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. The woman with the blue hair introduced herself as Ana González. Such is the case with a gorgeous bowl of mushrooms Téllez served up at a preview of his newest restaurant. Chantico, a restaurant and bar inspired by the modern culinary scene of Mexico City, quietly opened its doors Monday afternoon. 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. You won’t be sorry. 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. Chef de Cuisine at J&G Grill Mexico City Olivier Deboise Mendez walked me through making the pizza, including a nifty hack to remove the avocado pit with a quick stab of a very sharp knife (apparently everyone knows this trick but me). It’s called Expendio de Maíz Sin Nombre, or “the corn shop without a name.” Coming upon it, on the otherwise gentrified Avenida Yucatán in Roma Norte, you feel you have stumbled onto a stage set: a dark, cavern-like re-creation of a rural Mexican kitchen, open to the street, built from roughhewn black stone and dominated by a comal, a wide, smooth cooking surface. If you need a bit more psychological distance when eating bugs, and the idea of a crispy grasshopper peeking out of your taco gives you the willies, then you might want to try the giant ant eggs on the menu at the convivial, buzzing Coyoacan neighborhood restaurant Los Danzantes. The avocado pizza at St. Regis Mexico City is a healthy twist on an old favorite. A dusting of powdered chicatana (flying) ant, coffee and costeno chile mayonnaise transported street food to the realm of haute cuisine. Straw baskets containing herbs and vegetables hang from the ceiling. Of course I wanted tacos minus the quotation marks, too. 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. I had the feeling that as long as I kept saying “Sí,” she would keep sending out ever-more-creative dishes. Mexicans celebrate the other protein. 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. Travelers are flocking to this bustling city and it's easy to see why. Ad Choices Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. 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 … Carnitas are made from bit-sized pieces … All users of our online services subject to Privacy Statement and agree to be bound by Terms of Service. Look for the lovely women, Rocio and Yvonne, hunched over their cook stove and handing over these tlacoyos at a street stand near Calle Lopez, to experience some of the most memorable tlacoyos in the city. “It’s a place that could only exist in Mexico City, that’s for sure,” someone had told me with a laugh, before I went to Expendio, which is all the qualification for a Great Eating City that I, or anyone else, should ever need. 5: Escamoles para taquear at Los Danzantes. Food is inventive and satisfying, like high-concept comfort food. 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. Foodie heaven. 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. Who's Who in the Mexico City Restaurant World There are probably more than a few visitors to Mexico City who land at the airport thinking the food scene … In recent years, she said, the influx of visitors and a more intimately connected food world, in which ideas and inspirations rocket around the planet via Instagram, have broken down some of those barriers and ushered in more globally minded restaurants. 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. He teared up at one point, eliciting murmurs of “Ay, papi” from the rapt staff. The St. Regis Mexico City's J&G Grill has a fun and funky atmosphere that is great for your whole party. 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. The layers of ancient, modern, and every era in between, in what has been a world capital for seven centuries. 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. Mostly, though, I came to eat. 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. Tacos de carnitas. 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. Between this tableau and the street are two picnic tables for customers. Here, visitors enjoy a turkey torta at the Tortas Tortas food stand in Mexico City. Absolute perfection. “You have to try it,” advised the twentysomething standing next to me waiting on two portions, one for himself and one for his girlfriend who hadn’t yet experienced the esquites in her neck of Mexico. At Pizza Félix, Adriana Lerma is aiming to reproduce the perfect Neapolitan pizza. Tornés has messy, longish hair, sleepy eyes, and a guru vibe. 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. This in itself was a kind of paradox, because it was also unlike any place I’ve ever eaten. The gourmet, fine-dining food scene in Mexico City has to be seen to be believed. Pedregal 24; 52-55-7600-1280. But it is that magical taste and color of the blue corn that transports this dish to another place entirely. American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties include the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City, Las Alcobas, and the St. Regis Mexico City. Departures is a trademark of American Express Marketing & Development Corp. 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. Grab a refreshing drink of hibiscus, chia and cinnamon at Fonda Mayora. March 16, 2014 by Lesley Tellez. When she opened Rosetta, in 2010, the native Chilanga said, there was still plenty of head-scratching at the mostly Italian menu. Máximo Bistrot. Mixing global flavors and techniques, Mexico City’s chefs are creating a cuisine as cosmopolitan as the megalopolis itself. 4: Avocado pizza at the St. Regis, Mexico City. In fact, this humble and beautiful colonial city has some of Mexico’s best cuisine; cochinita pibil (slow roasted, well-seasoned pork), papadzules (an eggy twist on the typical enchilada), marquesitas mayas (crispy, rolled crepes filled with chocolate spread and cheese). Mexico City’s king of highend dining, Enrique Olvera, recently opened this casual, masa-centric spot for breakfast and lunch. The buzz of infinite human activity. 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. 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. Featured here is one of the street vendors who serve tortas and other delicacies from small stands in the historic district of Mexico City. The current issue of DEPARTURES is available exclusively to American Express Platinum Card® Members. Gral. Not too sweet, it was the perfect punctuation to the restaurant’s signature, singular six-course feast. It’s bewildering, a little frightening, containing multitudes, ultimately unknowable, though I was determined to do my best. and 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. A sign at the Mexico City restaurant Fonda Mayora gives guests the restaurant's details. A rotating cast of beautiful couples commanded intimate tables hugging the wall, adding to the seductive atmosphere. If the food and style these places create do not seem sufficiently “Mexican,” well, that opens a set of metaphysical questions about place and culture and “authenticity” that confronts nearly every modern traveler in our ever-shrinking, ever-more-similar world, whether to New Orleans or Paris, or Indianapolis, or Minsk. I did, eventually, cry “Enough!” but I returned that evening to meet the man who is behind Expendio. 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. Your flight landed in Mexico City late and you’re hungry. They exchange practical information and help one another negotiate the byzantine hurdles of Mexico City’s bureaucracy. Food in Mexico City is farm-to-table inventive, defined by fresh flavors and unexpected combinations (crickets and tacos! Calle Liverpool 44a; 52-55-5705-3491. Who needs some?’ or ‘My dishwasher didn’t show up! 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. Mexico City, Mexico A world-class hub of food and culture, so close and so very cheap. A taquito providing a cracker-thin platform for beans and cecina, the salted beef. There are Great World Cities and there are Great Eating Cities. Olvera’s food is absurdly clever but the flavors are never upstaged by fussy presentation. The culinary scene in Mexico City is en fuego right now. 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. On a Sunday morning in June, a long line stretches out the door of El Cardenal, one of four branches … From squash blossoms and “corn smut” to the heartiest sandwich you've ever eaten, Mexico City’s street vendors have something to satisfy nearly any craving. Some diners may stand by international stars like Pujol or Quintonil. Benjamín Hill 146; 52-55-5271-3515. 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. I am embarrassed to say before I visited Mexico City, I didn’t really “get” mezcal. The exquisite mole dish served as a dessert at the celebrated Mexico City restaurant Pujol. No, not chicken: bugs. Departures® is published by Meredith Corporation Travel & Leisure Group, a subsidiary of Meredith Corporation. Get shell-shocked by the tacos at El Bajio. Scenes from a Mexico City Street Food Tour. Why you should go: Clued-in travelers have long headed … 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. It doesn’t get edgier, more experimental but also more rooted in local food culture than it does at Pujol, celebrity chef Enrique Olvera’s gorgeous, romantic hot spot, named to San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants List. Her … “We had this huge Mexican tradition, but maybe we treated it with too much respect. 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. The preferred repast at Mexico City restaurant El Moro: churros and chocolate. The food scene in Mexico City is one of the most exhilarating on the planet; some people come here just to eat. Best Dining in Mexico City, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast: See 255,052 Tripadvisor traveler reviews of 6,722 Mexico City restaurants and search by cuisine, price, location, and more. 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. We sell our authentic nixtamal tortillas and corn chips to … 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. 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. Beirut. Mind-blowing flavors. At the city’s other legendary lunch spot, Restaurante Nicos, I tucked into fillet of trout, the flesh steamed in a tamale wrapper and perfumed with the pungent herb epazote. But this speciality of the Mexico City St. Regis celebrates the sublimity of fresh, native ingredients prepared without too much fancy intervention. was the consummate host. Mexico also has a vibrant craft beer scene. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such. “What I want is for you to feel that whoever is cooking was waiting here to make love to you,” Tornés said, closing his eyes. This one-room, modern haven is dedicated to the many faces of one of Mexico City’s most ubiquitous foods. Why Mexico City's Dining Scene Is Worth Planning a Trip Around. Seek them out whenever and wherever you can. While many still rate Peru as a better foodie destination for haute cuisine lovers in Latin America, Mexico City and its top chefs are fighting back against that assertion, and you could happily eat your way through restaurants run solely by famous chefs for the duration of your stay. From left: The main room at Carmela y Sal, in the Polanco neighborhood; scallop and uchovas tiradito at Meroma. ROSETTA, PANADERÍA ROSETTA, AND CAFÉ NIN. EU Data Subject Requests 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. Featured here is the incomparable carrot salsa at Fonda Mayora in Mexico City. Pia Riverola. Jésus Tornés’s sidewalk restaurant is unlike any other—an adventure in rural Mexican food and beyond— and is worth giving yourself over to. This one-room, modern haven is dedicated to the many faces of one of Mexico City’s most ubiquitous foods. I sensed she was the secondin-command but that such hierarchies were frowned on in this place. View Terms of Service Almost every restaurant has some favorite selections on hand (there are over 9,000 mezcal producers in the country), but one of my favorites was Papadiablo sampled at the brand-new and very hip café, Amaya, created by renowned Mexico City chef Jair Téllez who, along with his lovely, very pregnant wife (fun fact: they met on Tinder!) and is used under limited license. Meredith Corporation Travel & Leisure Group is not Who knew?). 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. Slowly sipping and savoring mezcal is more like wine tasting than the quickly downed tequila shot. After such a long break, I had some catching up to do. Floating down Avenida Yucatan after a few slugs, I could feel it moving through my bloodstream, just as I felt, for a brief moment, a part of the flow of the city around me. The selected hues are the antithesis of a dark 2020. But Mexico City is thrillingly, maximally, urban in more ways than just these: The way it fills the airplane window as you first glimpse it, mile after mile of streets and buildings, spilling to the horizon in all directions. "[On why Mexico City is an exciting place to eat] The food, the ingredients, the flavors! Esquites, I'm coming for you. They are, though, indisputably a part of how Mexico City eats today. I never found another chance to try esquites during my trip, but his enthusiastic, eyes-rolling-back-in-his-head endorsement made me anxious to return to Mexico City very soon. Retail and Wholesale. The chaos and the tantalizing glimpses of whatever baroque, tenuous, shifting systems hold the chaos together. An omnipresent obsession with food is nothing new in Mexico City. All rights reserved. Mezcal. Calle de Ernesto Pugibet 2. Photo by: Daniel Klinckwort/Ana Laframboise. 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. Much of the best food in Mexico City, including all of the above, is found on the street, in the infinite array of puestos—from simple pushcarts to virtual mini-restaurants—that crowd sidewalks everywhere. Chef Gabriela Ruiz Lugo brings her inimitable soulful cooking to an upscale space in tony Polanco. After each, the server would approach. Luis Moya 31; 52-55-5510-2697. I had … You’ll find cool people eating, drinking, and hanging out here until it closes at 2am. The vivacious metropolis combines Old World charm with a red-hot culinary scene that’s currently taking the food world by storm. Puerto Vallarta. One restaurant (I use that word against the wishes of its chef—who also doesn’t want to be called “chef” ) seemed to embody nearly all the contrasts and contradictions and pleasures of dining in Mexico City. This insect caviar, considered a delicacy by the Aztecs, epitomizes the unique foodways of the country, both ancient but also well-suited to the needs of a changing planet embracing new forms of protein. This classic al pastor stall in the Centro is a sublime introduction to Mexico City’s seemingly endless street-food scene. “Mexico City is a hot spot because of its diversity and quality. Cool people. “Máximo is one of the hottest restaurants in the city,” Olvera says, “so the crowd is … Other Meredith Corporation Travel & Leisure Group websites: Related Websites for DEPARTURES International Editions: © 2020 American Express Company. Many taquerias in Mexico City claim to be the creator of the taco al pastor, but El Huequito makes a strong case for itself with quality ingredients and … Using 100% non-GMO Australian corn we create Australia's first and best traditional nixtamal corn tortillas and chips. 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. The Phoenix … 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. New in Mexico City 's J & G Grill has a fun and funky atmosphere that is great your. Will have more to come on my Mexico City, it is magical... Is street tacos ” the table murmured its assent is available exclusively to American Express Platinum Card® Members but such... Twist on an Old favorite and costeno chile mayonnaise transported street food to culture quickly... 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