You’ve booked a trip to Mexico City, and you’ve heard that the food here is pretty damn fantastic. The only question is: where to start?
We recommend trying it all. Check out a high-end tasting menu spot that shows off what modern Mexican cooking is all about. Have breakfast at a classic churreria. Fill your table with seafood tostadas at a fun neighborhood-y spot. And eat some tacos. Probably more than just “some.”
If any of the above sound appealing to you when it comes to eating in Mexico City, you’ll find great options for those - and more - listed below.
Rosetta does Italian with a Mexican twist. The restaurant is located in a colonial townhouse in La Roma, which is a cool, artsy neighborhood you’ll definitely want to check out while you’re here. Inside, you’ll find vintage furniture and pastel walls, and a romantic patio out back, all of which make this a great date night spot. Plan to drink plenty of wine and eat plenty of pasta, and be sure to try their incredible bread. If you’re around here during the day, check out their nearby panadería for a quick coffee and fantastic pastries.
The city is full of trendy, new churrerias, but a classic spot is the way to go for your first time around. The churros, churro ice cream sandwich, and Mexican hot chocolate here are some of the best around. Our grandfather says this place has been the perfect spot for breakfast or a snack since he was a kid, and if you don’t trust our grandfather, you should just stop reading now.
Contramar is an upbeat, busy seafood restaurant, and it makes for a great lively lunch with friends spot. Everything is fresh and delicious so get a few things to share, but you’re really here for the tuna tostadas. Round out your order with the grilled octopus or the pescado a la talla, and finish off with the fig tart. If you’re looking for somewhere to kill time before dinner, there are a couple of bars close by - try Baltra Bar.
Nicos is an authentic, family-owned traditional Mexican restaurant, and it’s a friendly, casual place to have lunch. It’s a bit out of the way but the food is worth the drive. If you can’t make it, try their new sister restaurant Fonda Mayora (a bit closer to the touristy areas). Try the enchiladas or the duck mole and end your meal with a few drinks from their mezcal cart.
If you started reading this list scanning for the best taco spots, you’ll want to focus your eyes here. El Turix is a little hole in the wall taqueria that specializes in food from Yucatan, which means the tacos will be filled with sweet and citrus marinades and salsas. Go straight for the cochinita pibil tacos, which come with slow-roasted pulled pork cooked with achiote paste and citrus juices as well as a panucho, an open face tortilla with thicker corn dough. It will all get messy, which is good. Know that there’s a limited menu and few seats, so expect a line during lunch time.
This place serves arguably the best breakfast in the city, in the midst of Centro Historico, a block away from el Zocalo. 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 and for a breakfast appetizer. Then go crazy with chilaquiles, enchiladas, poached eggs in clay pots, and omelettes with ingredients you’ve probably never heard of. Best to get here early or be prepared to wait.
Neveria Roxy serves hands down the best ice cream in Mexico City. It’s been around for ages and their decor hasn’t changed since, so expect to feel like you’re back in the ’50s. There are tons and tons of flavors, but they’re all excellent - we like the Mexican fruit flavors, like mamey or guanabana. They have a few locations around the city, but the best one is in Polanco, a nice neighborhood full of restaurants, shops, and a beautiful park that’s perfect to spend an afternoon walking around.
If you’re making some attempt to be kind of healthy while in Mexico City, hit up Ojo de Agua, a laid-back spot where you can show up in your gym clothes. It’s airy, quaint, and has its own little fruit and veggie 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).
Maximo Bistrot is a farm-to-table restaurant that’s kind of French, kind of Mexican. Somehow it all works, and the food is some of the most refined in the city, and is served in a relaxed setting. 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 brunch spot called Lalo in the front of the space.
When you talk about Mexican fine dining, you talk about Enrique Olvera. The tasting menu (the restaurant’s only option) is one of the city’s priciest at $96 a head, but it’s absolutely worth it for a very special experience. You’ll get try unusual ingredients, like the famous husked baby corn smoked inside a hollowed out gourd with chicatana ants, coffee, and chile mayo. This is Mexican food like you’ve never had it before.
Mexico City actually has some excellent sushi, and Kyo is the place you want to try it. This is a small, quiet, minimalist Japanese sushi bar with only 13 seats, so definitely make a reservation. There are three different menus based on the amount of food you want to eat and the amount of money you want to spend.
El Farolito is the most convenient taco joint you’ll find in the city, considering there are 24 of them. They’re also open super late and deliver, so yes, this is going to be your drunk food of choice. The tacos al pastor are just as good (and addictive) as the ones you’ll find on the street, but served in a convenient, indoor location. Get a chicharron de queso right off the bat - basically a crispy piece of cheese. Eat as many tacos as your heart desires and try every sauce available. Then wash it all down with a horchata.
After you visit the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo house, walk next door to San Angel Inn. It’s a classic, in an old monastery with a beautiful courtyard, so if the weather is nice, definitely sit outside. It can be a bit touristy, but go anyway. The food is traditional Mexican, but you should try something that’s hard to find outside of Mexico, like the chile en nogada. It’s a poblano pepper stuffed with pork, dried fruits, and nuts, covered with a creamy walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds.
An oyster bar originally from the northern city of Guadalajara, La Docena is the ultimate all-purpose restaurant. Great for a first date, after-work drinks, or a fun Saturday night. It’s loud, informal, and always a good time. The menu is filled with seafood and great cocktails.
If you’re looking for another high-end experience, head to Quintonil in Polanco, one of the best restaurants in the country, and even the world. It’s a small, modern space, cooking exceptional Mexican food that tastes as good as it looks. Make sure to try the tostada with smoked crab.
Havre 77 is a trendy French bistro, and a nice place to spend an afternoon or evening if you’re spending some more time in the city and are considering a break from Mexican food. It’s great-looking inside (you’ll probably see some local fashion bloggers making use of the surroundings) and the classic French options like steak frites are nicely done. If you’re here for dinner, make a reservation afterwards to hit up Hanky Panky, a cool 1930s themed cocktail bar nearby.