Best Restaurants in Mexico City
Located on a popular shopping stretch in Polanco, Biko's Basque-meets-Mexican fusion has been taking experiential dining to new heights since it opened in 2008. With creative takes on seemingly simple dishes, like a burnt corn soup and foie gras topped with cotton candy, the food is inventive and original; the minimalist décor is also a draw. Subsequently, Biko has become a trendy spot for both power lunches and date nights. Everything about dining at Biko is an experience, but for a truly memorable one try the ten-course degustation menu, which comes with an assortment of creative bites and wine pairings.
Ranked number eleven on Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list, Chef Edgar Núñez Magaña delivers his take on modern Mexican cuisine in this contemporary multi-level locale. Creating sophisticated contemporary dishes using simple ingredients, highlights here include a suckling pig terrine with cured chili peppers and huevos rotos—a traditional potatoes and eggs dish—as well as duck in mole negro and freshly seared tuna served with fennel and black olives.
This stylish Japanese eatery has been serving well-heeled DF scenesters since it opened in 2011. Be sure to snag a seat on the outside patio so you can admire the impressive architecture and vertical wall garden. While the menu covers an appetizing selection of sushi, sashimi, and chirashi, as well as a comprehensive list of a la carte options, don’t miss the Shabu Shabu—a hotpot consisting of your choice of protein and vegetables. There is an extensive sake menu on offer, but the lychee martini, off the regular cocktail menu, is another highlight.
One of Mexico's most celebrated chefs, Elena Reygadas is at the helm of Rosetta, an impressive Italian restaurant with Mediterranean influences. Set in a beautiful townhouse in the Condesa Juarez district, bright white walls and delicate frescoes abound in this lovely locale. Reygada's signature handmade pastas, risottos and freshly baked breads, all of which are baked in-house, exude a careful and confident simplicity that allow the flavors to shine through.
Hot off the heels of her success with Rosetta, Elena Reygadas’s latest concept, Lardo, has emerged as a recent go-to Mexico City hotspot. The food, a fusion of Italian and Mediterranean influences, is served up in an informal and convivial atmosphere, with an open kitchen, wood-fired oven and handsome bar space. The focus here is on the ingredients, which are simple and delicately prepared. The homemade charcuterie, cured meats and personal pan pizzas are a must.
Set in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Juarez, chef Jair Téllez opened Amaya in 2016 and it's been a local favorite ever since. A Baja California-inspired eatery and wine bar, most of the dishes here are designed to share, with highlights including the grilled wild mushrooms, tomato burrata salad, grilled sea bass and fried crab. Whatever you do, save room for one of their signature desserts, like the chocolate covered cream balls. There’s also a wide variety of all-natural, organic and biodynamic wines, some of which come from Téllez's family ranch in Tecate, as well as an excellent selection of vintages from Mexico and South America.
Situated inside Hotel Carlota, the DF's trendy new design hotel, chefs Joaquin Cardoso and Sofía Cortina are the creative forces behind Carlota, a modern Mexican restaurant with a focus on sustainable and organically grown produce. For breakfast, the chilaquiles—a traditional Mexican dish made with fried tortillas slathered in a red or green sauce—are a must-try. The regular menu changes seasonally, but a few sure bets include the cold pea soup, freshly sautéed kale, and the pan seared fish of the day. Enjoy them poolside along with one of the restaurant bar’s signature mezcal cocktails.
When it comes to traditional Mexican cuisine, it doesn't get much better than Nicos. A Mexico City institution since 1957, Nicos is as much a cultural gem as it is a culinary institution. The spot aims to introduce diners to the country's culinary heritage through traditional dishes, like Pollo en Mole Pobleno (chicken in mole sauce) and Enchiladas queretanas (enchiladas stuffed with corn, onion, cheese, potatoes, carrots and chilis.)
Credited as the founder of modern gastronomy movement in Mexico City, Enrique Olvera is the internationally acclaimed chef behind Pujol. Named one of the World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2016, dishes here, which are largely inspired by local food markets around the city, include a variety of authentic street style bites all served up in a hushed and intimate setting. The seven-course tasting menu features everything from chicharrón (pork belly) gorditas and chicken skin escamoles (ant larvae) to suckling lamb and pig tacos. But Pujol's shining star is Mole Madre—a spin on the traditional Mexican sauce that's been aged and simmered to perfection.
Chef Jair Tellez's MeroToro is a perennially popular DF hotspot serving up a variety of Baja California-inspired seafood and meat. With an expansive menu to choose from, classics here include a wide range of small plates and entrees like bone marrow risotto, pork jaw with lentils, and ceviche. If you're looking to sample a bit of local wine, try one of the "Bichi," or organic, wines on offer.
From tamales and tortas to gorditas and carnitas, Chef Juan Cabrera takes Mexican comfort foods you'd find in a local Mexican food marketand deconstructs them into culinary masterpieces at Fonda Fina. Awaken your palate with one of the fruity mezcal cocktails before moving on to the tortilla soup, pork belly sopecito (a corn tortilla typically loaded with cheese and meat), tamales and moles. A variety of homemade ice creams are the best way to round out a meal.
Chef Mónica Patiño has been delighting diners with her French-inspired fare since she first opened Casa Virginia in 2014. Set in an airy multi-room townhouse, the space—the décor of which juxtaposes old world charm with modern rustic chic—is the perfect place to hunker down and enjoy a leisurely lunch. While the menu changes seasonally, standouts here include the steamed asparagus and tomato salad and slow-cooked pork to share.
Restaurante Dulce Patria
Chef Martha Ortiz is at the helm Dulce Patria, a quirky and modern Mexican restaurant in Polanco. Everything about the place—from the design and vibe right down to the playful and imaginative dishes—is, as the name suggests, sweet . Named one of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants in 2016, one of the restaurant’s specialties is the Puerto de Acapulco —a red shrimp ceviche with serrano chili peppers, pineapple and grasshopper—and the signature homemade mole. A wide variety of mezcals and locally produced wines and tequilas are also on offer, as are Ortiz’s take on modern Mexican chocolate sweets and desserts.
Los Danzantes Restaurante
Situated in the heart of Coyoacán, the DF neighborhood that’s most known today as the home of Mexican artist and activist Frida Kahlo Museum, Los Danzantes has been serving traditional Mexican fare in a romantic open air setting for nearly twenty years, and it’s still going strong. With a selection of unique dishes, including chapulines (toasted grasshoppers) with freshly grated cheese and guacamole, and Hoja Santa, a Mexican pepper-leaf stuffed with goat cheese and queso in green sauce, plus a wide variety of moles and locally distilled mezcals, Los Danzantes is a great stop while you’re in the neighborhood.
Mexico City may be landlocked, but you would never know it based on the amazing fresh seafood they serve at Contramar. This beloved Mexico City institution has proven its merits time and again, with classics including everything from sautéed soft-shell crabs and tuna tostadas to sea bream with anchovies and fried tuna carnitas. If you're feeling frisky and looking for the perfect drink to pair with your meal, try the Michelada—a traditional beer-based cocktail that's made with lime juice, hot sauce and clamato juice and served over ice in a glass with a salted rim.
With four separate locations around the city, El Cardenal has been serving up excellent traditional Mexican fare to a devoted following of locals and tourists since 1969. The most popular outpost is set in a three-floor, Parisian-style manor in the heart of Centro Historico. Despite its swanky surroundings, it's a relatively casual place. Popular starters here include the queso tapado—a traditional cheese wrapped in zucchini flowers and banana leaves and seasoned with a local herb called epazote—as well as the escamole casserole, which comprises ant larvae sautéed in butter and wrapped in a maguey leaf (similar to agave). The skirt steak marinated in lime juice and guajillo chili sauce is another sure bet.
Chef Jorge Vallejo, along with his wife and co-owner Alejandra Flores, are the dynamic duo behind Quintonil. A stylish Polanco locale serving up an invigorating blend of modern Mexican cuisine and home-style cooking, Vallejo cooks primarily with seasonal produce, most of which is plucked straight from the restaurant’s on-site urban garden, as well as other ingredients that are indigenous to Mexico. Classics here include green rice with egg, suckling pig with apple blossom, and turkey with black chili sauce. The charred avocado tartare with escamoles (ant eggs), salt-cured meats and the grasshopper chimichurri are also highlights. Try the seasonally inspired ten-course tasting menu and wine pairing if you want to try a little bit of everything here—but whatever you do, save room for dessert.
Maximo Bistrot Local
Lauded by both locals and visitors as one of the best restaurants in town, Maximo Bistrot Local is everything a French-inspired eatery in Mexico City should be. Relaxed and unfussy, chef and owner Eduardo “Lalo” Garcia was trained at esteemed restaurants like Le Bernadin in New York and Pujol in Mexico City—and the influence of those experiences has inspired everything down to the look, feel and food at Maximo’s. The menu, which changes daily, draws largely upon the bounty of Mexico’s food markets. Popular dishes range from stone crab and octopus ceviche, to organic chicken served in a rich mole negro, to one of Garcia’s signature pastas.
San Ángel Inn
A 17th-century monastery turned pulque distributor (pulque is an alcohol made from agave), today San Angel Inn is one of the city's most romantic hotel and dining destinations. A beautiful place to sit and enjoy some of the country's best surviving examples of Mexican-colonial architecture, dine alfresco in the charming on-site garden. The escamoles (ant eggs) are a specialty here—and if you need a little liquid courage, the margaritas are some of the best in town.
Anthony Bourdain may have given Fonda Margarita international recognition when he said it was "probably the best breakfast ever." While there's definitely truth to that statement, what keeps Fonda devotees coming back time and again are the simple and traditional ingredients used in every dish. There are no frills here, just communal tables and really delicious, authentic food. While you really can't go wrong with any of the a la carte options, you must try the guisados—stew-like dishes that you will likely smell the moment you step through the restaurant doors. As it’s only open until 12:20pm, be sure to get here early to avoid the line.