Mexican food is famous around the planet and for a good reason. It is delicious! We are foodies and we’ve tried a lot of Mexico City's eateries created a short list to reference on your next visit. There is always something going on in the culinary scene with new flavours and combinations creating great meals.
As we said in our post about Where to stay in Mexico City, Mexican cuisine is world class and the thing that surprises me the most is the amount of different dishes that can be done with few ingredients. With corn flour, cream, cheese and sauces, Mexicans have created delicious combinations with incredible flavors such as sopes, huaraches, tamales, chilaquiles...
My favorite are chilaquiles: fried tortillas in a savoury, tangy, spicy sauce (both red and green) that's topped with cream and cheese... That makes my mouth water!
Best restaurants for Traditional Mexican Food
Villa Maria (Homero, 704): It is the best restaurant in Mexico City to try traditional cuisine in a fun atmosphere. It might be a bit touristy, but it has tasty dishes and live music from Mariachis or Trios. The walls are decorated with funny sentences that will make you laugh while you enjoy your meal with a delicious Margarita.
El Cardenal: This restaurant serves delicious traditional Mexican dishes, they even have some seasonal pre-hispanic specialties (the huevos maguey are super). They also have great breakfastsand bake their own bread so it comes to your table hot and fresh. My favorite location is the one in downtown, Palma St. 23. It is in a beautiful old French-style building.
Nicos (Cuitlauac, 3102): This is one of the best restaurants in Mexico and they serve authentic Mexican food in the south of the city. One of my favorite dishes is Chile en Nogada (a green pepper filled with meat, raisins and some other fruits, slathered with a walnut sauce and sprinkled pomegranate). Try this seasonal dish between August and October.
Best restaurants to have Seafood
Contramar (Durango, 200): Delicious seafood! Try pescado a la talla, a fish opened and grilled with a mild chile sauce and for breakfast try the strawberry and meringue tart. They only open for lunch and are especially busy on weekends.
Agua y Sal (Campos Eliseos, 199): Located in Polanco, in front of some of the best hotels in Mexico City, you’ll find this restaurant that serves delicious cebiches. I absolutely love the cebiche a la leña as a starter and Huachinango al Tamarindo, a red snapper with a sweet sauce and a pea risotto.
Our favorites from the very Best restaurants
Mexico has several restaurants ranked in the The World's 50 Best restaurants list by St. Pellegrino. We have tried all of them in Mexico City and of course they are great, but my favorites are:
Quintonil (Newton, 55): This restaurant serves local ingredients trasnforming traditional Mexican food into delicious creations.
Massimo Bistrot (Tonalá, 133): This place is not too expensive and serves simple and delicious cuisine. Number 41 on the list of Latin America's 50 best, this restaurant serves a blend of Mexican and French cuisine with excellent results. Book your table ahead of time because it is always full and it is pretty small.
Best street food in Mexico City
Altough this post is about restaurants, we couldn't finish talking about Mexican food without a mention to street food. Food trucks are trendy all over North America now, however, in Mexico (although they weren’t as fancy and decorated as they are now) they have existed for decades. Eating a taco standing on a puesto is a tradition, especially on working days. Some of our favorite places to enjoy this type of food are:
- Torta de chilaquil (Corner between Tamaulipas and Alfonso Reyes St., Condesa neighbourhood. These guys serve a sandwich heaping with tortilla chips, green or red spicy sauce (depending on the type of tomato used, the green one is a bit more sour than the red), chicken (either breaded or boiled), onion, coriander, cream and cheese. You will most likely have to line up for an hour if you visit on weekends, try from Monday to Wednesday when they are much less in demand! All they did was put out a table on the street to serve their food and when people found out how spectacularly delicious it is they sell out EVRY DAY!
- Tacos de canasta (Metro Chapultepec, by Torre Mayor): I used to work beside this place, so I have had their tacos for breakfast many many times and I still can’t get enough. They are called basket tacos because they put them on a basket so they keep warm and the tortillas can soak in the flavor. These tacos have a slightly fried tortilla and are filled with different stews. My favourite is the potato and beans, but all of them are delicious. They open at 9:30am until they sell everything, if it’s not Friday it is around 2pm. If you are staying in the Four Seasons or the St. Regis is your best option for a quick breakfast.
- Quesadillas for Dinner in Condesa (Zamora St. between Juan Escutia and Fernando Montes de Oca St.): This puesto has the best pambazos in the world (a sandwich of chorizo with chile) and their quesadillas are also delicious. The couple who runs this puesto are in no rush, so go before you get too hungry.
If you are planning a trip to the city check out our complete guide on Mexico City: Where to stay in Mexico City, you'll find insider information about the best neighborhoods to stay in, things to do in the city. Don't forget that if you make your hotel reservation through Wander will give back to the social cause you care about, at no extra cost for you.