Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City Cuisine | What to Eat in Mexico City
To talk about the cuisine of Mexico City is to take a journey into the past, as the city has created specialty dishes with endemic ingredients ever since pre-Hispanic times. The main player out of these has to be the chili pepper, which is present in the large majority of typical dishes that Mexico has given the world.
When you visit the capital and explore its streets you have the chance to take a tour of the four corners of the country, as there is an endless array of restaurants in this immense metropolis that prepare the traditional delicacies that have earned Mexican cuisine the recognition of UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The variety also extends to the size of the establishments, which range from large restaurants to small places that offer "comida corrida", which consists of a menu of homemade dishes at affordable prices. A typical custom for people from the Federal District is to eat "guajolotas", which are normally sold at food stalls in the street and are made of a fried tamal in a bread roll, normally accompanied by the corn-based drink atole.
You can also find cuisines from around the world in the many restaurants of the city, a trait which gives the metropolis the cosmopolitan feel that makes it stand out.
Historic Downtown Area
Here you'll find lots of restaurants with a very traditional atmosphere. In spite of the large amount of restaurants, cuisines and prices in Mexico City, there are a number of places that never go out of fashion because the city folk have adopted them as their own. A prime example of this is the historic Sanborns de los Azulejos, the first of the chain that was founded in 1919 as a pharmacy-cum-department store and today it still remains an iconic place to dine.
Just a couple of blocks away, on the 41st floor of the Latinoamericana Tower, you'll find Miralto, a restaurant serving international cuisine and featuring a lounge atmosphere and spectacular views. If you're seeking somewhere cozier then look no further than La Opera Bar, which has been operating since 1876 and features French-style decor, with oil paintings by famous artists on the walls. In the afternoon, there's nothing better than the traditional Churreria El Moro, which has offered freshly made churros accompanied by a variety of hot chocolates, since 1935.
Al fresco restaurants, bohemian bars, and sophisticated cafes are what the Zona Rosa area is known for, all frequented by tourists and executives that work here. There is a diverse range of establishments that cater to all kinds of tastes, such as Konditori, which is famous for the gourmet pastries and international cuisine it has served since 1953. Another classic in the area is Restaurante Tokyo, with its Asian cuisine and typical Japanese-style façade. When we talk about Mexican cuisine in the neighborhood we can't help but mention Los Bisquets de Obregon, which offers traditional cuisine and has expanded successfully throughout the country with its "cafe lechero" (coffee with milk), its pastries, and home-style dishes.
This neighborhood is known for the designer boutiques that line its streets, as well as for the exclusive specialty restaurants and elegant bars. Over time new places come and go, but there are some traditional restaurants that remain timeless, such as Hacienda Los Morales, which is housed in a 400 year old building and has been exciting the palates of diners with its Mexican specialty dishes and refined atmosphere for over forty years. Another traditional establishment is Gruta Edhen, which has been serving delicious Lebanese cuisine since 1976.
In addition to great food, there are establishments that offer shows, live music, wine from sophisticated cellars, and a whole lot more. The best example of this is the Spanish restaurant Casa Avila, which has spent the last 23 years in the city wowing guests with exquisite dishes from award-winning chefs, as well as with an amazing flamenco show.
The cobbled streets of Coyoacan, surrounded by gardens, feature a wide variety of cafes, where diners can enjoy their meal at small outdoor terraces. The area has all kinds of restaurants, from the most modest to the very elegant. One to mention is Aqui Esta Texcoco, a charming eatery with a cozy Mexican atmosphere that has served gourmet cuisine since 1952.
Located right by the popular Los Coyotes fountain, the restaurant Los Danzantes has been awarded numerous prizes and produces its own mezcal; they also have a distillery in Oaxaca.
It is well worth mentioning that if you go to Coyoacan you have to try one of the region's delicious "nieves" (sorbet in a cone). It is very common to see families walking around the square with "nieves". Although there are lots of shops selling these ices, La Siberia is by far the most famous in Coyoacan", and was founded in 1930.
The colonial romanticism of San Angel has not gone unnoticed by restaurateurs, making it a wonderful area to enjoy a delicious meal in good company. This means, of course that trying to name the restaurants, bars, and cafes here seems like mission impossible, however El Cardenal, whose first branch opened its doors to diners in 1969, deserves a special mention, as it offers excellent Mexican cuisine. Another restaurant well worth a visit is Fonda San Angel, which is located in the square Plaza San Jacinto, and offers a pleasant informal atmosphere.
The Traditional Markets
"Bueno, bonito y barato", which roughly translates to "Good, Nice, and Cheap", is the motto of the markets in the city, which are everywhere and sell an endless array of snacks. One of the most popular is Coyoacan Market, which has 464 stalls, selling tasty snacks like empanadas, tostadas, enchiladas, "pambazos", pozole, and even typical Mexican candies. Another iconic market that has existed since the colonial era, is the La Lagunilla Market, which sells delicious tacos, pibil pork, tamales, and stuffed corn "gorditas" on Sundays.
Opened in 1957, La Merced Market now forms part of the daily life of local people looking for delicious fresh seafood, as well as for vegetables, flowers, and dried fruits.
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