Friday, December 22, 2006

My Favorite places downtown for dinner are

Pane e Vino
62 x 61 y 63

If your looking at the wonderful 'art deco' Teatro Merida you'll miss out on the best Italian food downtown. Across the street Pane e Vino offers honest Tuscan food in a bohemian atmosphere with a mix of locals, expatriots and tourists. I am never sure if the owners are still cooking here or not. But since I always order the same things and they are always good I quit asking. The menu is huge and exhausting. In fact my favorite thing to do is sit up front and watch the tourists read the menu. They flip the dirty pages of the menu on the stand. They look at unpainted walls and the rustic floors. They waddle off to somewhere that may or may not be cleaner that will poison them for sure. I assume it's the menu and dirt that scares them off and not me hissing at them.I like the ragu sauce on gnocci. I loved loved loved the panacoti until they changed the sauce.

after dinner stroll around the zocalo or visit the Olimpo art gallery. In the corner to the right of the front door of the Olimpo are posted the current cultural events for the month.

La Casa de Frida
61 x 66 y 66a

The owner recently gave up on having a huge menu and I can only say amen sister! Now you can sit in the courtyard and enjoy the homage to Frida decor although you can no longer enjoy the stars. Chiles en nogada and mole are the things to order. The service has vastly improved.

before dinner you can shop at the real "Casa de las Artesanias" on calle 63 x 64 y 66 until 8 pm. Here you'll get a good idea of what you can expect to find in all the shops and here the prices are fixed and fair.

Villa Maria
59 x 68

Behind the Santiago church is a beautiful Casona with a central cloisterd courtyard. Sit alfresco under the Moorish arches in the open sky in decent weather. The Yucatecos and tourists will be sitting in the air conditioned rooms in front. The owers are from Mexico City and Austria with degrees and experience in food and hotel service that shows. Unfortunately for us the menu has not changed since they opened. But for you it will all be a new experience. I like the greek salad and the goat cheese tart. I like the steak frites too!

nearby is the market and the Santiago Square which has salsa music on Tuesday nights.

Alberto's Continental
64 y 59

It's been 3 years since Hurricane Isidoro wiped out the giant rubber trees that shaded the colonial courtyard of Alberto's. They've grown back and now you don't have to rely on the owners charm alone to enjoy a drink in the garden. Order from the Lebanese side of the menu. There are antiques for sale in the back and if your nice or cute he might open up the boutique for you after dinner.

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