San Miguel de Allende has become something of a gastronomic hub in Mexico, home to many high-end restaurants serving refined, gastronomic dishes. But for backpackers and those on a smaller budget, there are many places serving delicious, authentic Mexican food for a fraction of the price. Here is our guide to some of the best.
Taco Van On Insurgentes
If you’re ever strapped for cash but want to try some real Mexican food, then head to a taco van. There are many of these dotted around the town, but the one on Insurgentes street, in the centre of San Miguel, is arguably the best. From the afternoon to early in the morning, these guys are open, catering to all your taco desires. Not only are they incredibly affordable, they are delicious. Why not try the al pastor taco? This is the Mexican version of shawarma, pork marinated in chili, spices and pineapple, and then grilled on a vertical spit. You can then top your taco with a choice of sauces. Two kinds of salsa (red or green) and guacamole. You sit out on the street with everyone else and enjoy. The only problem you might have with this taco van is knowing when to stop ordering.
Los Burritos, a family-run business, open for 30 years, serves great food at a great price. These burritos are nothing like the ones you may know, stuffed with meat, cheese, rice, beans, etc. They are much simpler. A soft wheat tortilla, filled with a choice of meat or veggies, an optional sprinkling of cheese and served with pico de gallo salsa. We recommend the arrachera burrito, slow cooked beef, marinated in spices.
If you haven’t yet tried the traditional dish, pozole, head over to Victoria’s on Ancha San Antonio, slightly up the road from the Insituto Allende. Pozole is a spicy broth with shredded pork and boiled maize. It is served with fresh lime, cabbage, dried chili peppers, raw onion, dried herbs and a basket of tostadas. Victoria’s serves pozole rojo and verde (red and green). As well as the traditional pozole, they also make a less traditional vegetarian pozole, with pearl barley and mushrooms instead of pork and maize. They also serve gorditas, tostadas and quesadillas. This tiny placeoften has people waiting at the door to come in, which is always a good sign. And the food is definitely worth the wait.
Mariscos El Camaroncito
This place doesn’t look like much from the outside, and could easily be dismissed as a corner shop. The only things that give it away are a small table outside, with room for four, and the line of locals that often stretches out the door. They serve delicious prawn cocktails and micheladas con camarones (spicy beer cocktail with prawns). You can choose what beer you would like from Victoria, Corona and Modelo. Around 10 prawns are perched on the rim of the glass and many others can be found floating inside. It is served with fresh lime wedges, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce (salsa inglesa) and salt. You then prepare your own michelada as you like it. This, admittedly, is not everyone’s cup of … beer, so you can also get prawn cocktails in a glass with tomatoes, avocado and lime, served with tostadas (large round tortilla chips) and maybe order a cold beer on the side.
Baja Fish Taquito
A narrow doorway leads through to a small cafe on Mesones street, just past the square. The menu at Baja Fish Taquito boasts a wide variety of fish and seafood dishes, from tacos and tostadas to burritos and soups. Two cheap and delicious items on the menu are the tostada de ceviche and the taco de tilapia. You sit on bar stools at the counter or on small tables, and order until you’ve had enough. Women prepare ceviche right in front of you, chopping the tilapia, tomato and onion into fine cubes. The ceviche is loaded onto crispy tostadas topped with slices of avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. The taco de tilapia is a soft corn tortilla with a long thin piece of battered and fried tilapia (a white fish), covered in chunky salsa, shredded white cabbage and homemade mayonnaise. There are a wide range of chili sauces to top your taco, but the best condiments on offer are the homemade guacamole and the spicy mayonnaise, served in squeezy bottles. The food here is incredibly fresh, for when you need a change from the meaty tacos at the taco van.
Café San Augustín
San Augustín is a beautiful little café, just opposite the little square on San Francisco, a two-minute walk from the Jardín Principal. There is quite a large food menu, but this place is really all about the chocolates y churros. Each hot chocolate is served with three of their hot, crispy and sugar-coated churros. They have many kinds of hot chocolate including the Spanish, French and Mexican styles. For something different, try the chocolate azteca with ginger and chili pepper. It’s not going to blow your socks off, but the slight hint of ginger and chili adds a warming heat, which perfectly complements the sweet chocolate.
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