And the Angels Sing: Turtux
Note: As of January 2014, Chef Salinas has left Turtux. The jury's out as to whether the quality will continue to be as high.
San Angel, pretty and old-fashioned, was never a gourmand’s paradise. Everybody raves about the margaritas at the San Angel Inn, but its food is ho-hum. The Fonda San Angel tried hard but vied with Sanborn’s and lost for quality.
But now one can travel south (of the Viaducto) for fine dining a la Mexicana. While Colonia Roma may be on the cutting edge gastro-wise and the centro is putting ‘histórico’ back into the cazuela, it’s Avenida de la Paz that’s finally getting on the upscale traditional bandwagon. First it was Paxia, now there’s Turtux.
The affable chef and gastronome Margarita Salinas de Carrillo is recognized for her work in promoting Mexican cuisine throughout the world. She has campaigned for the UNESCO proposal to designate Mexican Cuisine as ‘Intangible Patrimony of the World’. She is a notable cooking teacher, and has written about the regional cuisines of Oaxaca, Michoacán and Chihuahua amongst others. Her restaurant Don Emiliano in Baja California won umpteen awards, and her book ‘Tamales y Atoles Mexicanos’, was just published by Larousse. And she has cooked for President Obama.
The fideo seco, the classic dried noodle dish borrowed from the Catalán lexicon and ‘Mexicanized’ with chili, local cheese and avocado, is perfection itself, the pasta conserving just enough bite to please while the roast chili aroma dances around the nostrils.
Terciopelo de hongos is, as its name suggests, velvety and creamy and redolent of mushroom, the faint aroma of epazote the only reminder that you’re in the land of the Aztecs and not the Gauls.
Fish is perfectly done, not overcooked, and the 'salsa verde', reminiscent of the classic Spanish garlic/parsley sauce but here with the addition of perfumey cilantro.
Desserts are all muy mexicano and as good as they sound: titles like tarta Eréndira de chocolate de metate y chiles secos or flan de la Abuelita Celia are both tempting and sweetly descriptive.
The wine list, compiled by Margarita’s son the sommelier – this is a family run operation – is small but well chosen; most selections are from Baja California and prices are accessible.
The simple space, in a small ‘centro commercial’ is pleasant if non-descript: outdoor patio tables offer a more cheerful setting. The price range is $300-500 pp, depending what you drink.
Devoid of off-putting chichi snaz, Turtux offers well-chosen, carefully prepared Mexican recipes in a comfortable, casual setting. It’s a great addition to the growing roster of Good Food in Mexico City.
Av. de la Paz 57 (inside the mall)
Col. San Angel
Tel. 5550-3632 / 5550-2753
Open Tuesday - Saturday 1:30 -11:30PM, Sunday, Monday 1-6PM
A note to my readers: See my article on the best DF street food in The Guardian
READER'S COMMENTS:Framboisy February 18, 2013
An article with plenty of verve. I enjoyed reading it and can't wait to go to Turtux.
Don Cuevas February 19, 2013
What's the price range?
I hope that you return to reviewing humbler, less expensive fondas, puestos and such for our economic benefit.
C.M. Mayo March 4, 2013
Glad to see this, Nicholas. I've eaten here twice and I can say that Turtux is a splendid addition to the scene in the south and I wish them much success.
food delivery March 6, 2013
WoW.... that just amazes me to taste!