The 38 Essential Mexico City Restaurants

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A restaurant interior, with tables full of diners, double height exposed brick walls covered with decorations, and a glass roof
Inside Páramo
Alejandra Arango

From a lunch tasting menu in a secret apartment in Roma Norte to famed fine dining destination Pujol, here’s where to eat in CDMX

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Inside Páramo
| Alejandra Arango

The first thing any visitor to the Mexican capital will take in — probably while staring out the window in awe as their airplane descends over the intense, urbanity-on-steroids sprawl — is the sheer size of this town, 573 square miles in total. It’s densely populated and patchworked with distinct neighborhoods, each with its own culinary identity. It would take several lifetimes to get to know all of the street stands, holes in the wall, neighborhood favorites, and high-end destinations in this city.

Yet this list — 38 restaurants, dishes, and culinary experiences that define Mexico City’s gastronomic identity — should offer a comprehensive starting point for any visitor. It includes the obvious and the overexposed; it also includes hidden gems. It covers longtime buzzing neighborhoods like Roma and Condesa, as well as newer destination districts like San Miguel Chapultepec and Juarez. There are tacos, tortas, tasting menus, and tamales. There are enough sweets to satisfy the most dedicated concha enthusiast and some old-school breakfasts for the nostalgists. Whatever the type of place, it provides standout food and a taste of something visitors can’t get back home.

Updated, June 2022:

After two long years of the pandemic, Mexico City is buzzing with renewed spirit. Just as the city becomes a hot destination for international travelers again, restaurants are also playing host to a growing community of digital nomads who crowd cafes to take work calls during the day and fill every hard-to-get reservation by night. There’s no sugarcoating the mixed feelings Chilangos have about these immigrants from the North, who have brought fast-paced gentrification, shifted the real estate market, and reshaped demographics in central neighborhoods. But the influx of customers has also been a boon to newcomers in the restaurant scene, and the established food community is determined to make the most of new opportunities as well.

Natalia de la Rosa is a Mexican food writer, mezcal collector, and culinary guide based in Mexico City.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Tennyson 133, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11550 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Over the years, the celebrated tasting and omakase menus at Pujol have evolved into fine dining multicourse experiences focusing mostly on vegetarian or pescatarian items. That’s still true under the direction of chef de cuisine Jesus Duron, who honed his perfect execution during his formative years while cooking in France’s top restaurants before accepting the baton from Enrique Olvera at Pujol. In Duron’s hands, each dish on the seasonal menus speaks to the restaurant’s values: sustainability, respect for traditional Mexican cooking and local ingredients, and innovation. Book at least two months in advance.

Pablo Veronés 12, Alfonso XIII, 01460 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

It is said that the Gonzalez family — which runs three separate barbacoa spots in town — goes through more than 100 pasture-raised lambs each weekend, wrapping them in agave leaves and roasting them in an underground pit. The resulting barbacoa consomé is a mind-bendingly heady concoction, fortified with all of the slow-cooked lamb drippings. Los Tres Reyes is only open on weekends, but around 10 a.m. each Saturday and Sunday the Norteño band arrives and the beer begins to flow. Meat is sold by the pound, with sides like tortillas and avocado sold separately.

Av. Isaac Newton 55, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2022, Jorge Vallejo’s fine dining restaurant in Polanco continues to offer a fixed eight-course menu (and a la carte options) representing the best of Mexican cuisine. Though dishes such as rice a la tumbada have remained consistent throughout the years, the menu changes seasonally. These days the kitchen finds inspiration in regional Mexican dishes such as tlayuda, poblano mole, and Oaxacan segueza, a traditional corn mole. The aesthetic of the food isn’t too precious and the overall vibe feels more casual than fine dining (though the check reminds diners the restaurant is ranked on the Latin America’s 50 Best list). Opt for a seat at the bar for the best view of the action during dinner service.

Viernes Media Lab

Av. Isaac Newton 256, Chapultepec Morales, Polanco V Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11550 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Located in the fancy Polanco district, Siembra Tortilleria works with native Mexican corn to produce the most delicious and colorful tortillas. Besides devoting most of their kitchen labor to tortillas, tlacoyos, sopes, and totopos, they also offer a small corn-centric menu, where a variety of tacos and tamales appear weekly alongside fresh salsas from the molcajete. Asada, carnitas, barbacoa, and shrimp tacos are among the favorites, as are the cochinita tamales. Stop by for a meal on the go, but don’t expect to linger at the casual window setup too long.

Calle Gob.Protasio Tagle 66A, San Miguel Chapultepec II Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11850 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chefs Norma Listman and Saqib Keval created this casual mix of Mexican and Indian cuisines. Located in the San Miguel Chapultepec district, Mari Gold offers breakfast and lunch menus in constant evolution, with vegetarian stews like chickpea chole served with a fried egg and tortillas, or a fried fish bun with achaar mayo. A short but stellar wine list and super-friendly service round out the experience.

Av. Cuitláhuac 3102, Claveria, 02080 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Restaurante Nicos, the best restaurant in Mexico City, is formal but not stuffy, respectful to local ingredients and traditions but not precious, and venerable at the age of 60 but not a time warp. Go all in and get the tableside guacamole treatment to start, the tableside coffee roasting to end, and a visit or two from the mezcal cart somewhere in between.

Nicos Tequila Cart
Photo by Helen Rosner

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Tolstoi 9, Col, Anzures, Miguel Hidalgo, 11590 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Locals love carnitas just as much as al pastor or lamb barbacoa. After 75 years in Polanco, the family-run Los Panchos still attracts a crowd for its juicy, well-seasoned carnitas. Order the pork carnitas, by the taco or by weight, along with sides of guacamole, cactus and tomato salad, and chicharrones.

A large knife stuck in a wood block beside some chopped up carnitas, with more meat in a stew pot in the background
Carnitas at Los Panchos
Carlos Velasco

Av. Veracruz 38, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

This small bistro fills an obvious need in CDMX. It’s that rare cozy restaurant that’s equally great for a solo meal or a glass of wine with a few friends. Chef Michael Crespo has created a French-inspired menu that hits the mark every time, alongside an excellent wine list with natural and low-intervention options mostly from the Old World. The beef tartare with tonnato and gnocchi Parisienne with chicken jus have become signature dishes.

Oysters on ice with horseradish and lemon, beside other dishes and a plate of toast, on a sun-lit table.
Oysters at Hugo.
Hugo

Av Chapultepec 540, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chupacabras is one of the city’s quintessential late-night taquerías. The original location in Coyoacán has served its famed tacos for more than 20 years, but the restaurant has since expanded to Roma Norte to satisfy taco lovers unwilling to travel to the south side of the city. Rumor has it the secret behind the famous el chupas taco is the house seasoning composed of 127 spices. Whether or not you believe that, the taco is a joyful mix of steak and pork sausage complemented by the regular Chupacabras toppings of pot beans (stewed pinto beans), smashed potatoes, cactus salad, and a variety of salsas.

Hamburgo 310, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Juárez

CDMX, Mexico

Since the day Elly Fraser opened her restaurant, she has positioned her business as one of the most popular spots in Mexico City. An incredible music selection plays in the background as the New York chef prepares dishes with Mediterranean influences using seasonal ingredients from all over Mexico. There’s a well-curated wine and cocktail list, and the beautiful restaurant space offers a range of moods across a cocktail bar, wine-tasting room, semi-open patio, and chef’s counter. It all makes for a must-visit restaurant.

A double-height dining room with a large tree inside reaching toward a skylight, above an open kitchen, empty bar seats, and a counter that wraps around
Open kitchen counter
Sergio López

Av Nuevo León 120, Hipódromo, Cuauhtémoc, 06100 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Head to Caiman in la Condesa to try some of the most avant-garde creations from Mexican wine country. The food menu is designed to complement the cocktail and wine experience, with munchy snacks like french fries with mussels and quail egg, or canned items for no-fuss clientele. The classic cocktails are well-executed, but explore the house pet-nat selection, which comes mostly from Baja California. The vibe is chill but the bar still delivers that Condesa it factor.

Río Nilo 220, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Hervidero y Plancha

CDMX, Mexico

Salón Ríos takes inspiration from old cantinas where customers used to gather to watch soccer, play cards or dominoes, and enjoy drinks with homestyle meals. Located in the Cuauhtémoc burrough, this modern take on the cantina is a local favorite with a shareable menu that showcases Mexican comfort foods. Go for carnitas or shrimp tacos, ceviches, tlacoyos, and beef flautas, and wash your meal down with a classic cocktail or michelada.

Adolfo Prieto 1364, Col del Valle Sur, 03100 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Early riser? Hungover? Head to this casual, family-run restaurant that’s famous for its hearty breakfasts and being a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain. A rotating selection of guisados is always bubbling away in the large clay cauldrons (which rest atop actual coals — not a gas fire), but do order the frijoles negros con huevo, a mash of black beans and eggs folded into the shape of an omelet.

Photo by Daniela Galarza

Sinaloa 141, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chef Oswaldo Oliva is a veteran of several Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, where he cultivated a reputation for impeccable execution and excellent table service. He brings those hallmarks to Alelí, where you can eat delicious comfort dishes like barbecue ribs, grilled fish seasoned with adobo sauce, or an octopus tostada, all without the fuss of fine dining rituals. During the pandemic, the restaurant added a small rooftop seating area where customers can enjoy lunch and cocktails.

From above, a butterflied grilled fish on a stone dish on a wooden table
Grilled fish
Alelí [Official]

Rio Panuco 132, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

After dinner, seek out a nightcap at Tokyo Music Bar, where classic-inspired drinks come with excellent vinyl music. The intimate space is centered around the DJ booth, and table reservations are limited to six people. Small details, like glassware imported from Japan, distinguish the place from other cocktail bars around town — though they show up in the higher prices for drinks too.

A dark bar, with a row of counter seats, lit-up back bar, and small shaded lamps
Inside Tokyo Music Bar
Diego Padilla

Calle de Durango 200, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Contramar, the buzzy, vibrant, and enduringly popular seafood restaurant from chef and restaurateur Gabriela Cámara, is the ideal spot for a long lunch, either in the sweeping dining room or out on the sidewalk. The tuna tostadas are just as good as everyone says, and we beg that you save room for a slice of the fig tart for dessert.

Tuna Tostadas
Tuna Tostadas
Photo by Helen Rosner

Tonalá 23, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Loup Bar’s wine list is exceptional, covering low-intervention bottles from small producers in Mexico, France, Italy, and Austria, among other regions. Early in the evening, the casual atmosphere is ideal for a dinner of beef tartare or calamari with aioli toast. As the night wears on, Loup often fills up with movers and shakers of the city’s restaurant community, who fill the bar to enjoy wines by the glass.

Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

This nixtamal-centric culinary project is devoted to sourcing endemic ingredients from states like Guerrero and Oaxaca while building a strong community with producers. The restaurant receives guests on its own terms: There’s no menu, and techniques and dishes rotate daily according to ingredient availability. Expendio de Maiz seats at most 10 people and there are no reservations, so showing up early is the only secret for making it to a table.

From above, a small dish with corn shaped into a calavera skull, avocado, and cheese, on a wooden table with some bright flowers beside
Calavera made from corn
Rudolph Castro

Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Esquina Comun is nested in a second-floor apartment of an undisclosed location in the Roma neighborhood, revealed only after your reservation is confirmed. That’s where chef Ana González Serrano receives guests for a hyper-intimate weekend-only lunch experience. The dining area of the tiny apartment lends an acute sense of familiarity that never feels orchestrated, music flows from the record player, and wine and mezcal are liberally poured. The fixed six-course menu, which might change weekly or monthly, reflects Ana’s unpretentious style of cooking, with each course playing on the intersection of flavors from Mexico, India, and South America. Reservations are taken only via social media and run out fast, since the cozy kitchen can only serve 12 to 14 people per sitting.

Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Páramo has it all: music, drinks, Mexican comfort food, and an A-list crowd of creatives who have embraced the restaurant from the beginning. Make sure to snag a reservation, or show up a little early to enjoy the easygoing taco menu, which includes meat, seafood, and vegetarian options for all tastes.

Roasted pork shank, on a plate with slices of avocado, onion, and cilantro
Pork shank
Alejandra Arango

Zacatecas 172, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Mi Compa Chava started as a ghost kitchen during the early days of the pandemic, managing pickups and delivery through WhatsApp and Instagram. Two years later, they secured a spacious warehouse in Roma Norte. They were able to make the jump in part by relying on fresh ingredients sourced from Sinaloa and Baja California, which they use to create a vibrant menu inspired by eateries and seafood street carts from northern Mexico’s Pacific coastline. A variety of oysters, fresh clams, and aguachiles parade out of the open kitchen, along with their most Instagrammable creation: Señora Torres, a one-pound seafood tower composed of clams, cooked and raw shrimp, octopus, tuna, and avocado, all showered in black sauce. Grab a reservation or expect long lines for a table.

Tonalá 133, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Lucho Martinez is among a young generation of Mexican chefs redefining fine dining in CDMX. His tasting menu at Em relies heavily on quality sourcing and playfully engages with different traditions: Mexican, Japanese, French, Italian, and everything in between. Dishes can change according to availability, but the grilled fish with miso and chilhuacle and the tuna tostada with fried leek and chile ash are among the best dishes in the city. The experience is a journey of texture and flavor, neatly framed in the restaurant’s casual, minimalist dining room.

From above, a whole roasted fish topped with colorful herbs and other garnishes, on a long plate beside a bowl of tortillas and sauce.
Whole bass at Em.
Em

Av. Paseo de la Reforma 208, Juárez, 06600 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

As soon as the sun starts to set, esquite vendors take over the streets, attracting hungry passersby with heirloom corn kernels cooked with epazote (an earthy, medicinal herb) and chile. Mexico City has witnessed a frenzied explosion of the favorite snack, and you can find versions that come pan-roasted with oil and butter, as well as variations cooked with bone marrow or chicken feet. One of the best stands is on a quiet corner next to the Reforma 222 shopping mall. Servers top esquite (boiled or pan roasted) with lime, mayo, cheese, and five different hot sauces, plus the house special salsa macha, a sauce of peanuts and guajillo chiles. Be sure to visit by 6:30 or 7 p.m. because the stand runs out, and the line can be up to 20 minutes long.

Orizaba 39, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad

CDMX, Mexico

Chef Marco Carboni has established a reputation in the Mexico City dining scene thanks to his passion for Mediterranean culinary traditions. At his European-style delicatessen and bar, Bottega Sartoria, Carboni prepares Italian small plates alongside Mediterranean wines. If you’re not feeling wine, pair the Italian charcuterie and artisan focaccia with anything from the bar’s craft beer list.

Colima 179, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Pandemic-era outdoor seating has really helped Panaderia Rosetta’s tiny location on Colima Street. Elena Reygadas’s bakery has become one of the busiest businesses in the area, a place where people often run into friends and acquaintances, all lured in by the sweet aroma of fresh bread and pastries. The guava roll continues its reign as the absolute best pastry in the city, inspiring totes and T-shirts featuring Reygadas’s most famous creation.

Panaderia Rosetta doughnuts
Panaderia Rosetta doughnuts

Chihuahua 135, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A cafe by day and bar by night, Café de Nadie has become a favorite in the Roma Norte district since opening in 2020. Visit during happy hour to sip one (or two or three) of the bar’s cocktails while contemplating the wonders of the high-definition sound system, which plays hits from a well-curated vinyl collection. The bar’s signature cocktails use Mexican spirits like sotol, charanda, bacanora, and mezcal, but the martini and Americano are perfectly balanced as well.

A brown drink in a nick and nora glass garnished with an olive, beside a small bowl of snacks.
A cocktail at Café de Nadie.
Café de Nadie

Calle Querétaro 116, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A specialty coffee bar and traditional bakery in the Roma Norte neighborhood, Forte is ideal for connoisseurs and coffee geeks. You can also visit later in the day to sample popular sandwiches and a weekly pizza night while you drink through an excellent selection of Mexican craft beers, natural wine, and cider (the latter two by the bottle or glass).

Av. Álvaro Obregón 106, Norte, C. U. Benito Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chefs Aldo Saavedra and Manuel Rivera run Tetela, a casual breakfast and lunch spot located at the heart of Roma Norte. The menu includes best-of-the-best dishes from the traditional breakfast repertoire of regions like Oaxaca, Michoacan, and Jalisco. The chilaquiles in chirmole (Jaliscan roasted salsa) are the best in town. Other equally satisfying options include amarillito mole with roasted veggies and carne en su jugo (beef cooked in its own juices and tomatillo sauce), a staple dish in Guadalajara. Tetela is conveniently located inside World’s 50 Best Bars favorite Licorería Limantour, so don’t miss a mimosa or paloma, both great companions to a casual brunch.

A handled ceramic bowl brimming with leafy greens on a white countertop.
A dish at Tetela.
Tetela

Calle Dinamarca 47, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

La Rifa Chocolatería offers hot chocolate using traditional Mexican techniques and cacao beans from southeastern regions of the country. You can order cups in a range of bitter and sweet and even choose more technical details, such as washed or fermented beans. Pair your drink with a pastry coated with, of course, Mexican chocolate. La Rifa also sells its own collection of chocolate bars, perfect for edible souvenirs to take home.

From above, hands holding a large wooden cup, filled with tan chocolate liquid and ice, on top of a wooden tabletop laid with tropical leaves
Cold chocolate at La Rifa
Mónica Lozano

Av. Álvaro Obregón 65 Bis, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chef Eduardo García is among Mexico’s best culinary talents. In 2020, his flagship fine dining restaurant, Máximo Bistrot, finally moved to a brand new location, a beautifully designed space filled with natural light. For García, the move provided a chance to revisit the menu, improving his classic dishes and creating new ones that celebrate Mexican flavors with a French twist.

Calle Liverpool 44a, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Tamales are a morning ritual in Mexico City, best enjoyed in the relaxed, homey atmosphere of Tamales Madre. The restaurant offers varieties ranging from savory to sweet, wrapped in banana leaf or corn husk, but they’re all prepared with organic heritage corn, locally sourced ingredients, and vegetable shortening instead of lard (to make them lighter and vegetarian-friendly). Don’t forget to try the house favorite, a bean and hoja santa tamale served with a lightly perfumed tomato sauce, and pair your order with atole, prepared with seasonal fruit and nixtamalized masa.

A chef’s hand seen adding an herb for garnish on a finished tamale on a stone plate in a pool of sauce, with bowls of other ingredients nearby on the wooden countertop
Preparing tamales
Tania Barajas

Dr. Balmis 210, Doctores, 06720 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

The nearby hospital supplies most of the clientele at El Sella. Suited in white lab coats and blue scrubs, everyone is here for the chamorro, a braised pork shank served with an endless supply of tortillas. Chamorro is a popular dish made at many restaurants across town but this version is particularly succulent. Arrive early because the dining room fills up fast every day of the week.

Photo by Daniela Galarza

Calle Juan E. Hernández y Dávalos 38, Algarín, 06880 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

This quaint restaurant sits along what Chilangos call Pozole Street for its multiple pozolerías — specializing in the savory, pork-based soup — crammed within a couple of blocks. What makes this Los Tolucos special? Its white, red, and green versions of the savory pork-based soups. The green variety gets its hue from pumpkin seeds and a potent herb sauce that’s stirred in at the end to thicken the broth. A carnitas taco on the side completes the experience.

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 42, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Churrería El Moro, an 80-year-old churro shop downtown that was gutted by a fire in 2010 and painstakingly restored to its original glory, merits a stop for the live show alone. In front of a grease-stained window, two churro makers pipe wet dough into smoking hot oil and spiral the long stream into a spiral rep. After a flip, they come out and are cut into pieces and tossed, fresh to order, in either plain sugar or a sugar-cinnamon mix. Get a bag to go or grab a table to enjoy them with hot chocolate.

Churreria El Moro
Churreria El Moro
Photo by Helen Rosner

16 de Septiembre No. 18, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, 06000 Cuauhtémoc

CDMX, Mexico

Pastelería Ideal, a giant and popular bakery downtown, has everything from traditional Mexican breads, pastries, and cookies to special-occasion cakes and molded gelatin. Do not skip the second floor, which houses a seeming museum of giant, opulent, and whimsical wedding and children’s birthday cakes. Take a break from sightseeing in El Centro to ogle them.

Pasteleria Ideal
Pasteleria Ideal
Photo by Helen Rosner

Calle de Bolívar 57, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Arrive after 10 p.m. for the full Cocuyos experience — an empty street in the center of town with bright lights shining on every cut of meat, plucked from a bubbling caldron of mixed braised meats and chopped to order.

Photo by Daniela Galarza

Calle de la Palma 23, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A gorgeous landmark from another era, El Cardenal serves a fantastic upscale breakfast (it’s also open for lunch and dinner). Order the chilaquiles, which arrive perfectly sauced and with some crisp left in each drowning chip. White tablecloths and suited waiters turn an everyday meal into an experience.

Historic center of Mexico City, Centro, Mexico City

CDMX, Mexico

Long after the stores close and most tourists return to their hotels, many taco spots in the city center remain open for late-night cravings. While you could explore the area on your own, for a bit of help tag along with Club Tengo Hambre, a local tour company with an adventurous food compass. Their after-dark taco tour in the Centro Histórico consists of an epic, multilocation, six-course menu covering the city’s essential styles like brisket, canasta, and al pastor, plus beverage pairings like pulque and beer. Do ask about the post-taco private tasting of Mexican spirits, a one-of-a-kind chance to sip mezcals from underappreciated regions like Durango and San Luis Potosí.

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Over the years, the celebrated tasting and omakase menus at Pujol have evolved into fine dining multicourse experiences focusing mostly on vegetarian or pescatarian items. That’s still true under the direction of chef de cuisine Jesus Duron, who honed his perfect execution during his formative years while cooking in France’s top restaurants before accepting the baton from Enrique Olvera at Pujol. In Duron’s hands, each dish on the seasonal menus speaks to the restaurant’s values: sustainability, respect for traditional Mexican cooking and local ingredients, and innovation. Book at least two months in advance.

Tennyson 133, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11550 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

It is said that the Gonzalez family — which runs three separate barbacoa spots in town — goes through more than 100 pasture-raised lambs each weekend, wrapping them in agave leaves and roasting them in an underground pit. The resulting barbacoa consomé is a mind-bendingly heady concoction, fortified with all of the slow-cooked lamb drippings. Los Tres Reyes is only open on weekends, but around 10 a.m. each Saturday and Sunday the Norteño band arrives and the beer begins to flow. Meat is sold by the pound, with sides like tortillas and avocado sold separately.

Pablo Veronés 12, Alfonso XIII, 01460 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Viernes Media Lab

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2022, Jorge Vallejo’s fine dining restaurant in Polanco continues to offer a fixed eight-course menu (and a la carte options) representing the best of Mexican cuisine. Though dishes such as rice a la tumbada have remained consistent throughout the years, the menu changes seasonally. These days the kitchen finds inspiration in regional Mexican dishes such as tlayuda, poblano mole, and Oaxacan segueza, a traditional corn mole. The aesthetic of the food isn’t too precious and the overall vibe feels more casual than fine dining (though the check reminds diners the restaurant is ranked on the Latin America’s 50 Best list). Opt for a seat at the bar for the best view of the action during dinner service.

Av. Isaac Newton 55, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Located in the fancy Polanco district, Siembra Tortilleria works with native Mexican corn to produce the most delicious and colorful tortillas. Besides devoting most of their kitchen labor to tortillas, tlacoyos, sopes, and totopos, they also offer a small corn-centric menu, where a variety of tacos and tamales appear weekly alongside fresh salsas from the molcajete. Asada, carnitas, barbacoa, and shrimp tacos are among the favorites, as are the cochinita tamales. Stop by for a meal on the go, but don’t expect to linger at the casual window setup too long.

Av. Isaac Newton 256, Chapultepec Morales, Polanco V Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11550 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chefs Norma Listman and Saqib Keval created this casual mix of Mexican and Indian cuisines. Located in the San Miguel Chapultepec district, Mari Gold offers breakfast and lunch menus in constant evolution, with vegetarian stews like chickpea chole served with a fried egg and tortillas, or a fried fish bun with achaar mayo. A short but stellar wine list and super-friendly service round out the experience.

Calle Gob.Protasio Tagle 66A, San Miguel Chapultepec II Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11850 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Nicos Tequila Cart
Photo by Helen Rosner

Restaurante Nicos, the best restaurant in Mexico City, is formal but not stuffy, respectful to local ingredients and traditions but not precious, and venerable at the age of 60 but not a time warp. Go all in and get the tableside guacamole treatment to start, the tableside coffee roasting to end, and a visit or two from the mezcal cart somewhere in between.

Av. Cuitláhuac 3102, Claveria, 02080 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A large knife stuck in a wood block beside some chopped up carnitas, with more meat in a stew pot in the background
Carnitas at Los Panchos
Carlos Velasco

Locals love carnitas just as much as al pastor or lamb barbacoa. After 75 years in Polanco, the family-run Los Panchos still attracts a crowd for its juicy, well-seasoned carnitas. Order the pork carnitas, by the taco or by weight, along with sides of guacamole, cactus and tomato salad, and chicharrones.

Tolstoi 9, Col, Anzures, Miguel Hidalgo, 11590 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Oysters on ice with horseradish and lemon, beside other dishes and a plate of toast, on a sun-lit table.
Oysters at Hugo.
Hugo

This small bistro fills an obvious need in CDMX. It’s that rare cozy restaurant that’s equally great for a solo meal or a glass of wine with a few friends. Chef Michael Crespo has created a French-inspired menu that hits the mark every time, alongside an excellent wine list with natural and low-intervention options mostly from the Old World. The beef tartare with tonnato and gnocchi Parisienne with chicken jus have become signature dishes.

Av. Veracruz 38, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chupacabras is one of the city’s quintessential late-night taquerías. The original location in Coyoacán has served its famed tacos for more than 20 years, but the restaurant has since expanded to Roma Norte to satisfy taco lovers unwilling to travel to the south side of the city. Rumor has it the secret behind the famous el chupas taco is the house seasoning composed of 127 spices. Whether or not you believe that, the taco is a joyful mix of steak and pork sausage complemented by the regular Chupacabras toppings of pot beans (stewed pinto beans), smashed potatoes, cactus salad, and a variety of salsas.

Av Chapultepec 540, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A double-height dining room with a large tree inside reaching toward a skylight, above an open kitchen, empty bar seats, and a counter that wraps around
Open kitchen counter
Sergio López

Since the day Elly Fraser opened her restaurant, she has positioned her business as one of the most popular spots in Mexico City. An incredible music selection plays in the background as the New York chef prepares dishes with Mediterranean influences using seasonal ingredients from all over Mexico. There’s a well-curated wine and cocktail list, and the beautiful restaurant space offers a range of moods across a cocktail bar, wine-tasting room, semi-open patio, and chef’s counter. It all makes for a must-visit restaurant.

Hamburgo 310, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Juárez

CDMX, Mexico

Head to Caiman in la Condesa to try some of the most avant-garde creations from Mexican wine country. The food menu is designed to complement the cocktail and wine experience, with munchy snacks like french fries with mussels and quail egg, or canned items for no-fuss clientele. The classic cocktails are well-executed, but explore the house pet-nat selection, which comes mostly from Baja California. The vibe is chill but the bar still delivers that Condesa it factor.

Av Nuevo León 120, Hipódromo, Cuauhtémoc, 06100 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Salón Ríos takes inspiration from old cantinas where customers used to gather to watch soccer, play cards or dominoes, and enjoy drinks with homestyle meals. Located in the Cuauhtémoc burrough, this modern take on the cantina is a local favorite with a shareable menu that showcases Mexican comfort foods. Go for carnitas or shrimp tacos, ceviches, tlacoyos, and beef flautas, and wash your meal down with a classic cocktail or michelada.

Río Nilo 220, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Hervidero y Plancha

CDMX, Mexico

Photo by Daniela Galarza

Early riser? Hungover? Head to this casual, family-run restaurant that’s famous for its hearty breakfasts and being a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain. A rotating selection of guisados is always bubbling away in the large clay cauldrons (which rest atop actual coals — not a gas fire), but do order the frijoles negros con huevo, a mash of black beans and eggs folded into the shape of an omelet.

Adolfo Prieto 1364, Col del Valle Sur, 03100 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

From above, a butterflied grilled fish on a stone dish on a wooden table
Grilled fish
Alelí [Official]

Chef Oswaldo Oliva is a veteran of several Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, where he cultivated a reputation for impeccable execution and excellent table service. He brings those hallmarks to Alelí, where you can eat delicious comfort dishes like barbecue ribs, grilled fish seasoned with adobo sauce, or an octopus tostada, all without the fuss of fine dining rituals. During the pandemic, the restaurant added a small rooftop seating area where customers can enjoy lunch and cocktails.

Sinaloa 141, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A dark bar, with a row of counter seats, lit-up back bar, and small shaded lamps
Inside Tokyo Music Bar
Diego Padilla

After dinner, seek out a nightcap at Tokyo Music Bar, where classic-inspired drinks come with excellent vinyl music. The intimate space is centered around the DJ booth, and table reservations are limited to six people. Small details, like glassware imported from Japan, distinguish the place from other cocktail bars around town — though they show up in the higher prices for drinks too.

Rio Panuco 132, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Tuna Tostadas
Tuna Tostadas
Photo by Helen Rosner

Contramar, the buzzy, vibrant, and enduringly popular seafood restaurant from chef and restaurateur Gabriela Cámara, is the ideal spot for a long lunch, either in the sweeping dining room or out on the sidewalk. The tuna tostadas are just as good as everyone says, and we beg that you save room for a slice of the fig tart for dessert.

Calle de Durango 200, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Loup Bar’s wine list is exceptional, covering low-intervention bottles from small producers in Mexico, France, Italy, and Austria, among other regions. Early in the evening, the casual atmosphere is ideal for a dinner of beef tartare or calamari with aioli toast. As the night wears on, Loup often fills up with movers and shakers of the city’s restaurant community, who fill the bar to enjoy wines by the glass.

Tonalá 23, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

From above, a small dish with corn shaped into a calavera skull, avocado, and cheese, on a wooden table with some bright flowers beside
Calavera made from corn
Rudolph Castro

This nixtamal-centric culinary project is devoted to sourcing endemic ingredients from states like Guerrero and Oaxaca while building a strong community with producers. The restaurant receives guests on its own terms: There’s no menu, and techniques and dishes rotate daily according to ingredient availability. Expendio de Maiz seats at most 10 people and there are no reservations, so showing up early is the only secret for making it to a table.

Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Esquina Comun is nested in a second-floor apartment of an undisclosed location in the Roma neighborhood, revealed only after your reservation is confirmed. That’s where chef Ana González Serrano receives guests for a hyper-intimate weekend-only lunch experience. The dining area of the tiny apartment lends an acute sense of familiarity that never feels orchestrated, music flows from the record player, and wine and mezcal are liberally poured. The fixed six-course menu, which might change weekly or monthly, reflects Ana’s unpretentious style of cooking, with each course playing on the intersection of flavors from Mexico, India, and South America. Reservations are taken only via social media and run out fast, since the cozy kitchen can only serve 12 to 14 people per sitting.

Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Roasted pork shank, on a plate with slices of avocado, onion, and cilantro
Pork shank
Alejandra Arango

Páramo has it all: music, drinks, Mexican comfort food, and an A-list crowd of creatives who have embraced the restaurant from the beginning. Make sure to snag a reservation, or show up a little early to enjoy the easygoing taco menu, which includes meat, seafood, and vegetarian options for all tastes.

Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Mi Compa Chava started as a ghost kitchen during the early days of the pandemic, managing pickups and delivery through WhatsApp and Instagram. Two years later, they secured a spacious warehouse in Roma Norte. They were able to make the jump in part by relying on fresh ingredients sourced from Sinaloa and Baja California, which they use to create a vibrant menu inspired by eateries and seafood street carts from northern Mexico’s Pacific coastline. A variety of oysters, fresh clams, and aguachiles parade out of the open kitchen, along with their most Instagrammable creation: Señora Torres, a one-pound seafood tower composed of clams, cooked and raw shrimp, octopus, tuna, and avocado, all showered in black sauce. Grab a reservation or expect long lines for a table.

Zacatecas 172, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

From above, a whole roasted fish topped with colorful herbs and other garnishes, on a long plate beside a bowl of tortillas and sauce.
Whole bass at Em.
Em

Lucho Martinez is among a young generation of Mexican chefs redefining fine dining in CDMX. His tasting menu at Em relies heavily on quality sourcing and playfully engages with different traditions: Mexican, Japanese, French, Italian, and everything in between. Dishes can change according to availability, but the grilled fish with miso and chilhuacle and the tuna tostada with fried leek and chile ash are among the best dishes in the city. The experience is a journey of texture and flavor, neatly framed in the restaurant’s casual, minimalist dining room.

Tonalá 133, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

As soon as the sun starts to set, esquite vendors take over the streets, attracting hungry passersby with heirloom corn kernels cooked with epazote (an earthy, medicinal herb) and chile. Mexico City has witnessed a frenzied explosion of the favorite snack, and you can find versions that come pan-roasted with oil and butter, as well as variations cooked with bone marrow or chicken feet. One of the best stands is on a quiet corner next to the Reforma 222 shopping mall. Servers top esquite (boiled or pan roasted) with lime, mayo, cheese, and five different hot sauces, plus the house special salsa macha, a sauce of peanuts and guajillo chiles. Be sure to visit by 6:30 or 7 p.m. because the stand runs out, and the line can be up to 20 minutes long.

Av. Paseo de la Reforma 208, Juárez, 06600 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chef Marco Carboni has established a reputation in the Mexico City dining scene thanks to his passion for Mediterranean culinary traditions. At his European-style delicatessen and bar, Bottega Sartoria, Carboni prepares Italian small plates alongside Mediterranean wines. If you’re not feeling wine, pair the Italian charcuterie and artisan focaccia with anything from the bar’s craft beer list.

Orizaba 39, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad

CDMX, Mexico

Panaderia Rosetta doughnuts
Panaderia Rosetta doughnuts

Pandemic-era outdoor seating has really helped Panaderia Rosetta’s tiny location on Colima Street. Elena Reygadas’s bakery has become one of the busiest businesses in the area, a place where people often run into friends and acquaintances, all lured in by the sweet aroma of fresh bread and pastries. The guava roll continues its reign as the absolute best pastry in the city, inspiring totes and T-shirts featuring Reygadas’s most famous creation.

Colima 179, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A brown drink in a nick and nora glass garnished with an olive, beside a small bowl of snacks.
A cocktail at Café de Nadie.
Café de Nadie

A cafe by day and bar by night, Café de Nadie has become a favorite in the Roma Norte district since opening in 2020. Visit during happy hour to sip one (or two or three) of the bar’s cocktails while contemplating the wonders of the high-definition sound system, which plays hits from a well-curated vinyl collection. The bar’s signature cocktails use Mexican spirits like sotol, charanda, bacanora, and mezcal, but the martini and Americano are perfectly balanced as well.

Chihuahua 135, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A specialty coffee bar and traditional bakery in the Roma Norte neighborhood, Forte is ideal for connoisseurs and coffee geeks. You can also visit later in the day to sample popular sandwiches and a weekly pizza night while you drink through an excellent selection of Mexican craft beers, natural wine, and cider (the latter two by the bottle or glass).

Calle Querétaro 116, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A handled ceramic bowl brimming with leafy greens on a white countertop.
A dish at Tetela.
Tetela

Chefs Aldo Saavedra and Manuel Rivera run Tetela, a casual breakfast and lunch spot located at the heart of Roma Norte. The menu includes best-of-the-best dishes from the traditional breakfast repertoire of regions like Oaxaca, Michoacan, and Jalisco. The chilaquiles in chirmole (Jaliscan roasted salsa) are the best in town. Other equally satisfying options include amarillito mole with roasted veggies and carne en su jugo (beef cooked in its own juices and tomatillo sauce), a staple dish in Guadalajara. Tetela is conveniently located inside World’s 50 Best Bars favorite Licorería Limantour, so don’t miss a mimosa or paloma, both great companions to a casual brunch.

Av. Álvaro Obregón 106, Norte, C. U. Benito Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

From above, hands holding a large wooden cup, filled with tan chocolate liquid and ice, on top of a wooden tabletop laid with tropical leaves
Cold chocolate at La Rifa
Mónica Lozano

La Rifa Chocolatería offers hot chocolate using traditional Mexican techniques and cacao beans from southeastern regions of the country. You can order cups in a range of bitter and sweet and even choose more technical details, such as washed or fermented beans. Pair your drink with a pastry coated with, of course, Mexican chocolate. La Rifa also sells its own collection of chocolate bars, perfect for edible souvenirs to take home.

Calle Dinamarca 47, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Chef Eduardo García is among Mexico’s best culinary talents. In 2020, his flagship fine dining restaurant, Máximo Bistrot, finally moved to a brand new location, a beautifully designed space filled with natural light. For García, the move provided a chance to revisit the menu, improving his classic dishes and creating new ones that celebrate Mexican flavors with a French twist.

Av. Álvaro Obregón 65 Bis, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A chef’s hand seen adding an herb for garnish on a finished tamale on a stone plate in a pool of sauce, with bowls of other ingredients nearby on the wooden countertop
Preparing tamales
Tania Barajas

Tamales are a morning ritual in Mexico City, best enjoyed in the relaxed, homey atmosphere of Tamales Madre. The restaurant offers varieties ranging from savory to sweet, wrapped in banana leaf or corn husk, but they’re all prepared with organic heritage corn, locally sourced ingredients, and vegetable shortening instead of lard (to make them lighter and vegetarian-friendly). Don’t forget to try the house favorite, a bean and hoja santa tamale served with a lightly perfumed tomato sauce, and pair your order with atole, prepared with seasonal fruit and nixtamalized masa.

Calle Liverpool 44a, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Photo by Daniela Galarza

The nearby hospital supplies most of the clientele at El Sella. Suited in white lab coats and blue scrubs, everyone is here for the chamorro, a braised pork shank served with an endless supply of tortillas. Chamorro is a popular dish made at many restaurants across town but this version is particularly succulent. Arrive early because the dining room fills up fast every day of the week.

Dr. Balmis 210, Doctores, 06720 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

This quaint restaurant sits along what Chilangos call Pozole Street for its multiple pozolerías — specializing in the savory, pork-based soup — crammed within a couple of blocks. What makes this Los Tolucos special? Its white, red, and green versions of the savory pork-based soups. The green variety gets its hue from pumpkin seeds and a potent herb sauce that’s stirred in at the end to thicken the broth. A carnitas taco on the side completes the experience.

Calle Juan E. Hernández y Dávalos 38, Algarín, 06880 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Churreria El Moro
Churreria El Moro
Photo by Helen Rosner

Churrería El Moro, an 80-year-old churro shop downtown that was gutted by a fire in 2010 and painstakingly restored to its original glory, merits a stop for the live show alone. In front of a grease-stained window, two churro makers pipe wet dough into smoking hot oil and spiral the long stream into a spiral rep. After a flip, they come out and are cut into pieces and tossed, fresh to order, in either plain sugar or a sugar-cinnamon mix. Get a bag to go or grab a table to enjoy them with hot chocolate.

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 42, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Pasteleria Ideal
Pasteleria Ideal
Photo by Helen Rosner

Pastelería Ideal, a giant and popular bakery downtown, has everything from traditional Mexican breads, pastries, and cookies to special-occasion cakes and molded gelatin. Do not skip the second floor, which houses a seeming museum of giant, opulent, and whimsical wedding and children’s birthday cakes. Take a break from sightseeing in El Centro to ogle them.

16 de Septiembre No. 18, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, 06000 Cuauhtémoc

CDMX, Mexico

Photo by Daniela Galarza

Arrive after 10 p.m. for the full Cocuyos experience — an empty street in the center of town with bright lights shining on every cut of meat, plucked from a bubbling caldron of mixed braised meats and chopped to order.

Calle de Bolívar 57, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

A gorgeous landmark from another era, El Cardenal serves a fantastic upscale breakfast (it’s also open for lunch and dinner). Order the chilaquiles, which arrive perfectly sauced and with some crisp left in each drowning chip. White tablecloths and suited waiters turn an everyday meal into an experience.

Calle de la Palma 23, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México

CDMX, Mexico

Long after the stores close and most tourists return to their hotels, many taco spots in the city center remain open for late-night cravings. While you could explore the area on your own, for a bit of help tag along with Club Tengo Hambre, a local tour company with an adventurous food compass. Their after-dark taco tour in the Centro Histórico consists of an epic, multilocation, six-course menu covering the city’s essential styles like brisket, canasta, and al pastor, plus beverage pairings like pulque and beer. Do ask about the post-taco private tasting of Mexican spirits, a one-of-a-kind chance to sip mezcals from underappreciated regions like Durango and San Luis Potosí.

Historic center of Mexico City, Centro, Mexico City

CDMX, Mexico

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