20 September 2009


Saturday morning Gina and I did our usual thing and went to the park to get some exercise. She did ten laps of the 800 meter track like an Olympic power walker and I strolled my normal three laps like Mr. Bumble. Afterward we usually go somewhere for a late breakfast but because we slept in a little bit we got a later start and it was almost time for lunch when we finished. Instead of eating at some restaurant close by, we decided to take a ride out to Silao and eat at one of our favorite places. It is a rather plain looking restaurant by the side of the road but in our opinion it serves some of the best tasting food in Mexico. As I said, it doesn't look like anything special on the outside or on the inside. In fact, it looks more like military mess hall or a student union cafeteria than it does a restaurant. It has a big open kitchen in back and men in white uniforms cook on big stoves with big pots and pans just like military cooks use. It is a place where people go to "chow down" like we used to say in the military and the Boy Scouts. In short, it is an honest to goodness "chow hall".

The restaurant is called "Manolete". The name "Manolete" is a very famous name in the bull fighting arena. That is the pet name of a beloved Spanish bullfighter named Manuel Laureano Rodríguez who was born on the 4th of July in 1917 in Córdoba, Spain and who died August 28, 1947 in Linares, Spain. A lot of people consider him to be the best bullfighter who ever lived. Many of the moves that bullfighters use today were developed by Manolete. He also fought bulls in Mexico at the bullfighting ring "Plaza Mexico" in Mexico City. He died from being gored by a bull at Linares and afterward there were three days on national mourning in Spain. If you live in Mexico you should probably know who Manolete was regardless of what you think about bullfighting. He has been written about by both James A. Michener and Earnest Hemingway.

The food at Restaurant Manolete is out of this world. It is plain food but very tasty and very reasonably priced. You pay as you enter and the price per person is sixty pesos which includes all that you can eat including refreshments and desert. If you want some beer, however, that is extra. Gina and I had chicken that was marinated in picante sauce, carnitas de puerco that was cooked with slices of platano macho, and espagueti blanco. I also had a salad and Gina had some enchiladas. Now I must confess something to all of you so that I won't have to tell it to the priest. I went back for several helpings and so did Gina. I hardly ever do that but when I eat at Manolete I can't help myself. Actually, the best time to go to Manolete is on Sunday morning or Friday afternoon. The Sunday brunches are so good and have so much variety that they almost have to roll you back out to your car. The same thing on Friday afternoon from about 2:pm until 6:pm. On Fridays they serve all kinds of seafood in addition to their regular fare. When I eat there on Fridays I eat so much fish that for the next few days I feel the urge to go swimming.

If you have ever gone from Irapuato, Salamanca, Celaya, or San Miguel de Allende to the Bajío International Airport (BJX) you have probably seen Manolete's on the right hand side of the highway and perhaps even wondered if the food was any good. Well it is! The restaurant is located on the Irapuato to Silao highway just past the turnoff for the highway Guanajuato Libre and before you get to the Guanajuato Autopista at Silao. You will see a sign for the FIPASI industrial park just before an overpass. Don't go over the overpass but keep to the right and follow the side road that parallels the overpass. Don't go left under the overpass to FIPASI but continue straight ahead and you will see Manolete on the right at the end of the overpass (see map below). If you are curious as to what FIPASI means it stands for "Fideicomiso Parque Industrial Silao". There are 37 companies there who make parts for the big General Motors plant at Silao. Manolete is open from 8:am to 6:pm daily and can handle large groups and tour buses. When you are really hungry and want to "chow down" that is definitely the place to go.

¡Buen Provecho!

(Click on map to enlarge)


glorv1 said...

Hi Bob. I had relatives south of the border way and one of them, my cousin was called Manolete. He is deceased, drank himself to death so they say. I really never knew him or the other relatives I had down that way. My mom's sister moved out that way when I was a wee little baby, and had her family south of the border, down Mexico way. Oh, now I feel like singing.:D That is a wonderful looking place to eat. It looks clean, fresh and I like that you can see the cooks cooking. It's spacious. Now go exercise again. :D Take care and have a great week.

1st Mate said...

Looks like a great place, Bob, muy limpio and more inviting than your mess hall description led me to believe, and none of us have any excuses for not being able to find it now. They should give you a free meal for that writeup. Hope I get over that way, maybe we can do lunch.

Leah Flinn said...

Looks delicious! Thanks for recommending it, I'm in Veracruz but if I make it over that way I will look it up!

Calypso said...

"I eat there on Fridays I eat so much fish that for the next few days I feel the urge to go swimming.

Interesting feeling - hadn't thought of eating fish having that consequence ;-)

Thanks for the tour - well done amigo.

Benja-Xocoyotl said...

Hello Bob!

Talking about toreros we have something in Salamanca: the place where Rodofo Gaona, a legend on the bullrings. He born in Leon. Create the "gaonera" a way to confront the bull. He bought "el molinito" the old augstinian mill crossing the river back of Templo de San Agustin and he lives some years in there, becoming an attraction in the 30s, a Torero sorrounded with señoritas in Salamanca! You have in Irapuato a drawing of Gaona, you can see it at Casa de la Cultura, he is consider as one of the most popular guanajuatenses ever.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.