To the uninitiated, it may seem simple, but its elegance and sophistication are obvious at first bite, giving away the complex ingredients, flavours and history behind it.
1. No Name Quesadillas
A sweet couple sells gourmet quesadillas and flavored atoles (sweet, corn-based hot drinks) at this signless storefront with romantic courtyard seating. The menu changes daily: vegetarian Sunday through Tuesday, seafood Thursday, meat on Friday and a mixed bag on Saturday, but there are always around six different variations available.
2. Santo Nahual
Even before you’ve tasted the food this wonderful new venture impresses with its glass-roofed courtyard dining area filled with worn timbers, smooth pebbles, glossy-leaved banana plants and even a day-glo piano. And when the food, which is best described as modern fusion Mexican, does come you’ll find it every bit as unexpected and imaginative as the decor.
3. Restaurante LUM
This swanky indoor-outdoor restaurant in San Cristobal’s first designer hotel serves up exciting blends of Chiapas, Veracruz and Yucatan cuisine fused with tastes and ideas from around the culinary planet. Custom-made lamps, reflecting pools and walls of geometrically stacked firewood create a funky contemporary ambience. Here, you can attend traditional Mexican cooking classes, but we’re still in raptures of delight over the octopus and the beef with lentils.
4. El Caldero
Perfect for a cold day, simple, friendly little El Caldero specializes in delicious Mexican soups – pozole (shredded pork in broth), mondongo (tripe), caldo (broth). Although calling them mere ‘soups’ does them an injustice, these are more thick, hearty stews based in the ideologies of Mayan culture, and they come with a spread of avocados, tortillas and various salsas.
5. Te Quiero Verde
If you’ve ever doubted that a vegan burger can be truly tasty, you need to get down here. The soups and salads are great too, but the burgers and homemade fries steal the show.