A Half Century of Good Eating, Sonoran Style

Photo: Palominos


Fifty years.

That’s how long Mexico City’s premiere Sonoran beef restaurant Palominos has been open.

Founded in late 1973 by the late César Pavlovich Sugich, the son of Yugoslav immigrants who  settled in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, Palominos is the culinary epitome of high-end Sonoran cuisine.

Named after Pavlovich’s favorite horse breed — his parents were ranchers and young César couldn’t be kept off the range — Palominos offers a relaxed but tasteful setting for savoring some of the region’s finest traditional grilled steaks, barbecue, machaca and buttered-tortilla quesadillas, the trademark cookery of the desert state of Sonora.

The original Palominos restaurant was in Pavlovich’s native Hermosillo, Sonora, a family-style steakhouse that specialized in the meaty, wet-aged, wonderfully marbled, grain-fed cuts that have become synonymous with the state.

But over time, that local eatery expanded through branches across the country, including in Chihuahua, Culiacán, Tijuana, Guadalajara and, of course, Mexico City, with restaurants in both Insurgentes Norte, just across from the World Trade Center, and on Avenida Palmas in the capital’s swank Colonia Lomas de Chapultepec.

Late last month, the descendants of César Pavlovich — who continues to run the business with the same flair and commitment to Sonoran traditional as their patriarch — celebrated the restaurant brand’s first half century of success with a elegant, restaurant-wide dinner of some of Palominos’ most iconic dishes, along with a stirring live show of indigenous Sonoran dances.

The meal consisted of fresh tuna tostados smothered in a spicy creamed coriander sauce, grilled rib eye steaks with truffled French fried potatoes and thick natural vanilla ice cream topped with warm caramel sauce.

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