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Cuernavaca recommendations


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I was in Cuernavaca briefly a couple of weeks ago on my way to Taxco, and I noticed that the bus station was next door to a Pizza Hut and a KFC, neither of which I would recommend, however.

Do NOT drink the water, and do not use tap water for brushing your teeth. If you do get sick, you can get some Bactrim at the local farmacia, but this kills good and bad bacteria and should be very rarely. I avoided all tap water on my trip and did not get sick at all. Be careful about salads, as the lettuce may be washed in tap water, and this can also cause a problem. Also avoid ice, unless you know for sure that it is made from purified water. Be careful with licuados and aguas, as these can be made with tap water or have ice made from tap water. However, many locals avoid tap water themselves, and so they will only use ice from purified water, which is readily available. If you buy bottled water, make sure the cap is sealed and has not been replaced.

The only restaurant I've been to in Cuernava is Las Mananitas, but that is worth checking out, if only for its garden setting.

Check this site for a few more restaurant reviews. For me Cuernavaca was simply where I had to change transportation from Oaxtepec to Taxco.

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  • 10 months later...

I lived in Cuernavaca for nearly a year in the mid-90s. I just got news that a friend is getting married in November. I'm dreaming I'll be able to go.

Any new recommendations?

And has anyone heard of this hotel?

Antigua Posada, 69 Galeana, Col. Centro, C.P. 62000, Cuernavaca; 011- 52-777-310-21-79, www.tourbymexico.com. [(Click on "Facilities Map," then on "Morelos."

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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I did a write up on another website regarding Cuernavaca restaurants after a trip last summer. As always, things change, but this report is relatively recent.

Here is a copy of my report:

Two weeks ago, my best friend and I did a girls week in the state of Morelos. It was a lot of fun, but most of all, we wanted to check out some fine dining establishments. Since my DH never likes to go to nice restaurants, I really wanted to check out some places with my college buddy and fellow foodie. We made a point of reviewing guidebooks, and culinary publications prior to going as well as getting recommendations for fine dining from locals.

Based on these recommendations, we ate at the following restaurants. I have rated them based on our experience with 1-5 stars (5 being the best in our opinion):

Las Mananitas (also a hotel) www.lasmananitas.com.mx

Our first nice meal in Cuernavaca was Las Mananitas. We sat in the lovely garden and ate appetizers with our Don Julio Tequila. Straight with lime and salty snacks. (we always joke that our favorite date for dinner is the Don)

The hotel and bar were packed as it was a Saturday night, and service was slow, and the food was very good. As our appetizer, we had a chile en nogada to share. The chile was "capeado" which is not my preferred method of eating it (usually too heavy), but it was light and not too greasy. Later on it was Mole verde for me (estilo poblano) and brochetas en adobo for my friend. All very good, but not to die for.

Wine was taken from the sizeable selection of Baja California wines. We settled on a Monte Xanic white with our food which was quite tasty. The wine list at Las Mananitas is fairly large.

****

Gaia: www.gaiarest.com.mx

Gaia's setting, in a former mansion owned by Mario Moreno "Cantinflas" with a mosaic in the pool attributed to Rivera, is quite lovely. Table cloths, china etc are all a study in muted elegance. The food is touted as a "Mediterranean-Mexican" fusion.

Service is very attentive with a precision and attention to detail not found in many restaurants. My friend, a former server in restaurants, was quite impressed at the staff's training. When setting the table next to us for incoming guests, the staff practically was measuring the dinner plates in relation to the silverware and spacing between guests.

The only black mark on the meal was the lousy margaritas (tasted like the frozen kind served at Chilis in the US) served at the beginning of the meal. The bar staff needed help. However, the wine and digestif selection were quite nice and no futher problems were to be had on that front.

The food was very good, but not stellar. For appetizers, we had a beet "carpaccio" (delicious served with goat cheese). I then had a chile poblano filled with cheese served in a black bean sauce with mango salsa. My friend had the chicken in pistachio-pumpkin seek pipian, which was quite tasty.

****

El Madrigal www.elmadrigal.com.mx

I have to say that El Madrigal is the king of restaurants in Cuernavaca. We had not found the restaurant prior to our arrival in town, but after hearing from the locals that the gold standard for food and service in Cuernavaca is now El Madrigal, we had to try it. Our last night in town, we decided to go, and I am so happy I did. From the local scuttlebutt, the owner of El Madrigal was the former manager of Las Mananitas in it's heyday, and you can see that from the ambiance and layout of the restaurant.

The service was personal, attentive to a fault and taken to a whole new level. We were at the restaurant during midweek and were attended to like we were royalty. (there was a large party of 20+ people, but the two of us and one other couple were the only other guests) The service staff took the time to learn our names, where we were from, the occasion (our last night in town) and referred to us the entire time by our names. The owner of the restaurant personally came to our table and inquired about the service.

We started out with (who else) Don Julio w/ Sangrita. Basic botanas of peanuts and potato chips were served in the bar, but the chip dip (it sounds strange in a formal restaurant, but it works here at the bar) was delicious with hints of blue cheese.

Then, we moved to our table in the dining area and I was served an amazing salad of white asparagus and romaine with hibiscus dressing. My friend ate scallops which were very good and fresh. The main course, however, was the home run. I had chile ancho filled with local goat's cheese in served in a tomato/tomatillo sauce. WOW. My friend had the pork en adobo which she said was the best pork she had ever had in her LIFE anytime, anywhere.

The only mishap, which happens, was that the wine we had ordered for dinner, a Chateau Camou red from Baja California, was slightly off. (tasted musty--poor storage or transport), but the servers immediately noted the problem and it was corrected with no muss or fuss with a very nice wine, surprisingly from La Cetto.

As a final detail, the servers brought out a small piece of chocolate cake to share for my friend and I. The staff had written our names with raspberry sauce with best wishes for a safe return home on the plate.

*****

None of these dinners are budget by ANY stretch of the imagination. For two, each meal was over $150+ USD for two. However, in our trip budget we had planned for these splurges. :) A couple could easily eat at these establishments for less than $100 USD if they limit or omit the alcohol. The food in and of itself was not that expensive, but as always, we tend to go wild on the liquor. At Las Mananitas, our wine and Don Julio cost double of our meals!

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I'd second or third Las Mananitas, though my experience dates back about 8 years. As a bonus, if you stay at the hotel, you are able to have breakfast on the terrace/dining room amid the gardens and the strolling peacock. Their breakfasts are as good as their dinners.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I didn't eat at any taquerias while I was there. My friend is not as adventurous as I am when it comes to street food. Although I did see some very delicious looking tlacoyos on several different streets that were calling my name.

However, we did have some very tasty tortas at a place near the zocalo called "El Torton" However, I don't remember the street name off the top of my head.

We went to Xochicalco and Tepoztlan while we were there. RUN do not walk to the original Tepoznieves in Tepoztlan next to the convento. DIVINE. The days we were in Tepoztlan, we ate there twice a day.

There are also cooking classes available at Cocinar Mexicano in Tepotzlan, which are very pricey. www.cocinarmexicano.com

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I'd second or third Las Mananitas, though my experience dates back about 8 years.  As a bonus, if you stay at the hotel, you are able to have breakfast on the terrace/dining room amid the gardens and the strolling peacock.  Their breakfasts are as good as their dinners.

Thanks Holly — don't worry. I wouldn't miss it for the world. When I lived in Cuernavaca, friends who came to visit stayed there and I got to enjoy the grounds (breakfast, peacocks, pool, etc.) more than just for dinner. I may not be able to afford the hotel this time around, but we'll definitely be dining there.

I didn't eat at any taquerias while I was there.  My friend is not as adventurous as I am when it comes to street food.  Although I did see some very delicious looking tlacoyos on several different streets that were calling my name.

However, we did have some very tasty tortas at a place near the zocalo called "El Torton"  However, I don't remember the street name off the top of my head.

We went to Xochicalco and Tepoztlan while we were there.  RUN do not walk to the original Tepoznieves in Tepoztlan next to the convento.  DIVINE.  The days we were in Tepoztlan, we ate there twice a day.

There are also cooking classes available at Cocinar Mexicano in Tepotzlan, which are very pricey.  www.cocinarmexicano.com

Thanks Caarina. I'll keep that in mind. And keep your thinking cap on. I may bump this thread up again in late summer as my trip approaches.

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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  • 11 months later...

I just got back from 3 weeks in Cuernavaca and while I didn't get a chance to eat out very much here are some other suggestions for the area:

Casa Hidalgo - kinda trendy and upscale, but very pleasant

La Indio Bonita - in a converted old house, the inner garden is lush and peaceful. Food really pretty good.

Colorines - for local traditional food

Villa Bejar - go for breakfast, it is outstanding. Interesting jugo combinations (nopal, celery and parsley - delicious), the usual assortment of fruits, cereal and yogurt, savory hot entrees, french toast, etc. There were 2 interactive, display cooking stations, one for quesadillas made from fresh masa and only when ordered and the other for eggs in any style or combination you could imagine. The architecture will make you think that you are in Morocco. Villa Bejar is also a hotel, has several pools and offers spa services

Marco Polo in the Zocalo area offers reasonably good Italian food.

Tachines is an exclusive gated community with it's own golf course. The clubhouse is an open-air affiar overlooking the golf course. It does a pretty mean Sunday brunch. You probably need some Spanish for this place since you're going to have to tell the guard where you're going - to the clubhouse for brunch, and give your name - and it didn't appear that the staff spoke anything by Spanish.

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I just got back from 3 weeks in Cuernavaca and while I didn't get a chance to eat out very much here are some other suggestions for the area:

Casa Hidalgo - kinda trendy and upscale, but very pleasant

La Indio Bonita - in a converted old house, the inner garden is lush and peaceful.  Food really pretty good.

Colorines - for local traditional food

Villa Bejar - go for breakfast, it is outstanding.  Interesting jugo combinations (nopal, celery and parsley - delicious), the usual assortment of fruits, cereal and yogurt, savory hot entrees, french toast, etc.  There were 2 interactive, display cooking stations, one for quesadillas made from fresh masa and only when ordered and the other for eggs in any style or combination you could imagine.  The architecture will make you think that you are in Morocco.  Villa Bejar is also a hotel, has several pools and offers spa services

Marco Polo in the Zocalo area offers reasonably good Italian food.

Tachines is an exclusive gated community with it's own golf course.  The clubhouse is an open-air affiar overlooking the golf course. It does a pretty mean Sunday brunch.  You probably need some Spanish for this place since you're going to have to tell the guard where you're going - to the clubhouse for brunch, and give your name - and it didn't appear that the staff spoke anything by Spanish.

Good to have some different recommendations for Cuernavaca. We went by India Bonita and Casa Hidalgo, but didn't make it in... I'd love to make it back there again for an extended weekend getaway...

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I'd second or third Las Mananitas, though my experience dates back about 8 years.  As a bonus, if you stay at the hotel, you are able to have breakfast on the terrace/dining room amid the gardens and the strolling peacock.  Their breakfasts are as good as their dinners.

I lived in Cuernavaca in 2000 for 2 months while studying Spanish.

Las Mananitas is quite nice -- that's required eating there.

As for tacos -- Tacos Orientales. Just thinking of the 10-cent tacos al pastor there makes me salivate. There are a few locations around town -- one I can't remember because it was late at night ;) but another is, I believe, down Avenida Morelos (in the Las Palmas section, due south of the Zocalo). I'm eyeballing the map, and street names aren't plentiful. One other thing -- they are only open from 6 pm to 6 am.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm also posting in the DF thread, but since this part of my trip was in Cuernavaca, this information is more appropriate here.

So the reason for my trip was the wedding of the sister of the family I lived with for nearly a year in the mid 1990s. Let's just say it's a long story, but I did a lot of wandering during that time of my life. (Europe, Asia, India, Australia, Mexico and Central America.)

The first thing we ate in Mexico was one of the best dishes of the entire trip. I kid you not. This chile en nogada was two stores down from our hotel Hotel Antigua Posada near El Centro.

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It was a little place on Av. Galeana called La Casa de los Exquisitos. Really. Here's my post.

Our other favorite restaurant in Cuernavaca was a place called Restaurant Taxco. (Post here, mixed with photos of La India Bonita.) It was also on Galeana, near the Centro. We only had breakfast there, but the sauces on our eggs were rockin'.

The reason these were our favorites in Cuernavaca is because the fine dining in the city, well.... It's not very creative. I walked by Gaia, which is supposed to be one of the best restaurants, and the menu looked boring.

We went to Las Mananitas — on Thanksgiving, and they were offering a prix fixe expat meal with roast turkey. We were hoping it would have been with mole, but since it wasn't, we ordered off the regular menu. We adore the setting and how we were pampered, the food was good but not great. The flavors just didn't wow.

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But how could you not enjoy dinner there? Look at this:

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Full report here.

We also went to La India Bonita. The crema de poblano soup was terrific. The rest of the meal was eh. And there weren't any Spanish speakers there.

And we went to Marco Polo. Terrible stuff. I mean, this is their Caesar salad.

gallery_2325_4284_1102.jpg

See my blog report here.

Our favorite food experience in Cuernavaca was going to the market.

Warning: graphic pig image coming.

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We had so much fun wandering around and tasting things and talking to people. We were looking for a good taqueria to have lunch, but we were told the best tacos in Cuernavaca were at Tacos Orientales.

Here are a ton of photos from the market.

I was worried we wouldn't get to taste the Tacos Orientales because they're not open for lunch, and we had the wedding to attend on our last day. Well, we were in luck.

After the wedding ceremony, heading to the reception for a comida and then six to seven hours of dancing, the bride and groom provided sustenance to mop up all that tequila!

Se los presento Tacos Orientales!

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We couldn't get to Tacos Orientales? They came to us — setting up a cart outside the wedding tent and serving tacos to the hungry masses:

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Here's the particulars for Tacos Orientales. The tacos al pastor were garlicky, spicy and greasy. Just the way I love 'em. (And they had the pineapple, too.)

gallery_2325_4284_3217.jpg

That's about it for Cuernavaca. We only spent three days.

To sum it up:

Highly recommended:

La Casa de los Exquisitos.

Restaurant Taxco

Tacos Orientales

A trip to the market

Recommended:

Las Mananitas

Not recommended:

Marco Polo

La India Bonita (except for the cream of poblano soup).

Liz Johnson

Professional:

Food Editor, The Journal News and LoHud.com

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam: The Lower Hudson Valley.

Small Bites, a LoHud culinary blog

Personal:

Sour Cherry Farm.

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Brings back memories...

I don't think that I've ever ordered a salad in Mexico, though :)

That Cuernavaca market was the first one that I had ever been to -- I was quite shocked to see the pig's head hanging there, flies encircling, while blood dripped out its nose. Eventually, though, I found a stall with the comals that I was hunting for.

Edited by Reignking (log)
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