There’s no shortage of restaurants in San Cristobal de las Casas and it didn’t take long before I settled into frequenting several, quite a variety so I was never bored. And there are still loads to try if and when I go back.
About half-way into the month I discovered ‘Sweet Beat Coffee & Bakehouse’ owned and run by Leila, an English woman who married a Mexican man and has 2 children, one or both often around. The food is excellent and I went for a real breakfast a number of times. It’s a bit off the beaten path but not too far and well worth the walk. Leila is a lovely person and the hotel I found that looks like a possibility for my next visit is right around the corner, no accident.
To give you an idea of how small this good-sized town really is, I’d run out of tea bags and had never noticed black tea is not generally on store shelves. A bit desperate, I asked on Trip Advisor if anyone knew where to find some. A couple of days later Leila (above) asked if it was me looking for tea. Caught! But in a good way. I did find some, at Soriana, a big store on the edge of town.
A block south of the zocalo on the southeast corner of Miguel Hidalgo and Cuauhtémoc is a large building that looks like many others in Centro. Right on the corner (below) is the entrance to ‘Oh La La! Pasteleria’, a french-style bakery, restaurant and coffee house that was recommended to me by José at my guest house when I first arrived in San Cristobal. It’s upscale but not expensive and I stopped by many mid-mornings for a latte and croissant to fuel myself until lunch.
Next door to ‘Oh La La!’ is ‘Bangcook’, a small excellent Thai restaurant with the cooking going on behind the counter, a few tables inside and more on the patio that feels like outside but really isn’t. On the high end of my budget, possibly because I couldn’t resist a glass of the good wines they serve, it was a splurge I allowed myself several times during my visit.
Behind these two streetside eateries the building opens up into an airy 2 story space with several shops but mostly restaurants lining the indoor patio and mezzanine. The one inside I visited often was upstairs, ‘Amor Negro’. I was particularly fond of their brie sandwich on a buttered crisp soft baguette, big enough that I’d tuck half in my purse for later. A latte and a fresh-squeezed orange juice were the usual accompaniments.
‘Cocoliche’ is another place I went several times, just off Real de Guadalupe, a quirky homey environment, what they call “international” food but I went for their tasty vegetable dishes and fresh lemonade.
The first time I happened by ‘Nostalgia’, another one a bit out of the center, I was thrilled to see there was a Oaxacan restaurant in town that had mole (below) on the menu. I went in only to be told they were out, a batch was brewing in a big pot on the stove as we spoke and if I came back next day I wouldn’t be disappointed. I did and I wasn’t. Family owned, they attracted other families and both times the atmosphere was enlivened by people with their children having a good time.
Another recommended by José, ‘Tierra y Cielo’ is a posh restaurant that was closed the first time I decided to try it and then I moved so it was near the end of my stay when I made a point to go back. The creation of Chef Marta Zepeda, the ambiance is cool and calm, the food fresh with a modern and elegant take on local specialities. If you find yourself in San Cristobal looking for a bit more elegance, I’d say it’s a sure thing.
Ancho Chili Relleno at Tierra y Cielo
Something I want to say that applies to every place I ate, servers were universally friendly and helpful. As I look at the pictures and remember my experiences, it’s the first thing that comes to mind, their faces and their kindness. I hope to see everyone again before too long.
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