A skyscraper resort suits this cosmopolitan city. In a megalopolis of 22 million people, the vast majority of whom live on the wrong side of a massive economic divide, the reality is far messier. Options overwhelm: high and low; plates balanced on knees while you sit on plastic chairs on the sidewalk or avant-garde tasting menus served in gleaming towers (“Look for the security guards” were the instructions I was given on the way to one of the latter); markets, pastry shops, cantinas, and cocktail bars; late night, early morning; ingredients and dishes from every part of Mexico and from the wide world beyond. Pick a Neighborhood. I am embarrassed to say before I visited Mexico City, I didn’t really “get” mezcal. At Meroma, Mercedes Bernal uses immaculate Mexican ingredients for dishes that draw inspiration from all over the world—including something as simple as Caesar salad—best enjoyed on a leafy balcony that overlooks the sidewalks of Roma Norte. It’s bewildering, a little frightening, containing multitudes, ultimately unknowable, though I was determined to do my best. The entire means of craft tortilla production—from barrels filled with soaking kernels to a press stamping out perfect circles—is on display behind the counter of Molino el Pujol, a bright and airy tamale shop recently opened by chef Enrique Olvera, whose high-end Pujol has long been an international dining destination. Straw baskets containing herbs and vegetables hang from the ceiling. “Whose mother is honored in the restaurant’s name?” I asked the chef, Rubén Amador, as he worked on wrapping a new batch. Calle Liverpool 44a; 52-55-5705-3491. I stopped for a moment to watch one of the many street vendors along Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma prepare this transportable snack served out of a cup: layering roasted corn, mayonnaise, cheese, hot pepper and lime and all over again to the top. The mezcal in Tornés’s jug was clear as rainwater but rich and wild-tasting. The preferred repast at Mexico City restaurant El Moro: churros and chocolate. This is just the kind of fancy hotel snack and international comfort food you want as you sip a ginger margarita (or one of the hotel’s endless Mexican craft beers, if that’s more your speed) and watch the world go by. To be a Great Eating City, it is not enough to have great food. After school, he traveled widely through Mexico’s countryside, especially his native Guerrero, largely by bike, learning rural cooking techniques and building relationships with farmers and producers. Why Mexico City's Dining Scene Is Worth Planning a Trip Around. Pia Riverola. But it is that magical taste and color of the blue corn that transports this dish to another place entirely. “The Mexico City food scene is truly rich, presenting a kaleidoscope of flavor,” said David Cáceres, co-founder and head baker of La Panadería, in a news release. Olvera’s food is absurdly clever but the flavors are never upstaged by fussy presentation. Often, of course, they are one and the same, but not always. Puerto Vallarta. The trip takes you between Tequila and Guadalajara. a room next door, you can fortify yourself with simple but revelatory small plates. Mexico City’s answer to Krispy Kreme, the old school coffee shop El Moro features adorable waitresses in peacock-blue uniforms and crisp white aprons and an old world space whose chilly tile floors and low lights offer a respite from the sun and crowds beyond. Scenes from a Mexico City Street Food Tour. Departures is a trademark of American Express Marketing & Development Corp. and flair. All rights reserved. The warm tortillas in which all of these came wrapped was only the tip of the iceberg compared with the Nebraska-sized acres of corn-with-something-onor-in-it I would consume. The incredible turkey tortas at the street food stand Tortas Tortas (54 Dolores Street in the downtown historic center) operated by Luis “Luigi” Buenrostro come accessorized with avocado and homemade chipotle salsa and like all great street food, demand to be eaten standing, right then and there, salsa dripping down your arm, as soon as they’re dished up. A consistent winner for food tourists, the capital city of Lebanon draws in culinary talent from … Such is the case with a gorgeous bowl of mushrooms Téllez served up at a preview of his newest restaurant. Try something old with your something new. Famous chefs are flocking to the vast, vibrant, always happening Mexico capital, and local restaurateurs are snagging up real estate faster than you can say guacamole. A raucous daytime canteen for Mexico City’s elite (and plenty of American visitors), Gabriela Cámara’s restaurant is a dream for the mariscos-minded. Your flight landed in Mexico City late and you’re hungry. “Someone will be like, ‘I got all these beautiful pears. This one-room, modern haven is dedicated to the many faces of one of Mexico City’s most ubiquitous foods. Mexico City's Roldan 37 Restaurant is one of the city's ultrachic restaurants. The city has a venerable history of literary and political exiles, a bohemian frisson evoked by a particular species of old-world-seeming characters you see lingering in cafés and restaurants with their rumpled suits, heavy-framed glasses, and stubby cigarettes. The food scene in Mexico City is one of the most exhilarating on the planet; some people come here just to eat. Benjamín Hill 146; 52-55-5271-3515. A medley of street foods starts the meal, including baby corn on skewers served from a hollowed out gourd so diners could gather around the dish like a warming campfire. Does anybody have a spare person?’ We try to help each other through the maze,” said Lindeman. But this speciality of the Mexico City St. Regis celebrates the sublimity of fresh, native ingredients prepared without too much fancy intervention. At Cicatriz, set on a pretty roundabout in Juárez, American expat Scarlett Lindeman and her brother, Jake, have built a convincing simulacrum of an all-day Brooklyn café, complete with avocado toast and laptops, a chicken sandwich that perpetually makes the Instagram rounds, and a raucous scene of creatives enjoying classic cocktails by night. An international all-day café done to Brooklyn perfection, on a lovely Juarez square. Pedregal 24; 52-55-7600-1280. No, not chicken: bugs. Photo by: Daniel Klinckwort/Ana Laframboise. Part of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic food traditions, the diamond-shaped blue corn tlacoyo is cooked on a small metal griddle with a shelf inside for the hot coals and often holds a mash of fava beans and cactus salad and cheese. Food is inventive and satisfying, like high-concept comfort food. The grill describes itself as “contemporary American with local influence” and that’s a pretty nifty way of encapsulating the mix of the familiar with a touch of the exotic that exhausted international travelers sometimes yearn for after a long day of adventure and street food. Mexicans celebrate the other protein. I am embarrassed to say before I visited Mexico City, I didn’t really “get” mezcal. That’s possible again, too. The rustic mushroom dish at Amaya in Mexico City is one of their most famous dishes. EU Data Subject Requests A dusting of powdered chicatana (flying) ant, coffee and costeno chile mayonnaise transported street food to the realm of haute cuisine. 7: Churros dipped in chocolate at El Moro. Who knew?). But I was crazy for his fresh, spicy salsa made from shredded carrots, chipotle pepper, onion, garlic and tomato; a nice punch of flavor when so many waiters offer tourists the sweetly reassuring news that food is “not too spicy.” If, like me, you prefer when restaurants bring the spice, then you will love this unpretentious, forward-thinking restaurant. The vivacious metropolis combines Old World charm with a red-hot culinary scene that’s currently taking the food world by storm. 5: Escamoles para taquear at Los Danzantes. Rust-colored ceramic bowls and grizzled mortars-and-pestles called molcajetes are stacked like archaeological artifacts beneath the counter. Chantico, a restaurant and bar inspired by the modern culinary scene of Mexico City, quietly opened its doors Monday afternoon. If you’ve had a lot of Mexican food but aren’t to the point where you’re craving pizza and burgers, consider one of the following Venezuelan, Peruvian, Cuban, or … Of course I wanted tacos minus the quotation marks, too. There is no earthly reason why dishes so overstuffed shouldn’t be a total mess, but somehow these had structure, balance— even a kind of lightness. Cool people. Welcome to one of the best dining scenes in the world right now. 4: Avocado pizza at the St. Regis, Mexico City. Like Mexico City itself, the Mexican capital’s food scene is caught between several opposing forces: convenience versus slow cooking, home-grown versus imported, tradition versus innovation. Mole comes in every imaginable flavor and there is always a shot glass of the exceedingly diverse flavors of mezcal close by to wash it all down. Who needs some?’ or ‘My dishwasher didn’t show up! Gral. Pastor is king in Mexico City, and thus this list leans heavily towards the spitted pork. Though … © 2020 American Express Company. Folks have long lined up for pastries at the Panadería across the street, but they can now get the same items at Café Nin, in the Juárez neighborhood. The chaos and the tantalizing glimpses of whatever baroque, tenuous, shifting systems hold the chaos together. And the city’s residents, chefs and servers are rightfully proud of their cuisine and anxious to share the breadth and depth with visitors. The city has recorded nearly 21,000 deaths related to COVID-19 so far and 75% of its hospital beds are full, but some people strolled around the Central de Abasto produce Mexico also has a vibrant craft beer scene. It was—I’m very sorry—a Mexican standoff. The Soumaya Museum was designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero and is one of the most visited in Mexico City. Carnitas are made from bit-sized pieces … 10 Things You Have to Eat (and Drink) in Mexico City, The Best Way to Explore Mexico City? This type of taco is a pork lover’s dream. At lunch, the tamale carts … In addition to a subway system that New Yorkers might envy, the city is said to have the most Uber drivers of any in the world; that, along with Airbnb, may have done as much as anything to smooth the way for the recent influx of visitors. I sampled a small selection from the more than 17 Mexican-made beers on offer at the swanky St. Regis. Mezcal. The city has developed a reputation in recent years for its robust culinary scene, with exports such as “flat white” coffee and “avocado toast” taking off … and Máximo Bistrot. affiliated with American Express Company or its subsidiaries. Ad Choices Mostly, though, I came to eat. They exchange practical information and help one another negotiate the byzantine hurdles of Mexico City’s bureaucracy. The Phoenix … At Masala y Maíz, Norma Listman is exploring the intersections of Mexican, African, and Indian cuisines. From left: Aguachile (fish of the day, pickled strawberry leche de tigre, watermelon radish) at Masala y Maiz; Masala y Maiz owners Norma Listman and Saqib Keval. “Master Chef Enrique, his … While the better-know Mexican liquor, tequila, is by law only distilled from the blue agave, mezcal can be sourced from the more than 30+ varieties of agaves so the flavor varies wildly. CICATRIZ The current issue of DEPARTURES is available exclusively to American Express Platinum Card® Members. One of the things I’m most proud of is starting Eat Mexico, my tourism company that gives walking tours of Mexico City’s street stands, markets and taquerías. Not too sweet, it was the perfect punctuation to the restaurant’s signature, singular six-course feast. Tornés often cooks himself, but when he’s off at the market, or visiting his network of farms, whichever deputy takes the helm has total freedom: The cook might re-create a pre-Columbian dish from Guerrero, or riff on Peruvian ceviche, or something entirely from imagination. From left: Jesús Tórnes, owner of Expendio de Maíz Sin Nombre; the restaurant's daily special. Privacy Statement. He teared up at one point, eliciting murmurs of “Ay, papi” from the rapt staff. As many words as Inuits are said to have for snow, so too do Mexicans for nixtamal corn—boiled and soaked in an alkaline solution, then pulverized to make masa—in its various incarnations: formed into disk-shaped sopes and football-shaped tlacoyos, stuffed with beans to make huaraches or stuffed itself into corn husks or banana leaves to make tamales. Featured here is the menu at the classic churros and chocolate Mexico City restaurant El Moro. View Terms of Service Making nixtamal is an ancient and elemental process, but it is also enjoying a kind of hipster renaissance as a reaction against industrialized foods, particularly the more than 2,000 tortillas that each Mexican is said to consume every year. Mexico City native Rocio Vazquez Landeta is the founder of Eat Like a Local Mexico City, which guides visitors through the city's amazingly diverse culinary scene. I crowded into a tiny eating area at Pescadería El Puerto de Alvarado, a stall in the Centro’s San Juan Market, for sweet, briny “chocolate” clams, plucked straight from the ice, and I settled into the plush, ocean-liner-like dining room of Carmela y Sal, in tony Polanco, for pejelagarto, a toothy garfish native to Tabasco, served as a “taco” on crisp, cold disks of cabbage. I promised him I would, but was too full from a leisurely lunch of the requisite endless courses, dessert and free-flowing mezcal. TAMALES MADRE. On the side, fried baby artichokes with dry jocoque. Departures is a trademark of, Learn more about the American Express Platinum Card® benefits. Such comparisons—“the New Berlin” is one of the more popular—have both boosted and bedeviled Mexico City. This venerable lunch spot blends traditional Mexican cuisine seamlessly with innovative technique The food at this bi-level restaurant encapsulates the wave of globally-influenced cuisine spreading through the city. “We had this huge Mexican tradition, but maybe we treated it with too much respect. But just in case, there are plastic benches to perch on if you want to savor this local delicacy with a modicum of dignity. I arrived pre-full. Yes, Mexico City is genuinely, splendidly cosmopolitan: There are great restaurants, great coffee, great museums, and great parks. Order the churros, and any of the varities of dipping chocolate—Mexicano, Espanol, Francés—from sugary to more subdued and start dunking. The same is true at Tamales Madre, in the quickly emerging neighborhood of Juárez, where you descend, Peter Pan–like, over a ledge and through open French doors into a slightly sunken, almost Japanese-feeling space for seven varieties of tamales made on premises, each with its own wrapper and accoutrements. Mind-blowing flavors. “Mexico City is a hot spot because of its diversity and quality. The dish's earthy flavors were the perfect complement to the bracing mezcal Téllez brought out to accompany. You have to feel as though eating there is built into the bloodstream of the city, that to visit and not prioritize food and drink would be to miss something essential about the place. Al pastor, to start—one of the few dishes Mexico City can claim as indigenous— but then all the rest: carnitas, tripe, tongue, endless varieties of guisados, ladled out of rust-colored earthenware bowls arrayed in street stalls. © 2020 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. The beautiful dining room at Rosetta, Elena Reygades’s flagship, is the ideal setting for her deft fusion of Italian and Mexican cuisines. All users of our online services subject to Privacy Statement and agree to be bound by Terms of Service. Mexico City residents traditionally eat out en famille on Saturdays and you get a real taste for the character of the city and its people at this exceptional restaurant. A taquito providing a cracker-thin platform for beans and cecina, the salted beef. At Contramar, where squadrons of waiters swoop in and out between the tables of politicians, actors, and other important Chilangos (as Mexico City dwellers are called), rolling the circular tables around like military ordnance, I downed chef Gabriela Cámara’s famous tuna tostadas. From street food eaten standing up, to a remarkable 11-course meal with a dessert that rivaled a Vegas production prepared by the talented French chef Sylvain Desbois at the St. Regis, I felt pretty certain during a recent trip to Mexico City that I only scratched the surface of this cosmopolitan city’s incredible cuisine. Either hit one of the excellent taco spots open late-night (like Taqueria El Califa, El Farolito, or Tacos Orinoco) or go to Paramo, where your late-night food will also come with a late-night scene. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such. It sounds so simple: an avocado pizza with thin slices of Mexico’s favorite fruit layered like rose petals, cooked on a thin pizza crust and topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of serrano chili and a mist of lime. The layers of ancient, modern, and every era in between, in what has been a world capital for seven centuries. But one of the singular Pujol experiences is a hyper-conceptual pre-dessert offering of two moles, a “baby” mole nuevo and a “mother” mole madre arranged like an enticing bull’s eye on the plate, with the dark brown mother encasing the nutty brown baby within. Foodie heaven. In 2010 UNESCO named traditional Mexican cuisine an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. After such a long break, I had some catching up to do. Absolute perfection. ROSETTA, PANADERÍA ROSETTA, AND CAFÉ NIN. Retail and Wholesale. The selected hues are the antithesis of a dark 2020. Jésus Tornés’s sidewalk restaurant is unlike any other—an adventure in rural Mexican food and beyond— and is worth giving yourself over to. We were sitting in the sun on the sidewalk patio outside Reygades’s flagship restaurant, Rosetta; we could see the perpetual line outside her pastry shop, Panadería Rosetta, across the street. “People would ask, ‘Are you really going to eat Italian food in Mexico City?’ ” She said the skepticism was frustrating. The second floor with lovely small balconies and floor to ceiling windows flung open to catch the breeze is an otherworldly experience, a moment to savor the food but also the uniquely lost-in-time atmosphere that often rubs up against big-city amenities in this wonderfully contradictory city. During a post-closing family meal, Jesús Tornés sat at one of the tables, surrounded by his staff, with a big jug of clear, homemade mezcal making the rounds. A food stand in Mexico City offers various toppings for turkey tortas. Some diners may stand by international stars like Pujol or Quintonil. Slowly sipping and savoring mezcal is more like wine tasting than the quickly downed tequila shot. From left: Street food at Tacos El Huequito; milhojas de frutos rojos at Panaderia Rosetta. An omnipresent obsession with food is nothing new in Mexico City. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Mixing global flavors and techniques, Mexico City’s chefs are creating a cuisine as cosmopolitan as the megalopolis itself. Pia Riverola. Featured here is the incomparable carrot salsa at Fonda Mayora in Mexico City. “¡Todas las madres!” he answered, without hesitation. Esquites, I'm coming for you. I had … But he also has a particular way with seemingly simple ingredients, giving a rustic, pared-back preparation that allows their true flavor and beauty to shine through. Patagonia Avenida Campeche 345, Mexico City 06140, Mexico Whether you prefer sampling an infinite variety of tacos or enjoy more of a plant-based menu, there are innumerable wonderful restaurant options throughout La Condesa. This spot stocks an incredible array of mezcals (many of them sourced from their own distillery) to sample but be sure and ask for the buttery, crunchy, corn-like ant eggs (genus Liometopum), each about the size of a ball bearing and harvested from the root of the agave. Pia Riverola. It is the perfect way to start your day anytime, but seems like it would be required supping after a night of mezcal-abuse, with its perfect blend of caffeine, grease and sugar. "[On why Mexico City is an exciting place to eat] The food, the ingredients, the flavors! “Máximo is one of the hottest restaurants in the city,” Olvera says, “so the crowd is … All rights reserved. #3 of 50 Food & Drink in Puerto Vallarta. In short, use common sense, trust your gut (literally) and, when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions. For me, it was a warm, fresh tortilla piled with squash blossoms, pepitas, hominy, and the sharp, almost minty herb hoja santa. We weren’t really free.”. For visitors, this is the most forward-facing piece of what David Lida, the author of the prescient and entertaining First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century, calls Mexico City’s “improvised economy.” But masa is hardly limited to the streets. The hopping Fonda Mayora bistro in the hipster-thick Condesa neighborhood is the perfect Saturday afternoon stop for people- and dog-watching (and a little sidewalk shopping too, since a parade of vendors offer up everything from tunics to rugs to local honey while you eat). Then prepare the dish in your own kitchen. Mexico City has more than 150 museums and galleries. After touring the chaotic, must-see Merced Market, a food hall and grocery shopping destination in one, where glistening fruta cristalizada, endless varieties of mole and a food stall crowned with some pseudo golden arches offers tacos topped with a heaping helping of French fries, you’ll want to come down from that melee with a relaxing cocktail and snack from the atmospheric Restaurante Roldan 37. Seek them out whenever and wherever you can. Another lunchtime favorite in Mexico City is street tacos. I did, eventually, cry “Enough!” but I returned that evening to meet the man who is behind Expendio. American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties include the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City, Las Alcobas, and the St. Regis Mexico City. Mexico City’s king of highend dining, Enrique Olvera, recently opened this casual, masa-centric spot for breakfast and lunch. Featured here is a delicious feast at the Mexico City restaurant El Tizoncito. Switzerland and France submitted a joined application in 2019 in order to recognize both countrie. Below, our chief strategy officer (and resident globe-trotting gourmand) Mitchell Davis shares his top eats in Mexico City.--It had been almost 25 years since I visited Mexico City, during which time both the city’s population and its food scene had exploded. A rotating cast of beautiful couples commanded intimate tables hugging the wall, adding to the seductive atmosphere. Though only in her early forties, Reygades qualifies as something of a grande dame—one of a group of women, including Contramar’s Gabriela Cámara and restaurateur and TV personality Mónica Patiño, who have defined Mexico City’s food scene. Food in Mexico City is farm-to-table inventive, defined by fresh flavors and unexpected combinations (crickets and tacos! Peering into the kitchen, I could see that the comal was being manned by a woman with thickly tattooed arms and broad, plaited braids dyed blue. 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