Exploring the Charms of Calle Ancha: Instituto Allende, Gastronomic Delights, and Art Galleries in San Miguel

By Bernardo Moreno

Calle Ancha, meaning a wide street, borders the San Antonio neighborhood and centro. It covers what was once the country house of the De La Canal family, built in the 17th century, and which in 1951 became the Instituto Allende. Today, calle Ancha de San Antonio is part of the downtown area.

In addition to touring the beautiful patios inside Instituto Allende, outside on calle Ancha you will find excellent restaurants, galleries, and shops with fine furnishings. For those who like to explore the world of coffee, they will find one of the few specialty bars in San Miguel, the Murmullo cafe, at number 24. Each cup of coffee is served according to the extraction method of your preference. They offer an interesting à la carte menu for breakfast or lunch and at night there is live music.

And since we are talking about “live music,” let’s note that Paprika has always been a space for talented local musicians where you can listen to everything from an excellent jazz pianist to a huapanguera fusion group. In addition, the comfort food they serve is delicious and offers something for everyone. From vegan dishes to juicy cuts of meat, our favorite is spinach lasagna with ricotta cheese. Paprika is located in the beautiful inner courtyard, full of vegetation, at number 9.

Continuing our walk, we find the Marulier French cafeteria, a bakery and pastry shop, which has opened with a pleasant atmosphere. It’s right next to Mercado Sano. At the Mercado, you can find organic, vegan, and gluten-free products. If you go Saturday morning, you will find the flea market where you can buy directly from local producers and enjoy live music and a food court. Another interesting, itinerant, place to look for is the Alternative Design Bazaar which brings together independent Mexican design entrepreneurs. It normally takes place on weekends at number 30 between the Instituto Allende and the Mercado Sano.

If you have walked calle Ancha you have surely seen a beautiful patio on the east side with some incredible wooden rafts. This is the entrance to Casa Armida which offers fine and contemporary home furnishings. Among the galleries that you will find on the street, YAM Gallery is perhaps the most recognized. If you like contemporary art, you should find the date of the next art opening, and you will be in for a big surprise. It’s impossible to mention all the exceptional places that you can discover when walking this wide but not so long street. It’s full of people who, through their shops, give the best of themselves. Let’s take a walk!