Tienes hambre? Then make sure to pack your appetite (and some stretchy pants) for a trip to Mexico City. The vivacious metropolis combines Old World charm with a red-hot culinary scene that’s currently taking the food world by storm.
“Mexico City is a hot spot because of its diversity and quality. You can get any kind of food you’re looking for, from excellent tacos to amazing fine dining experiences,” says Elizabeth Chichino, who handles public relations for the restaurant Lorea. “And many Mexican chefs have traveled the world and learned from great restaurants that no matter the concept, quality is the cornerstone for growth.”
Whether your taste in dining runs haute cuisine or hole-in-the-wall, there’s a multitude of mouthwatering meals to discover. Here’s where to dig in:
Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at Fonda Mayora. The latest venture from renowned chef Gerardo Vazquez Lugo is a go-to for a great morning.
Land a table outdoors, order the fresh bread basket with local honey and soak up the scene. Don’t leave without trying the hueuos encamisados, eggs baked inside fresh tortillas. If this seems slightly excessive, just remember you’ll need the energy to explore the city’s top food haunts on foot.
Start burning off those calories by wandering La Merced, one of Mexico’s largest food markets, located about a mile southeast of the city’s famed central plaza, the zocalo. Vendors of all stripes — spice merchants, torta slingers, even insect sellers — cram the narrow passageways with intriguing snacks and edible souvenirs you can take home.
Take a breather from the bustling market with a wine-fueled lunch at Amaya.
Owned by restaurateur Jair Tellez, the eatery pours natural, organic and biodynamic wines from Mexican and Latin American producers alongside delicious wood-fired dishes such as roasted cauliflower with tahini guacamole.
For dinner, try to score a seat at the buzzed-about Fonda Fina the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. Opt for the rotisserie chicken with mole or the tender grilled octopus, but don’t leave without requesting the teporocho (slang for someone so drunk that he can’t get off the sidewalk). The potent, Long Island iced-tealike concoction is playfully served in a paper bag.
If you’d rather sample the city’s molecular gastronomy scene, try Lorea, which presents guests with just two tasting menus for an exquisite, haute cuisine experience. No matter which one you choose, all meals here look like plated works of art.
Launch day two with Mexican coffee and a cinnamon-sugar-laced churro as you stroll Mercado Roma, a two-story, modern-day food hall packed with gourmet eats and drinks.
Upstairs at Sereni, the creative culinary abilities of chef Fernando Martinez — known for spotlighting the top ingredients from his home state of Michoacan — are on full display in thoughtful dishes like marinated trout from the city of Zitacuaro with smoky chile mayo and caviar.
To prove Mexico City is a global hub for gourmands, make stops at Merkava for Jerusalem-inspired hummus with pillowy pita bread, and then try the pintxos bar at Sagardi for tiny snack bites straight out of Spain’s Basque Country.
Feeling full yet? Don’t leave without a mouthwatering six- or seven-course meal at world-renowned Pujol. Reimagined in 2017, Enrique Olvera’s much-celebrated restaurant moved to a new location complete with a backyard garden and an updated menu. Luckily, crowd favorites like the baby corn and famous mole madre, which mellows for an unbelievable 700 days, still made the menu. It’s a tasty bookend to a toothsome tour of Mexico City.
Where to Stay
Even if you’re stuffed, save room for a night-cap (say, a gin and tonic sorbet) at J by Jose Andres in the fashion-forward W Hotel, before hitting the sheets. Located in the stylish Polanco neighborhood, it’s an ideal place to call home base during your south-of-the-border binge fest.