Dollars, pounds, and Euros can buy a lot of pesos these days — the peso has been hitting record lows for sometime now. That means travelers from all over can expect to get maximum use out of their budgets, having tons of fun and great food in the process. I recently jetted off to “The City of Palaces” to enjoy some contemporary Mexican fine dining and traditional street eats.
Though I’ve not covered even half my trip due to some “camera issues” I hope this helps a few of you get up the gumption to travel there and see the city for a week or two while enjoying some of the best food on the planet while you’re there.
Vamos a empezar!
Fine Dining: The Pujol
For the best food, head over to the Pujol (Calle Francisco Petrarca 254, Miguel Hidalgo, Chapultepec Morales, 11570 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico) headed up by chef Enrique Olvera who is credited worldwide for reinventing Mexican cuisine.
Once I got my bags tucked away safely at the hotel, I decided to hit up one of my favorite fine-dining haunts, the Pujol restaurant. I wouldn’t call myself a foodie, but there’s something about elevated Mexican cuisine that has always drawn me in. The pujol is awesome — you won’t believe the tastes and textures! While fun and sun abound all around the country, fine dining is quickly taking over what was once just a hub for tacos and empanadas here in the big city. The restaurant features some real hearty eats, being ranked #1 in Mexico City and #17 on the planet. I will caution that this is Mexican fine dining — if you’re looking for a big gut-filling meal, skip to the street food recap further down.
Check out this yummy Elotitos Tatemados Con Mayonesa de Café y Polvo de Chicatana!
Vegetarians will love this! This dish is one of my favorites at the Pujol. The chef is always changing the Pujol’s offerings. But this long-standing favorite is always available. It’s a hollowed out gourd with just the right mix of culinary mastery. Smoked baby corn and a delicious coffee mayo, a splash of lime and a dusting of salty ant powder (yes, it’s what it sounds like, but just try it!), make this a very elevated version of the roasted corn you’ll find out there on streets of this ancient city.
There are a ton of other street food inspired dishes gracing the menu at any given time. Corn is the focal point of many dishes, but they rarely disappoint. Each meal ends with a “Happy Ending” in the form of any number of different AMAZING (elevated) churros.
My Happy Ending was this delicious avocado ice cream topped deal (at right):
I’ve also heard the Fonda Mayora (Condessa) and Fonda Fina (La Roma) recommended to me as offering a similar experience. Try them all if you love you some Mexican fine dining!
Street Eats: Everywhere!
If fine dining isn’t your bag, head out onto the streets for some real savories and treats.
It would be all most sacrilegious not to grab a tamale (or several) whilst traversing the city.
This lady, whose location I can’t recall enough detail to share, really knows how to deep fry a delicious tamale:
Carnitas are a pork lovers dream! If you’ve never had them, I will tell you that lean pork meat is the focal point of the dish. It’s unlikely that you want to know what other parts of the pig are included. Least of all to say, they’re moist and delish!
Get Your Drink On!
I do my best to stay away from the sweet stuff. With that said, I do like to split a traditional yummy all day breakfast cocktail with my travel companion, if possible. There’s little fruit juice stands all over the place that sell the most delicious drink I’ve ever had which includes papaya, watermelon, and strawberries covered with whipped cream, honey, and granola. It’s to die for!
I’ve only skimmed the surface of what’s available street-food-wise in Mexico City. There’s so many yummy and filling dishes:
- Barbacoa tacos: Made with slow-cooked lamb, there are two types of barbacoa tacos: soft, which is seasoned with a pulpe-based salsa called salsa borracha — or deep fried, which is topped with sour cream and cheese.
- Chilaquiles: Deep fried tortillas swimming in a red or green spicy sauce and topped with sour cream, cheese, and some fresh onion.
- Regular Mexico tacos: Filled with whatever you want!
- Guisados: A tortilla with a portion of rice or beans topped with a guisado (a pre-made traditional Mexican dish like chicken with mole, chicharrón in green or red sauce, chicken with green pumpkin seed sauce, or pork with spicy sauce).
- Raspados: Mexican snow cone treats available in every flavor you could imagine.
Though I mentioned a couple already, many street eats in Mexico City and Mexico in general are tacos. From veggie, to lamb, to pork, to beef, to cow’s head — there’s something here for all cultures and all taste buds.
When Are You Planning Your Next Mexico City Vacay?