San Cristobal de Las Casas is filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars and we’ve tried establishments in this small Mexican city in Chiapas. We haven’t had a bad experience yet! While many of the places listed below are good and great, several rise to the label of fantastic.
We still have some time here, and so this list is not everywhere that’s worth your money – it’s only some of what we have experienced so far.
One of my favorites is La Maldita in our rental’s neighborhood – Barrio de Guadalupe. It’s next to the church by the same name. The view is beautiful! If it rains there is a roof. Get a good cup of coffee here and bring your laptop for some writing. It’s what I’ve done. One day I spent some hours there for just $6 for three coffees (my spouse Tedly came to visit for a cup while I was there), plus a good tip. The people who work here are great, too!
We also had a Sunday brunch at La Maldita and it was excellent. Tedly got a plate of eggs with the usual fixins that came with coffee. I had a mollette (open-faced sandwich) with beans and cheese and a scoop of guacamole and a coffee. With a tip, our bill was $12. I rate this place fantastic.
We liked El Bony – a seafood place with large servings. This is where the locals go for seafood. It’s a block away from one of the main tourist roads (map in the link). Tedly enjoyed the shrimp ceviche, marlin toastadas, and shrimp tacos. I loved the guacamole. (I am now vegetarian.) Tedly also liked that they served Bohemian beer, which he hadn’t had in awhile. They close at 6:00 p.m., so don’t plan on dinner here. Our bill, with a good tip, was $17.
CHeBA, a bar-restaurant that serves chicken wings. Tedly went without me one evening when he wanted to chew meat off a bone (ick). He reports this was one of the few bars in Mexico that make great wings. That says a lot, because we have been to many Mexican cities by now! He also had a liter of beer, and a bottle of beer. After the tip, the bill was $14. Tedly rates this place fantastic.
On the same block is a place with out-of-this-world Mediterranean food. The restaurant is named Falafel and it’s known for – falafel. It’s excellent. And, the restaurant is 100% vegetarian – my kind of place! We had salads, falafel, hummus, an order of green salty olives, and ordered a large tub of hummus to take home. Seriously – if you come to San Cristobal, go to this place. With sodas each (no beer here) and a tip, our bill was $18. I rate this place fantastic.
I love the drinking cocoa at Cacao Nativa. The drink with no sugar and 80% cacao called Carmelo is heaven in a cup. It’s. The. Bomb. The delicious, distinct and somewhat bitter flavor goes extremely well with a volcano cake slice – the sweet cake compliments the cup of cocoa so well I’m in heaven with this combo. Oh – and the drink has many cacao nibs.
If Starbucks sold hot cocoa, instead of hot sweet chocolate, they’d make a killing off of us true cacaoholics. Seriously.
Tedly had the house cocoa, which I tried and it was okay, but I’d call it hot chocolate because it was so sweet. In my opinion, it just cannot compare to the non-sugar stuff – the hot cocoa. We also bought a pound of ground coffee here to take home (and it was good). With a tip, our bill was $15 for the treats and the package of coffee.
I wouldn’t call this place a bargain, but I can’t get over the Carmelo drink and it’s so worth it to me. The price of this drink varies based on the size – anywhere from $2 to $4. I’ve only been three times in two weeks. I cannot let myself get out of control with this place! You see, they also have giant, beautiful, flavored and plain big bars of beautiful chocolate, some with just a smidge of sugar…
I haven’t gotten a bar yet. It will be such a treat – perhaps this evening… Have you guessed: I rate this place incredibly fantastic?
OK. Moving on.
Yik had a good cup of coffee for each of us, mine with milk, for $2.50. We took it outside and sat on a bench on Avenida 20 de Noviembre and watched people stroll along the street while minstrels tried to sell them jewelry and odd things, like marijuana cream.
Don Mario Trattoria y Pizzeria had a giant pie, on Guadalupe Victoria a west of the La Merced church. We opted for the larger version so we could take some home. Trip Advisor gives this place five stars, and while the dough was good, it was light on the veggie toppings. Tedly had two beers and I had my usual agua de minerale. With a tip, our bill was $17.
We also ate dinner at TierrAdentro, and we had a good experience there, as well. It’s a different kind of restaurant: it has a lot of Zapatista art, pictures, and information about the movement.
There is a laid back vibe at TierrAdentro, and it appeared to be filled with mostly locals when we were there. Tedly had a burger, which was huge, and I had veggie burritos. We shared bean nachos and guacamole. Way too much food – we had to force it down. We took our time, however, taking in the sights around us. We paid $20 for this feast, including the tip.
Panoptico is on Real de Guadalupe on the east end of the pedestrian-only street – right where the action starts. They served a good burger and fries for Tedly, and there was a tasty ‘veggie’ burger option for me. I really liked it because it had a bit of eggplant, which I don’t find often in Mexico. We sat on the patio and enjoyed the company of other expats (search Facebook groups to find the expat group – it’s pretty small so far, but growing). With a couple more beers for Tedly and a tip, the bill came to $20.
On the main square, there’s a small park and in this center is where the pedestrian-only streets meet. There are benches for people watching and relaxing in the small park area, or you can hit one of the restaurants and cafes that line the park’s perimeter.
We spent a good part of an afternoon at Maria Chamula. The restaurant is on the second level so if you can get a table by a window, you have a front row seat to look down and watch the world go by. This is an especially good option if it rains, or if skies look threatening.
I had a good hot chocolate at Maria Chamula, and Tedly had a couple beers. We shared tortillas with queso fondido, which was okay. We really came for the view. (Worth noting: ladies, extremely clean bathrooms here with soap at the sinks and hot water.) Including a tip, we paid $14 for a few fun hours on a great people-watching perch.
If tlayudas (Mexican pizzas, open or closed) are your thing, they serve up tasty plates at Los Chapulines on Real de Guadalupe, about a block and a half to the west of the Guadalupe Chruch. They’re less than $4 each and they’re huge. The veggie option had a ton of nopal (Mexican cactus). Tedly said he liked his tlayuda, which was heavy with meat and left him stuffed. With a soda for me and beer for him, plus our tip, our bill was $13.
There’s something for everyone in San Cristobal. There is even a vegan shop on Real de Guadalupe about a block out of the pedestrian zone. It comes recommended by our Airbnb host, but I haven’t tried it yet with all of the other options.
We have another two weeks to explore more restaurants and cafes, and return to some of the fantastic ones. I’ll have to report back with a part two. If you know a place we should try, drop a quick note!