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7 Places to Dine Like a Poblano in Puebla

This huge entree at Fonda La Mexicana includes chalupas and mole poblano enchiladas.You haven’t really experienced Puebla until you’ve eaten the food here — and lots of it. From quick bites prepared curbside to slow-cooked meals elaborated in formal kitchens, the region’s gastronomy is an integral part of state and national culture. One dish, mole poblano, is so important to Puebla’s identity that restaurateurs recently began lobbying to have its ingredients and production regulated and, like tequila, given protected status.

The ideal place to try the local cuisine is in somebody’s home, because family recipes lovingly passed down for generations are likely to trump the restaurant experience every time. If you ask the average Poblano where you can find the best mole, his reply is likely to be “En mi casa,” which means “At my house.” Visitors who aren’t fortunate enough to have relatives in the area can instead buy meals at one of the dozens of restaurants in the capital city that specialize in comida poblana.

There are so many inviting places to chow down around town that we have yet to try them all — but we’re working on it! The list below features our top seven picks of late, in no particular order. We chose each restaurant for its varied menu, overall quality and consistency, and generally pleasing customer service over the course of our visits.

La Casita Poblana

16 de Septiembre #3912, Col. Huexotitla, (222) 243-2210
It’s hard to resist ordering everything on the menu at La Casita Poblana. The house mole poblano, which won an award as “tastiest fast feast in Latin America” in 2014, does the dish proud, striking the perfect balance between spicy and sweet. When available in the spring, the huauzontles en caldillo de jitomate are a must-try: The broccoli-esque wild greens are served relleno-style in an onion-infused tomato broth. Adventurous eaters should also try the sopa de médula (spinal cord soup), tostadas de pata (pickled beef cartilage on a fried corn tortilla), and escamoles (ant eggs) and gusanos de maguey (fried caterpillars) in tacos.
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Credit cards accepted.

Fonda La Mexicana

3 Poniente #316, Col. Centro, (222) 242-2837
Stick-to-your-ribs home-style cooking served in a casual, family-style atmosphere makes Fonda La Mexicana stand out. The extensive menu includes all the typical must-try farechalupas, mole poblano, and pipián verde — plus a few more exotic and seasonal dishes, such as cecina (dried beef), mixiotes de carnero (lamb in parchment), and chiles en nogada (pork and fruit stuffed peppers in walnut sauce). Entrees typically cost 70 to 160 pesos; expect huge portions, like those a Mexican mom might heap on your plate whenever you start looking a little too thin. If 3 Poniente is packed, head for the restaurant’s other location nearby at 16 de Septiembre #706-A, which opens at 10 a.m.
Open daily 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Credit cards accepted.

Los Manteles

Calzada Zavaleta #3913, Col. Zavaleta (222) 130-9899
It’s hard to find a tastier, less expensive full breakfast in town than Los Manteles. For 40 to 55 pesos, you can order plates of, say, huevos a la Mexicana (eggs scrambled with pico de gallo), huevos enmolados (eggs over easy in mole poblano), or a three-entree combo accompanied by café de la olla (coffee with cinnamon), freshly baked bread, and orange juice or a fruit plate. After 1 p.m., Los Manteles serves a menu of the day that usually includes three soup or pasta choices (11 to 18 pesos) and five traditional main dishes (33 to 52 pesos), from arrachera (flank steak) to pipián verde (chicken in pumpkin seed mole).
Open daily. Breakfast, 8 a.m- 1 p.m.; lunch, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Cash only.

Mesón Sacristía de la Compañía

Callejón de los Sapos, Calle 6 Sur #304, Col. Centro (222) 232 4513
Nestled inside a Colonial-style boutique hotel, Mesón Sacristía takes diners back in time. Its indoor patio and intimate dining rooms are appointed with traditional pottery and antique books, statues, and furniture. The moderately priced menu features everything from popular street foods, such as chanclas (a small sandwich smothered in a sausage-tinged salsa) and zucchini-flower quesadillas, to formal fare, such as mancha manteles (pork in a spicy, fruity, tablecloth-staining sauce) and milanesa de res (chicken-fried steak). Save room for dessert: Mesón Sacristía offers a mouth-watering selection of sweets, including cremitas estilo La California, a tribute to a legendary local establishment’s pudding-like indulgences.
Open Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Credit cards accepted.

Mi Ciudad

Avenida Juárez #2507, Col. La Paz (222) 231-0277
Although this mid-range chain operates in several locations, we prefer the Avenida Juárez restaurant, which features a colorful mosaic of local cathedral domes and does the best job of separating smoking from nonsmoking diners. You’ll find all of the poblano entrees you’d expect on the menu, as well as a wonderful selection of fish and seafood dishes. When in season, the whole huachinango al mojo de ajo (red snapper in garlic and spices) is fabulous and worth every peso. The shrimp molcajete (served in a hot stone vessel) is tasty, too. Like almost everywhere in Puebla, the service here can be a little slow, so order another tamarind margarita and chill out.
Open Mon.-Thu., 1 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Fri.-Sat., 1 p.m.-1:30 a.m.; and Sun., 1-7 p.m. Credit cards accepted.

El Mural de los Poblanos

16 de Septiembre #506, Col. Centro, (222) 242-0503
El Mural de los Poblanos initially lured us in with its wide selection of Mexican wine, tequila, and mezcal. The upscale restaurant keeps us coming back with its excellent cuisine and customer service, such as accommodating vegetarians. Whether preparing escamoles (ant eggs fried in butter), huasmole de caderas (goat stew) or enchiladas de tres moles (cheese or chicken, with three different sauces), the kitchen takes tremendous pride in its original recipes, artisanal cooking techniques, and use of regional ingredients. The cozy dining room, which occasionally hosts live music, is typically a tranquil space, with a working fountain on one wall and a giant mural of local historical figures on another.
Open Mon.-Sat., 1-10 p.m.; Sun., 1-6 p.m. Credit cards accepted.

Nevados Don Hermilo

Andador Pasaje del H. Ayuntamiento #1, Col. Centro, (222) 211-0624
For nearly century, this family-run operation has drawn locals to the city’s historic center with tasty regional fare. The restaurant is perhaps best known for its namesake adult beverages, or nevados, which come in more than a dozen flavors. (Our favorite is the Iztaccíhuatl, which combines tequila, pomegranate, and hibiscus liqueurs with a tiny scoop of lime sorbet.) Don Hermilo’s wide selection of tortas (sandwiches) and platters of decoratively cut cheeses and cold cuts are also wildly popular.
Open daily. Credit cards accepted.

A couple of dining-out tips: The wait staff is unlikely to bring you the bill until you ask for it (say “La cuenta, por favor”), and a gratuity of 10 to 15 percent is appreciated. If you’re pressed for time, we suggest heading for the Mercado de Sabores Poblanos, where you can sample the handiwork of myriad cooks in one convenient location. What this food court-esque site lacks in atmosphere it makes up for in authentic, affordable good eats. —Rebecca Smith Hurd

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Puebla? Please tell us where you go for mole and more in the comments section below!

Post updated May 3, 2014

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17 Responses to “7 Places to Dine Like a Poblano in Puebla”

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  1. Margie Hord says:

    We love the pipian and other dishes at La Andaluza, in Col. San Manuel, 14 sur 5508. On Sundays the specialty is paella. They started mostly as a takeout place but recently moved so they had more restaurant space. Good prices, nothing fancy, great food. (Take out too!) Their chiles en nogada are cheaper than elsewhere, but the batter is less like the typical “capeado”.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Sounds delicious, Margie — thanks for the tip!

  3. Marilyn says:

    I loved reading your blog and this article in specific caught my attention.I definitely agree with the places you mention and is a pity some people coming here as tourists or even from the country don’t ever get to go to these amazing and delicious places. Though I was never in La fonda mexicana and now I plan to pay a visit there.

    Thanks!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for saying so, Marilyn! If you come across other delicious eateries, please feel free to add to the list. We’re always looking for places to try, whether new or just new to us.

  5. Rebecca: I really think you should try Mello’s, the best kept secret in town. It’s on Palafox y Mendoza between 20 and 24 Sur, across from ‘Parque de Alfabetización.’ (I guess you know about this unfortunately run-down park with a State-of-Puebla-shaped fountain?) On weekdays, they’re open from 6 on, but they offer a full comida menu on Sundays. I knew about it some 25 years ago, and haven’t stopped going back. I’ve seen it go through changes, but food is always good. The name is a nickname for Doña Remedios, who passed away about a year ago. Elvira, her daughter, now runs the place. You should try ‘mole de zancarrón,’ my favorite. ‘Mole de chile quemado’ (chipotle) is gorgeous and the only place in town where I’ve found it. ‘Chanclas’ are lovely as well as ‘pipián’ and ‘mole poblano’. ‘Chiles en nogada’ are not particularly good there, though (too much capeado). My mouth is watering right now because I’m going there today for my mole de zancarrón.

  6. Rebecca says:

    ¡Muy buen provecho! And thanks for the suggestion. I love pipián, and I have yet to try mole de zancarrón.

  7. Wayne Havens says:

    One of my favorite restaurants if Vittorios. Its a wonderful Italian eatery located in the downtown square. I also enjoy the street fare..My favorite thing about Puebla is its street atmosphere.

  8. admin says:

    We like Vittorios on the zócalo, too. Although the restaurant’s theme is pizzas/Italian food, it offers quite a few Poblano dishes. We’ve ordered chiles en nogada and pipián verde w/chicken breast there and were quite pleased. For those who dislike cigarette smoke, auto exhaust fumes/traffic noise, and curious honey bees, we recommend sitting inside vs. on the sidewalk next to the street.

  9. Kate says:

    wish there was a map with all these places noted

  10. Hank says:

    Your guide to Puebla is a wonderful find for me. My wife and I will be visiting Puebla in the next year. You write about Mi Ciudad and their huachinango when in season; what is that season? We are considering either spring or fall to visit, how do the two times of year compare for seasonal food?

  11. Rebecca says:

    Hola, Hank! I’m glad you found the site. The whole snapper you mentioned is popular during Lent (when many Catholics eat fish on Fridays), so springtime. In the fall, it’s chiles en nogada season (August/September), followed by mole de caderas (October/November). Mole poblano is served year-round! Honestly, there is good food in Puebla year-round. If you’re interested in sampling the casual fare, check out the Taste of Puebla tour we offer through Eat Mexico: http://www.eatmexico.com/tours/puebla/

  12. Jose says:

    If you want to have the best MOLE in town you must go to Restaurant LA NORIA at the end of Boulevard Atlixcayotl, recomended, is the only place where i can eat MOLE (i´m from Venezuela)

  13. Rebecca says:

    Hi Jose! We like La Noria’s mole, too (particularly slathered on chalupas). The restaurant sells the paste to go, so you can make it to suit your taste at home, too. ~Rebecca

  14. Tim M says:

    Rebecca, I am glad I came across this site. Having grown up in Puebla (15 years in Colonia La Paz) and now living in the USA, this is making me homesick. Just last summer I took the family down there and we walked/rode the bus all over the place, ate at Tony’s Tacos (Pepe’s Tacos had closed) down town, had Pipian in Cholula, grabbed some Molotes and Chalupas Verdes just off the Zocalo, and enjoyed lots of late-night Churros y Chocolate wherever we happened to be. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Hi Tim. Thanks for visiting the site! I’m glad you came across it, too. Pipián (verde) is one of my favorite local sauces. Here’s hoping you and your family can return to Puebla and Cholula for more good eats sometime soon. Saludos!

  16. Ned Madonia says:

    Hi, great web site. I spent many years in Puebla, studied at UDLA, got married to a girl from Puebla, went to the States, several years later taught at UDLA, then back to the states. Don’t get down as much as we would like to but will be making a trip this January. Any ideas on a Spanish restaurant in Puebla?
    Best regards Ned

  17. Rebecca says:

    Thanks, Ned! In terms of Spanish food, we’ve had lovely meals and La Conjura and La Casa del Mendrugo in the historic center of Puebla. For tapas, we also like Maldito Noviembre and Cava 13 in San Andrés Cholula. ¡Buen provecho!

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