Puebla: *Restaurant El Mural de los Poblanos* Extraordinary

When was the last time you spent 5-1/2 hours in a restaurant over dinner?  Yesterday was a first for me: I arrived at El Mural de los Poblanos at 3:30 p.m. and left at 9 p.m.  This was pacing!  This restaurant is incredible.  The food is created by Chef Lizette Galicia, a young culinary graduate who spent some time in South Carolina on an externship before heading up the kitchen here in Puebla.  The menu takes the best of indigenous local and Spanish cuisine and incorporates Arabic flavors that this city is noted for.

The famous Chile en Nogados is one example with hints of Moorish Spain, available only in the months of July and August because it incorporates fresh fruits of the season.  At 200 pesos it is a bargain and a taste sensation.  A savory chile is stuffed with chicken, apricots, cinnamon, pepper, apples, raisins and onions (from what I could discern), and topped with a rich cream and queso fresco sauce, garnished with pomegranate seeds.  At El Mural the presentation is wonderful as is the taste.  I had this along with a first course of a fresh nopal (cactus) salad, combined with salsa fresca and avocado.  The Mexican red wine, Nebbiolo L.A. Cetto Reserva Priveda,  from the Valle de Guadelupe, at $60 pesos a glass was comparable to any excellent Zinfandel or Cabernet.  I had three glasses over the course of the five hours!

Stephen’s choice was Enslada Mural, also with hints of Arabic influences:  fresh oranges, apple slices, pear, shredded carrots, ground peanuts, jicama, raisins, and toasted pumpkin seeds with ground peanuts covered in a fresh orange vinaigrette stacked atop romaine lettuce.  It was so ample it took him almost 40 minutes to eat it!  Next course for him was Las Dobladitas, a rib eye steak cooked to tender perfect, accompanied by three sauces — specialties of the region — chiltepin, costeno and serrano — and a skewer of roasted petite potatoes.  An outstanding choice.

Dessert was a rich dark chocolate cake oozing a warm center of encased chocolate syrup served with vanilla ice cream.  Ask for El Regalo de Quetzalcoatl.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, live classical and popular music of symphony quality accompanied the diners.  Wait staff was attentive, inobtrusive and we did not feel rushed!  In the midst of our dining adventure, a huge thunderstorm with hail came up and the waiters rushed to move us and our belongings out of the covered courtyard and undercover of the palapa.  There was never a hint that we had overstayed our welcome.  Our waiter, Sr. Isaia Ortiz, was especially gracious.

The restaurant is named for the tryptich mural painting that covers the entire wall of one side of the restaurant, connoting the history of Puebla through the various prominent political, cultural, religious and social figures that influenced its growth an development.  It is a captivating and entertaining piece of art that creates the kind of ambience that makes one want to linger in this Colonial Spanish casa converted to magnificent dining establishment.

As you can see, I heartily recommend it!  At the end of the night, after numerous courses, beer and wine, the bill came to 1150 pesos including tip.  Using a 13.2 pesos to the dollar exchange rate, the check came to $87USD for both of us.

Address:  16 de Septiembre 506, Centro Historico 2 blks from Zocalo

RSVP:  242-0503

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