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A food guide to Mexico City



For anyone that hasn't been to CDMX, or Mexico City the first thing you should know is that it is a city of enormous size and diversity.  The scope of the city alone means you just can't scratch the surface over a few days but you can spend quite some time here to explore the many neighbourhood pockets (and divide them up to get a feel for each as they are all quite different). 

We visited CDMX in northern springtime which was wonderful to see all the blooming jacarandah dotted around the city and the weather was hot, but not too hot. If you visit at any time, you'll want to visit the tourist hub of the historical centre, simply for the beautiful old buildings and history centred around the zócalo, or main square. This is a good place to see the pre-hispanic ancient Mexica (Aztec) orignal site of the city and Spanish colonial buildings built over time such as the Mexican cathedral and palace. There are a lot of historical food shops around this area like one of Mexico's oldest sweet shops, Dulceria de Celaya. One pit stop you can make nearby for lunch or a spot at the bar is Caracol del Mar by Gabriela Cámara who is well known for her hard-to-get-a-seat at Contramar and Entremar restaurants. Caracol del Mar is set in the lobby of the Circulano Mexicano hotel by Group Habita who are behind some of Mexico's best boutique hotels. The entrance is indistinct but  inside the old building hanging plants create an oasis in the city. Within the same foyer a stop at Rocío chocolateria, a family-owned small batch chocolate producer from Tabasco (try the drinking chocolate or take a bar with you for later).

Over in Polanco is where you'll find luxury shopping and modern art museums Soumaya and Jumex which are close enough to visit both in one afternoon. Try Eno Cafe underneath Museo Jumex for a brunch of chilaquiles (fried tortilla topped with salsa verde, Mexican cheese and egg) before visiting the museums. In this affluent area is one of CDMX's best restaurants, Pujol by Enrique Olvera where you'll experience modern takes on Mexican ingredients and dishes in a zen setting. The signature being the mole madre, a traditional Mexican sauce made of many ingredients that include seasonal fruit, chocolate, at least three types of chilli, nuts, seeds and aromatics. Pujol's version has been aged for 3381 days when we visited and it is one of the most complex dishes your tastebuds will ever try. Mole Neuvo, or new mole is part of the dish and you can try the comparative differences in the two. 


Concha, a sweet bread from Saint Panaderia; San Angel Inn's Aztec soup (below).

On the other end of the spectrum, you can't come to CDMX without trying some street-style tacos from one of the many taquerias. One style is the al pastor taco (introduced from Lebanese immigrants, the al pastor is a doner-style rotisserie which in Mexico is pork with a pineapple on top). The meat and pinepple is shaved onto each tortilla which is heated on the comal. The beauty of the street taco is that you can snack on these in the afternoon or later in the night if you feel hungry and usually order just a couple if you like - the best way to eat tacos is standing up on the go. Recently there has been a bit of hype with the first taco stand to ever receive a Michelin star, El Califa de Leon. If you are going to try here, make sure to allow time as there will be a large queue, but you don't need to search far to find a good taco. One of our favourite taquerias is Taqueria Los Parados in Roma Sur. The al pastor tacos here are fresh, but they have a large selection of salsas and toppings you can add to amplify the flavour. The menu is also very large with various grilled meats you can choose from if you prefer. A favourite taqueria of previously mentioned Mexican chef Enrique Olvera is Los Panchos where they serve carnitas, or slow cooked pork that is finely chopped. It too has various locations to choose from. If you are a love offal like us, the beef tongue and tripe tacos at Taqueria Tlaquepaque should also be noted. 

Once you realise that the Mexican meal revolves around the tortilla you'll be able to try many versions of the tortilla at all levels of dining. One such place is La Docena oyster bar and grill known particularly for the fresh seafood, but you must try a version of chef Tomás Bermúdez bone marrow tacos in the style of London's St John with accompanying parsley salad and hot sauce. They also have a good focus on Mexican wines on the list, that is if you feel like taking a break from the tequila. 

Besides tacos and tortillas, Mexico has wonderful bakeries and we recomend trying concha, or shell in Spanish, a sweet brioche-like bread with a sugared crust that forms a speckled shell pattern when baked. One place to try this bread aswell as other delicious pastries is Saint Panaderia. We also love their donita de crème brûlée, a caramel glazed donut that is filled with custard. Rosetta Panaderia, a hole-in-the-wall bakery is also worth checking out and has a large following because of its sister restaurant, Rosetta nearby, where chef Elena Reygades was named best female chef in the world in 2023. The dishes at Restaurante Rosetta are beautifully prepared with a modern focus on Mexican ingredients and cuisine. It is one of the restaurants you should put on your list. They have a wonderful tequila list and if you arrive early they'll seat you in the bar which is perfect for trying a cocktail like the Toreador, a predescessor to the margarita. Colonia Roma is also a gorgeous neighbourhood with ornate buildings, great shopping and art galleries to visit for a walk after lunch to nearby Juárez where you'll find boutique shops like the newly opened Xinu fragrance boutique and if you love the Perla Valiterra ceramics at Rosetta, you'll find the maker at artisan homeware hub and gallery, Marso Galleria, as well as Rosetta's own shop next door.


Churros and hot chocolate from El Moro; A dish from Pujol (below).

On the outskirts of the central part of CDMX is more suburban Coyoacán, home to lovely tree-lined streets to walk around with bright colourful residences, as well as the Frida Kahlo museum, former home of two of Mexico's most famous artists, Kahlo and husband Diego Rivera. A favourite of ours in this area is Mi Compa Chava, a busy casual seafood restaurant with fun vibes. Dishes like the tostada "chapita" is a crisp tortilla topped with a mixture of octopus and jurelito (local fish, similar to bonito), avocado, a smoky salsa macha made with peanuts and dried chillies, plus a good selection of hot sauces on the table you can experiment with to add flavour and heat. It is all about seafood here - they cook whole fish over a charcoal grill and many dishes include raw and cooked various seafoods. One dish worth trying if you are in a larger group is the aguachile, a type of ceviche made with raw shrimp from Sinaloa, lime, chili serrano and a little bit of chiltepin, surrounded by sliced cucumber and topped with sliced avocado and thinly sliced red onion. The aguachile negro is dramatic in appearance from added squid ink and packs a big lime punch. Wash it all down with a michelada, a local beer over ice spiked with lime and hot sauce. Refreshing for the unwaivering Mexican heat. 

For something a little more traditional the San Angel Inn in neighbouring San Angel is the perfect lunch spot on a sunny day. Mostly local diners frequent this traditional hacienda dating back to 1616. Set in a beautiful fountain courtyard garden, finches sing around the rose bushes along with the accoustics of a mariachi band while waiters wear traditional charro. The bread and jocoque (artisanal cultured dairy) to start is fresh. Signatures here are the margarita which comes in a silver jug over ice which you pour only what you want to drink chilled. The tamarind margarita is worth trying as a take on the classic. Tableside Caesar salad - originally created in Tijuana - is very simple, prepared with a coddled egg, the dressing is whisked at the table and lightly tossed through leaves in a wooden bowl before serving, is a good option as a salad course. The Aztec soup is delicious and also one their icons list, a broth, with tortilla strips, avocado, sour cream and salsa. It's rustic and moreish. 

Before you leave Mexico City, you have to try another classic introduced by the Spanish, the life-changing churros. Churrería El Moro is one of the well known places with many outlets around the city. The churros, long coiled ropes of fried dough are served warm tossed in cinnamon or vanilla sugar and served alongside hot (or cold) drinking chocolate. These are addictive and the Condesa outlet is a lovely place to sit and people watch for a while.

Words and some images by Lisa Featherby for Eatable, remaining images Instagram.

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