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Culinary Travel / Luxe Lodgings

Mexican Hotels With Standout Restaurants

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Culinary experiences dominate the priorities of today’s discerning travelers. Mexican cuisine dates back to Mayan times when people would eat corn tortillas wrapped around small fish. Today the basic staples remain native foods such as corn, beans, and chili peppers, meat from domesticated animals, cheese and lots of herbs and spices. Luxe Lodgings contributor Angela Fairhurst found these tasty bites at luxury hotels in Mexico.

Galeria Plaza Reforma in Mexico City

Galeria Plaza Reforma is located in a prime location near the trendy Zona Rosa in Mexico City. Culinary operations are overseen by Executive Chef Guy Santoro, a French-born chef who has won awards in Mexico for over 18 years. He owns a number of restaurants and a bakery, with The Almara Restaurant at Las Brisas Galeria Plaza Reforma being the newest. His style, called Mexi-Terránea, blends Mediterranean cuisine with Mexican gourmet food, resulting in a fusion of flavors and cultures from the diverse regions. The Almara Restaurant, named after a gastronomic reference, has a sophisticated calm ambiance, an impressive wine cellar and original cuisine that has been awarded third place on the “La Liste” international ranking.

Beautifully thought out and plated, technique reigns supreme in this restaurant. Favorites include a delicious Suckling Pig dish and a succulent red snapper filet served on a bed of stewed vegetables, called caponata. “The combination of flavors that surround both dishes is what has characterized and liked the customer,” says Chef Eduardo Gutiérrez, who is in charge of the nightly production. Hit up Mood Bar for cocktails, The Plaza Restaurant for its daily buffet or a la carte service, and the Mood Pool & Lounge for cocktails and sandwiches on the penthouse terrace.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos

Pueblo Bonito has eight all-inclusive beach resorts in Mexico with Quivira Los Cabos, Quivira Golf, spa services and villas in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. The newest addition to the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is the adults-only The Towers at Pacifica. The two new towers add an additional 47 guest rooms and suites with private terraces, six of which have plunge pools, and a large 3,200 square foot Presidential Suite. The 24-hour butler service is top-notch. There are a number of restaurants within the Pueblo Bonito compound to which guests have access through their complimentary shuttle service, including two locations offering elevated dining experiences. Under the watch of Chef Orduña, the new Peninsula Restaurant at Pacifica offers romantic indoor and outdoor dining. The menu includes fresh fish and local, organic ingredients updating traditional Baja favorites and authentic regional cuisine.

LaFrida Restaurant (a tribute to artist Frida Kahlo) at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach has a unique approach to Mexican cuisine and for formal adult dining is considered one of Los Cabos’ top restaurants. New Chef Javier Galindo has done a fine job of updating the menu. Soups, empanadas, gordas, and Huitlacoche crepes make your mouth water just reading the menu, not to mention the fish, shellfish and meats for the main courses.

Hacienda Jurica by Brisas in Queretaro

Hacienda Jurica is a colonial-style hotel built on the grounds of a 16-century colonial estate with contemporary amenities. Originally a splendid hacienda, its classic colonial architecture, arches and volcanic stonewalls keep intact the historical setting, along with its quaint gardens, courtyards, fountains and pool. Designed to give you a truly authentic experience from the Queretaro region, the dishes and drinks offer the best of the region. Los Hules is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to midnight, providing traditional Mexican dishes and international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Gorditas (a pastry made with masa and stuffed with cheese, meat, or other fillings), shrimp dishes, and ribeye tacos rank as favorites. The breakfast buffet comes loaded and includes fresh churros and Mexican Coffee, which is ground coffee and cinnamon. Bar Calandrias is the main bar of the hacienda, opened for breakfast and dinner, serving spicy margaritas and cocktails.

Villa Del Palmar Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto

Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto is a destination resort on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula along the Sea of Cortez. The 181 all-suites resort has three restaurants. The Danzante Restaurant & Bar is the fine dining steakhouse and seafood restaurant with a Mexican flare open for dinner only. Casa Mia serves lunch and dinner with a menu including wood-fired oven pizzas, tacos, sandwiches and salads. The Market Restaurant is the casual restaurant open daily.

Two of the most popular dishes from this area are the chocolate clam and the pescado relleno. No, the clams don’t taste like chocolate! They are named for the brown color of the shell. Chocolate clams or almejas chocolatas are often referred to as “Baja’s seafood candy.” The clams are served natural, stuffed or baked, but the first method is the most popular where the clams are served naturally, dressed only in lime, salt and soy salsa. The Pescado relleno is fish served in parchment paper. The fish is fresh whole sea bass, cleaned, scaled and stuffed with chopped green peppers, onions, tomatoes, ham, yellow cheese, salt and pepper with butter and white wine and grilled for 30 minutes.

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By Angela Fairhurst for PeterGreenberg.com