30 places to eat in Mexico City

Mexico is a huge country and its cuisine is immensely varied. Here's how to find the very best restaurants, bars and cafes in the capital, Mexico City
Aztec soup in Mexico. Photo: Shutterstock
Aztec soup in Mexico. Photo: Shutterstock

There's more to Mexican food than fajitas and burritos. Here's how to eat your way around the best on a trip to Mexico City

Centro Histórico

1. Café Tacuba

Tacuba 28
Tel: 55-5521 2048

A historic restaurant that first opened in 1912, and retains its lovely tiled interior and eccentric accumulation of hand-painted murals. Rivera, Kahlo, and many others ate or drank here over the years, and it remains a genuine, bustling local favourite. There’s also a huge menu of classic Mexican dishes covering every option.

2. La Casa de las Sirenas

Guatemala 32
Tel: 55-5704 3345

The upstairs terrace at this charming restaurant, in a distinguished 16th-century town mansion, has a superb view of the cathedral and the Templo Mayor. The menu features both refined Mexican cuisine and French-influenced dishes, and the tequila salon has more than 250 labels. Prices are, predictably, higher than average.

3. Los Girasoles

Tacuba 8, on Plaza Tolsá
Tel: 55-5510 0630

Traditional Mexican cuisine with creative modern touches, from inventive, beautifully refreshing salads to rarities such as chapulines (fried grasshoppers, typical of Oaxaca) are served in this very pretty restaurant. A great range of different fruit margaritas makes for an irresistible aperitif.

4. Hosteria de Santo Domingo

Belisario Domínguez 72
Tel: 55-5526 5576

This is the city’s oldest (and some say most haunted) restaurant and the ambience is about as convivial as it gets. The menu is pretty comprehensive, but the reason crowds flock is to try chilies en nogada, a Mexico City speciality perfected here. Chilies are cobbled into some ground meat, then doused with fruit and walnut sauce.

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5. El Huequito

Bolívar 58
Tel: 55-5521 0207

A star among Mexico City’s thousands of taquerías – try the taco al pastor special, with great meat and two sauces, one of guacamole and another of chili, orange juice, and onion. One of several branches in the city.

6. La Ópera

Cinco de Mayo 10
Tel: 55-5512 8959

One of the Mexico City’s most historic cantinas, opened in 1876, the Ópera is unusually plush, with glorious decor of dark wood booths, velvet drapes, and Baroque chandeliers. There’s supposed to be a bullet hole in the ceiling, left by Pancho Villa; while taking in the atmosphere, you can enjoy the house specialty, red snapper a la veracruzana (with onions and tomatoes) or other tasty dishes.

7. Sanborn’s Casa de los Azulejos

Madero 4
Tel: 55-5512 1331

Mexico City’s most famous restaurant, in the magnificent “House of Tiles” just off the Alameda, Sanborn’s is an institution, but service remains friendly, the atmosphere welcoming and unfussy. Breakfasts here are excellent, and other things to go for include the specialty enchiladas suizas, with mole chocolate sauce. There are many more Sanborn’s branches around the city.

Mexican Food Dishes. Photo: Shutterstock

Zona Rosa and Reforma

8. Bellinghausen

Londres 95
Tel: 55-5207 6149

The snug, discreet atmosphere in this comfortable restaurant, opened by European migrants in the 1900s, is a reminder of an older time in the city. Classic Mexican dishes feature on the menu, but the specialties are steaks (ask tor the filete chemita), seafood, and Central European fare such as chucrut (sauerkraut) and wiener schnitzel. It’s a lunch spot, not a dinner destination.

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9. Cicero-Centenario

Londres 195
Tel: 55-5533 3800

Consistently one of Mexico’s best restaurants, with quirky, slightly hacienda-like decor and dishes devised by celebrated chef Patricia Quintana. One specialty is a delicious variation on mole poblano, but there are many others to be sampled. Reservations essential.

10. Círculo del Sureste

Lucerna 12
Tel: 55-5535 2704

A little out of the way in the southeast corner of the Zona Rosa near the Mercado Juárez, this simple restaurant is one of the best in the city for Yucatecan food. Tortillas are made right in front of you, and Yucatecan favorites such as sopa de lima (lime and chicken soup) and papadzules (chopped hard-boiled eggs in a pumpkin-seed sauce, served in rolled tortillas) are full of good flavours.

11. Fonda El Refugio

Liverpool 166
Tel: 55-5525 8128

The decor of white walls, bright colours, and a selection of craftwork might seem so “typically Mexican” as to suggest a tourist trap, but this cosy restaurant has also kept going for more than 50 years because its Mexican regional dishes are also well-prepared and full of flavour, and service is friendly but unfussy. Dishes from Puebla such as chile relleno (stuffed chilis) are particularly good.

12. La Lanterna

Paseo de la Reforma 458
Tel: 55-5207 9969

An intimate Italian restaurant that’s been around for almost half a century and continues to impress with its varied trattoria-style food. Their raw artichoke salad special is well worth sampling, as is their beef carpaccio de la casa (thinly sliced raw beef with chicory and rocket).

13. Yug Vegetariano

Varsovia 3
Tel: 55-5525 5330

One of the city’s longest-running vegetarian restaurants, a favourite since the 1960s. In addition to delicious fresh salads and fruit juices, you can pick from an imaginative range of vegetarian tacos, enchiladas, and other Mexican standards.

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Authentic Mexican tacos al pastor and chorizo tacos. Photo: Shutterstock

Roma and Condesa

14. Café La Gloria

Vicente Suárez 41
Tel: 55-5211 4180

One of the most popular of Condesa’s hip hang-out café-restaurants, with sidewalk tables just off Avenida Michoacán. People watching is a main attraction, but there is also a fashionably global menu mixing Asian and Italian dishes with more Mexican options. Staff is equally trendy, but often slow.

15. El Califa

Altata 22
Tel: 55-5276 2498

A bright, trendy modern taquería in Condesa that many say has the best tacos in town – a pretty big claim. Tortillas are fresh and hand-made, meats wonderfully juicy, chili salsas are perfectly seasoned. Be prepared to wait in line.

16. Contramar

Durango 200
Tel: 55-5514 9217

Come here at lunchtime to try the delicious seafood – the house special is tuna split down the middle and inundated in chilli and parsley sauce – in a maritime-themed space with an atmosphere that still buzzes after more than a decade in operation.

17. Covadonga

Puebla 121
Tel: 55-5533 2701

This combination of Spanish restaurant and Mexican cantina was opened by Spanish Civil War refugees in the 1940s, and retains much of its rather grand original decor. In recent years it has become a hugely popular part of the Colonia Roma social scene, especially the street-level cantina. The food range still mixes Spanish tapas and classics dishes such as paella with Mexican botanas and other local dishes.

18. Specia

Amsterdam 241
Tel: 55-5564 9576

In the heart of fashionable Condesa is this suitably stylish restaurant showcasing Polish cuisine. Its renowned specialty of pato tin, crisp-roast duck with baked apple and blueberry sauce and mashed potatoes, has won so many fans that the restaurant is regularly full, especially for lunch.

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Mexican carnitas tacos with salsa. Photo: Shutterstock

Chapultepec and Polanco

19. Au Pied de Cochon

Hotel Presidente Intercontinental, Campos Eliseos 218
Tel: 55-5327 7756

Traditional French luxury in a plush luxury hotel (think red leather seats and elaborate Asian decor) in the heart of Polanco; this restaurant is very popular with wealthy locals. The menu focuses on equally traditional French haute cuisine, with the namesake pig’s trotter and blanquette of beef among the specialities.

20. Dulce Patria

Anatole France 100
Tel: 3300 3999

A venture of chef Marta Ortiz, the much-heralded force behind Aguilla y Sol, is this distinctive modern rethink of Mexican food, with impeccable presentation. The ceviche, for example, or the mole enchiladas (the classic Mexican mole arranged over tortillas) are delicious. It’s located in the Las Alcobas hotel.

21. La Hacienda de Los Morales

Vazquez de Mella 525
Tel: 55-5283 3000

This exquisite hacienda, much of which dates from early colonial times, surrounded by large gardens, is now a beautiful city restaurant, greatly in demand for weddings and special celebrations. The menu features well-prepared steaks and international dishes as well as an ample choice of Mexican classics.

22. Casona La Yucateca

Av Moliere no. 56, Col Polanco Reforma
Tel: 55-5280 7473

A taste of the coast comes to the big city in this delightful, delicious restaurant. Using tastes and traditions from ancient Mayan and Yucatanean cuisine, Casona La Yucateca is home to a unique flavour shown through an extensive, exciting menu. Choose from regional classics, such as the frijol con puerco (pork and beans, with epazote, black rice, avocado, chiltomate and radish) or salmon tikin xic (grilled salmon with axiote, sour orange, xcatic pepper and a mountain of mashed beans) for a hearty feast. 

23. Pujol

Francisco Petrarca 254
Tel: 55-5545 4111

This has come to be regarded as one of Mexico City’s finest exponents of haute cuisine, with the famous chef Enrique Olvera at the helm. The menú degustación is the centerpiece of the eating experience here, including new takes on all the Mexican classics like mole, and delicious house specials like the warm zucchini salad.

Mexican tacos al pastor and lemon. Photo: Shutterstock

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24. Sir Winston Churchill’s

Avila Camacho 67, Polanco
Tel: 55-5280 6070

Curiously, wealthy locals love this very deliberately English (as the name suggests) restaurant, in a Tudor-style mansion (inspired by a home in Surrey that still exists today in Deer Park) with pretty gardens, and a snug, gentleman’s-club-like atmosphere. French Chef Francis Rougeaud creates British classics like beef Wellington, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

25. Bellini

45th Floor, World Trade Center, Insurgentes Sur
Tel: 55-9000 8305

The big attraction of the revolving restaurant at the top of the giant World Trade Center is, naturally, the view (it is one of the highest revolving restaurants in the world). The varied menu, which includes global options (Italian, Thai, American) as well as Mexican dishes, is not as exciting, but still satisfying.

26. Suntory

Torres Adalid 14
Tel: 55-5536 9432

Sushi is as popular in Mexico City as anywhere else in the world, and this main branch of a small but select Japanese-owned chain is always busy, always reliable. The decor includes both traditional Japanese-style private rooms and a more conventional dining room.

San Ángel and Coyoacán

27. Cantina La Guadalupana

Higuera 2, Coyoacán
Tel: 55-5554 6253 or 55-5658 5337

Frida Kahlo was once a regular visitor here, at Coyoacán’s most popular cantina. Past refurbishment has been a little disrespectful of its historic character, but it’s still a welcoming, genuine place, and the generous botanas are delicious.

28. Los Danzantes

Plaza Jardín Centenario 12
Tel: 55-5554 1213

A bright, attractive restaurant on Coyoacán’s main square that’s one of the best places to try new, inventive Mexican cuisine – nueva cocina – at very accessible prices. Huitlacoche (corn truffle) ravioli is one of its most delicious specialties; another, since the food is based on that of Oaxaca, is a range of fine mezcal.

29. San Ángel Inn

Diego Rivera 50, by Calle Altavista
Tel: 55-5616 1402

One of the grandest of the old haciendas around Mexico City, dating from the 17th century – but almost next door to the eccentric former home of Diego Rivera – has long been one of the city’s landmark restaurants. You can choose to eat in plush dining rooms inside, or in gracious, plant-lined patios; service, the wine list and the varied Mexican and international cuisine are impeccable.

30. La Taberna del León

Altamirano 46, in Plaza Loreto
Tel: 55-5616 2110

An elegant, finely refurbished old house in the tranquil streets of San Ángel, not far from the university, where Mónica Patiño presents her imaginative cuisine, Mexican-based but eclectically blending in a range of international influences. The setting is delightful, and service very pleasant.

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