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Dishes from San Luis Potosi are based on the traditional cuisine of the Huastecs, an indigenous group which spans the southern part of the state and several surrounding states which share culture, traditions and flavors from pre-Hispanic times. In this wide region, corn is a dietary staple used in the preparation of dishes such as the Huastecas and Potosinas enchiladas (corn tortillas dipped in chili sauce, filled with cheese, sprinkled with chopped onion, fried in oil, and topped with sour cream), the gorditas (specially thick corn tortillas stuffed with nearly anything edible, fried in oil, and garnished), the bocolitos (small gorditas), the estrujadas (large corn tortillas garnished with sauce and cheese), the bean tamales and the zacahuil, a giant tamale known as "the tamale of the tamales." Tradition says that the "zacahuil" must be prepared for at least 40 people. This Huasteca delight is prepared with chicken, pork chops, corn dough, lard and chili. Then, it is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a firewood oven.
Other dishes that make of San Luis Potosi an incredible gastronomic experience are the mountain potatoes with prickly pears mixed with palm hearts and kid goat prepared in "pastor" style. The traditional beverages are the "atole of aguamiel" (prepared by roasting kernels of corn, grinding them up, and stirring the resulting meal into water, sweetened with sugar or honey and flavored with sap taken from the maguey), pulque (an alcoholic drink made by fermenting the sap from the maguey agave), the colonche (an alcoholic drink made from the fermentation of macerated cactus fruit and sugar), the San Luis Potosi rum and jobo wine.
San Luis Potosi also has many delicious traditional sweets such as Capirotada blanca (prepared especially during Lent, a white-bread pudding with various combinations of ingredients, such as cheese, tomato, peanuts, raisins, and biznaga cactus, all covered with syrup), pulque muffins, the jelly and cheese of tuna (cactus fruit) and cajeta of milk (a milk-based dessert) are just a few examples from a long list.
Culinary Art meets Colonial Architecture
There are lots of fantastic restaurants in San Luis Potosi, however, there are some that really do stand out from the rest. These establishments, like the many other restaurants, attract clients with their selections of traditional cuisine and contemporary dishes, but what really sets them apart is the absolutely stunning architecture that surrounds them. A good example is a house located right in front of the Plaza de Armas that once belonged to the only Mexican woman to have married a Spanish governor. La Casa de la Virreina has for decades been a traditional restaurant that charms its clients not only with delectable food but also with its rich history and the fascinating story of its original owners. It features impressive arches and domes and offers diners a great view of the Cathedral, the central bandstand and everyday life in San Luis Potosi.
A good place to have breakfast or just for a cup of coffee is in one of the cafes that surround the beautiful Chapel of Aranzazu. Besides the food, you'll also get to enjoy a peaceful view of this building with its spectacular color, along with the colonial splendor of the San Luis Potosi Regional Museum, located on the same esplanade. Another great place to dine at restaurants that combine architecture and good food is undoubtedly Plaza del Carmen. Here, you can find a few places to eat that have outdoor terraces with extraordinary views of the public square, the beautiful Teatro de La Paz, the Museum of Masks and the baroque Templo del Carmen. We must also mention that when the spectacular night show "Fiesta de Luz" occurs, the seats of these restaurants are the best you can get to watch the multicolored lights projected over the stunning facade of Templo del Carmen.
The latest en vogue culinary trends of the major cities in the world have also arrived to San Luis Potosi. Contemporary cuisine is offered in many of the restaurants, most of which are located along the fashionable Avenida Venustiano Carranza, the most popular district of San Luis Potosi for dining, nightlife and shopping.
Hip decor, excellent service, extensive wine cellars and mouthwatering dishes are always readily available at these avant-garde restaurants that are usually packed with both amateur gourmets and the true connoisseurs of fine culinary arts. Asian, Italian and French specialty restaurants, Argentinean steakhouses, Fusion bistros and Mexican taco grills are just a small sample of the infinite dining options that you'll find on Av. Carranza, all the way from downtown to Lomas de San Luis.
Bohemian and Romantic Restaurants
Located in the alleyways and cobblestone streets of San Luis Potosi's historic centre, you'll find lots of cozy restaurants where you can relax for a while, enjoy an insight into local life and some good food as well. For the best options take a stroll around the plaza's called San Francisco, Aranzazu, del Carmen and Fundadores. Couples chatting over a coffee, as well as groups of friends catching up are the usual scenes in the cozy restaurants of San Luis Potosi.
Lounges with enough room for small groups of friends, balconies and fresh air for the smokers, wireless Internet connections for those using laptops and also soft music that allows for a pleasant chat, are the common features of these bohemian meeting places. In the main you'll find that these restaurants are frequented mostly by college kids and people in their thirties. If you like more privacy and romance, then you might want to enjoy a candle-lit dinner at one of the restaurants located on Callejon de San Francisco, that have pretty terraces facing the towers and domes of the beautiful colonial church.
The Traditional Gastronomy
of San Luis Potosi
You can't say that you really know the city of San Luis Potosi until you've tried the many delicious traditional dishes on offer, such as "Zacahuil", the tasty "Bocolitos" or the Potosinian Enchiladas. Many restaurants, especially those located close to the city's main attractions, include in their menus an enticing selection of typical recipes, helping to keep traditions alive and also sharing the exquisite local cuisine with all who visit here. Wherever you chose to enjoy the tasty Potosinian dishes, whether it's a budget eatery or a fine dining restaurant, you're sure to leave very satisfied indeed.
When speaking of authentic local cuisine, there's one place in particular that you must visit, called El Rincon Huasteco. This fantastic restaurant, located very close to downtown, is very popular with locals and tourists alike because of their generous portions of traditional food and the fast, friendly service. El Rincon Huasteco first opened its doors 15 years ago, and ever since it has been the best option if you want to try authentic local recipes during your visit to colonial city of San Luis Potosi.