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Whether you prefer cheap but delicious street food or globally inspired cuisine from top-of-the-line gourmet venues, Mexico City rewards the palate in myriad ways. And every local expert has his or her own personal favorites.
“There is no other place to enjoy food like Mexico City,” said Adrian Cordero, food and beverage manager at Hilton Mexico City Reforma. “From handmade quesadillas on the street to perfectly crafted plates from awarded chefs, this city is paradise for everyone seeking to explore new concepts, vibes and experiences."
Indeed, Mexico City is home to an impressive six AAA Four Diamond restaurants, including the Paris-based Au Pied de Cochon, which serves French delicacies, and Pujol, the Polanco district hot spot that serves chic interpretations of traditional Mexican elements.
In some cases, visitors don’t even have to leave their hotel to sample award-winning fare. The St. Regis Mexico City, for example, is home to a pair of AAA Four Diamond dining venues: Diana Restaurant, which offers a modern take on Mexican cuisine, and J&G Grill, which showcases international flavors crafted by French-American chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The boutique hotel Las Alcobas features a modern Mexican menu at its 90-seat restaurant, Dulce Patria, while Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City satisfies cravings for Pacific coast seafood at Zanaya.
Hilton Mexico City Reforma also offers a variety of eateries that cater to diverse tastes, serving Mediterranean-influenced dishes at Terraza Alameda, southeastern Mexican specialties at Los Dones and farm-to-table freshness at El Cardenal, a venue that serves traditional Mexican favorites in a decidedly elegant ambiance.
El Cardenal is, in fact, a top restaurant choice for Stephanie Schneiderman, owner of Tia Stephanie Tours, which offers a variety of Mexico City tours that can be customized to suit culinary interests.
“Always a favorite, for both breakfast and comida (late lunch), El Cardenal has several locations throughout Mexico City,” she said. “Its flagship and original location is on Calle de la Palma in the Centro Historico. Chilaquiles verdes and bolillos [a bread similar to a baguette] with nata cream are wonderful culinary experiences here. For comida, we are particularly fond of the chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese in mole de coloradito. In addition to the flagship location, we love going to the location inside the Hilton.”
For mouthwatering French cuisine made with Mexican ingredients, Schneiderman recommends Maximo Bistrot, which is headed by chef Eddie Garcia, whose culinary resume includes work at Le Bernardin in New York City and Mexico City’s Pujol.
“Eddie brings a bright and pure approach to his kitchen, focusing primarily on fresh ingredients, sourced daily, and preparing them in a way that lets their flavors come through,” Schneiderman said.
Traditional Mexican food in a casual setting is the draw at Los Panchos, a restaurant near Polanco.
“It’s not a gourmet restaurant by any means, but it is a grand culinary experience in Mexico City,” Schneiderman said, noting that she first ate there as a child growing up in Mexico City. “Los Panchos is a favorite spot for the best carnitas. You can order your tacos de carnitas by the taco or order a quarter, half or full kilo of carnitas to be brought to your table, so you can roll your own tacos. Add chopped onion, cilantro and a squeeze from a lime, and you’ll be ready to go to carnitas heaven.”
From handmade quesadillas on the street to perfectly crafted plates from awarded chefs, this city is paradise for everyone seeking to explore new concepts, vibes and experiences.
Hilton’s Cordero also has his own personal favorites around the city, including La Docena, which he calls “one of the best seafood spots located in La Roma Norte neighborhood.”
“From the grilled clams, fresh tostadas to the exquisite po boys, this place is perfect to start a Saturday afternoon,” he said.
Cordero also recommends a restaurant called Meroma, which is also located in the trendy Roma Norte district.
“Architecturally perfect, this place features a craft mixology bar in its lower floor and a contemporary restaurant offering local and seasonal plates with unique and exquisite flavors,” he said. “Their chefs, Rodney Cusic and Mercedes Bernal, were recently named by Food & Wine as rising culinary stars of Mexico.”
For flavors from another continent, Cordero suggests Le Tachinomi Desu, located in Cuauhtemoc.
“Created by Edo Kobayashi, this restaurant offers a Japanese whiskey and sake bar, plus gastronomic offers that change daily, depending on the freshness of the products,” he said. “Above the restaurant is a small bar called Tokyo Music Bar. Each Tuesday, they offer a ‘Taco Tuesday’ based on Japanese plates.”
No matter where you choose to dine, Cordero says you’ll likely notice one overarching quality.
“In Mexico City, there’s two characteristics that define Mexican cuisine,” he said. “And you can see it in every single food spot: passion and love.”