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“great for breakfast”
Review of Patio Mexica

Patio Mexica
Ranked #124 of 322 Restaurants in Zihuatanejo
Price range: $3 - $5
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
United States
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“great for breakfast”
Reviewed October 12, 2012

oh the food was fresh and tasty and prepared to order so good. super reasonable prices. very close to the hotel irma where we were staying. the mexican eggs spicy but so good. enjoy.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank MARIE C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Wonderful, authentic intro to Mexican cooking”
Reviewed September 2, 2012

This review is for Monica Perez's Mexican cooking class, not the restaurant (which was closed when we visited in late August 2012). My husband, 8-year-old son and I took a 3-hour market & cooking class with Monica, and it was a wonderful experience. The class is literally on a patio (which I should have realized from the name of the restaurant, but didn't really think about it) - she has a fully functioning outdoor kitchen set up in a shady courtyard near her home. Monica met us there and explained what we'd be cooking for lunch (nopales - cactus leaf - salad, charros beans, cheese-stuffed zucchini flowers, homemade salsa & homemade tortillas) and led us a couple of blocks to the Zihua famers' market. It was fascinating to see the market through the eyes of a local - watching her interact with the various vendors, hearing her explanations of the uses of various herbs, cheeses, etc. She obviously knew the vendors well and with their permission she made the shopping trip very multi-sensory, crumbling herbs for us to smell, giving us little samples to taste, etc. She also pointed out a few interesting shops along the way, like a family shop that made and sold pinatas, and several places that sold local handicrafts.

After the market we headed back to the patio, enjoyed several cold glasses of homemade hibiscus flower juice, and got into the cooking. It really reminded me of a cooking show -- she had done exactly the right amount of prep work, like pre-soaking the corn and beans and pre-roasting the vegetables for the salsa, while still leaving plenty of hands-on activities. Monica did most of the work, cooking in front of us while explaining what she was doing, but we did grind our own salsa in molcajetes, grind corn for the tortillas in a traditional grinder and then make some tortillas by hand and some in a tortilla press, stuff zucchini flowers, and chop some of the veggies for the salad and beans. That was plenty -- it was fun just to watch her work, as she's clearly very experienced, and enjoys teaching and sharing.

Monica was delightful the whole time - friendly, accommodating, educational, and very patient. Our 8-year-old son was not initially interested in doing this activity (we drug him along anyway) - but Monica was able to engage him and by the end he was having a blast making his own tortillas and playing with one of the cats in the courtyard. The food was absolutely delicious, and I picked up some tips that I'll definitely apply in the future, like adding roasted garlic to salsa and only boiling nopales (cactus paddles) until they start to change color. Also, Monica was very careful to use bottled (purified) water for everything - the hibiscus juice, cooking, etc. - so no worries about potential problems with tap water.

We were also very appreciative of Monica's flexibility. Typically, the classes that involve a farmers' market visit begin at 9 am, but due to logistical issues we knew wouldn't be able to get to Patio Mexica before 10 or 10:30. I called Monica a couple of days in advance and asked whether it would be possible to do a class at 10:30, and she was very obliging. Of course, we were there in low season and we were the only participants that day, but still we appreciated her willingness to accommodate us. Also, after the class was over we expressed an interest in seeing the beach, as we were not staying in Zihua. We really only expected directions, but Monica not only walked us to the beach but took us on a little tour of the town for about 45 minutes, pointing out various sights, etc. Again, I'm sure she was only able to do this because it was low season and very quiet, but it certainly wasn't necessary, and was much appreciated.

A couple of *very minor* suggestions for improvement: it was a little difficult to reach Monica by phone because the main number listed on her website is apparently for a phone that frequently dies (a battery problem perhaps?) In any event, we got cut off a couple of times, and she gave me a cell phone number that was different from the number on the website - which didn't seem to work from my end. Obviously, we made the connection eventually, but I'd recommend only listing reliable numbers on the website. It was tricky enough to reach her that I might have given up, if not for the excellent reviews on this site. It might be easier to reach her by email. The other suggestion is to format the takeaway booklet a little better -- Monica gave us a very short booklet about Mexican cooking at the end of class, which is a great idea, but when I looked at it later I found it difficult to follow because the formatting is off. Paragraphs and recipes seem to stop in strange places and continue in another column, but unpredictably so -- I keep finding myself looking all over the page trying to figure out which chunk of text is supposed to be the rest of the recipe I'm reading. I think if she could have someone format the booklet a little more professionally it would be easier to read and to use. Just a couple of small details -- but because they contribute to the first and last impressions, I think some attention to them would make a big difference.

But, those are just minor details. Overall, I'd highly recommend Patio Mexica as a very authentic introduction to Zihuatanejo and to Mexican cooking. Monica is very knowledgeable, skilled, warm, and personable --and a fantastic cook AND teacher. Muchas gracias, Monica!

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank brymel99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
willis, tx. usa
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“You will have so much fun, you will want to do it again!”
Reviewed February 17, 2012

This is my 2 nd class with Monica and I have learned so much! The 1 St class @ the Mercado was informative for identifying specific herbs, cheeses, vegetables, fruits & more. I had been before by myself, but Monica helps you to navigate it successfully. As for the cooking portion, everyone can read a recipe, but visually seeing the recipe prepared makes all the difference! Monica adds her delightful personality and special tips and techniques to the class and the final reward is a sampling of all the wonderful dishes prepared. Take along a pen because you will want to write down tips and she usually throws in a surprise recipe you'll want to remember! Don't forget to tip your host for a memorable experience! Happy Cooking!!!

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Pat288
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reykjavik, Iceland
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Mole with Monica - fantastic!”
Reviewed January 22, 2012

We had so much fun spending the morning with Monica at her cooking school. She was so nice and very informative. And the results were amazing. I can't wait to make this delicious mole at home. It is true - Rick Bayless watch out! Monica is awesome!

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
Thank Nancy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tacoma, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Don't miss this !!!”
Reviewed December 27, 2011

Monica is such a lovely woman and a great teacher. We had breakfast at her restaurant before leaving with her for a short walk to the local market. We learned so much about local foods and their Aztec history ... the trip through the market was well worth twice the price! When we got back we learned how to cook several local foods and had the most delicious beans I have ever had!
Don't miss this part of your trip here. It is an experience of a lifetime!

  • Visited December 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Christine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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