Want Claire’s entire guide to Mexico City? Check out her PDF!
Street Food Tips:
– Stick to the places with the longest lines. If they’re popular, then they aren’t getting people sick regularly.
– Also look for older, professional types. Doctors, lawyers, and cops can’t afford to get sick from street meat, so they’ll be conservative with where they get their street food. Teenagers, on the other hand, play more fast and loose.
– Look around: Does it look clean? Is food left sitting around? Use your eyes and nose to tell you if the food looks good to you. If you’re apprehensive, just walk to the next cart. Better safe than sorry!
– Water/Ice: Potable water is an issue in Mexico, so if you’re buying a respado (shaved ice) or an icy drink, make sure it’s from a place that uses filtered water.
– Have a plan: I’m a research nut, so I looked up street food spots in D.F. that my favorite food writers and publications recommended. It makes the hunt so much easier!
– Hotel: I stayed at Hotel Colonia DF and LOVED it. Boutique-y, modern, and right in the middle of the coolest neighborhoods.
Ciudadela: Calle Baldera 6 and Enrico Martinez, El centro
If you want Mexican folk art, this is the place to be. Painted pottery, wooden sculptures, woven blankets, it’s basically all here and at a good price. Just make sure to do a sweep of the market once before actually buying, as a lot of the shops sell the exact same products at different prices.
Address: República del Salvador 152, Centro
Have you had the best sandwich in the world? You have? Oh, so you’ve been to Tortas Been too! I know some might want to argue that their Reubens, Philly cheesesteaks, and French Dips are better, but, nope. Not possible. Juicy, roasted pierna (a pork leg) shaved and served on a warm bun with pickled carrots and jalapeños, then topped with hand pulled quesillo, finished with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a touch of mayo – it’s the most perfect sandwich I’ve ever had. The sandwich stand is a bit tucked away in the garment district of El Centro, but turn into the little arcade and it’s right there.
When Clau, a Kitchy Kitchen reader, saw that I was visiting Mexico and reached out to me via Facebook, I couldn’t resist meeting up. She seemed so sweet when I creeped on her Facebook page and she was even lovelier in person. She brought her vivacious friend Maritza to lunch and we had such a fun time gabbing about the awesomeness of Mexico City. Plus, she got me chili jam! Thanks for the fun time, Clau and Maritza!
Check out my video on Tastemade!
Flor de Lis
Address: Colonia Condesa
It’s not every day that I get offered to visit the home of a server I’ve just met, but then again, this was my first trip to Mexico city, and I’m sure if I stayed longer, more offers would have cropped up. The server at Flor de Lis was emblematic of our experience in DF: friendly beyond reason while serving delicious food. The tamales here are great, my favorite being the cajeta one. I’ve never had a sweet tamale before, and the goat’s milk caramel was lovely against the corn meal. The perfect “not too sweet” dessert before walking through the park.
Fernando Montes de Oca 114-B, Colonia Condesa Phone: +55 1450 2494
Fig tart. It’s all about the fig tart. Fresh, rich, the perfect blend of textures, this was one of the best desserts from the whole trip. The other treats from this adorable little patisserie were delicious too, but the fig tart was too scrumptious not to single it out.
Castillo de Chapultepec/Bosque de Chapultepec
Over twice the size of Central Park, Bosque de Chapultepec is easy to getting lost in…in a good way. Ambling under the trees, past the lake, and suspiciously eyeing the very familiar squirrels is a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. But make sure to journey up to the castle that stands on a hill in the middle of the park. The view is stunning, and…it’s a FREAKING CASTLE so, that should be enough, right?
I dare you to not do your best Indiana Jones and shout “It belongs in a museum!” in each room. The museum itself is a sight to behold (much like the Getty here at home), and every room is dedicated to a different region, tribe, and culture that make’s up Mexico’s historical landscape. I loved the outdoor exhibits with recreations of Mayan and aztec ruins, while Christie gravitated toward the ancient musical instruments. It’s a fabulous, comprehensive experience for those not familiar with Mexico’s cultural roots.
Presidente Masaryk 86 Polanco Phone: +52 55 5448 2100
This place was the perfect sanctuary after a day of museum hopping. Decked out like a chic hotel lobby, every table has a plug for your computer and free wifi abounds. I so wish a place like this existed back home, I might never leave!
Address: 133 Calle Tonalá, Roma Norte Phone: +52 55 5264 4291
Funny story surrounding this popular spot. The daughter of a governmental muckity-muck couldn’t get a table, so she demanded that her father shut the restaurant down. A New York Times article praising the restaurant and lamenting it’s closure followed, and public outcry got the place reopened. Thank goodness too! The food here was spectacular. The crab crostini was one of my favorite bites from the entire trip, and the squid ink pasta was delicious. If you want to do a date night, this is the place. It is super busy though, so make sure to make a res, or expect a wait.
A mansion converted into a cultural center, Casa Lamm has classes and speakers to listen to, plus lovely galleries to explore. The bistro is a quiet place to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of this lovely space.
Goodbye Folk: Colima 198, Cuauhtémoc Phone: +52 55 5525 4109
An adorable vintage store/handmade shoe shop in the heart of Roma Norte. Oh, and there’s a hair salon in the back. But if you’re looking for something memorable to bring home from Mexico City, a pair of oxfords made with serape fabric or a vintage leather jacket, this is the place for you.
166 Colima, Roma Norte Phone: +52 55 5533 7804
This place is just gorgeous! The high mural painted ceilings in this converted mansion is the perfect place to hide away on a rainy day…unless they forget to close the skylight. Some unfortunate guests were drenched from the rain coming in, but they dried off and finished their meal away from the downpour in the middle of the restaurant. The vibe here is very european and fresh, with dishes like bur rata with fried basil and fresh tomatoes making it a wonderful lunch spot. Also, some of the best foccacia I’ve ever had. Next door is the charming Rosetta Cafe, which has some of the best pastries in the city.
110 Av. Alvaro Obregon, Colonia Roma Norte
Delicious, unfussy, Mexican food with a killer mezcal list. My favorite was the skirt steak ala plancha and the very very spicy guacamole. So good!