Friday, June 30, 2017

Dining in Malinalco I: Los Placeres

During our stay at Casa Navacoyan, both Margarita and her daughter, Lucrecia recommended two restaurants to us: Los Placeres and Las Palomas.

These were generally good recommendations, and soon after our arrival at la Casa, we took a taxi to Malinalco Centro. It's a small but charming town with a lengthy plaza, set on a hill slope. The bread vendors offered bounteous bags of bread at very low prices, although the pan dulce was not to my taste. I liked the cut bolillos very much.

We wandered around the Plaza, tempted by street food stands that lined one side of the park. But we resisted their alluring aromas and instead went to Los Placeres on the opposite side of the plaza.

Los Placeres has several dining rooms and a patio dining area. Some of these rooms seem unfinished. We were led to a small table at an outside corner, right on the main route from kitchen to diners. This could be defined as "a bad table". My seat was uncomfortable,  but I was able to exchange it for a better one from a neighboring table.

Arbor of hoja santa next to neighboring table

The annoyances began when we'd scarcely sat down. The waiter was overeager to get our drink order. In fact, I had scarcely started to look at the drink list when he asked to take our order. I dismissed him so I could look over the beverage menu at leisure. Meanwhile, Sra. Cuevas had ordered a glass of agua de sabor, chía limón, which arrived quickly, and a glass for me, which I hadn't wanted. I gave mine to Sra. Cuevas.

When I did decide on a drink, I then flagged down a passing waiter. My order must have become lost, because much time passed. I hailed our waiter again, and in a few more minutes, he brought what I'd requested.

Mezcal Amor. Very good!

A better start: We were brought very good bread, butter and both red and green salsas.


When we ordered our food, the hurry-up-and-order nonsense turned on again. I really dislike such behavior, as it deprives me of the necessary time to intelligently peruse the menu. But worst of all, it puts me in a bad mood, and tends to spoil my dining experience. Bad service can overshadow the good aspects of a restaurant. Fortunately, the food was quite good.

For an entrada, Sra. Cuevas had Sopes de Conejo, small corn cakes holding spiced, shredded tinga de conejo. The portion was generous and the presentation interesting. I tried a bite. I thought that they were pretty good. My wife liked them more than I did.

I ordered Dobladitas, a local variant on a quesadilla, served in wedges. The filling was good, of frijoles, quesillo (Oaxacan style string cheese) and hoja santa. Plain looking, but savory, especially enhanced with the accompanying guacamole and salsas.

We moved on to our platos fuertes.

Sra. Cuevas had Caldo Malinquense, a vegetable soup with cheese. She told me that it lacked seasoning.

I was drawn to Trucha en Clemole Verde. What's a clemole?  Google tends to define it as a prehispanic soup. At Los Placeres, it was a light, herbal sauce. Nothing soupy about it.
I liked it, but wished for more of the herbal sauce. The abundant vegetables cooked pre-al dente, were a plus.

I don't recall having dessert, but I did have an excellent, toasty and aromatic Café Americano. It was one of the best ever in my experience.


Food: 7

Service: 6 Sometimes confused and disorganized; waiters in too much of a hurry to take our order. It was a bad beginning but service improved with the course of the meal.

Ambience: Casual, rustic, nice garden patio. Some tables are uncomfortably close to the waitstaff delivery route.

Cost: I didn't get a photo of the check, but I'm guessing that it was around $800 pesos for two.

Rest rooms: nice

Keywords: be nice, but be firm.

Contact info:

Phone: 01 (714) 1470855


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