Pablo Salas (pictured) with Juan Pareja
Pork jowl cooked with peanuts
Francisco Murguía 402, esq. Matamoros, Toluca
+52 1 722 280 8265
Chief reason to visit: Amaranta proudly flies the flag for the flavours, aromas and colours of the central State of Mexico – a land made up of mountains, valleys, forests and lakes. Chef Pablo Salas' cooking style pays homage to the region's culinary traditions, while also pushing new boundaries in progressive dishes that are big on flavour.
What to eat: Salas has long championed the pig in dishes such as trotter sliced like carpaccio and served with cabbage salad and a local vinegar dressing or pork jowl with pipian (pumpkin seeds), chayote (a type of squash) and peas. Recently he has introduced more vegetable-based dishes to the seven-course tasting menu such as cactus salad and broad beans with fresh cheese.
What to drink: Salas' sommelier brother Francisco presides over an excellent 300-strong wine list, but diners should also look out for the well-chosen Mexican craft beers and the comprehensive tequila selection.
Before it all began: Salas ran a bakery business making and selling desserts to restaurants in Toluca.
Bonus point: A diehard hip hop fan, the chef named his dog after rap legend Dr. Dre.
Images: Fernando Gómez Carbajal