You enter Biko off the street but it is a just a room with an elevator that takes you to the dining floor. This is a large room with windows around two sides covered with wooden slats and some bad music playing in the background. We came at 8:00 pm and it was empty. It got more people as the evening went on but never filled. The waitstaff were nice but had varying abilities to speak English, although I heard a lot of English spoken by guests. I thought it was a statement about the place that their “Biko” embroidered shirts also had a space where their name should be but instead it just said “monogram”. Maybe employees don’t stay long? Continue reading
Azul Histórico is found through a walkway off the street that opens to many small restaurants, shops and a lovely large patio open to the sky and filled with trees. The trees completely keep the sun off you and in the chance of inclement weather an awning appears ready to be stretched across the opening. The chairs have comfortable cushions and soft blankets on the back in case of cooler temperatures. Many tables showed signs of reservations and indeed we didn’t have one but had stopped by a few days prior and was told by the front person that they hold many tables for walk-ins, just get there early to avoid a wait.
Quintonil is a long restaurant with efficient and friendly service with mixed amounts of English. In the modern setting tables are wooden without clothes and there is bench seating along the walls. it is a more casual atmosphere. Kitchen staff bring out the plates and offer explanations of the dishes. They all spoke excellent English. They offer a tasting menu as well as a la carte options. They also have pairings available for the tasting. We chose the tasting menu with our own bottle of wine, but started with a house cocktail of mezcal, orange juice and herbs. Continue reading
Nicos is a large place that was fairly empty when we arrived for an early lunch but by 3:00 it was packed and hopping with live music and a very dynamic buzz. It has been a family run restaurant for 60 years that serves homestyle food at a good value. Not fancy but so very welcoming, we were fortunate to have the assistance of several very bilingual staff that helped us make our menu and wine selections from the large lists. They were also willing to let us split a number of the dishes and they plated it that way when possible. Tables are set with various bottles of water and wine, the former of which was useful but the latter an interesting decorative choice. However as the crowd grew I was surprised to see more wine than beer consumption, so maybe the choice was about their customer base which also didn’t seem to include many tourists. Continue reading
Pujol is a medium sized place which basically offers two seatings for the evening meal. They only offer a tasting menu but you do have some choices. You get all the snacks listed and then pick one of the four choices offered for the next 3 courses, everyone gets their mole and an array of small desserts. Because they want to turn the tables it sometimes feels a bit rushed but otherwise service was efficient, just there wasn’t time to be overly friendly. However they made up for that by offering a tour of the kitchen following the meal where we got to meet the main chef for the evening and see a bit of the kitchen action. We were fortunate to be tucked into a back corner with good space between us and the next tables that made it possible to talk however the main dining room was packed and generated almost too much buzz for comfortable conversation. Continue reading
El Cardenal is a huge place with several floors of dining rooms, all packed with people. There is a nice sized waiting area where you enter with a wonderful stained glass cardinal on one side and the good view of the kitchen on another side. This place has been in business since 1969 and serves breakfast and thru the midday meal and does not take reservations. The staff spoke limited English but it was enough to get by. Continue reading
Dulce Patria is a fairly large restaurant that appeared to have a second level available also. The lighting was low and quite colored which muted many of the food tones. The first room we entered was lit with red diffused lighting but our room was lit with a green light. Unfortunately this affected some of my pictures until I had my husband use his phone to light the food. However on a couple dishes I’ve included how it looked to me sitting there vs with proper lighting. All the color was sucked out by the green and made it much less interesting. Our room looked like it could be opened into a patio, based on the plastic covering the other side of the partitions. This allowed a bit of traffic noise and horns as well as cigarette smoke to invade our dining space which was not a good thing in my book. Continue reading
Contramar is a large place with additional seats outside. It is all non-smoking. Service is a little rushed but it made sense when I saw how quickly the tables filled and a line formed outside. They take reservations but many tables as well as bar seating are for walk-ins. One side of the indoor area is all windows that look out onto the outside tables. The opposite side is taken up with a long open area into the kitchen. The wall between these two sides is lined with backed stools along a long bar counter. The waiters spoke enough English but the other staff (like those that bring out food) had little bi-lingual ability. Our waiter, Sotero, was really helpful in making our menu selections and pointed out the daily specials that only show up on the menu in Spanish and was happy for us to share everything. Continue reading