Well it has been a great season climbing the "Triple Crown" in Mexico and the results of our restaurant survey has [finally] been tabulated.
Each person that climbed with us gave us valuable insight on their favorite restaurant, and their "must have again" meals. The results, for now, were just kept to dinner as breakfast nooks are so plentiful (between the multitude of sit down eggs, bacon, and potatoes, to gourmet coffee, sided by fresh pastries, to the bike cart steaming fresh tamales “on the go”) it would be a huge task to narrow down the top five favorites for desayuno.
The first place winner across the board, and "Crowned King" of Culinary Cuisine goes to El Rincon del Viejo in Aculco de Espinoza.
Fernando, his brother Lalo, Sabrosa (the beautiful head waitress), and all involved, make this restaurant a “must visit” when crack climbing a La Cascada. The King meal for the comiendo carnivore is the Arrachera, hands down. Steak, caramelized onions with napal cactus and your choice of a side can not be beat. The atmosphere this restaurant provides is exquisite, and the homemade Ice cream downstairs rounds out what could only be considered Heaven in your mouth. Come visit and experience Aculco, a truly Magic Town, meet Fernando, and enjoy a restaurant that you will not soon forget.
Next stop on the Climber's Salvatory Satiation Situation is actually a tie! How can this be you ask?! Well, both of these restaurants are located in the same town, on the same street, and are right adjacent to one another! It is almost a painstaking decision to pick one from the other when trying to decide which restaurant, standing out front in the street.
Piave; Cucina Italiana is a slice of Italy nestled in Bernal. Claudio is Italian born, and raised, who was educated in the United Kingdom, and immigrated to Mexico to settle down in a town with the perfect climate. Bernal is that town.
The number one meal as voted by our regalia of rock rompers is Piave’s Lasagna with the bolognese sauce. A meal that could only be made better by adding a glass of the house red, and a side of imported olives.
Equally delicious, and right next door is Arrayán; Cocina Mexicana.
Imagine this if you can; a four star Mexican restaurant owned by a German couple, who immigrated to Mexico, who fled San Miguel de Allende (because their friends partied too hard) ultimately to open a 'must visit' restaurant in Bernal. Their trademark meal; a mole to die for….. Made every day from scratch; their secret blend of peppers with have you cleaning your plate with their homemade fresh bread. It would also be a crime not to mention their cream of tomato soup served with a fresh toasted crouton, and a dab of goat cheese. Simply, and utterly scrumptious.
As an honorable mention it would be a huge disservice not to mention a few runners up that are also great restaurants onto themselves, and deserve recognition.
As adventurous climbers tend to be, a mistaken word through translation changes a mixed cheese fondue to a sautéed cricket appetizer. It could be said the grasshoppers tasted like chicken (as doesn’t everything when exploring the palate?) but they really tasted like a crunchy, spicy, popcorn that was better eaten like large M&M’s rather than rolling them up in a tortilla.
Meson de La Roca; a fine establishment that serves food until late, and has the largest selection of local beers in Bernal.
Gorditas La Peña is another great feed that fully explains how Bernal became world famous for their Gorditas. Fresh, made on the spot, and incredibly reasonable for the climber on a budget, or for the monster appetite that needs a pre-dinner appetizer (immediately) before heading to one of the restaurants mentioned above.
Also worth a visit for anyone looking to broaden their horizons when in Bernal is Tacos “El Güero” specializing in the “Gringa”.
They are located on the main road in Bernal proper and your tastebuds with not be disappointed. Victor, the owner honed in his talents working in the restaurant trade in Los Angeles.
He brought back his knowledge, and added a special mix of love, and local ingredients to whip together a taco worth stuffing yourself with. What a delight!
Also lastly, two more restaurants so deserving of praise are both located in Jilotepec de Molina Enriquez. Once finished climbing the stellar walls of Las Peñas de Dexcaní returning to Jilo is welcomed as these two restaurants are side by side, completely different from one another, and both are delicious.
The first; "Cocina El Portal”.
What a great place to grab a bowl of soup, and a plate of delicious food. Everything is made in a pressure cooker with love, and served with a complimentary pitcher of fresh squeezed juice. Cucumber, Mellon, Orange Papaya, or a multitude of other’s made fresh, these drinks are nothing short of delicious liquid vitamins to make your body say ahhhhh!
Lastly, and not without special recognition is a restaurant that blows the minds of all visiting climbers as it is so out of the ordinary for Jilotepec, let alone México.
The Crowned King of stuffing yourself for cheap (deliciously) is Ming-Fu Express.
This family left China to seek a better future for their family and immigrated to Jilotepec, Mexico. Szechuan food all made fresh, every day, at its finest. Imagine high end Chinese food in Mexico???!!! Crazy, no? Three choices for $70 pesos ($3.50), or the buffet for $95!!! We as a company are thinking climbers are either going to make them, or break them with the buffet! While you are there practice your Español with their daughter Michelle. She is sooooooo cute, and has a thousand questions all in kid talk (the best way to get up to speed if your Spanish is rusty).
SouthernXposure Guide Service fully supports all of these restaurants. They are all completely independently owned, and operated. These restaurants are the epitome of Mom & Pop fine dining. These restaurants are family businesses, NOT chain restaurants, and they all strive to keep you, the customer, happily fed.
When we started SouthernXposure it was for so many reasons, but a few reasons are worth mentioning now. We still hold this values as vitally important today, as we did so many climbing days past.
Eco-tourism, and traveling is the spice that keeps life exciting. Climbers are the finest tourists to ever travel and visit a foreign town. We climb, we sleep, and WE EAT.
Support local. Source your food locally. This idea was lost in the United States years ago with huge macro-restaurants eating up, and shutting down the Mom’s and Pop’s. Luckily the USA has seen a resurgence in recent years, and people are finally getting wise that fast cooked food is nothing more than fast.
In Mexico pride in the local culture is a way of life. Come climb with us. Visit the three climbing areas, and towns we call the triple crown. All three areas are as completely different as is the food you will be eating. Come to Mexico for an adventure of a lifetime. Whether you are on a fully guided adventure, or a seasoned climbers on your own booked through our Non-guided adventure; live the culture first hand.
Life is better lived with a clear view of the SouthernXposure.