Little Hot Grill


La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, our little town, has a sweet, little restaurant, The Little Hot Grill. We live in an area very popular with foreign tourists, winter visitors, and expat residents. Fancy restaurants cater to this clientele, with fancy prices to match. The Little Hot Grill features very good, very real Mexican cooking, with prices affordable for the Mexican residents, as well as for us expats who watch our budget.

Eye-popping orange and blue tiles in the kitchen and the prettiest doors anywhere in La Cruz set The Little Hot Grill apart from other eateries. Marisol, the proprietress and cook, has a sweet disposition and smile to match her welcoming restaurant.


The first time I ate here, I had Enchiladas Suizas. They were so good, it was hard to order anything else for the next several visits. Cheesey, creamy, filled with tender chicken. I was stuck on them.


Some of our friends are of the opinion that Marisol’s Chiles Rellenos eclipse her Enchiladas Suizas, though that’s a hard call. Relleno coatings this tender, eggy, and delicate are not always found in other restaurants attempting the same dish.


When we met friends for lunch recently, all five of us ordered Chile Relleno, and I found myself in the position of having to order Enchiladas Suizas para llevar (to go) just to have a photo of lunch beside Rellenos. Dinner was taken care of very well that day, much to Russ’es delight.


Friday is the day for Chiles Rellenos, but every day has different specials, with no set agenda. You just have to show up to see what the day’s special is. It might be Pozole with Pork, Birria, Mole Rojo, Mole Verde, or Caldo Tlalpeño pictured below.


Marisol tells me that her customers include visitors from all over the world — Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and even guests from the Four Seasons Hotel in our area. That last tidbit is worth more than any gushing Trip Advisor review, of which she has many.


Marisol’s pico de gallo — fresh salsa, which literally translates to beak of the rooster — is special for its cucumber chunks, which give a pleasing crunch and freshness, and not usually found in pico de gallo.


Her salsa roja is wonderful, but the tortillas are special. They are made from nixtamal, dried corn treated with lime to soften the outer hull and then ground. Marisol uses a blend of nixtamal and masa dough for tender tortillas, made to order with an industrial-looking tortilla press.


In our conversation, I learned something new about our town. The local tortillaría sells nixtamal at seven each morning to cooks who want to make tortillas with a better corn flavor. I had assumed that only tortillas made from packaged Maseca, a dry, coarse corn flour, were available in La Cruz. I guess this ignorance reveals where I am at seven every morning, and where I am not.


If you eat at The Little Hot Grill, treat yourself to a freshly squeezed juice — orange, carrot or beet. I had a cool blend of beet and carrot, bright and refreshing. Also offered were agua de guayaba (sweetened guava water) and iced jamaica (hibiscus tea). Different fruit aguas are offered on other days.


Eggs any style are served for breakfast, which includes Huevos Rancheros and Huevos a la Mexicana. A variety of tortas — sandwiches made on bolillos, Mexico’s crusty rolls — are on the menu, including the popular Torta Cubana.

The Little Hot Grill is open six days a week, closed on Sundays, from 8 am to 5 pm. Starting in December, hours will be 8 am to 9 pm, seven days a week. The Little Hot Grill is in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle on the corner of Calle Camaron and Calle Atun, the road that leads down to the fish market at the marina. Look for the pretty doors with the lilies.


~ This is one of the few times I have used so many photos in one article. Let me know if this takes an inordinate amount of time to download, and I will delete some. There were so many photos that gave a good sense of the place and food, that it was hard not to use them.


21 thoughts on “Little Hot Grill

  1. Julie

    One of our favorite stops in La Cruz. Wouldn’t think of missing it. She is such a wonderful hostess and cook. Food is fabulous.

  2. We were in La Cruz last week and went to Little Hot Grill after reading your posting about the cafe..
    It was really good food and so clean. Marisol was very polite and we will definitely return next time we visit la Cruz.

  3. Mollie

    I want to jump on the very next plane in order to eat at this wonderful place – those Chile Rellenos look especially marvelous – but everything looks great. Alas I will have to wait until January to try out this beautiful place.

    The pictures are beautiful and I had no wait times for them to download.

    Thank you for telling us of this restaurant and its good chef.

  4. Karen

    The pictures loaded just fine, and I enjoyed each one. Even at “low resolution” they are clear and the colors are vivid. We live in Bucerias and have many dining choices here as well. but I think we may have to make a quick trip to La Cruz to visit The Little Hot Grill. Thanks so much for broadening our horizons.

  5. Nancy Toogood

    Kathleen ~ I had no problem/waiting time opening this email and the pictures are fantastic…as are all your pictures. So I am glad they are included.
    This restaurant is amazing. Marisol is a cook of “chef -worthy distinction” . Her ingredients, as you pointed out in the instance of the nixtamal – masa blend for the tortillas, are specific and deliberately chosen to take something ordinary and raise it to something remarkable. I am so pleased to see you feature this restaurant…which may lose its designation as a ‘local secrets’
    I would also like to take this opportunity to tell you how much i enjoy your blog. It is well written, the photos are great and you capture the emerging food scene in La Cruz, beautifully. My husband and i will be in La Cruz for 6 weeks this coming February and I hope our paths might cross! Keep the faith! Nancy

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Nancy. And thank you for the feedback on the photos. I’m using a low resolution setting, which sacrifices clarity, but makes it possible to download a lot of photos quickly. Enjoy your visit in La Cruz, and perhaps our paths will cross.

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