You know that the Mexican capital has fantastic cuisine, but where do you begin? Whether you plan to splurge or you’re looking for the best food at the best price, this post describes the best places to eat in Mexico City organized by neighborhood.
The Mexican capital city is growing enormously popular as a travel destination. The art and food scenes are authentic and dynamic ways to immerse yourself into the marvelous Mexican culture.
One of the reasons La Ciudad de México is becoming a treasured travel destination is the cuisine scene. Although several may have great food, relying on street vendors for food is not the best plan. This post covers where to stay in Mexico City to get the most enjoyment during your adventure and the best restaurants in each neighborhood.
Prepare to be Converted!
Yes, if you don’t love Mexico or Mexico City, you will be converted. Additionally, watch for currency conversions if you follow the links to these restaurants. While you can go high-dollar if you want, you can easily experience fabulous travel and dining on a budget in Mexico City.
Be prepared for sticker shock. You’ll see dollar signs when you look at these menus, but the amounts are in pesos. The prices are not nearly as exorbitant as they appear at first glance. When you see that “$199,” that price is in pesos, so only about ten U.S. dollars.
The Best Restaurants in Latin America
These 6 restaurants made The 50 Best’s list of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America. You’ll definitely want to check these out if you’re heading to CDMX for a dining adventure.
#9 Restaurante Rosetta
#17 Sud 777
#31 Restaurante Nicos
#36 Máximo Bistrot
Best Places to Eat in Mexico City by District
I don’t want to throw a big list of restaurants at you. Additionally, if you’re not staying in Mexico City for an extended time and spending a load of cash, you won’t be able to his every one of the restaurants in this article.
I describe these favorite restaurants by their location in CDMX. You can select the neighborhood you want to visit and spend a long weekend relishing the different flavors and fresh ingredients of this fantastic city.
The list of neighborhoods I cover:
- Centro Histórico
Let’s dive into your first plate of Mexico City cuisine!
Colonia Roma (or Roma)
Colonia Roma is one of the two coolest neighborhoods in Mexico City. Culture and convenience organize Colonia Roma into sections, including Roma Norte and Roma Sur. (That’s North Roma and South Roma in English.)
While your travel and dining style will determine which neighborhood is the best, many believe Roma Norte reigns as Mexico City’s most hip neighborhood. Travelers visit Roma for great food and art. As you would expect, most of the best restaurants are in this Colonia or nearby.
Avenida de Álvaro Obregón runs through center of Roma Norte. Trees adorn the sidewalks and medians of Avenida Álvaro Obregón, making it a delightful walk to savor the sidewalk bars, eateries. Wanderers savor this magnificent immersive stroll into local culture and vibe.
To give you an idea of Mexico City’s cultural significance, the Colonia Roma lies in the city’s borough called Cuauhtémoc. Cuauhtémoc’s name derives from the Aztec emperor Cuauhtémoc, the only Aztec ruler to survive the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
Only 5 KM east of Roma is Templo Mayor, Aztec temple ruins dating back to the 1300s! You can see these Aztec ruins downtown! I love Fort Worth, but we don’t have anything like that here.
Churrería el Moro
Churrería el Moro is a chain of 12 churros cafes. The beset rests at the east end of Avenida Álvaro Obregón in Roma Norte. Enjoy churros fresh and hot with your choice of cinnamon, sugar, con chocolate (with hot chocolate sauce), or ice cream. Arrive early to begin your stroll here and enjoy the rest of the avenue.
Churrería el Moro is widely considered one of the best places (best spots) in Mexico City for churros.
Contramar translates to “against sea,” or “next to the sea,” and you’ll feel like you’re next to the sea in this Mexican seafood restaurant. With lots of windows, this bright, open-air restaurant is one of the favorite spots for lunch in Mexico City. The favorite dish at Contramar is their tuna tostadas.
About a block east of Contramar is the Cibeles Fountain, a replica of the most famous fountain in Madrid.
Fonda Fina is a new venture from Chef Jorge Vallejo, a name you will often find when reading about Mexico City cuisine.
Fonda Fina serves traditional Mexican food. The word fonda usually indicates a more petite bistro or tavern type of establishment. They would traditionally offer set 3-course meals. At Fonda Fina, you can customize your meals by selecting the main course and the sides you’d like to accompany it.
La Docena offers some of the fabulous flavors of New Orleans in Mexico City. Docena is Spanish for dozen, as in a dozen oysters. This oyster bar features fresh seafood, the kind with shells. In addition to oysters, you can delight in mussels, clams, and scallops. They also have the type of seafood that swims as well as pulpo! (Pulpo is Spanish for the sea creatures with tentacles.)
In addition to its excellent food and attentive service, a feature that makes La Decena so popular is its relaxed atmosphere. La Docena also has a location in Polanco, if that’s where you happen to be.
Masala y Maíz
Masala y Maíz uses organic ingredients from local farms. The dishes are delicious works of art, combining influences from many countries’ cuisines. Check out this work of art!
Two blocks west of Churrería el Moro on Avenida Álvaro Obregón in Roma sits, Máximo Bistrot. This well-spaced high-end dining experience offers Mexican food with hints of French. Máximo Bistrot earns a spot on almost every list of the best places to eat in Mexico City.
Because Máximo Bistrot is a farm-to-table restaurant, the menu often changes based on seasonal, local ingredients. The food is fresh and straightforward like you would expect from a farm-to-table French bistro.
Chef Eduardo García has a fascinating story, migrating to the U.S. twice to work in restaurants and being deported back to Mexico twice. He also spent time cooking at Pujol.
You can also enjoy Máximo Bistrot to go!
This European-style bakery is a favorite for a coffee and homemade pastry breakfast or a beer and sandwich brunch.
Don’t sleep late if you want to enjoy Panadería Rosetta. It will fill up fast. If you have to wait in line, it does typically move quickly.
A blog east and across the street from Panadería Rosetta is another of chef Elena Reygadas’ restaurants, Restaurante Rosetta. The plant-filled courtyard of this old Mexico City mansion makes the delicious Italian cuisine even more enjoyable.
Restaurante Rosetta’s cuisine is Italian with Mexican influence and features lots of seafood. The vibe is energetic during the day and romantic at night, so choose the mood to pair with your food.
The Best Places to Eat in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico
Centro Historico, or Historic Center, is the heart of Mexico City. Here you can enjoy museums, iconic architecture, street vendors, and landmarks dating back to the Aztec era.
While the current residence of El Cardenal opened for business in 1984, the restaurant was founded in 1969. The original location was where the Museo Unam Hoy now is.
Although known as one of the best places to have breakfast in Mexico City, El Cardenal also serves traditional Mexican dishes for lunch and dinner.
Adventurous diners can try escamoles con espazote, which is seasoned ant larvae. I’m not going to say that I’m definitely in on the ant larvae. If you don’t want to try it, escamoles con espazote is something you can watch out for on the menus!
Invitados de lujo en el menú de cierre de año: plato de romeritos con mole. Recomendado como plato principal o en tortitas con el pan de la casa para compartir.#CocinaNacionalPopular pic.twitter.com/JUtm8OS32X
— El Cardenal (@ElCardenalMr) November 19, 2021
Cafe de Tacuba
One of the oldest restaurants in Mexico City, Cafe de Tacuba, opened in 1912, and stepping through its doors is like stepping back in time. The kitchen uses recipes from Mexico’s roots, so as their menu states, be prepared to wait 20 – 30 minutes for your food. It’s one of the locals’ favorite places for breakfast.
The menu items average about 300 pesos or about $15 currently, including an Oven baked chicken with pineapple and sour cream for $233.00.
Cafe de Tacuba serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has a good variety of drinks. You can order individual appetizers and entrees off the menu or go with their menu del dia for a collection of well-paired items.
The Best Places to Eat in Mexico City’s Colonia Polanco
Polanco is another lively neighborhood full of upscale shopping and excellent dining. In addition to the shopping, dining, and strolling, Polanco features Soumaya Museum and the 1,700-acre Bosque de Chapultepec, which features the Museo Nacional de Antropología and the Chapultepec Zoo.
Founded in 1950, El Sella now offers 2 locations, Bar El Sella in the Polanco neighborhood and El Sella in the Doctores neighborhood. The latter’s clientele is mainly comprised of the staff from two nearby hospitals. One might say that El Sella is just what the doctor ordered!
Among other delights, El Sella is famous for its Chamorro. Chamorro isn’t just fun to say. It’s an entire pork shank cooked in its own fat. It’s finished when the meat falls off the bone. As far as I’m concerned, that’s definitely what the proverbial doctor ordered!
It’s more of a cantina or bar than a restaurant, which means it’s smaller and fills up early. If you’d like dinner at El Sella, plan to arrive early. El Sella also serves Jamon Serrano from Spain. Jamon Serrano might be the most delicious food in the world and is best enjoyed in a bar with drinks!
El Turix is a taqueria famous for their cochinita pibil. A traditional Mexican dish, cochinita pibil is a slow-roasted whole pig rubbed with achiote and marinated in citrus, resulting in a tender, rich-flavored pork dish and some of the best tacos in CDMX.
El Turix offers only five items on their menu, and the tamales are only available on the weekends. There is minimal seating, so prepare to enjoy your cochinita pibil to go. This place is old-school enough not to have a web presence other than the review sites.
Pujol makes many lists that describe the world’s best restaurants, and many consider it the best in Mexico City. Pujol features two different kinds of dining experiences, a tasting menu or omakase.
If you’re like me, you have to look up omakase. It’s a Japanese word, meaning, “I’ll leave it up to you.” Ordering omakase means you’re an adventurous diner placing all of your meals options in the hands of the chef. To which I’d ask, “Do you have gluten-free omakase?”
A tasting menu is a roundup of small dishes served in small portions as part of a single meal. It’s a menu for tasting a variety of foods.
I’m poking a little fun, but Pujol sounds like a delightful experience. It’s one of the most popular restaurants in the country, so you’ll need to make reservations way in advance to dine here. Many say you should make your dining reservations at Pujol, then book your flights.
Taco Omakase at the Pujul Bar – a ten-course meal letting the chef design tacos for you while you enjoy a few drinks with friends.
The Tasting Menu in Pujol’s Dining Room – the menu changes often, but you can count on about ten courses and Chef Enrique Olvera’s famous mole sauce.
Mole is an Aztec word meaning sauce. Mole is Portugues for sauce. There are lots of varieties of mole, many of which have peanut butter or chocolate. (Two tastes that taste great together?)
Dining at Pujol is a splurge meal. At 2395 Pesos per person, the current price in U.S. dollars is about $117 per person. That’s a couple of splurges for me! If you want to experience the best places to eat in Mexico City, make sure Pujol is on your list!
Elegant fine dining. Quintonil’s Chef Jorge Vallejo came from Pujol and brought that influence with him. And like Pujol, Quintonil uses local ingredients for its dishes. You can order al la carte from a fixed price tasting menu, which rotates periodically. The November 2021 tasting menu currently runs for about $160 U.S. You can enjoy this menu with wine pairings for about $250.
The al la carte entrees run about $30 U.S., but that tasting menu looks too good to miss.
Dinner reservations are tough. They only take reservations two months in advance and book up quickly. You can still try them for lunch, though.
Located in the luxurious Las Alcobas hotel, Dulce Patria is in a great location in the Polanco neighborhood. Dulce Patria is one block north of Parque Lincoln and one block south of Parque América.
You’ll love the colors in this restaurant. The red accents outside match the red floors inside as well as Chef Martha Ortiz’s famous mole sauce.
Due to the pandemic, Dulce Patria is temporarily closed as of this writing. Hopefully, with the help of its Marriot Hotel, it will open again soon.
The Best Places to Eat in Mexico City in the Narvarte Neighborhood
In addition to being one of the best places to eat in Mexico City, El Vilsito may be the most interesting. A car repair shop during the day, delicious tacos al pastor at night! You can watch them shave the pork for your tacos right before your very eyes.
El Vilsito looks like my kind of place. It is all about the tacos. That’s what I love about street food. The doctor, the dishes, the waitstaff. None of that matters. It’s the food. El Vilsito does have seating, but it’s minimalist and practical.
Rosa Negra offers high-end dining with several other restaurants in the RosaNegra restaurant group. They spell the restaurant name as one word, RosaNegra, and offer other dining locations in Mexico City, Tulum, and Cancun.
If you enjoy steak, you can dine on Kobe and Wagyu beef at RosaNegra. Their Latin American cuisine and cocktails are highly rated, and many rave about the vibrant and lively rustic ambiance.
Best Places to Eat in Mexico City in the Claveria Neighborhood
This neighborhood west of Centro Historico is primarily commercial but has a few residential areas. The most notable feature is Restaurante Nicos.
You’ll enjoy traditional Mexican food with an upgraded presentation in this 60-year-old restaurant. While Restaurante Nicos is an upscale establishment, it is also comfortable. Enjoy their tableside guacamole, and as a unique ending to your meal, tableside coffee roasting!
Restaurante Nicos nixtalimizes their own corn in the restaurant. That’s the process used to prepare the maize to make delicious and fresh corn tortillas. Unless you want breakfast for lunch, you should make a reservation in advance.
Best Places to Eat in Other Mexico City Neighborhoods
Taquería El Califa
Taquería El Califa has multiple locations throughout Mexico City. They offer a wide variety of tacos, focusing on beef and al pastor. If you arrive late in Mexico City, you’ll be thankful for Taquería El Califa. The first thing you’ll want to do is eat, and Taquería El Califa remains open until 4:00 am!
Al pastor is Spanish for “shepherd style” and usually features pork with the Mexican marinade called adobada. I know I tend to ask strange questions, but do pigs ever have shepherds? #PhrasesINeverThoughtI’dSearch
Fonda Margarita is farther south in the Tlacoquemecatl del Valle neighborhood, across the street from Jardín del Arte (the Garden of Art). Opening at 5:30 in the morning (and offering what those in the know recognize as excellent hangover cures) makes Fonda Margarita an ideal spot for breakfast.
Plan to arrive early. The line begins extending beyond the doors by 8:30 am. With few picnic-bench-style tables, the inside of Fonda Margarita is small and assuming. From your seat, you can see the cauldrons of guisados cooking on coals in the open kitchen. How cool is that! That is how to experience traditional food in Mexico!
What are these delicious dishes that also “cure what ails ya?” They called guisados delightful, hearty Mexican stews that definitely do the trick when you’ve had a little too much fun the night before. Guidados are one of the best ways to cure a hangover.
Then after you’re almost stuffed and feeling more yourself, enjoy one more cup of coffee with some churros.
At the west end of Avenida Álvaro Obregón in the Condesa neighborhoos is the bar, La Clandestina. It’s a great place to try tequila and mezcal. The eclectic decor and fascinating-looking food make La Clandistina a favorite.
Ojo de Agua
Ojo de Agua has several locations, including one in the Hipódromo neighborhood. Featuring a fruit and vegetable stand, Ojo de Agua good place for vegetarian and healthy breakfast options. You can also enjoy lighter versions of a few Mexican dishes.
San Angel Inn
Not the one in Epcot. This San Angel inn is in the San Ángel neighborhood of Mexico City. It sits across the street from Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo. The artists lived in homes adjoined by a bridge before Frida Kahlo moved to the famous Casa Azul. Their houses are now a museum.
The restaurant is famous for its outdoor seating, gardens, and fountains. It’s in a monastery that was built in 1692. They offer a great selection of tacos, seafood, and wine, as well as delicious options for breakfast.
Even though Sud 777 is at the south end in Mexico City’s Jardines del Pedregal neighborhood, I had to include it in the list because it’s number 17 of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America. It’s also near Six Flags Mexico, which is probably not a good reason to go to Mexico City.
How did they come up with that cool name? Sud is Spanish far south, and this restaurant is pretty far south. The street address is 777.
Sud 777 features contemporary cuisine made with local ingredients. They offer a multi-course menu of the day called Menu del Dia de Los Muertos, “Day of the Dead menu.” That name makes me want to try it!
The vibrant ambiance at Sud 777 is modern, open, and full of plant life, mirrors, and waterfalls. The dishes are visual works of art as well as delightful to eat.
El Farolito has nine, soon to be ten, locations throughout Mexico City. They’re open until 2:00 am, open on many holidays. The food must be good because they make many lists of the best places to eat in Mexico City.
List of the Best Places to Eat in Mexico City
- Cafe de Tacuba
- Churrería el Moro
- Dulce Patria
- El Cardenal
- El Farolito
- El Sella
- El Turix
- El Vilsito
- Fonda Fina
- Fonda Margarita
- La Clandestina (bar)
- La Docena
- Masala y Maíz
- Máximo Bistrot
- Ojo de Agua
- Panadería Rosetta
- Restaurante Nicos
- Restaurante Rosetta
- Rosa Negra
- San Angel Inn
- Sud 777
- Taquería El Califa