In every city, restaurants come and go almost overnight in some cases. Cuernavaca perhaps is no different in that it seems that due to the tourism of the city or that the city really only bustles on the weekends, a restaurant lifespan is often short lived or the management changes so frequently that the menu and service varies greatly. For that reason, we dislike putting up a page for a restaurant until they have been around for awhile.
However, we have made an exception for La Catedral Restaurante. It is new, but given the size of the crowds and the apparent pleasure of the diners it looks like La Catedral is here to stay. The restaurant is a unique space on Calle Hidalgo, opposite Cuernavaca’s Catedral and a block down towards town. It is a bright spot on a street lined with storefronts and you have to climb the stairs to get into the restaurant. However, the climb is well worth it for many.
Once upstairs, La Catedral offers several dining spaces. The first is a small coffee and drink room complete with couches where you may have a cappuccino or a glass of wine while waiting on a table to be cleared, if you go during the meal times. Next, there is cafeteria space filled with tables and chairs for public events, and finally, several small intimate rooms that overlook the avenue below.
The dining rooms are tastefully decorated. There are several large paintings of ballet dancers adorning the wall at the top of the stairs. There are betas swimming in fish bowls hanging from the wall and filled with blue water.
The menu selection was pleasant in that I normally dislike a six page menu that tries to satisfy every taste. One restaurant in town, touted that they specialized in American, Chinese and Mexican cuisine, which I always found odd. Actually, the dishes seemed to meld together with the strong odor of curry permeating the air and the enchiladas. La Catedral does not attempt to be what they are not. They offer dishes that they have perfected and know well. The menu is not what one could consider Mexican, although they do offer enchiladas and arrachera. The are a few soups, a couple of salads and perhaps eight main dishes, plus paninis for the light lunch. There are also a few deserts on the menu for those that enjoy a bit of sweetness at the end of the meal.
I was drawn towards a salad of spinach with hearts of palm, apple slivers and nuts. However, I decided on pollo instead, which turned out to be an excellent dish. My dining companion, who is a local chef, ordered the salmon, which she stated was extremely well prepared. We both left quite content and are looking forward to a return visit.
A brief visit with the waiter brought news of future plans for live music and the cafeteria space is available for group meetings, where one might have a wedding reception or perhaps enjoy a meeting with a speaker.
As with most new restaurants it takes a while for the staff to settle in and get into the groove. However, the staff at La Catedral seems to have escalated their familiarity and were doing an excellent job when we visited. One should keep in mind that it is a restaurant and not McDonalds. If you are in a hurry, La Catedral may not be your cup of tea. We found it quite pleasant.
La Catedral Restaurante, Calle Hidalgo #22, Colonia Centro, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Open most days for breakfast and lunch. Call 274-4906 for reservations.