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You don't expect to find a Cordon Bleu-trained chef at the helm of a restaurant in small, off–the–beaten track town in Mexico. But when Betty Vasquez graduated (with honor, we're guessing) she decided to leave Paris and come back and help her mother and sister at this family-owned hotel and restaurant. The birders who make up the majority of the customers here (some 80% of the birds that migrate through North America land in the swamps, estuaries and everglades surrounding San Blas) reap the rewards. But I'd say just tasting Ms. Vasquez food is reason enough to head to San Blas—even if you can't tell a heron from a cormorant. That's because Ms. Vasquez is not only an exceptionally talented chef, one who's not shy about combining classic Mexican dishes with techniques and tastes from across the globe (her curried ceviche is superb), but she has a wonderful wealth of ingredients to play with. San Blas is a major fishing town, known in particular for its sweet oysters and shrimp, so the fish she buys each morning is usually caught just hours before. To this she adds organic vegetables and herbs, grown in her own garden. As you might expect, the menu changes daily, depending on what's freshest, but you're guaranteed of tasting food that's both unusual and unusually delicious here. 

-Pauline Frommer