San Miguel de Allende presents such a profusion of restaurants that it is very hard to make a selection. Of course, as one would expect in a Mexican town, the vast majority present a variety of takes on Mexican Cuisine-tortillas, tacos, rellenos, rice, beans and some form of protein such as chicken, beef or fish. One can also find Peruvian, Oaxacan, Italian, French among others and of course, a huge selection of bars featuring pizza, burgers and bar food of all kinds. Restaurants serving so-called international cuisine such as Zumo, Aperi and The Restaurant are also available. In doing some research prior to my trip here to San Miguel I checked out recommendations for the Ten Best Restaurants in the city and among them was Nomada Cocina de Interpretation. The Trip Advisor reviews were almost universally laudatory, a few glaring exceptions to the contrary so I decided to try it for myself yesterday afternoon. Now my dining habits are a little strange because I generally eat a decent breakfast and then another meal around 3 pm or so which is my last meal of the day. I have found that a late meal results in an unpleasant night of poor sleep so I have adopted this rather unorthodox dining schedule which can make it difficult to find good restaurants open at that hour.
Nomada, I will call it that for short, is located within the 88 Hotel, at Number 88 Calle de Docteur Hernandez-Macias, a very colorful street, not far from the main square and like so many of the streets in that area of the city, full of boutiques and galleries of all kinds ranging from simple and inexpensive to very artistic and expensive. I walked into Nomada at about 3:30 pm to find it completely empty and I almost thought that it was not open but to my delight, I was warmly welcomed and remained the only diner throughout my entire meal.
And what a lovely meal it was too. Six amazing courses from an introductory course of Granny Smith Apples and watermelon squash, to one of mache’ and avocado, an amazingly flavorful risotto with mushrooms, a Hamachi which balanced the delicate flavor of the fish with the mild heat of black pepper and then one of the most fantastic pork belly pieces in a mole’ sauce and finally red fruit with sorbet and homemade wafers.
Flavors honest and simple but yet avant-garde and interpreted, according to the restaurant’s name, with the particular flair of its head chef Marco Cruz, a young Mexican originally destined to be a star soccer player but who has turned into an amazing chef. Marco was not present in the kitchen during my visit but the congenial team of chefs who were there provided me with a meal to compete with the best of cuisine from my favorite French restaurants such as Flaveur in Nice or Mirazur in Menton. In addition to the cuisine, I sampled a glass of crisp, acidic Mexican Sauvignon Blanc with the introductory and fish courses and another of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, also from Mexico, which proved an excellent accompaniment to the pork belly and red fruit dessert. As you can tell from one of the accompanying photos I was able to strike up a nice relationship with the restaurant’s fine team of young Mexican chefs.
I noticed on one or two of the reviews of Nomada on Trip Advisor, a complaint about the small size of the portions. To my way of thinking, small portions are exactly what I want on a tasting menu. Too often I have found some highly touted restaurants, The French Laundry for instance, serving portions sizes that when I get to the meat course, I am stuffed and cannot enjoy the meal. Not so at Nomada but if you are looking for large portions, I suggest that Nomada may not be for you but if you are searching for inventive cuisine with a local interpretation in a cool and comfortable setting in the lovely town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for my money you can’t beat Nomada. Oh yes, before I conclude-what a value is Nomada!! A lovely six-course tasting menu for $25 USD!!! Yes, can you believe it??? Such a menu in France would be $300 USD or more! What a value, what a find!! Don’t miss Nomada if your taste in food is anything like mine.