…More From San Miguel
By: George Balling
When we wrote last week regarding tricks to finding wine while travelling in another country, in our case specifically San Miguel de Allende Mexico we were early in our trip having arrived late on Saturday. As we continued through our stay, we became even more thrilled with our choices of wine and with the restaurant scene there. The trip was fantastic, and here are some of the highlights of both food and wine in San Miguel.
There were three meals and restaurant experiences that really stood out. We had lunch one day at Atrio which is in the central district of San Miguel not far from the main cathedral. The dining room is actually set on the roof top, which it turns out is fairly common. The interesting part is you not only get the full feel of traveling abroad but with the view of the cathedral spire from the roof top dining room you could easily be sitting in Florence with a view of the Duomo. The wine list held a collection of fabulous wines from Spain. The Riberra del Duoro, Jumilla and Priorat regions were all well represented which thrilled us, they are our 3 favorite regions from Spain.
We were at Atrio for lunch and there was only four of us so sadly, we did not have the opportunity to dig too deep in these storied appellations. We did however recognize many wineries we know from these areas and could have had great fun. The food too was spectacular! Mary had the duck confit tacos; I had a pork dish that was braised and then deep fried from the belly region of the pig. Both were among the best dishes we have had. We shared before our main courses their house made Burata, a ball of mozzarella served with cherry tomatoes and basil pesto. The pesto was made without garlic and was absolutely divine. We enjoyed Chardonnay and Verdejo from South America and Spain respectively and the pairings were wonderful.
The Mexican and Spanish influenced food is all fabulous as you would expect, but one night we felt like something a bit different so we ventured out to Firenze for some Italian cuisine. To describe the restaurant as tiny is an understatement. There were perhaps a half dozen tables. Their “wine list” was a unique presentation, the “list” was small with only a couple of white selections and just 6 red choices. The reds were walked to tableside in a six-pack wood wine box, with an ample representation from Chianti and around Tuscany we had two bottles that night, and both were fabulous. While the producers were new to us, the vintages were grouped in the recent string of great years between 2015 and 2020 and the wines were delicious.
Again, that night we started with their house made Burata, which appears to be a specialty of the town and was delicious again. I had the seared sea bass and Mary had the linguine with mussels and white wine. We could have easily been dining in Northern Italy, the food was outstanding so put Firenze on your list if you head to San Miguel.
Our last day we departed San Miguel on a 4:45 p.m. flight so we had time for one more meal. Our hosts suggested we go to Rustica which is on the outskirts of San Miguel away from Centro, the downtown square. It was a bit early in the day for wine, but as we frequently do, we took the time to peruse the list and again we were thrilled with the selections we might have chosen if it had been a bit later in the day. Then we learned that the restaurant was owned and managed by the nephew of the owner of Atrio! Well, that explained much on the delicious food and wine selections.
Mary had the Muertes which was toast topped with refried beans and avocado and then a fried egg. I had the steak sandwich which was served on a baguette with tender steak and topped with marinated cucumber and avocado. Another set of winning selections.
If you choose to go to San Miguel your best routing from here is either through Dallas or Houston and then in to Queretaro, or Leon with Queretaro being closer by about a half an hour. It is a charming city in Mexico where you will be thrilled with your choices in fine wines from around the world, and a restaurant scene that is every bit as exciting.