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Where to Eat in Mexico City

By GeoEx Staff | 9/14/18

Plate of tacos and beans at one of Mexico's delectable restaurants

Anyone who has eaten his or her way through Mexico won't be surprised to hear that traditional Mexican cuisine was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010. On any trip to Mexico, a few extra days in Mexico City provide the opportunity for an exquisite sampling of the country’s diverse culinary traditions, including contemporary cuisine that tantalizes the worldliest of palates. 

Here’s where to eat in Mexico City on your next trip.

Fine Dining in Mexico City

Pujol is a top-rated restaurant where chef Enrique Olvera is working hard to elevate oft-overlooked staples of traditional Mexican cuisine. For example, his highly acclaimed and long-aged Mole Madre (the mother of all moles) is a simple plate of sauce—though utterly complex in flavor—savored with freshly made tortillas.

At Quintonil, Jorge Vallejo, former sous-chef at Pujol, blends home cooking and modern Mexican with seasonal produce harvested from their urban garden. Star dishes include suckling pig and avocado tartare with delicacies like escamoles (ant larvae) and grasshoppers. Quintonil has consistently ranked alongside Pujol on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant List.

Trendsetting Dining Experiences

For an intimate dinner with fellow local foodies in a secret location, consider a table at the Hidden Kitchen. These meals are held in regularly changing kitchen venues. It’s a special-access experience few travelers know about.

The St. Regis Mexico City hired talented Franco-Mexican Olivier Deboise Mendez as chef de cuisine at the J&G Grill, where he has curated a menu inspired by the creations of famous French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Ensuring the freshest local fish and produce, the venue cooks up classics like crab ravioli with shitake mushrooms and hamachi sashimi.

With chef Leslie Ramos at the helm, newcomer Pehüa celebrates pre-Hispanic Mexico in modern style. Portions are small, symmetrical, masterpieces of presentation. Look for rare varieties of heirloom corn among other delights.

New & Emerging Restaurants

The Mexico City restaurant scene includes international hot spots like Le Tachinomi Desu, a small standing-only Japanese wine bar with a light, three-course omakase menu, serving rare sakes and biodynamic and natural wines.

If the natural wine concept piques your palate, Baja California cuisine-inspired Amaya boasts an excellent list with a sophisticated menu in low-key style. Chef Jaír Téllez is also a winemaker, clearly inspired by wines that are difficult to find. Try his own label, Bichi, and the soft-shelled crab or beef tartare.

Merkavá is Mexico City’s first restaurant dedicated entirely to hummus. Dips are topped with perfectly matched fixings from steak to pickles, roasted garlic, nuts, and basil, served with fresh, wood-fired pita bread. The Jerusalem-inspired restaurant is proud to represent a cuisine based on cultural exchange, accessible to all, regardless of religion, making it one of the best places to eat in Mexico City.

Traditional Mexican Cuisine

“Elevated home cooking” is what Bon Appetit calls Nicos, a mainstay since 1957. Chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo turned his family restaurant into a Mexican Slow Food pioneer. When you’re searching for where to eat in Mexico City, consider this traditional neighborhood café with excellent service. House classics include chilaquiles and enchiladas, as well as forgotten recipes like rose-petal and strawberry salad.

Los Danzantes aspires to create sensory experiences through redefined traditional recipes and local vegetables grown organically on urban farmland in nearby Xochimilco. They are also known for an excellent selection of mezcals.

Contramar has been packed daily for the last 20 years, but locals say it’s worth the wait (or foresight to make a reservation ahead). Try the tuna tostadas and grilled whole fish. It’s a buzzy, busy, white-tablecloth venue that feels casual—a must for a lunch, followed by a long, slow stroll to siesta.

Working Up an Appetite

In between meals at the latest and greatest Mexico City eateries, you'll want to get out and explore the wonders of this former Aztec capital. We're fans of special-access visits and local-led forays into its art and architecture, checking out such gems as the Frida Khalo Museum, Diego Rivera’s murals, and the Great Pyramid ruins. You can also delve deeper into local cuisine by joining a chef for a private cooking class. Our travelers tell us that the more you do, the better the better every bite tastes. 

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When you're ready to go to Mexico, GeoEx's destination specialists are happy to make all the dining and touring arrangements working hand-in-hand with our on-the-ground network. 

To find out more about other food-focused journeys, give GeoEx a call at 888-570-7108.

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