This Alone is Worth a Trip to Zipolite

In restaurant ratings the Michelin Guide gives an award of one to three stars to eateries they perceive to be of high culinary merit. Three stars is “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”

When reading any restaurant review one should consider the source. So to help with that: The Calypsos maintain critical palettes. We came from lands of great restaurants, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as Las Vegas. We are avid foodies including having seen all ‘The Top Chef’ series and most of Iron Chef as well. We have seen all Julia Childs, Rick Bayless’ and Emeril Lagasse television shows and most if not all of many other fine chefs. We do not come without credentials.

Also Anita is a gourmet cook in her own right. Even in our somewhat limited cocina at La Punta Es (our Casa)

The catch, if there is such, is we are vegetarians. More specifically Pescetarians. We do eat fish, but we are running on primarily a plant-based diet with little dairy or eggs and no carne.

We find we seem to be critical of most eateries. We do make an effort to keep our expectations corralled by including an assessment as to just what you might get at say a casual restaurant, a mom and pop or a family restaurant. We are not incapable of reviewing hot dog carts, as long as they include veggie dogs. We also like a good veggie burger.

In Zipolite there are a few better restaurants. Restaurants where one can expect some fine dining. This in contrast to the small hippy (recall we reserve hippie for the real thing) town Zipolite has been described as.

For a different twist we are going to start with the best first- rather than a teasing list of lead-ins.

While we make best effort to get a broad experience of an area for you the readers, we actually ate at one restaurant twice in our six days in Zipolite. And only twice because reservations are at a premium – so get your hat in that ring as soon as you hit town or even before. (FOR RESERVATIONS)

Javier and Paco are the proprietors (Host and Chef respectively) of a terrific restaurant located on Second Street just a block behind the main drag in central Zipolite (known informally as the Adoquin). There are a couple convenient signs in the area that will lead you to La Providencia Fonda Bar. This is patio dining at its best. The décor is whimsical. The ambiance will keep you entertained while waiting to be seated by way of several comfortable lounge areas.

In their own words, “Without a doubt, we offer the best contemporary Mexican cuisine in the area, coupled with an exceptional ambiance in which to enjoy it; all at a cost matching the quality. … Paco and Javier were able to fill a void in the local area by providing a much sought after fine dining experience.  Among the many fine dishes on the menu there are the coconut shrimp in mango sauce, fresh [Yellow Fin] Tuna medallions in a variety of sauces, beef medallions, a variety of stuffed chilies, delicious appetizers and soups, a bar and wonderfully appointed sitting areas for before or after your meals.”

A hostess brought us both drink and dinner menus to peruse as we waited.

You get the feeling that Javier has all the customers and business that he wants. He seems to be very able to turn you away if you didn’t make reservations.  In fact as providence would have it we were turned away Thursday night – but we smartly made reservations for both Friday and Saturday night.

Even before we were seated, in as much as Friday was International Day of the Woman, Javier had Anita in his pocket when he personally delivered a beautiful long stemmed rose to her in honor of the day. All the ladies in attendance received a beautiful carnation – good marketing and attention to detail from the get go ;-) I can only guess that Anita got a special rose as the most beautiful woman in the restaurant?

In restaurants of this caliber it is hardly necessary to focus on a dish – the bottom-line is everything is wonderful. (Did I mention the extremely smooth coconut flan?)

Javier is obviously a man of taste – you sense that from the moment he extends his hand. Paco’s sense of sauce and seasoning is also world class.

We will explain the path we took that is highly recommended. The first night we ordered two entrees with libations of course. – wow! The second night we ordered four of the entradas (hors d’oeuvres) offerings plus dessert. Wow again. Everything was top drawer.

As far as cost – they said it themselves – “a cost matching the quality.”  You will pay for the privilege of first class food. Plan on around 500 pesos for dinner and drinks for two. You will NOT go away feeling like you did not get your money’s worth.

Some Trip Advisor.com reviews HERE

Javier who was attentive to our every need, shared an inside secret: Soon they will relocate to a small hotel/restaurant in Zipolite – so relocation is looming. The thought of being able to get a room at the best restaurant in town excites – if the quality of lodging anywhere near matches the quality of the dining experience – heaven! We are already saving up ;-

Give La Providencia THREE STARS!

Stay Tuned!

  • DonCuevas

    The restaurant menu is very appealing. And, there are numerous vegetarian options.

    Zipolite had nothing like this when we visited in the early ’90s. I fondly remember a meal at Lola’s where I drank several cold beers in succession, after hiking in from Puerto Ángel. I had was spaghetti with shrimp, tomatoes and garlic.

    There also was a beautiful woman customer, dressed in purple, posing for her Ricardo Montalban (younger version) look alike boyfriend or husband photographer .

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    Memories – Zipolite has changed a lot just in the few years we have been visiting (since 2007).

    W think this restaurant is better than anything we have in Puerto. Actually the price is reasonable considering the high-end food involved – but a lot of readers think anything over 100 pesos an entree is outrageous – so it is all relative – but you would spend $150 usd or higher for two to have this kind of food in the U.S.

  • Steve Cotton

    It is the absence of such places in Melaque that makes my little village a culinary desert — with the exception of the little cafe around the corner from my house where the owner’s daughter has been doing some interesting experiments. But, you are correct, that the tight-fisted policy of some potential diners is the chief reason good restaurants do not survive. This place seems to have beat the gravitational pull of mediocrity.

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    500 pesos is about 2 days wages around here – so it is going to be higher end tourists that will/can spend that kind of dough – they usually go to Huatulco rather than stay in Zipolite. That written, I think Javier and Paco are dialed in there – they were booked solid the entire time we were there – and they are open seasonally – I am guessing October to April?

  • Richard

    Well done review, My lady and I will have to make the journey again and try this fine place and meet Javier.

  • John Calypso

    Sorry we did not try La Providencia when we were there together – it is a terrific restaurant. Another time.

  • Kim G

    I’m with Don Cuevas. Five hundred pesos for a good meal is pretty reasonable. In the USA it’s a bargain, but even in DF, it’s easy to spend a lot more, and not on necessarily excellent food.

    F and I will have to check that place out one of these days.

    Saludos,

    Kim G

    Boston, MA
    Where 500 pesos for two might get you a decent breakfast.

  • http://vivaveracruz.com/blog John Calypso

    You guys are going to have Javier raise his prices. I agree for something you might get at Wolfgang Pucks – it is quite the bargain.

  • Rick

    Thanks to Kim G for the head’s up on

    http://ridefar.typepad.com/ride_far/2004/11/index.html

    Very interesting blog on biking it South

  • Zextek

    John,

    I’m sorry for posting something off topic but I wasn’t sure that your old email address still is working. Since you have a past in the music industry I want to tell you about something that will interest you. If you haven’t seen it before please get the documentary “Searching For The Sugar Man”. I downloaded it from a torrent site. It’s a story about a man, Sito Rodríguez, who I had a couple of albums in the early seventies but then dropped from sight and almost everybody thought he was dead. The music in this film is great and the film is excellent. It’s a very touching film. I hope you’ll watch it, if you haven’t watched it before.

    Gary in Ajijic

  • John Calypso

    Hi Gary – Yes I am familiar with the Sugarman story (documentary)and with Sito Rodriguez. He was even brought up in the comments not too long ago – you have not been paying attention (tsk tsk). However it never hurts to get a heads up – thanks. You have my email – no?