One of the biggest unknowns of traveling, is where are you going to eat? You can search through Tripadvisor and other review websites, but are those places marked by tourists or locals?
Around Jardin Zenea alone there’s plenty of choices easily within walking distance. You’ll see people in the parks eating ice cream and dancing. Visit around the holidays and plazas are transformed into markets or music event venues. Because Queretaro’s Centro is so walkable, we’ve put together a list of restaurants for you to stay close to all the action. Whether you just arrived, want to celebrate a special night or looking for a particular atmosphere, we have a range of Centro restaurants for you to enjoy. This is by no means all-inclusive, but it will give you restaurant options for every budget.
Super-Budget Friendly Centro Restaurants
Street Food in Centro
If the street food vendors are set up along one or both side roads around Jardin Zenea, eat there. You have your choice of tacos al pastor right off the spit, huaraches, sopes and many more mouth watering choices to choose from. Food hop from one vendor to another sampling juices, grilled meats, fried dough, corn and desserts. This is our favorite choice to eat in Centro.
Willy’s is a torta shop with just a few tables and seats at the bar, but over 30 sandwiches to choose from. The bread is terrific! Pair it with an old-fashion glass-bottled Coke and you’ve got the perfect snack or meal to keep you going for a few more hours. (Don’t try to walk away with the Coke bottle. They’ll chase after you!) Torta Willy’s is located on the corner of 16 de Septiembre and Calle Benito Juarez Norte across from Jardin Zenea.
El Comal Antojitos Mexicanos
Crossing Corregidora from Jardin Zenea, begin walking up Calle 16 de Septiembre. The Centro restaurants on the right will bombard you with their menus, but the little place on the corner to the left is where you want to go. The ladies of El Comal Antojitos Mexicanos make everything from scratch right in front of you. These gorditas are excellent. If you get the large, two hands will not be enough. Gorditas are common in the state of Queretaro, so eat up! They’ll make more!
Diktatur is the place to go for colorful drinks and cheap food. In fact, everything on the menu is 32 pesos each. The food won’t wow you (though we haven’t had their burgers yet), but it’s cheap. With famous books hanging from the roof beams and a menu you read backwards, it’s a fun place to hang out especially for college age kids. Directly across from Jardin Guerrero, this is a place to go for atmosphere, not so much to satisfy your tastebuds.
Reasonably Priced Centro Restaurants
Maria y Su Bici
Maria y Su Bici is a chain restaurant, but each one is completely different. Centro has two locations within walking distance; one across from Plaza Constitucion by the walking street Libertad, and the other is on Calle 5 de Mayo. The walls are decorated with indigenous clothing and various tools used in pre-hispanic days. If you want to try pulque, a white milky fermented liquid from agave or other cacti, this is the place. It’s a nice place to eat at for authentic regional Oaxacan cuisine.
Just around the corner from Jardin Zenea on Calle 16 de Septiembre, Tacos 57 serves everything from tacos to enchiladas. You’ll have to wait a bit for the food, but it’s worth it. Order a few different tacos and some beers and soak up the Mexican life.
For Yucatan, Oaxacan and other regional Mexican cuisine, San Miguelito has many choices for everyone’s palate. Start with an overflowing margarita and guacamole with chapulines. Chapulines are tiny grasshoppers and when you roll them into a tortilla with guacamole, you won’t even notice. The chicken with mole almendrado (almond sauce) is also really good. The décor is what most people think Mexican restaurants are like, but it’s a fun artsy place that will keep you entertained. San Miguelito is located on Andador 5 de Mayo across from the delicious chocolate and churro place, Fabrica de Chocolate.
Fine Dining Centro Restaurants
Alioli is our favorite Centro restaurant. This Spanish cuisine restaurant serves amazing seafood and suckling pig dishes. It’s located on Calle 16 de Septiembre and usually a quiet place at lunch time, but packed after the sun goes down. Alioli has comfortable seating and a good wine list to celebrate a special occasion.
Restaurant 1810 is popular among the tourists and locals. Sit out on the patio with a view of Plaza de Armas where you can watch the locals enjoy the night around the fountain. The wine list is excellent as well as the seafood dishes. Save room for dessert. My friend Donna says Restaurant 1810 has the best flan in the city.
Restaurant Raices is a popular fine dining restaurant featuring Oaxacan cuisine cooked to perfection. The enclosed front patio serves a breakfast buffet, there’s a dining room on the first floor and an eclectic bar on the second up the grand staircase. Though the restaurant is all enclosed, the natural stone and flora decor give you the feeling of being outside. Restaurant Raices is popular for anniversaries and celebrations. Reservations are recommended.
Walk down Calle Francisco I. Madero (past Casa de la Marquesa), and take a left at Neptune’s fountain. Tikua Sureste is a beautiful restaurant with a large mural on the wall and live music on various nights. The delicious Yucatan cuisine is authentic, and the menu is extensive.
Happy Hour Specials and Nightlife
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Obviously, you come to Mexico for Mexican food, but sometimes a little New Orleans is needed. Hank’s Oyster Bar is just that. With indoor and outdoor seating overlooking Plaza Constitucion, it has special Happy Hour cocktails every day of the week. On weekends, you can catch either a jazz or rock band for your music pleasure. The Creole food is delicious and portions are huge. Try the crab cakes and the spiced bread pudding. This place is a favorite for visitors and locals.
As we discover the different areas in Queretaro, we will bring you more details on other restaurants. For visits only to Centro Queretaro, these restaurants are a good start.