Cool people. 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. 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. Add these spots to your must-consume list. Some diners may stand by international stars like Pujol or Quintonil. 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. Slowly sipping and savoring mezcal is more like wine tasting than the quickly downed tequila shot. Gral. Travelers are flocking to this bustling city and it's easy to see why. 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!) I was especially taken by the rajas con crema, featuring chunky strips of poblano pepper with rich cream, cheese and onion. I promised him I would, but was too full from a leisurely lunch of the requisite endless courses, dessert and free-flowing mezcal. Though … and is used under limited license. 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. 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. Other Meredith Corporation Travel & Leisure Group websites: Related Websites for DEPARTURES International Editions: © 2020 American Express Company. Luis Moya 31; 52-55-5510-2697. Foodie heaven. 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. Does anybody have a spare person?’ We try to help each other through the maze,” said Lindeman. Retail and Wholesale. 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. Yes, Mexico City is genuinely, splendidly cosmopolitan: There are great restaurants, great coffee, great museums, and great parks. Mexico City’s king of highend dining, Enrique Olvera, recently opened this casual, masa-centric spot for breakfast and lunch. Chantico, a restaurant and bar inspired by the modern culinary scene of Mexico City, quietly opened its doors Monday afternoon. A dusting of powdered chicatana (flying) ant, coffee and costeno chile mayonnaise transported street food to the realm of haute cuisine. Stalls selling various edible insects (with shots of tequila) are only the most sensational part of the Centro’s food market, which overflows with fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish. That’s possible again, too. Chef Gabriela Ruiz Lugo brings her inimitable soulful cooking to an upscale space in tony Polanco. Jésus Tornés’s sidewalk restaurant is unlike any other—an adventure in rural Mexican food and beyond— and is worth giving yourself over to. was the consummate host. “People would ask, ‘Are you really going to eat Italian food in Mexico City?’ ” She said the skepticism was frustrating. I will have more to come on my Mexico City trip. “¡Todas las madres!” he answered, without hesitation. Pictures of Jesus and the last supper set a tranquil tone. 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. Pastor is king in Mexico City, and thus this list leans heavily towards the spitted pork. 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. Calle de Ernesto Pugibet 2. Beirut. Mexico City, Mexico A world-class hub of food and culture, so close and so very cheap. A consistent winner for food tourists, the capital city of Lebanon draws in culinary talent from … 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. The avocado pizza at St. Regis Mexico City is a healthy twist on an old favorite. The layers of ancient, modern, and every era in between, in what has been a world capital for seven centuries. 7: Churros dipped in chocolate at El Moro. 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. “Mexico City is a hot spot because of its diversity and quality. Of course I wanted tacos minus the quotation marks, too. 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. But just in case, there are plastic benches to perch on if you want to savor this local delicacy with a modicum of dignity. “Someone will be like, ‘I got all these beautiful pears. Get yours from Mexico City Foods Australian Corn and Mexican Knowhow. There is no menu; after a conversation with your server about your level of hunger, dishes simply begin arriving. 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. ROSETTA, PANADERÍA ROSETTA, AND CAFÉ NIN. “Whose mother is honored in the restaurant’s name?” I asked the chef, Rubén Amador, as he worked on wrapping a new batch. Gral. Here, visitors enjoy a turkey torta at the Tortas Tortas food stand in Mexico City. "[On why Mexico City is an exciting place to eat] The food, the ingredients, the flavors! Departures is a trademark of, Learn more about the American Express Platinum Card® benefits. The woman with the blue hair introduced herself as Ana González. Departures is a trademark of American Express Marketing & Development Corp. 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. 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. Your flight landed in Mexico City late and you’re hungry. Ambient lighting creates the seductive dining room at the renowned Pujol restaurant in Mexico City. Then prepare the dish in your own kitchen. 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. They are, though, indisputably a part of how Mexico City eats today. 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. All rights reserved. I did, eventually, cry “Enough!” but I returned that evening to meet the man who is behind Expendio. Mind-blowing flavors. There is a distinguished culture of long, boozy lunches and equally extended nightlife. 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. You’ll find cool people eating, drinking, and hanging out here until it closes at 2am. Who needs some?’ or ‘My dishwasher didn’t show up! A skyscraper resort suits this cosmopolitan city. Mezcal. 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 … Why Mexico City's Dining Scene Is Worth Planning a Trip Around. A taquito providing a cracker-thin platform for beans and cecina, the salted beef. 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. Pedregal 24; 52-55-7600-1280. Also, mezcal is known as “god’s elixir,” so you can’t really go wrong with an endorsement like that. I had the feeling that as long as I kept saying “Sí,” she would keep sending out ever-more-creative dishes. Pick a Neighborhood. But, Elena Reygades told me, something has definitely changed in the past decade or so. Calle Liverpool 44a; 52-55-5705-3491. The dish's earthy flavors were the perfect complement to the bracing mezcal Téllez brought out to accompany. Departures® is published by Meredith Corporation Travel & Leisure Group, a subsidiary of Meredith Corporation. 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. 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 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. “I hate chefs” was one of the first things Tornés said, kicking off a long story of his education at a much-hated culinary school. affiliated with American Express Company or its subsidiaries. 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. Ad Choices Cookin' Vallarta. Such is the case with a gorgeous bowl of mushrooms Téllez served up at a preview of his newest restaurant. A restaurant that plumbs the connections between South Asian, African, and Mexican foodways in dishes that are unexpected, inspired, and wildly delicious. Note: I’m not going to get into my 11-course haute cusine marathon Krug dinner at the St. Regis quite yet. 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. “To marry you.” The table murmured its assent. I’m convinced that Expendio de Maíz Sin Nombre has the best tasting menu in Mexico. I am embarrassed to say before I visited Mexico City, I didn’t really “get” mezcal. 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. No, not chicken: bugs. Who knew?). This venerable lunch spot blends traditional Mexican cuisine seamlessly with innovative technique Mexico City has more than 150 museums and galleries. 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. 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. #3 of 50 Food & Drink in Puerto Vallarta. It happens that all these women are friends and part of an ad hoc online support group. 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. From left: Tierra de luna (made with plantains and black beans) at Carmela y Sal; the dining room at Rosetta. 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. 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. 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 Gerardo Vazquez Lugo, an architect turned "cook" in his words, is a charmer, and all his food, from the tableside guacamole to a hot pink, deeply refreshing drink of hibiscus, chia and cinnamon is exceptional. The selected hues are the antithesis of a dark 2020. Switzerland and France submitted a joined application in 2019 in order to recognize both countrie. and The food scene in Mexico City is one of the most exhilarating on the planet; some people come here just to eat. Carnitas are made from bit-sized pieces … Food in Mexico City is farm-to-table inventive, defined by fresh flavors and unexpected combinations (crickets and tacos! It’s bewildering, a little frightening, containing multitudes, ultimately unknowable, though I was determined to do my best. “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. March 16, 2014 by Lesley Tellez. Featured here is a delicious feast at the Mexico City restaurant El Tizoncito. 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. This one-room, modern haven is dedicated to the many faces of one of Mexico City’s most ubiquitous foods. The current issue of DEPARTURES is available exclusively to American Express Platinum Card® Members. Tornés has messy, longish hair, sleepy eyes, and a guru vibe. 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. Service is exceptional, the staff unobtrusive but incredibly knowledgeable and the dark, velvet-encased atmosphere undeniably sexy. 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. The Soumaya Museum was designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero and is one of the most visited in Mexico City. 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. Not surprisingly, that movement is also driven by a group of inspired women. Esquites, I'm coming for you. Pia Riverola. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such. This classic al pastor stall in the Centro is a sublime introduction to Mexico City’s seemingly endless street-food scene. From left: Jesús Tórnes, owner of Expendio de Maíz Sin Nombre; the restaurant's daily special. The trip takes you between Tequila and Guadalajara. Olvera’s food is absurdly clever but the flavors are never upstaged by fussy presentation. 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. I sampled a small selection from the more than 17 Mexican-made beers on offer at the swanky St. Regis. 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. We sell our authentic nixtamal tortillas and corn chips to … Street vendors in Mexico City and some restaurants also feature this gorgeous, flavorful spin on the traditional tortilla, but in this case made from ground blue corn. and flair. Puerto Vallarta. The Great World City part, anyway, should be well established, as Americans have headed to Mexico City in droves in recent years, coming back with tales—and social media feeds—depicting a fantasia of cafés, museums, galleries, and parks, all a relatively short flight away. 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 … I am embarrassed to say before I visited Mexico City, I didn’t really “get” mezcal. Watch Andrew Zimmern prepare roasted red snapper in banana leaves with fresh Mexican sausage. The Phoenix … “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. Featured here is the menu at the classic churros and chocolate Mexico City restaurant El Moro. Not too sweet, it was the perfect punctuation to the restaurant’s signature, singular six-course feast. The buzz of infinite human activity. Featured here is one of the street vendors who serve tortas and other delicacies from small stands in the historic district of Mexico City. Another lunchtime favorite in Mexico City is street tacos. Mexico City’s king of highend dining, Enrique Olvera, recently opened this casual, masa-centric spot for breakfast and lunch. Straw baskets containing herbs and vegetables hang from the ceiling. Going there can feel like that dream of suddenly discovering an unknown extra room in your house, if that room was Paris. Mexicans celebrate the other protein. 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. 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. But it is that magical taste and color of the blue corn that transports this dish to another place entirely. Please review. The chaos and the tantalizing glimpses of whatever baroque, tenuous, shifting systems hold the chaos together. Pia Riverola. Seek them out whenever and wherever you can. Calle Liverpool 44a; 52-55-5705-3491. Benjamín Hill 146; 52-55-5271-3515. 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. We weren’t really free.”. 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. Tacos de carnitas. This in itself was a kind of paradox, because it was also unlike any place I’ve ever eaten. The hippest Brooklyn watering hole has nothing on the complex cocktails and ambient pre-Hispanic cool at Xaman run by French owners Romain Morice and Anthony Zamora (more on this in a later story) where I got to unleash my inner bartender and create some of their signature cocktails. Benjamín Hill 146; 52-55-5271-3515. Eventually he opened a stall in Mexico City’s organic Mercado el 100, where he met the businessman who let him set up shop next to his existing restaurant, a bar popular with fresas (as Chilango yuppies are called), few of whom are likely aware of the bizarre culinary art project going on next door. In short, use common sense, trust your gut (literally) and, when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You won’t be sorry. 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. Food is inventive and satisfying, like high-concept comfort food. American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties include the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City, Las Alcobas, and the St. Regis Mexico City. Pia Riverola. 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