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Blue Heron

Mexico City Dining

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Yep. There's always next time though! I have a feeling we'll be back down that way and El Moro will still be around.

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I just returned from a few days in Mexico City -- I ate a bunch of street food for breakfast and lunch, but for dinner I ate at Quintonil, Pujol, and Biko. These restaurants all feature on the 2015 San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list (at 16-Pujol, 35-Quintonil, and 37-Biko) and while of course we can debate the merits of that list forever, they are all highly-regarded restaurants. Quintonil and Pujol present fare that is recognizably Mexican, while Biko tends to lean a bit closer to a Modernist French but with Mexican ingredients.

 

I ate tasting menus at all three (at Pujol it isn't really a tasting menu, it's a fixed-price meal with several options for the specific courses). Overall I found the Top 50 ordering of the restaurants to match my experience, with Pujol being conspicuously better than the other two, and honestly Biko not really making the grade, in my opinion. Biko was not a bad restaurant by any means, but a World Top 50? Seems a bit farfetched to me. That said, all of these restaurants, and indeed Mexico in general, present an excellent value coming from the US. The dollar is strong against the peso right now, so the meals were very affordable compared to their competition on the Top 50 list, and all three restaurants featured some very nice imported wines that are quite pricey in the US and very reasonable in MX at the moment.

 

Here are just a few specific notes from the meals I ate there, in the order I ate them... of course keep in mind that these menus change dramatically month-to-month, and there are even in some cases significant day-to-day course variations.

 

Quintonil

Quintonil started strong and decayed from there, as is often the case with long tasting menus. I found the single best thing to be the amuse bouche that launched the meal, a sort of ceviche "tostada" with a small round of a kale leaf serving as the tortilla. I also enjoyed the smoked crab tostada (slightly closer to what you would normally think of as a tostada than the amuse!). The nopales sorbet they served as the first dessert course was good, though serving it unadorned as a simple quenelle seemed to sell it a bit short. The remainder of the courses were good, but not particularly outstanding. The pacing of the meal was pleasantly leisurely, and the waitstaff were happy to re-explain things in excellent English when my Spanish skills proved inadequate at a few points during the meal.

 

Pujol

At Pujol every single course was great, up until dessert. Some things were better than others, but it was all top-notch. Particular standouts were smoked baby corn in a mayonnaise sauce with chicatana powder, a rabbit in red pipian, and a barnacle ceviche (I didn't even realize you could eat barnacles). They also make an absolutely top-notch mole, which was served as a course on its own with hoja santa-laminated tortillas for dipping. They brought out an array of desserts, but none of them managed to equal the excellence shown in the earlier courses. However, bonus points for an excellent Mezcal list. At first the meal seemed a bit rushed, but things settled down after the second course and the pacing was overall fine. Like Quintonil the wait staff were happy to switch to English when my Spanish failed me (say, for "barnacles").

 

Biko

Unlike the other two restaurants, Biko has a bit of a reputation of being less friendly to English-speakers. My guess is that this is mostly due to the lack of an English-language version of their menu. I heard a lot of English in the dining room around us and the wait staff seemed ready enough to explain things in English when necessary. The real problem with Biko was that until dessert, none of the courses really impressed. That's not to say it wasn't good food, or even that it wasn't a good value... but when compared to my previous two nights' meals, it was sort of plain. It did, however, feature the best dessert of the week, a mousse topped with toasted quinoa, peanuts, cocoa nibs, and a small dark chocolate "truffle" filled with cream. The pacing here was good, giving a good amount of time between the larger courses, without letting things drag.

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Good reading.  We are in Oaxaca and our Top 50 list is mostly "who has the best comida corrida" in the 50-100 pesos range.  Lots of N. Americans here, many on a fairly small budget, and when the main meal of the day, by tradition, is $3-6 U.S it is a big help. Dinner, later in the day is often Al a Carte and more expensive.

SO, different strokes for different folks, food wise as always. I'm afraid the fancy places might be wasted on me but I like to read about it.  

Mexico is a food scene for sure!

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I'm heading back to Mexico City in October, and would love to hear any dinner recommendations (as mentioned above, last time there we ate at Quintonil, Pujol, and Biko). We'll go to Pujol again, but would probably like something different for the other nights we are there. Any suggestions? Preferably walking distance from Museo Nacional de Antropología since we are staying near there.

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Will be in CDMX for a week next month.  Apartment is in Roma Norte near Chapultepec Park.  

 

Haven't been to the City for a few years.  Have eaten at Pujol, Azul Condesa and Contramar but looking for newer adventures.

 

Has anyone been to the new (to us) MercadoRoma?   

 

Also there is/was a full-time culinary school that served meals a few days a week....I cannot find the name after a day of googling.  Anyone know this place?  It was in the Condesa neighborhood but school was on break last time we tried to eat there.  

 

Any other restaurant recommendations would be much appreciated.  

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