent. I had an tasty omelette and fruit bowl. They have a large number of egg dishes along with traditional Mexican choices.
A little further south is another new spot for me, Mario’s Mariscos at Salida de Celaya #81. This casual seafood restaurant has been opened almost six years in San Miguel, with four at the current location. The owner Mario Cabrales spent a lot of his life in Mazatlan before moving to San Miguel. He is delightful and adds to the experience as does his mother Josefina who hangs out at the restaurant and can be seen watching Mexican telenovelas! The menu consists of many items including seafood tacos, oysters, ceviche, octopus, lobster tails, shrimp and scallops. I really enjoyed my grilled scallop entree which came with a salad, coconut rice and scallops in a white wine sauce. I can’t wait to go back as I really enjoyed the colorful atmosphere and the food!
I was glad to have been introduced to Francesco’s Restaurante Italiano y Pizzeria. This is casual Italian restaurant at Zacateros #85. I went with local friends on a busy Saturday evening in town. I loved the warm atmosphere and thought the food was very good. I enjoyed the pasta with seafood or linguini al frutti di mare with clams, mussels, shrimp, and calamari in a tasty marinara sauce. They have an extensive menu of salads, starters, pastas, pizza, soups along with seafood and chicken entrees.
Also fun for Italian food is the casual Denver’s Los Olivos Restaurante at 20 de Enero Sur 44 in Col. San Antonio. Their menu features appetizers like bruschetta plus pasta, salads and mains like chicken parmesan. I enjoyed my salmon and pasta entree along with red wine.They have indoor dining along with outdoor dining in their garden in the back. I went with local friends who introduced me to Denver who worked for several restaurants in the Chicago area prior to moving to San Miguel.
A new spot in town is Sabroso Taqueria at Zacateros #41. This is a fun, casual and colorful spot that features a large number of tacos made with different preparations. I enjoyed the chicken tacos with cheese. It came with a number of salsas you can add. They also feature a number of sides as well. On nice days, I recommend eating upstairs in the Raffaele rooftop terrace and bar. Next door they also have Chicago’s Stuffed Pizza for those craving this Chicago specialty.
Other favorites include:
Lavanda Cafe: Located at Hernandez Macias 87 at the corner of Umaran, this is great spot for breakfast and lunch with a large number of egg dishes from omelets, eggs benedict and huevos rancheros. I also love the lavender latte! There is a lovely small patio in the rear and upstairs seating on the roof. I have to go every time I am back in town. I now recommend going during the week as the waits to get in on weekends can be very long. There is a takeout window in front. They recently opened a second location north of the Jardin at Loreto 48 A near the Mercado de Artesanías.
A block north of Lavanda is the colorful Bistro San Miguel at Hernandez Macias #74. I went for brunch at the recommendation of local friends and really enjoyed on the rooftop. It opened in 2020.
In the courtyard of the building next to Bistro San Miguel is Restaurante La Parroquia at Hernandez Macias #72. Opened in December, 2021, they took over the space which had been occupied by one of my favorite restaurants in the past, Cafe Contento. They have a breakfast and lunch menu. I opted for the lunch menu and enjoyed my ham and cheese baguette sandwhich and a side salad. I also liked the space and the staff. After you eat, stop down the hall and buy some great pastries, bread or cookies from Panaderia La Buena Vida, one of the best in town.
Around the corner from Bistro San Miguel is Bugambilia Restaurante Bar, which has been a popular spot for Mexican food since 1945. Having not been a number of years, I recently went for lunch/brunch at their new location at Canal 9. I really enjoyed their quiet, outdoor patio in the rear. The omelette with flor de calabaza (squash blossoms) and goat cheese was very tasty.
Tacos Don Felix, Juan de San Miguel #15, Col. San Rafael, 152 5719: This local’s favorite started as a food cart on Ave. Independencia. Today it is a very attractive restaurant with outdoor spaces and great food. They still have tacos but have wonderful beef and fish entrees as well.
A fun, casual spot is El Manantial at Barranca 78. El Manantial was founded in 1920 as a men’s bar or cantina. The restaurant has great ceviches, tostados and fish tacos. This is now high on my list of small casual spaces in town. The decor is traditional with a contemporary flair. There are amazing new black and white murals that were completed in the last two years. I would call or stop by for a reservation.
El Manatial had been called La Sirena Gorda. After a management split, La Sirena Gorda relocated to Hernandez Macias 85 just down from the Jardin. They recently moved closer to the Jardin in the former Mama Mia space at Umaran #8. I enjoyed the seafood menu with a friend at the former location and will now to try their new spot.
Rincon de Don Thomas Portal de Guadalupe No 2: A good place to grab a quick lunch with friends. It is always a good place for traditional Mexican specialties.
In the Colonia San Antonio neighborhood, my newest find is El Buen Cafe. I was glad to have tried their new location in Col. San Antonio. At San Jorge 26, this is a great spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Attending a ceramics class a block away, I enjoyed eating there four times for lunch. Kris Rudolph is a very good chef and offers cooking classes next door. She also does food tours in Europe.
El Rinconcito: This is a fun restaurant in a home in Colonia San Antonio at Refugio Norte 7. There is both indoor and outdoor seating and a great traditional Mexican menu with reasonable prices. I went back again and enjoyed their trout entree, one of their specialties, and a piece of key lime pie.
Not far is El Café Tal at Orizaba 36. This is a fun spot for coffee or for breakfast or lunch. So glad that a local friend suggested it! They also have a lovely terrace in the rear.
Ten Ten Pie al Carbon: This is now the only location for Ten Ten Pie, featuring grilled items, fish, chicken, beef, hamburgers and salads. I love the casualness and the outdoor/open air seating. For lighter fare, I like the fresh spinach salad with pears, goat cheese and freshly grilled chicken. It is located at Sterling Dickinson #5, Col. San Antonio.
La Frontera, formerly at 28 Sterling Dickinson is now at Calle Refugio Sur #28. This is a casual spot frequented by gringos. They have a good choice of salads, sandwiches and entrees. They have both interior and outdoor dining. I went to neighborhood friends and we all thought the food and atmosphere on the outdoor patio were great. I loved my mahi mahi and shrimp tacos!!
Just to the south is a fun new find, Cafe Rincon Guanajuato at Sterling Dickinson #31. It is a breakfast and lunch spot with a loverly outdoor terrance and garden. I enjoyed a tasty omelette, carrot bread and a latte for brunch. The back portion becomes Benditto Bocatto for Italian specialties in the evening.
The former Ba-Bite, at Salida a Celaya #51, has been transformed into Mikka, for sushi bowls, rolls plus a teriyaki and a ramen bar. I enjoyed visiting with Joseph, the owner who also has Mikka restaurants in Mexico City and in Guadalajara. He has a passion for this food and features bowls made with tuna, salmon, teriyaki, tofu and shrimp. You can order them spicy or not. His ramen bar will be open shortly. It is a fun, casual spot with outdoor seating, that is a great option when on a weekend or holiday that the restaurants in Centro are jammed with tourists. I enjoyed the tuna bowl made with zucchini noodles and the chicken teriyaki bowl with rice.
Nearby across the street is Café del Sol at Salida de Celaya #34. I had walked by several times on my recent trip and decided to try it. I thought it was a new spot, but turns out it has been there for 16 years, just as long as I have had a home here. It is a casual cafe for breakfast and lunch. I was there around noon, so ordered off the breakfast menu which had a number of omelettes, pancakes, egg and breakfast dishes along with coffee drinks. They have a lunch menu with Mexican specialties. I had a very good omelette, latte and fruit plate. They have inside seating as well as two small patio areas. I enjoyed the service and the experience. It is another good spot to try when Centro is busy on weekends.
Back in Centro is La Alborada for pazole, which is behind La Ventana, the coffee shop and window at Sollano 11. Opening at 1pm, it is perfect for lunch on the small patio with colorful oilcloth tablecloths or in the small dining room on colder days. The pozole is consistent and so, so good.
La 21 Unica Cantina: At Jesus #23, this is an updated, chic version of an old Mexican Cantina. It has a great atmosphere. You can order tapas from their menu or order from their Pescau restaurant menu which is next door. You then have the best of both worlds.
La Cocina: Located at the corner of Pila Seca and Hernandez Macias, this café and coffee shop offers good food at reasonable prices. They have indoor and outdoor seating. I was just back for lunch and enjoyed it again!
After it opened mid-October, 2019, I always enjoyed El Encanto at Recreo #84,where they had a great breakfast menu and a lovely garden in back along with an indoor dining room. I went several times. They recently moved to a new location at Relox 41, north of the Jardin near the Biblioteca. I just went to the new location and really enjoyed my omelette as always. The portions are huge!
Via Organica: This was a popular store featuring organic food items not often found in San Miguel. They also had a cafe for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch items. They recently closed this location at Calle Margarito Ledesma #2 in Colonia Guadalupe and have moved the operation to its organic farm outside of town. Here they have an organic, farm-to-table restaurant and store plus they offer tours, classes, bike tours and horseback riding. There is also a school with a research and education center dedicated to the production of organic food in a regenerative way. I loved being in the country away from town. I had a perfect brunch with an omelette and fruit. It is 20 minutes outside of town at Deviation Camino a Jalpa, km 9.
I also like Los Milagros. It is a fun, casual restaurant serving Mexican specialties including tacos and fajitas. I prefer it for lunch as the music on some nights can be somewhat loud. Relox 17. They opened a second location, Los Milagros Terraza near the Mirador at Salida Real a Querétaro #91. I just went with a local friend for lunch on a Sunday. I loved the colorful space as it has incredible views of Centro. If you can’t go for lunch or dinner, at least go for a margarita and some of their excellent guacamole.
The Hotel Posada Carmina has a lovely patio restaurant, Maria Xoconostle Cocina Mexicana, for breakfast, lunch or dinner (Wednesday through Saturday) at Cuna de Allende #7. I always enjoyed it, but had not been back for a few years. On my recent trip I went for brunch and loved my omelette with goat cheese, tomatoes and basil. I also liked the atmosphere with a fountain, music, birds singing and colonial architecture. It is a nice respite when Centro is busy.
Pork Belly: Make sure to visit Pork Belly which has a very creative menu by Chef Erik Medina using fresh ingredients. They have a good selection of salads, sandwiches and entrees. I enjoyed the salmon entree for lunch. I went back for dinner and enjoyed the lamb shank with polenta and an arugula salad with tomatoes. They recently moved from Cinco de Mayo #10 to Sterling Dickinson #10. I just went to the new location which is larger. I really liked my omelette for brunch and my friend loved the brisket chilaquiles. I went back for the third time in the new location and had the best pulled pork sandwich! It has two outdoor terraces. They recently opened Pork Belly Tacos & Cocktails at Cuna de Allende 15.
In Col. Guadalupe, I found Neopolitan Brick Oven Pizza at Julian Carillo #4b. This is their second location in town which locals highly recommend. Located on the second floor, they have an indoor dining room and rooftop terrace.
Nearby is Deli Q which several of my neighborhood friends enjoy. They feature deli items to go like pastas, salads, and quiche along with pastries, sandwiches and more in a casual spot at Margarito Ledesma #6A.
Right off the Jardin at Sollano and Correo is Cevicheria La Muy Muy. This is a sleek, casual spot featuring seafood ceviches, tacos and tostadas. I enjoyed lunch with a friend as well the two shrimp tacos. Upstairs is Restaurante Cielo, which is a casual bar and restaurant with great views of the Jardin. I would stop in for a drink prior to dinner in town.
I recently went on my second food tour through the Taste of San Miguel. The Taco & Tequila is a food tasting and cultural walking tour held in the evenings two days a week. Private tours can be arranged on other nights. Highlights of the tour for me was finding some new casual spots that I had not been to before. These included Don Taco y Tequila at Hernandez Macias #83. This is fun spot with a contemporary design. I really enjoyed trying my first sotol, a cousin of tequila and mezcal.
Baja Fish Taquito, at Mesones #11B, is a casual spot for fish tacos with a newly added rooftop. I also loved trying the agave beer by Cerveceria Allende. I went back recently for a lunch with friends on the rooftop terrace. I had some excellent shrimp tacos and a tasty vanilla flan.
I normally don’t eat street food due to health safety concerns, but if you want to try it, Andy’s Tacos near the corner of Insurgentes and Hidalgo is considered one of the best in town. The owners went to culinary school and the are very clean in their preparation. The tacos al pastor were very good! Our last stop was the Cantina el Cucu, Insurgentes #39, which has been a popular San Miguel casual bar since 1953. The tequila we tried there was very good. Vail, our guide was excellent. I highly recommend that you request her and try one of their tours.
On a recent trip I went back to the casual El Correo for Mexican specialities at Correo 21-23. I had not been in several years, but enjoyed my meal with a local friend.
Berlin Bar & Bistro at Umaran #19 is a small bar and restaurant that is popular with the gringos in town. They often feature art exhibitions by local artists. You can go early and enjoy drink specials. I went on my last trip and enjoyed eating some great fish tacos at the bar with a group of local friends.
While on a recent art walk at Fabrica La Aurora, I went to El Gandpa & Son Burgers just near the front entrance. It is a fun, casual spot with great burgers, sliders and salads along with cocktails and wine. My artist friend loved the hamburger while I had a yummy shrimp burger and great salad. Calz. de La Aurora 8. I will definitely go back.