Cafe Mexicano at Ritz-Carlton
This hotel restaurant offers a relaxed version of the Ritz experience—even the waiters seem more at ease than their European counterparts—with the same exceptional food, whipped up by executive chef Rainer Zinngrebe, formerly the head of major kitchens in Hong Kong and Singapore. North-of-the-border faves include Boston clam chowder and Kurobuta pork chops with apple compote; the menu also offers sophisticated turns on Mexican standards like corn-tortilla enchiladas, as well as regional dishes—ceviche, say, or Mayan salad with queso fresco and smoked tomato vinaigrette. A study in cobalt blue and terracotta, the dining room’s cheerful, informal colors contribute to the laid-back vibe.
Insider Tip: Go on Tuesday or Friday night for the Mexican Fiesta or lobster and seafood buffets, respectively, which include mariachi and guitar performances by local musicians.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.