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Mexico City Dining


Blue Heron
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In February, some friends and I are coming from Seattle to Mexico City for a week (part of a six week gustatory tour). We're largely seafood eaters, but certainly wouldn't turn down a great meal that wasn't seafood. One of my friends was born and raised in Mexico so this will help with any language barrier issues. Unfortunately, she hasn't been to Mexico City for ten years so can't help much with choosing great dining locations.

Also, we're thinking we might do a short flight somewhere else in Mexico for a day or two if there are some spectacular restaurants elsewhere in Mexico we might otherwise be missing.

Here are some restaurants that my research to date indicates might fit the bill. Please let me know where I'm going astray, and what restaurants I'm missing.

Izote

Tezka

Aguila y Sol

Hacienda de los Morales

El Candelero

Ligaya

Isidora

Fonda Don Chon

El Tajin

Edited by japanesegeek (log)
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go to La Onda for the Taco Envuelto. ok maybe not, but look for this dish! it's a carne asada taco with a fried cheese tortilla instead of a flour/corn one. delish!

also, imho, Hacienda de Los Morales' food is overrated. The atmosphere is great and service is wonderful. The food is very good but nothing outstanding or what you can't get in the States. so i think i'd prefer to eat the authentic food served in the street markets.

Edited by yimay (log)
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Tezca and Aguila y Sol are definetly two places to check out (neither of them very cheap). I have to agree on the Hacienda de los Morales, way overrated, nice place but so-so food. I would much rather recommend San Angel Inn.

Fonda Don Chon is excellent, but it's most certainly bordering on the "exotic". You'll be eating things like bear, lion, armadillo, worms.

I would be careful about the street food. For tacos, El Tizoncito or El Charco de las Ranas is worth going to. For other "street food" I would also recommend Maria Isabel (tostadas, sopes, etc).

Arley Sasson

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Whoa! You're headed for some really fine dining experiences.

To provide a touch of AlkaSeltzer for the old purse, try in the DF:

Churreria los Moros

Los Girasoles

Cafe Tacuba (breakfast)

Bar La Opera - an gentleman's retreat (w/or without the secretary) since the Porfiriato/where Villa watered his lieutenants upon their arrival in the DF - bullet holes still in the stamped tin ceiling. Have the tripitas and the ensalada de berros.

Dulceria de Celaya - the Art Nouveau jewel box of candy shops

Fonda del Refugio - the old grande dame, and still kicking

Bar Las Sirenas - roof bar overlooking the Templo Mayor

The food stalls in La Merced

And in Puebla:

Hotel Royalty - especiall the rabbit in rosemary; guajolotes for appetizers

Meson de la Sacristia for mole

La Pasita bar (have a pasita w/queso fresco) near Calle de los Sapos

Fonda Sta Clara (though good, a bit overrated; chiles en nogada are out of season)

Breakfast at the Camino Real

For fish/seafood, you really want to head for the coast, esp West coast

If Balam's in Vallarta is still there, the pescado sarandeado.

Doggie bags and detailed descriptions appreciated!

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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La Merced huh? Make sure to pack some heat...

Another place you should check out is Los Almendros. This is for food typical of Yucatan, try the Lima Soup, Pollo Oriental and the pheasant.

Arley Sasson

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La Merced huh? Make sure to pack some heat...

Surely you are referring to chiles? 'Cause the penalties for packing heat in Mexico are unlovely in extremis.

Now, the curanderos/brujos market can be a little scary, but La Merced? Just dress drably, divest yourself of a look of 'tourist' or prosperous person, and, for heaven's sake, leave the Rolex at home!!! Never really had a problem there.

Oh, yeah. Add Carmen Ramirez Degollado's El Bajio to the list. And the Circulo de Suroeste. Hell, go to Sanborn's Casa de Azulejos for b'fast and note the buzzing see and be seen scene - tourists, but an amazing number of nationals. While there look at the Garden of Eden murals on the wall and tell me if those flying egrets don't look like pterodactyls.

And do not miss Panaderia La ideal or their wedding and quinceanera cake room. It's on Calle Uruguay, just around the corner from Churreria los Moros.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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If you're up for a bit of an outting, either an overnight or same day round trip, have lunch or dinner at Las Mananitas in Cuernavaca, about 50 miles south of Mexico City. A beautiful outdoor dining patio and one of the finest restaurants in Mexico - also a member of Relais & Chateaux

I did four days there a few years ago and can't wait to get back.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Just got back from Mexico and Mexico City, where we spent our last five days. Tried to do as much eating as possible, but many places where closed either early or for the holidays. In particular Izote, where i really wanted to go.

Although disappointed, was redeemed with great food and service experiences at El Bajio - those huazontle rellenos and the carnitas are unreal. Carmen's daughter, a pastry chef, is making the desserts, had a beautiful cheese cake with a jamaica (hibiscus flower) sauce, to die for.

Fonda El Refugio, absolutely fab, classic cuisine and great service.

Bar Opera, wrap yourselves into one of those red velvet booths and enjoy the ambience, food , music and drinks.

Casa Lamm - very chic with their new renovation and great for breakfast, although a little too much on the cream sauce. But great coffee and morning sun.

Casa de los Azulejos ( Sanborns) - yes, indeed. My favourite Sanborns. Have taken to the coffee shop side where older eccentrics tend to hang. Love it.

Cafe la Habana - as a coffee addict, I would throughly recommend this 1950's throw back that roasts on site and has the most incredible Italian coffee machines with super fast baristas pulling shots like nobody's business. Buy coffee beans in three roasts for home - they make your hotel room and luggage smell divine. The cafe boasts a visit from Fidel Castro in his pre-revolution stage.

And evening strolls in the Zocalo in the historic centro, I can never resist the corn on the cob that gets a little toasting on the grill, slathered with chile, salt and lime juice.

Do go in the cathedral in the zocalo. Finally the scaffolding has been removed. We strolled in on New Year's day, the ancient organ was playing that added to the magnificence of each and every shrine and you can now take tours of the bell tower.

More coffee haunts for me are also the Cafe La Blanca on Cinco de Mayo and Isabel la Catholica. I have a thing for the older gentleman waiters in bow ties. They have so much style and grace.

This is my first day back and I miss it already.

There is one negative note. I would definitely NOT recommend going to Los Girasoles. I have gone there every year since they've been open and will not ever go again. Had very bad service, food was sub standard and we were treated very poorly. You know the kind of service where the wait staff and management are vastly superior, the customer is always wrong and you are being charged ridiculous prices. Basically the vibe was hurry up and get out.

The wine prices are great here though, but the white wine came to the table with a layer of ice all over it. We wanted to try a tempranillo we had been looking for, but the plato fuerte arrived before we had finished our appetizers. They were ripped out from under us, I could go on, but it is too painful.

I wanted to gently voice my concerns to that dweeb of a captain they have working there. Although I get by in my rudimentary Spanish I wanted to speak to him in English, which I have done in the past and he to me. All of a sudden he could no longer speak English and claimed he could never speak English. It makes me shudder to think of it. Super creapy experience, one of which I have never had in my 14 years of traveling to Mexico.

So please pass on the experience of Los Girasoles. There are so many other great places to go in

that incredible city.

Shelora

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I just love all these recommendations. As Esperanza said, there's no decent guide to restaurants in Mexico City.

Perhaps it's worth pointing out for followers of this thread that don't know Mexico City that there are several distinct restaurant areas in Mexico City. Maybe we could gradually fill them in because the city's so huge and the traffic so terrible especially with construction on the Periferico that you really have to pick an area.

Plus, as a resident, I'm always on the look out for any good restaurant be it Mexican or not. Apart from a few old standbys Mexican restaurants are a pretty new phenomenon in Mexico. It always used to be a terrible problem for Mexicans to find Mexican restaurants to take visitors to.

Center/Zona Rosa which are the areas visitors typically get to (as well as a lot of locals). this is the area with lots of monuments. The center which was horribly scruffy is finally and slowly getting tidied up years after the earthquake and the decline associated with most centers got under way. The Zona Rosa is going in the reverse direction.

Chapultepec/Polanco area. This is the well-to do area closest to the center. It's bursting with chic and often very good restaurants though I don't know it well. It's not surprising that many of the new Mexican restaurants, including Izote, are strung out north of Reforma between this area and the Center. I was once taken to Charlotte's bistro and thoroughly enjoyed it. Open only for lunch and at least then a tiny place with four or five tables it offers French/Mediterranean by an English woman

who does a lot of high end catering in the city.

The West and the North (Satellite). There have to be good restaurants in these wealthy areas but who knows what or where they are.

Colonia Roma/Condessa. Hip, coming up in the world again to the glory that they had in the late nineteenth century. Shelora mentioned Casa Lamm. Nickarte could probably add lots more if he's still checking from time to time.

The South (San Angel/Coyoacán). Well worth visiting, just look in any guide book. Whoops, I've got to log offf unexpectedly. More on the south in a while

Rachel

Rachel Caroline Laudan

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a friend who is in Cuernavaca for a week and he wants to know what to bring back to me. He has packed an extra bag to fill with things just for me! :blush: However I have no idea what to ask for, I know I want dried peppers of various kinds and corn husks for tamales, and Masa Harina, and one of those pans for roasting peppers. What other food products for making Mexican dishes are best bought in Mexico? Does anyone know a thread on this? But mostly, from Cuernavaca, what is the easiest place to buy foods and kitchen implements to travel? Any advice will help. Thank you. :smile:

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I'd say have him not waste space on the comal (the pepper roasting pan). A clay one is too fragile to travel and a metal one isn't necessary. Any griddle will do; I char my chiles on a round cast iron griddle and it works fine.

Masa harina...well, you'll find uses for it. Corn husks, yes. Dried chiles, definitely. Here's a short list of several dried varieties he should buy:

guajillo

ancho

de arbol

chipotle

cascabel

Also ask him to buy some cans of chiles jalapeño en escabeche. The very best brand is La Morena; almost any size can is available. And tell him to pick up a couple of cans of chiles chipotle en adobo.

He could buy you some dried maíz colorado, dried red corn kernels, to be rehydrated for pozole or nixtamal-ized for grinding into masa.

If he's really a glutton for punishment, ask him for a molcajete con tejolote (volcanic rock mortar and pestle). This will weigh a lot, but there's no good substitute. He'll want to find one that is very small-pored. If he brings it to you, ask me later how to cure it for use.

Tell him to ask in Cuernavaca for the location of the Mercado de Abastos or any central market.

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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I'd say have him not waste space on the comal (the pepper roasting pan).  A clay one is too fragile to travel and a metal one isn't necessary.  Any griddle will do; I char my chiles on a round cast iron griddle and it works fine.

Masa harina...well, you'll find uses for it.  Corn husks, yes.  Dried chiles, definitely.  Here's a short list of several dried varieties he should buy:

...

...

Tell him to ask in Cuernavaca for the location of the Mercado de Abastos or any central market.

Thank you ever so much for your advice. I will send him to the Mercado de Abastos in Cuernavaca for these things. :smile:

Should I ask him for mexican chocolate to make a mole or can I use local chocolate with no difference?

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Yes, by all means have him buy Mexican chocolate. If he can find chocolate de metate, that's what he should get. If not, Moctezuma is a good brand, as is Ibarra. Mexican chocolate is made with sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes almonds ground into the mix, so it's very different from what you have in France. Great that you thought of it!

The mole that has a bit of chocolate is mole poblano, Puebla style mole. There are many, many moles that don't contain chocolate. You undoubtedly know this already...

Be sure to have him bring you a Mexican lime squeezer--a metal one, you don't want one of the flimsy plastic ones. You'll wonder what in the world you did without it. The lime goes into the squeezer with the rounded side facing you, the cut side down. You squeeze the handle et voilá.

There are also orange squeezers that work the same way, but I don't find them quite as satisfactory.

Edited by esperanza (log)

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some of my favorites:

The Mercado in Colonia del Valle - the dining room off to the side has two vendors. Jorge ( I don't know his last name) and his family have been selling the best carnitas in Mexico City for decades. My family has been going there for ages and every time I return to Mexico City for my feast there, Jorge always remembers me as the daughter of the one who lives in Chicago.

The Mercado in Coyocacan: I don't have a particular favorite here but have had many memorable meals wandering the stalls. One that stands out is a vendor that makes the most awesome tostadas.

El Bajio, of course! but that has been mentioned several times here.

When I take the late flight into Mexico City and arrive around 11 pm, my family always takes me for tacos at El Charco de las Ranas in Mixcoac.

I don't know if it is still around but my grandfather used to take us to Ostioneria Boca del Rio when we were kids for the oyster and shrimp cocktails. When we were very young, he would take all his grandchildren, about seven of us at the time, on the trolley for Churros at El Moro. We had to be all dressed up and on our best behavior whenever we would go out with him.

We would also visit him at his bookstore downtown with my mom and while she would visit with him, we would head off to the shoe store a few storefronts down (El Borsegui (sp?)) where they had aguas frescas in those old fountain drink dispensers and we could help ourselves to them. Apparently, the owner was friends with my grandfather and for this reason alone, put up with our antics. These places may no longer be there but they are treasured memories of my time in Mexico City.

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I found Dining Guide for Mexico City, which also lists my favorite Delicatessen, Sep's, at Michoacan y Tamaulipas (I believe in Condesa or Hippodromo), but I haven't been there for a while. They had very good paté and German style breads when I was there. I will be returning to Mexico City on March 5, 2005, unfortunately only for a week, but I do hope to visit some of the newer restaurants, including Izote. I'll be staying with a friend in Anzures, who also has a house in Oaxatepec, and so we may go there as well.

One of my best dining experiences in Mexico City was at a restaurant in Del Valle, on Insurgentes Sur, I believe (this was in 1981, and so I can't be sure), where I had the best Cabrito al Horno ever. I hope my friends will remember this restaurant. On my last visit (2002) I went to San Angel on a Sunday (very crowded) and had only so-so food at Mexican restaurant there. The neighborhood was beautiful, as well as the restaurant, but the service was extremely slow.

If you go to Guanajuato, I recommend going to Santa Cecilia castle , which has been converted to a restaurant. I was there in 1992 and enjoyed both the food and the atmosphere, but it would have been memorable even if the food had not been good.

I very much appreciate the reviews I've been reading here, as I did not have current info on dining out in Mexico City and hope to take advantage of being able to visit some new and interesting restaurants.

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I like the pastelería on Juan de la Barrera 92 and Matehuala, across from Edificio Condesa, where some of my friends live. You can find the address here. There used to be a woman who would sit in front of the panaderia in the evenings and make empanadas (with masa). My favorite ones were filled with huitlacoche. Because my friends knew her, I felt safe buying from her and did not get sick. She's no longer there, but there is a nice heladería across the street from the pastelería.

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Don't have time to add much except to say that at night, Mercado Merced is indeed quite dangerous. It's $5 hooker and drug dealer territory. If you're looking to get robbed, AIDS, or put in jail, go there at night. The only place in Mexico City I felt truly scared. I walked about block and then ran back to the Metro station. And I walked around by myself all over el centro and zona rosa, even taking a night stroll to look at those statues and obelisks in the middle of the street.

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I found a copy of Gente & Casa from March 2003, and it had restaurant review for the following:

Salute – Pardo Norte 125, Lomas de Chapultepec (Jamaican)

La Bouchon – Julio Verne esq. Vergilio, Polanco (French)

CafÉ – Monte Líbano 246, Lomas de Chapultepec (Contemporary)

Ici – Tennyson 102, Polanco (Mediterranean, Spanish)

Landó – Emlio Castelar 121, Polanco (Grill/Bistro)

It also had ads for the following restaurants:

Additional restaurants advertising:

Grotto (Oyster & Prime Sushi Bar)

Bristro Cibeles (Mediterranean)

Il Fornaio (Italian)

Altamira (Spanish)

El Discreto Encanto de Comer (French)

Estoril

Sofia (Italian)

Bice (Italian)

I found reviews for some of them at

Virtual Tourist

I realize that the magazine is old, but some of ther restaurants may still be there.

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I see that you can't edit posts here, or else I would do that. I wanted to add a link to a photo of me taken in a D.F. restaurant. I forget which floor the patio was on, but you can see the main cathedral behind me. The restaurant overlooks the zocalo, and I went there mainly for the view. Since it was over 20 years ago, I don't remember the food.

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  • 2 months later...
Would love to hear recs of worthwhile restaurants or food sites in Mexico City.  I will be visiting over Memorial Day weekend. Any feedback would be much appreciated!

Would love to make some suggestions, but not certain what "worthwhile" might connote.??!!??

Regards,

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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well i cant imagine that someone on this website would post something thats was NOT worthwhile but I am just looking for places not found in your everyday guide book. Looking for: restaurants, street vendors, markets, etc

Edited by besos_foods (log)
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Welcome besos-foods. Your business looks fascinating. If you're interested in fresh foods, you are going to love lots of the places you can visit in Mexico City. It's a great place for the food explorer. Perhaps the way to get off to a flying start is to google this forum. Lots of people have posted reports of their experiences in Mexico City. That might give you some ideas about places you want to ask more about. And then we can try to fill you in,

Rachel

Rachel Caroline Laudan

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