Vegetarian. Small, cute décor, clean and wholesome foods that will make you feel like you’ve done your body good. All produce is disinfected. Daily lunch specials are great bargains, a few courses plus coffee or tea, aqua fresca, usually under $9 and more than you can eat. Bi-lingual owner Senora Lourdes Harrsch is friendly and easy going.
Tofu, veggie or grain burgers are packed with taste, plump and satisfying. Salads are fabulous, try their Niscoise. Great appetizers from guacamole to whole wheat quesadillas. The condiments will make a grown man weep. Tiny vessels of bright tangerine and celery-colored citrus sauces are an explosion of flavors and are the perfect accompaniment for anything and everything. Like Marie Antoinette’s quirk for bathing in champagne, if one could haul these tangy delights home in 5-gallon buckets there would be no water shortage. Spoon them on burgers, veggies, salads, quesadillas, straight onto your tongue. These creations feel like a tiny circus in your mouth ~ without the scary clown.
A regular haunt for those who need the boost of a healing smoothie or tonic, a list of some 20 different concoctions are offered to help with an assortment of ills, aches or crises. Blended with fresh fruits, veggies, grasses, flaxseeds, honey, and a host of other healthy ingredients, a great place to detox if you’ve had one too many margaritas the night before at Tío Lucas, just across the street. Their tonic/smoothie for “hangover” is a refreshing pick-me-up loaded with vitamin C; scroll down the tonic list for remedies for anything from high blood pressure to nausea, arthritis to menopause. All they’re missing is a cure for hammertoe. One of my regular stops and highly recommended.
La Europea (Wines and spirits, Canal #13, 152-2003)
Fine selection of imported wines, spirits, some deli items, canned condiments and snacks that make for fine appetizers in a pinch. Good prices, helpful staff. If you’re serving up martinis, might be one of the only places to find decent gin, but expect to pay premium prices.
Bella Italia (Canal #21 at H. Macías, inside Plaza Colonia, 152-4989, $$>)
Tasty Italian food, reasonably to moderately priced. Lovely courtyard dining, great service, open kitchen, lively atmosphere. Titillating if not intoxicating wine list. Reservations recommended. This charming restaurant is known for their delicious homemade pastas and succulent grilled meats, from hearty T-bones to duck breast to tuna steaks. Their goat cheese salad is a perfect starter. The delicate duck breast, grilled to perfection, is melt in your mouth dreamy and complimented by the savory kick of a tangy blueberry sauce. Save room for the tiramisu. While the food is satisfying, treat yourself to a night when they offer live jazz. It will blow your socks off – even though no one in their right mind would be wearing socks.
Doc Severinsen regularly performs here along with the fantastic Gil and Cartes. To guarantee a table during one of their performances, plan on reserving two weeks in advance by stopping in and making a “down payment” of ten dollars per head for those in your party. You’ll get a receipt and your dinner bill will be credited for the amount. This is not your grandparents jazz. You’ll see enthusiastic fans ranging from 25-85, sporting anything from pierced eyebrows and assorted unseen sundries, to blue hair and leopard print leisure suits – all digging the vibes of the still fabulous Doc, Gil and Cartes and their back-up ensemble. Hands down some of the best music you will find in San Miguel and coupled with the reasonably priced fare, a steal for your buck. Make this a special night out.
La Ventana (Sollano #11, 154-7728)
Small coffee café or beans to go. Organic, fair trade coffee from Chiapas. Delicious variety of roasts; order by the kilo (kilo=2.2 lbs.) whole bean or ground. For my money, the richest, most flavorful and full-bodied ground coffee to go.
Bagel Café (Correo #19, interior, 154-6524, $)
Nice plant-filled respite off the jardin. Slip in and have a fresh fruit or veg jugo or smoothie. Tender bagels and wholesome grain breads baked daily. Healthy sandwiches and sopas, daily specials. Laid back atmosphere conducive to hanging out solo with a magazine or a book, or just to savor a bit of quiet. Call ahead to order take out.
El Burrito Bistro (Correo #45, 154-8956, $)
Generous, if not obscene burritos, but in a good way, and reminiscent of my old Mission haunts in San Francisco. Gussy ‘em up with the “extras” offered. Refreshing aqua frescas, beer and wine. Creative and delicious Mediterranean inspired salads and wraps, hearty sopas, tamales. Great value for portion and taste. Colorful interior, casual ambience.
Calles Hernandez Macías, Jesus, Umarán, Cuadrante
La BuenaVida (Hernández Macías #72, 152-2211)