O K, I'll admit it. El Ten Ten Pie is my favorite San Miguel "hang-out." I call it my "Cheers, South." Among all the restaurants in San Miguel I like, this is the one you'll find me in most often. The owner, Juan Villaseñor, is one of my best friends in San Miguel, and I know I will always find someone genuinely glad to see me when I walk in the door.
But... I'd eat here even if the owner wasn't a friend. I'd eat here if I didn't know a soul in the room. I'd probably eat here even if they groused at me (though I can't imagine that). It's that good and that comfortable.
I'm not the only regular at El Ten Ten Pie. It's a perennial favorite with all sorts of people. You'll see retired ex-pats across from a group of foreign high-school students, Mexican families herding a handful of kids next to a table full of artists discussing their craft and their angst. Guys playing dominos, people reading, working crosswords, even a few folks working on laptops, thanks to the free WiFi connection offered. This is one of the restaurants in San Miguel that a lot of people think of as home.
Casual Mexican Food Done Right
The fare is Mexican—doh!—with an emphasis on tacos, enchiladas, alhambres and giant (humongous) burritos—either with meat or vegetarian. There are more than a dozen kinds of tacos to choose from. My personal favorites are the tacos al pastor with crumbled spiced meat, chopped onion and fresh cilantro, and the gringas—like a pastor with melted cheese. I drizzle them with the avocado/tomatillo salsa that shows up on the table (if it doesn't, then ask for it).
Also delicious is the queso fundido, a kind of Mexican cheese fondue, and the choriqueso, the same thing but with crumbled chorizo sausage mixed in. The guacamole, always freshly made to order, is perfect.
The name "El Ten Ten Pie" is a play on words. It comes from the Spanish slang term tentempie, which translates loosely as "a little something to keep you on your feet."
You can have that "little something"— a taco maybe, a quesadilla or a dish of the best flan in town—or you can pretty much stuff yourself on the comida corrida, for about eight bucks. It includes soup or salad, a main dish with rice and beans, fruit water or coffee or tea and dessert. And if you're really hungry, order the arrachera, a kind of skirt steak, tender and flavorful, that is a house specialty. You see it on the menu of many San Miguel restaurants, but this is one of the best.
You'll find El Ten Ten Pie, at the corner of Cuna de Allende and Cuadrante, just a block from the Jardín. Juan recently added a lovely outdoor eating area on the stepped terrace across the street, snugged up against the rear wall of Casa Rosada and the Parroquia. It's just down hill from the shell fountain where Aldama ends at Cuadrante, which must be one of the most photographed sites in San Miguel after La Parroquia. With it's umbrella tables (wrapped in white fairy lights at night) and orange trees for shade, it's a great place to enjoy San Miguel's perfect weather and people watch while sharing a meal or a drink. El Ten Ten Pie has a full liquor license, so a beer or a margarita might be just what's called for.
If Juan is there when you come in, do chat with him. His English is good; his sense of humor infectious. Ask him about the food and he's likely to say, "if you don't like it, you don't pay."
Insiders Tip: If you play backgammon try to talk Juan into a game. But be warned. He's a killer player and he only plays for money!
Next time you're hungry for "a little something to keep you on your feet," head to one of the most comfortable restaurants in San Miguel de Allende—El Ten Ten Pie.
El Ten Ten Pie - $$