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user review | Eating

San Ángel Inn, Mexico City

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Great Ambiance; Food? Not So Much

Posted on: May 18, 2011 at 6:25PM

By Guest

We moved to Cuernavaca, about 50 miles south of Mexico City, about 2 1/2 years ago. Several people have told us since then that the San Angel Inn is "the best" restaurant in Mexico City. Frankly, we were skeptical because a recent survey by local Chilango magazine listed what it felt were the 10 best restaurants in the city and the San Angel Inn was not among them. Plus, I'd dined there quite a number of years ago when in the city on business and didn't recall anything memorable about the food. We went on a Saturday recently and realized when we saw the crowds that Mexico City must make a lengthy holiday of Mother's Day as it doesn't many other holidays. It was the Saturday before Mother's Day in the US. Mother's Day in Mexico is celebrated several days after the Sunday used in the US for this purpose. It was crowded and we hadn't made reservations, my fault certainly. After waiting about 35 minutes to be seated, which gave us plenty of time to explore the beautiful grounds, we made the mistake of asking for a little more time before ordering. Oops, major mistake. The little more time became way too much time. At first, the existence of the requested tequila list was denied. However, it was brought about 10 minutes later. The drinks were fine although the sangrita served with the tequila was unremarkable. Our main courses were parmesan chicken which was excellent in preparation and taste and not at all greasy. The other entree was a special swordfish which suffered greatly from being sliced much to thinly resulting in a serious overcooking of the fish to the point that it was very dry. The swordfish needed to be sliced 3 or 4 times thicker than it was to prevent it from being rapidly overcooked. Both entrees were accompanied by fresh vegetables which had simply been steamed. Nothing wrong with that other than it's certainly not an imaginative way to treat vegetables. It reminded me of several trips to New Zealand where seemingly every lunch and dinner was accompanied by the same mix of steamed vegetables. Was this one of the best restaurants we've been to in Mexico City? No way. Better restaurants we've been to since moving here include Pujol, Merotoro, Nobu, Biko, Rosetta and several others. Heck, we much preferred P.F. Chang's at the new Plaza Carso. As the heading of this review indicates, San Angel Inn has great ambiance but the food is really nothing special. The service was somewhat harried the day we visited but we're given to understand that it's always crowded at comida. My recollection of my previous visit is that in the evening it was not crowded at all.

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