In Mexico City, the remarkably small taco restaurant “Califa de León” has received a Michelin star – a rarity for a snack bar of its kind. Star chef serves in just 9.29 square meters, half of which is taken up by a massive steel plate grill Arturo Rivera Martínez has been making high-quality beef tacos for 20 years. Martínez, who recommends a cola with his dishes, focuses on simplicity and quality, which has now earned him international recognition.

On Wednesday, representatives from the Michelin Guide stopped by to present Martínez with one of the company’s heavy, long-sleeved, pristine white chef’s jackets. He hasn’t put them on: it’s far too hot for that in his three-by-three-meter-large business. The grill needs to be heated to an astounding 360 degrees Celsius. The prices in “Califa de León” are relatively high by Mexican standards; you have to pay around 4.60 euros for a taco. But the quality and ease of preparation of the tacos convinced the Michelin judges: tortilla, beef – and either red or green sauce. The restaurant does not offer seating and is often crowded due to its popularity.

The snack bar has been there since 1968. It was founded by Juan Alonso, the father of the current owner Mario Hernández Alonso. They avoided trademarking the “Califa” name, which led to a taco chain expanding under a similar name. Hernández Alonso leaves the social media presence to his grandchildren and is happy with the current state of the business.

The awarding of the coveted Michelin stars is based on a uniform rating system – regardless of the country. The criteria include the quality of the products, a personal touch, the price-performance ratio and consistent quality over the long term.