With a population of almost 21 million people, Mexico City is among the largest urban areas in the world. But don’t let that intimidate you - even if you have just a few vacation days to spare, a trip to CDMX is one you need to take.
Between the ancient ruins of Centro Historico, the sprawling art markets in San Angel, and the never-ending cafe culture of Condesa and Roma, Mexico City is a place you could visit 100 times and always find something new. And while it’s essential to pepper in the world-class museums, the big green parks, and a few architecture tours on your trip, if you’re like us, the priority will always be about one thing: the food.
From family-run cafes to destination prix-fixe restaurants and legendary street carts, you’re never far away from a life-changing meal in Mexico City. We’ve organized this guide by neighborhood, so keep it handy while you’re there, and you’ll always know where to eat - and stay - next.
This is probably not the first time you’ve heard of Contramar, and it won’t be the last. This place has become legendary for its seafood-focused menu, and you should absolutely make a point to come here for the tuna tostadas and whole fish covered in red and green sauce. You want to be here for lunch - the kitchen closes at 6:30pm most nights (8pm Friday and Saturday), and the upbeat, busy restaurant is at its best during the day when the sprawling dining room becomes an all-out party. If this is your first time in CDMX, a meal at Contramar is essential dining.
Plaza Rio de Janeiro could easily be considered the heart of Roma. It’s home to two of the colonia’s most iconic landmarks, La Casa de las Brujas and the statue of David. And it’s where you’ll find some really good restaurants - including Marmota, which might just be the best of them. Run by a lovely Mexican/American couple, this place makes some of the heartiest (and best) food in CDMX right now. Most of their produce comes from local farms and their meats are all farm-raised. You can also bet that pretty much everything you order (like the smashed baby potatoes with homemade hoja santa yogurt and caviar or the free-range chicken with radicchio salad) will be wood-oven cooked, smokey, and incredibly delicious. Their cocktail menu is impressive, but we always go for one of the many hard cider options here. They go great with anything charred on the menu, which basically means everything.
To reach Makan’s courtyard, you have to walk through the front door of a residential building and follow a winding path that leads you past a coffee shop and small art gallery before finally arriving. The fact that it’s so hidden away really gives you the impression that you’ve left Roma’s crowded streets behind. But between Singaporean specialties like their crispy pork belly, perfect laksa, simple-yet-delicious poached chicken and rice, and whatever else they recommend from the regularly-changing menu, we imagine a lot more people will be finding their way back here soon. While they only have six tables, it’s one of the most charming places to eat in the neighborhood. And they also have a plant-filled private dining room you can rent for six to 10 people if you’re traveling with a group or just happened to make some friends wherever you were out the night before.
Rosetta might be inside a townhouse in Roma, but it feels like it’s actually inside an Italian villa. It’s a beautiful restaurant where you get the sense that every design detail has been carefully considered. The menu is Italian with a Mexican twist, and is on the more expensive side - but our favorite time to be here is lunch, when the place is full of light and the prices are a little lower. That said, if you’re traveling with a significant other and looking for a romantic night out, dinner at Rosetta should be at the top of your to-do list.
It takes one morning stroll to realize there is no shortage of incredible bakeries in this city. But one you can’t miss is Panaderia Rosetta. This tiny cafe/bakery across the street from the main Rosetta restaurant serves fantastic coffee and pastries (the guava pastry has brought us back to life many times after a long night) in a welcoming little space you could hang out in all morning. Come weekends it becomes sort of a mob scene, but they have another location in Roma and one in Juarez where crowds are a bit more manageable.
While CDMX hasn’t historically been the first place anyone has looked for a great pie, restaurants like Milk Pizzeria are changing that. This Roma spot feels alive inside, the music is always stellar (think Dua Lipa meets Solange), and the gruyere with caramelized onion pizza is something everyone can and should appreciate. They also, of course, offer delivery, which is a great option on a rainy Mexico City summer night. Make sure to add one of their awesome salads to your order - the kale with parmesan or arugula with pretzel croutons are both failsafe.
Meroma is where you can eat everything from heirloom tomatoes with grilled avocado and scallop tiradito to agnolotti in sage butter and arroz negro with seafood. There’s a minimalist bar room on the ground floor, which feels right for a casual, cool meal, a more secluded dining room on the second floor ideal for dates, and a covered terrace - which is one of the best spots for a group dinner in Mexico City. When you add in the long cocktail menu and wine list, you have a restaurant where literally anyone would be happy.
Located in a beautiful corner house at the intersection of Roma’s two most iconic streets, Orizaba and Colima, Butcher & Sons makes the best burgers in CDMX, period. We really like their Bowie burger, which pays homage to Mexico with roasted poblano peppers and fried tortilla, and for vegetarians, the Yorke burger, made with Beyond Meat and vegan cheese, is as close to a classic cheeseburger as you can get without, you know, actually eating a cheeseburger. They also collaborate with local chefs on a unique monthly burger (Enrique Olvera of Pujol and Gabriela Cámara of Contramar have both participated before). Add an order of the bacon-wrapped french fries, and a s’mores pie if you’ve somehow left any room in your body for dessert.
There might be more excellent tacos per square block in Mexico City than anywhere else in the known universe. And while most of them are filled with delicious meats and fish, we’re pretty confident that there are no better vegan tacos than those found at Por Siempre Vegana. The taco de milanesa (served with avocado) is incredible, and worth the almost constant wait for a table here during peak hours. And unlike a lot of other vegan spots, it’s affordable and sticks to mostly one thing (90% of the menu is tacos). Make sure to take advantage of the unlimited free toppings too.
Wine bars aren’t really a thing (yet) in CDMX, but if the popularity of this place is any indication, that’s going to change. Hugo feels like a Lower East Side transplant but with a Mexican twist - which we guess is what happens when two former New York residents relocate here and open a place. Their wines, of course, are a highlight - largely natural, many from Mexico’s wine region in Valle de Guadalupe, and they have one of the best varieties of orange wines in the city. Small plates are the crux of the menu and they keep things simple here with standouts like crab salad with celery and mustard and roasted chicken. This is definitely one of the hardest places in Roma to get a table during peak hours, so make sure to reserve one or show up when your grandparents would.
Maximo Bistrot is a farm-to-table restaurant that’s kind of French, kind of Mexican. The focus is on seasonal and local ingredients, so the menu changes every day, but you can always expect French-style dishes with some chile or huitlacoche (basically the fungus of a corn husk - it’s great). They also have a great wine list, including some Mexican choices, and they operate a breakfast/brunch spot called Lalo! that’s just a few blocks away.
Over the past decade, Mexico City has become increasingly international when it comes to restaurants - you can now find everything from excellent ramen to a great tortilla Española across the city, and this Thai spot is another example. You’ll see familiar noodle dishes on the menu, but the standouts here are the “platos fuertes” or entrees, like the gai yang (barbecue marinated chicken) and nuer nam man hoi (salted beef with veggies and oysters). If you’re looking for serious heat, make sure to try the chu chee, a red curry that’s so spicy that you might as well order two of their mezcal cocktails as soon as you sit down. They’ve also got an extremely photogenic outdoor terrace that’s ideal for parties, or just cooling down after dinner.
First thing in the morning, post-lunch, or even right after dinner, there’s always a line at Churreria El Moro in Roma Norte. And for good reason - this local chain (with 12 locations around the city) makes some of the best churros in existence. You can get a six-pack of them fresh out of the fryer and covered in cinnamon sugar with a side of hot chocolate dip for less than $5. Or, if you need to cool down after walking around all day, take yourself and a consuelo - El Moro’s churro ice cream sandwich - to nearby Plaza Rio de Janeiro to get some shade.
Your flight landed in Mexico City late and you’re hungry. 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. You’ll find cool people eating, drinking, and hanging out here until it closes at 2am.
Lucho Martinez is probably the buzziest new chef working in CDMX right now. His newest endeavor, Em, is definitely high-end, but it’s also accessible (think of it as an alternative to Pujol if the price and two-months-in-advance reservation requirements feel prohibitive). With a farm-to-table-focused menu, this Roma spot offers a wide range of interesting and fun dishes, like mole served with beef tongue, a spicy chicken that even has its own Instagram, local wagyu beef, and even Petrossian caviar. And yes, if you’re even thinking of coming here, you should make a reservation ASAP.
Everyone hits their taco limit at some point, which is the perfect time to stop by Pozoleria Teoixtla. This neighborhood spot has a big menu with everything from mole to tostadas, but you’re here for the pozole. In particular, a bowl of the smoky pozole verde, which we like to get with avocado and chicharrones added on top. There’s usually a guitarist or accordion player playing by the front door too, which is the perfect soundtrack for a long lunch with a few margaritas.
Even in a place as big as Mexico City, it can be hard to find great pasta. Sartoria has come along, however, to fill the void. The menu spans from classics like cacio e pepe to more creative dishes (think cauliflower milanese), and also includes a largely natural and biodynamic wine list. In a city with lots of Italian restaurants, this place offers something that’s actually pretty rare: a pasta-forward spot that’s casual enough for a long lunch, but also perfect for impressing whoever you decide to bring here for dinner.
Merkava has quietly become a Condesa institution, and it’s without a doubt our favorite Israeli spot in the city. Everything here is incredibly tasty, but the freshly baked kubaneh bread with tahini butter is really something: a simple yet incredible side served warm out of the oven as the butter melts all over it. Order as you go and share so you have a chance to try as much as possible, including the roasted cauliflower with za’atar and mint yogurt, as well as the masabacha hummus with green peppers.
The best $2 you can spend in Condesa? It’s right here and it’s called a quesotote taco - a corn tortilla filled with an entire chile relleno and fried shrimp. Pescadito’s a casual, cafeteria-style spot with a short menu of fried shrimp tacos, fried fish tacos, and, of course, our favorite mentioned above, along with plenty of cheap beer to wash it all down. And while the menu is short, the variety of unlimited free toppings you can add to your order is anything but, with multiple salsas, coleslaw, and pickled red onion just to name a few. Depending on which salsa and veggies you add, each taco can become an entirely different, but always delicious, bite - which is exactly what keeps bringing us back here so often.
There are two sides of Condesa: the touristy area between Parque Mexico and Parque España, and then there’s the more residential half. Superette is located in the latter, which also happens to be home to some of the neighborhood’s best neo-colonial architecture. Take a stroll and make a stop here for a galette (similar to a crepe) and a hard apple cider. Like the area itself, it may not be the first place you visit in CDMX, but we can almost guarantee it’ll be one of your favorites. The galettes are delicious (try the classic complete with comté cheese, egg, and ham) and it’s one of the more affordable places to sit down for a quality snack in the neighborhood.
Ojo de Agua is a small, airy spot with its own little fruit and vegetable stand. You’ll find salads topped with avocado, sandwiches, acai bowls for breakfast, and refreshing smoothies. They also have lighter versions of our favorite Mexican dishes, like huevos ahogados (poached eggs in a spicy sauce) and molletes (an open-faced sandwich made with a baguette, refried beans, and queso).
Parque Mexico is a required stop when exploring Condesa - it’s not only the city’s biggest park, but arguably its most charming. When you do go, stop by Castizo beforehand. The service is excellent and the Spanish food here is genuinely incredible. We love their tortilla, freshly made with a runny center, as well as their pan con tomate with jamón ibérico on top. If you’re here with a group or with your family, this place is a crowd-pleaser, has an upscale feel to it, and is still pretty affordable. If you’re like us, you’ll probably be very full when leaving, in which case the park is located just two blocks up for a much-needed walk.
Centro Historico is home to museums, the Zocalo, and what we have to assume is the largest Mexican flag in the known universe. It’s also where you’ll find Taqueria Los Cocuyos making excellent tacos 24 hours a day. This tiny stall is basically just a cauldron full of different meats, a well-worn cutting board, and a salsa station, but that’s really all they need to deliver some of our favorite tacos in the city. Each one is made to order with whatever meat you want from the simmering pot chopped up, tossed onto a fresh corn tortilla, and topped with onion and cilantro. Everything here is excellent, but we like the longaniza and campechano (a mix of carne asada, longaniza, and chicharones) the most.
Located about a block away from the Zocalo, this local institution, which originally opened in 1969, serves arguably the best breakfast in the city. Before looking at the menu, go ahead and order the nata, which is clotted cream created from boiling raw milk. Pair it with a concha, a soft sweet pastry bread with a sugar crust for a breakfast appetizer. Then go crazy with chilaquiles, enchiladas, poached eggs in clay pots, and a whole range of omelets. Best to get here early or be prepared to wait.
Yes, we know there are a lot of seafood spots on this guide, but Bellopuerto isn’t a traditional limey/spicy seafood restaurant like so many others we know and love. Instead, this place serves things like a short rib and octopus burger - and while your brain might start to hurt just thinking about that, we promise it’s great. The roasted bone marrow with crispy octopus chicharron and salsa borracha is another thing you should prioritize. It comes with fresh tortillas and will have you wondering what other versions of chicharrones you’ve been missing out on. They also have a great outdoor street garden and if you need to cool down a bit after lunch/dinner, grab an ice cream and walk around nearby Parque Lincoln.
If you started reading this list scanning for the best taco spots, focus your eyes here. El Turix is a little taqueria home to not just the best tacos in CDMX, but some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the world. The menu is small (there are four things total) and served Yucatan-style, meaning everything will be filled with sweet, citrus marinades and salsas. Your first order of business needs to be the cochinita pibil tacos, which come with slow-roasted pulled pork cooked with achiote paste and citrus juices, but it’s the panucho, an open face tortilla with thicker corn dough, that’ll be the reason you come back again before you head to the airport. Know that there is very limited seating here, so expect to eat your tacos like everybody else - while sitting on the curb with your face buried in plastic wrap.
When you tell someone you’re visiting Mexico City, there’s about a 50% chance they’ll respond by saying, “Oh are you going to...what’s that place called?” If you feel like talking to this person, then finish their sentence with “Pujol.” This high-end Mexican spot in the middle of Polanco is one of the most well-known restaurants in the world, and it’s where you should go with a small group of friends if you’re looking to have one splurge meal in Mexico City. The beautiful, low-ceilinged space feels like a meditation retreat for billionaires and the huge number of servers silently move around like a veteran ballet troupe. There’s a ten-course taco omakase at the bar as well as two tasting menus in the dining room (each one around $100 per person) that use traditional Mexican ingredients to create delicious dishes that look like they’ve been airbrushed in preparation for a magazine cover. Whichever tasting menu you choose, the star will be the mole, which has been cooking continuously since 2013 and tastes like incredibly light and complex melted chocolate. Just know that reservations open up a year in advance and you’ll need to plan at least two months ahead if you want to get a table.
Quintonil and Pujol have a lot in common. Not only are they both in Polanco, but the chef at Quintonil also worked at Pujol, and Pujol’s most famous dish - the mole madre that’s been cooking since 2013 - was initially made to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Quintonil. Quintonil serves one of the best moles we’ve ever had as well, and the menu has a similar focus to Pujol’s on local ingredients and beautiful presentations. They offer a rotating tasting menu for about $125 per person or you can order a la carte, in which case you’ll need to order the crab tostada with habanero mayo and the ant chorizo with creamy, cheesy rice. If you can’t get a dinner reservation, which is difficult because they’re only available two months in advance, then come for one of the best lunches in this city. Or any city.
Located in the old Pujol space, Ticuchi might just be the best-looking restaurant in the city. The place is dark, as in very dark, but that just makes for a more exciting experience. Of course, the real appeal here is the food. With a heavily vegetarian focus, corn is the star (the women making fresh tortillas in the front kitchen might clue you in). The menu changes often but consistently includes impressive small plates like their staple and outstanding tamal de esquite. The music, too, is always on-point with a good blend of ’80s classics like Springsteen, as well as some fun remixed Mexican covers, and it’s played at the perfect volume to be able to have a nice first (or 10th) date.
Although the name isn’t exactly family-friendly (ask your Uber driver en route why), this place is great and one of the most interesting new seafood restaurants in CDMX. Focused on Sinaloa-style seafood and born in a simple stand at a nearby market, Don Vergas became a rotating pop-up before finally landing at this stand-alone space in Cuauhtémoc. Their cult-like following (which we are 100% a part of) should tell you it’s a must-try while in Mexico City and everything on their menu tastes as fresh as if you were in a Mazatlan seafood shack. If you have to focus on one thing here, make sure it’s the tostada embarazada (loaded with shrimp, octopus, crab meat, fish, and scallops), which might just be the biggest, most delicious tostada we’ve ever tried - especially when paired with a michelada or two.
Niddo is a fantastic breakfast option if you’re staying in the Zona Rosa (Mexico City’s historically LGBT neighborhood) and have zero interest in eating at one of the many chains in the area. Actually, it’s a fantastic breakfast option no matter where in the city you’re staying. The small, indoor/outdoor cafe has a tremendous Jewish-leaning menu that includes everything from potato latkes to babka french toast to bagels and lox. The whole place is run by a mother/son team and the seating revolves around the open kitchen where you get to watch them make your breakfast right in front of you. Wait times get long during peak weekend hours, but during the week you’ll be able to walk right in.
Run by the same team as Rosetta over in Roma Norte, this bakery and cafe is also super cozy and beautiful in a much more rustic and imperfectly perfect way. It’s also strategically located in front of some of Juarez’s best stores, which makes it a great place to fuel up or take a break before or after some shopping. Even though their salads and quiches are great, breakfast is probably the meal where they excel the most, both their baked goods and coffee are excellent. If you can, try to stop by on a weekday or during off times because there can be a long wait otherwise.
This cramped, standing-room-only wine/sake bar can’t fit more than 20 people, and though it’s chaotic, it’s one of our favorite places to drink in CDMX. Our recommendation is to save this place until the end of the night, when you can be amongst the rest of the stumbly, well-dressed crowd, drinking natural wine and rare sake (including the only Mexican variety in existence), and mentally making plans to do it all again tomorrow night.
This is the only place on this guide where although the food is very good, it isn’t the main reason to stop by. Instead, it’s because Tetetlan is one of the most unique and eye-catching restaurants we’ve ever seen. Located next to one of the former Luis Barragan houses (Casa Pedregal, which you can and should visit), this huge space is a blend between the Barragan architecture and a more modern set-up with a transparent floor exposing the natural volcanic lava stones, and a mix of strange (yet perfect) furniture. There’s a gigantic private book collection scattered throughout the space, which you can browse while eating (or post-meal with a carajillo on hand). There’s a huge menu of tacos, tlayudas, and pizzas that all feature local ingredients, but as we said, the space itself steals the show every time.
After you visit the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo house, walk next door to San Angel Inn. If the wedding scene in The Godfather actually took place in Mexico City, it would have been filmed here. Located inside a former monastery with a beautiful courtyard, this is the kind of legendary place that makes you feel like you should be simultaneously eating steak tacos, smoking a cigar, and drinking a margarita (that was shaken at your table). Yes, it can be a bit touristy, but is definitely worth a trip anyway.
Four Seasons Hotel CDMX
As far as Four Seasons go, this one isn’t going to cost you your right leg to stay at. As you may imagine, it’s one of the nicest hotels in CDMX for a few reasons. First of all, it’s located in the trendy neighborhood of Juarez. The hotel bar, Fifty Mills, is one of the best places to get a martini in the whole city (plus it looks out over the hotel’s expansive courtyard). Lastly, the service is classic Four Seasons but with a Mexican influence - and Mexico excels in that department too. Book your stay here.
The Wild Oscar
The semi-new Wild Oscar claims to offer “a home-like experience in an exclusive environment.” This Polanco hotel is all about affordable luxury: it feels like a members-only club (think dark wood, black furniture, brass accents,) but without, of course, any membership needed. With only 28 rooms in total (some of which are apartments), it’s a unique spot in one of CDMX’s most desirable neighborhoods. Book your stay here.
This is the newest hotel in CDMX from Grupo Habita, the original pioneers of Design Hotels in Mexico. It’s located in a magnificently renovated 19th-century residential building in Centro, and several rooms have balconies that look out over CDMX’s baroque masterpiece, the Metropolitan Cathedral. Book your stay here.
The smallest hotel on our guide (there are only four rooms), Nima is just as charming as the tree-lined streets you find just outside its doors in Roma Norte. Located in a renovated historic home, many of the original details have been refurbished but still remain - like the wooden staircase, large windows, and small balconies. Rooms are stylish and well-appointed, definitely a place for design-savvy travelers. Book your stay here.
Owner Roberta Maceda is also the founder of womenswear line OCTAVIA, and she brings the same minimal and effortless sensibility to Octavia Casa. She set out to create her dream B&B and the result is a serene escape in the middle of Condesa. Highlights include the leafy first-floor lobby and the impressive rooftop views. Book your stay here.