Carlota: Gracious Dining in San Ángel
It has always been the accepted Chilango wisdom that south of the Viaducto gastronomic pickings are slim, at least in the “fine dining” category. A few old stalwarts, La Taberna del León, El Tajín and Los Danzantes are more than dependable. Paxia and Turtux were good but they’re gone. The San Angel Inn is lovely for a drink but the food is immemorable. Things have slowly been improving, however. Eloise and Loretta, near San Ángel, are now destinations: Polanco-ites and Condechis, like New Yorkers who rarely ventured above 14th street for fear of a nosebleed, will make the treacherous trip south to bask in Francophile paradise. And then there’s Carlota. The team behind this fine year-old resto (whose name is not to be confused with the eponymous hotel in Colonia Cuauhtemoc) aspires to up the ante for fine dining in the southern delegations. The venue is a spacious, open-patio 19th century casona, typical of the area, that has seen a forward thinking remodel but retains its genteel ambiance. The airy, sun-drenched rooms are clean yet evocative of past grandeur. A large garden is a welcome respite from the at times oppressive urbanity outside.
Chef Edgar Delgado takes the same deconstructive approach to his menu, reinventing Mexican classics framing and remolding them using contemporary techniques borrowed from Spain. He utilizes local and seasonal ingredients, which he pairs astutely.
Light entradas include a refreshing ceviche of jurel beautifully crowned by edible flowers and lightly sweetened by a touch of mango. Creative dishes such as dorado en clemole de hierbas y chayote—a firm white fish in a verdant, herbaceous light mole are a delight. There’s Caribbean langosta en mantequilla quemada, browned butter the perfect compliment to succulent seafood. Or rich tuétano gratinado con elotitos, fatty marrow and sweet corn, a marriage made in heaven. Tender lechón is bathed in a smoky mole negro and might be accompanied by a classic asparagus in Hollandaise here dotted with crunchy chapulines. Classics like fideo seco or tacos de lengua are left to their own traditional devices. A well chosen wine list features many Mexican options starting at $545 for a bottle. A refined breakfast menu is offered daily.
Carlota is one of the better options in the San Ángel area and certainly the most gracious.
Food (1-10) - 8
Service - 8
Price pp - $400
Museo del Carmen #4, San Ángel; view map
Tel. 7591 0708 Open Monday – Wednesday 8 a.m. – 11 p.m., Thursday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
photos courtesy Carlota