Where to Eat Near Mexico City's Major Museums

The best restaurants within walking distance of all the modern art and ancient artifacts you should see while in CDMX.
Plates of seafood on a white table cloth at Danubio in Mexico City

photo credit: Andrew Reiner

Mexico City is filled with so many worthwhile museums, and it’d take weeks to get through them all. A morning museum visit is your best shot to get ahead of the crowds and leaves plenty of time for the most important meal of the day: lunch. Here’s where to eat near some of the most important museums around town. You’ll find most of them in Centro Histórico and Polanco, as well as a few in the southern part of the city.

photo credit: Andrew Reiner



$$$$Perfect For:LunchWalk-Ins
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Near: Museo Nacional de Antropología

One of Mexico City’s best kept secrets is that there’s a really great restaurant hidden below the city’s most famous museum. The Museo Nacional de Antropología is massive and can take hours to explore, so grabbing lunch halfway through is a smart way to break up a visit. Similar to the museum itself, the menu is divided into different regions, including Baja, Central, Pacific, Northern and Southern Mexico, and the Riviera Maya. If you’re with a group, split the guacamole and the cochinita pibil. And if you can, avoid Sundays when the museum’s entrance fee is waived for locals (and it gets subsequently packed).

photo credit: Guillaume Guevara



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Near: Museo de Arte Moderno

Cantina del Bosque has a traditional cantina setup—white tablecloths on some tables, mariachis making the rounds—but don’t judge it by its 1937 cover. Unlike most cantinas, del Bosque includes a detailed wine list in addition to mezcal, beer, and bourbon options, but the real winner is the seafood. Head here for lunch after a morning at the museum, and order the sea salt-baked fish thats deboned tableside (the giant shrimp, with the shells still on and grilled in a rich mix of butter and garlic, is another must-order). Make sure to save room for the traditional chocolate mousse for dessert.

Near: Museo Nacional De Arte

After a morning at the Museo Nacional de Arte, walk about 10 minutes to the Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square, for lunch at the aptly named Balcón del Zocalo. It overlooks the square from the fourth floor of a beautiful landmarked building, with impressive views of the cathedral and the surrounding neighborhood. The a la carte menu is eclectic and predominantly Mexican, with things like plump gyozas filled with tender cochinita pibil and octopus tiradito with recado negro. Reservations aren’t mandatory, but making one can save some time, especially on weekends when it’s crowded with local families visiting the area.

Near: Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes

Before there was Contramar, there was Danubio—a nearly 90-year-old, super popular seafood restaurant in Centro Histórico that happens to be just a seven-minute walk from the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes. It’s a fairly traditional spot, with white tablecloths, framed autographs of famous patrons from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and menus that are presented tableside on large boards. You’ll spot a mixed crowd of businessmen and some well-to-do artists, with few tourists among them. The huge plate of langostinos a la plancha is shareable, so start with that and follow it up with the filete de robalo in a thin tomato sauce with briny olives and spices typical of the coastal state of Veracruz.

Near: Museo Frida Kahlo 

This traditional three-story house that overlooks Plaza Santa Catarina is a great place to eat comfort-style food after a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum. Ask for a table on the top floor for the best view, and plan on starting your meal with the gooey, chorizo-filled queso fundido (be careful—that salsa’s very spicy.) Follow that up with a plate of enchiladas suizas, a glass or two of their extremely affordable house wine, and the crepas de cajeta for dessert.

Near: Museo Jumex

Enrique Olvera is arguably Mexico’s most famous chef, and there’s an outpost of his casual Eno franchise on the ground floor of Museo Jumex. The open-air atmosphere matches the architecture of the museum itself, which houses a large permanent collection of modern art and rotating installations. If you come by in the morning, get the enchiladas rojas rellenas de quesillo, and if you’re there during the afternoon or evening, go with the torta de milanesa: a breaded chicken breast draped with cheese, avocado, and tomato. Add a paloma and a slice of the four-cheese cake for dessert.

Near: Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo

There aren’t really any great restaurants within walking distance of the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo, but a 10-minute Uber ride will get you to Mesón Taurino, a legendary meat-heavy spot. Their signature dish is the Tanda de Gaoneras: thinly-sliced beef tacos with the optional (but totally-worth-it) add-on of guacamole, chopped onion, and cilantro. These are some of the best beef tacos in town—and everyone knows it—so try to avoid coming between 3-5pm when it’s packed. As well as those tacos, get an order of the queso fundido con chistorra and the frijoles charros for the table. If you’re there on a Saturday, check out the nearby Bazar del Sábado in San Angel and grab an ice cream while wandering around.

Near: Museo de Arte Popular

There are a bunch of these variety stores all over Mexico City, but the one worth going to is inside the La Casa de los Azulejos—we’re talking right in the middle of it. You’ll dine in a large, covered courtyard surrounded by colorful murals, and traditionally dressed waiters will approach your table to recommend the sopa de tortilla, or their staple dish: enchiladas suizas stuffed with chicken in a green salsa and melted swiss cheese. The desserts are fine, but we suggest skipping them. Instead, walk a few minutes to the famous (and equally picturesque) Dulcería de Celaya.

Near: Museo del Templo Mayor

The founders of this 110-year-old Centro Histórico restaurant firmly believed that turkey shouldn’t just be a holiday dish. So if you’re into turkey, this is your place. And if you’re not, El Rey del Pavo might change your mind. The simple turkey tortas with avocado are the best thing on the menu at this casual spot near the Museo del Templo Mayor, though their torta de bacalao a la vizcaína is a close second. That sandwich was also inspired by the holidays: bacalao, or salted and preserved cod, prepared with olives, capers, and olive oil, is traditionally eaten around Christmas. 

Near: Museo Anahuacalli

Museo Anahuacalli is in a mostly residential area, but Los 3 Caballos, a traditional Mexican restaurant that’s been open since 1968, is just a five- to 10- minute drive away. Go with the sopesitos de escamoles, sweet and spicy enchiladas mole with chicken, or the cabrito regio—perfectly cooked goat served with guacamole, roasted tomato, and onion. The space is huge (and filled with a lot of equestrian memorabilia), service is no-frills but attentive, and there’s a mariachi band that takes requests table by table starting at 4pm.

$$$$Perfect For:LunchPeople Watching


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Near: Museo Rufino Tamayo

Au Pied de Cochon is the main restaurant inside the Intercontinental Presidente, where Obama, Xi-Jinping, and a slew of other international world leaders have stayed. It’s open 24/7 and gets busy for fancy lunches and dinners, as well as late night on the weekends or whenever there’s a concert at the Auditorio Nacional across the street. The menu’s classic French—think: coq a vin, tender filet mignon with morels in beef au jus, and onion soup—and it’s a great place to recharge after a trip to the Museo Rufino Tamayo, roughly a 25-minute walk away.

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