19 Feb 08
We're big fans of Mexican food at wrc.com, and eating the genuine dishes in their natural environment can't be beaten. Real Mexican food is tasty, spicy and colourful in equal measure, and if you wanted to try something more adventurous than the usual nachos and tacos, this is the place to do it.
There are countless food outlets in Leon, offering everything from street-side taco stands, to sophisticated Mexican restaurants and even a sushi bar. Honestly.
If you're a fan of noisy dining, bull-fighting and tequila, then you should certainly pay a visit to one of Leon's two legendary Panteon Taurino establishments. Part bar, part restaurant, part matador shrine, the riotous atmosphere of the Panteons can't be beaten: www.panteontaurino.com.mx
In town, and if you want to splash out, then you could do worse than Frascati - a quality Italian in a restaurant-rich area of the suburbs. With excellent food, it's a good place to observe the upwardly mobile of Leon. Take a taxi and expect to pay abut 35 euros a head with wine. Another well recommended restaurant is La Hosteria, which specialises in Mexican and European dishes. It's about eight kilometres out of Leon on the airport road, so a taxi is the best way to go.
Our top pick, however, has to the Rincon Gaucho. There is a large Argentinean immigrant community in Leon, and the Rincon Gaucho serves fabulous Argentinean beef. There are two in Leon, but we tried the one nearest to Rally HQ (about 800m away). This place is hard to beat for steaks and red wine - although they do serve margaritas too. The restaurant always seems to have a good atmosphere and the price is usually around 30 euros a head.
But eating in Mexico is only half the story. Do you know what Mexico's biggest worldwide export is? It's Corona beer. And when you're in Mexico it's hard to avoid the stuff. Unsurprisingly, tequila is pretty popular too, either drunk neat, or mixed in deceptively innocent frozen margaritas. But be warned; while the food can be cheap, drinks can be almost as hefty on the wallet as they are on the head.
The bars in Leon's historic town squares offer a relaxed setting in which to wind down, while city venues like Bar Barezito or Tequila Rock cater for a livelier crowd. The bar at La Estancia Hotel is a popular one on Sunday night, some of the top teams stay here and you can amuse yourself with a bit of star gazing as you sip your drink by the pool. It's also a good place to ask people about the location of Rally Mexico's legendary post event party.