| Brunch |

At Uptown’s Latest Brunch Hot Spot, It’s All About House Plants and Carbs

The interior at San Martin is verdant with with faux greenery.EXPAND
The interior at San Martin is verdant with with faux greenery.
Taylor Adams
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

It’s nice having things that remind you of your childhood.

If you grew up in Dallas, remember the Bennigan’s that used to be near the skating rink in the Galleria? A favorite of mine, as a 7-year-old, was the plate of fried cheese sticks, which came with a bland marinara-like sauce for dipping.

Turns out, eating at San Martin takes one back to that mediocre sauce with a more watery version. Brunch here isn’t unpalatable, but there’s really not much flavor to rave about in this much-ballyhooed Uptown spot.

Definitely not terrible: the aesthetics here. Ceilings fit for two stories with large windows swimming in natural light feel nice. The owl decorations around the space are cute. The plants hanging from walls and in pots offer the right shade of green in your background. But it all feels a bit inauthentic.

San Martin is part bakery and part restaurant.EXPAND
San Martin is part bakery and part restaurant.
Taylor Adams

Service didn’t offer any more authenticity. The wait for someone to even acknowledge us made us wonder if we missed a counter where we were supposed to order. You order at the table, but you might have to wait for it.

The menus are nothing short of small books, with photos for each item. According to the elaborate menu, “San Martin was founded in 1974, with a vision to embrace the vibrant food culture of Guatemala …” so you’ll find some dishes that sound interesting, especially for those uninterested in yet another order of Southern fried chicken and waffles. But once you get a plate of soggy cheese topped with egg (and that watered-down tomato sauce), you’ll feel less excited.

In a neighborhood that covets great coffee, San Martin's doesn't stand out, and while the refried beans and plantains are flavorful, the kitchen seems inconsistent with eggs.

The Salvadoreno ($11.95) sounds good with two corn tortillas stuffed with chicharron or cheese with loroco. But the end product was soggy, not crispy, and certainly wasn't reminiscent of a pupusa. The two eggs on top were cooked perfectly to the requested medium. But that disappointing ranchera sauce can ruin just about anything.

San Martin's SalvadorenoEXPAND
San Martin's Salvadoreno
Taylor Adams

We asked for a side of meat and got a blank stare from our waiter, who eventually decided chorizo was the answer. A plate of cubed meat sitting in grease came to us, allegedly offering protein but definitely not any enticing flavor.

The redeeming aspect of this place may be the bakery across from the dining room. The smells fill the restaurant, and the little rows offer plenty of baked goods to take home. The nice imagery on Facebook followed by a cool interior design made us hopeful for this place, but brunch needs some work.

Baked goods are a specialty here.EXPAND
Baked goods are a specialty here.
Taylor Adams

San Martin Bakery and Restaurant, 3120 McKinney Ave. (Uptown). Breakfast served 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.