Travel guide: Mexico City

tacos al pastor from el tizoncity

If you’re looking for Mexico City travel guides or Mexico City restaurant recommendations, you have come to the right place. I love Mexico City: the colors, the energy, the light, the architecture, the people, the dogs everywhere… *sigh*

Mexico City food and travel guide

Mexico City is known as DF or CDMX, and in the past 2-3 years, is having quite the moment. In Mexican Spanish, they call this vibe fresa — hip/bougie/gentrified. La Condesa, Roma — those are the fresa neighborhoods. If you’re like me, that’s prooobbbably where you’ll be hanging out. No shame, I guess, except to be sensitive to the wealth disparity in the country and know that all of Mexico City is not like Condesa and Roma. Do some research if you want to be sensitive to this — here is a good visual representation. The disappearing of reporters and corruption in the government – also a very real thing. The Anthony Bourdain episode on Mexico will get you up to speed on these issues, simultaneously making you love Mexico more and breaking your heart.

Besides the fresa neighborhoods, be sure to check out the centro historico, as well as some of the more emerging neighborhoods like Juarez.  Coyoacan/San Angel are also beautiful to walk through – check out my cousin’s home decor store when you’re there. Polanco is another neighborhood worth visiting, with the Museo Soumaya, but it’s kind of like Beverly Hills – nice but like, a little too pristine. I haven’t done this but people recommend going to Xochimilco as a day trip or the Luis Barragan ranch as an adventure. Enjoy the parks, enjoy strolling around, enjoy the loveliness.

As noted in this great pro-tip centric article from The Kitchn, there are a lot of misconceptions still about Mexico City, and especially its food safety. “Food is such an important (and delicious) part of Mexico City’s culture that it merits a guide all its own. But I’ll mention here that the city is packed with street food vendors and that their creations are often stunningly good; any traveler would be remiss not to try them.

Like many uninformed assertions about Mexico, rumors of food-borne illnesses are often overblown. To play it safe, make sure to frequent food stalls that are packed with people — it’s an indication not only that the food tastes good, but that it’s also fresh due to high turnover.

One thing travelers in Mexico City do need to take into consideration is drinking water. It’s unsafe to drink the tap water, and even residents buy bottled water or invest in a water filtration system. When dining in restaurants, you can request free filtered water by asking for agua de garrafon. I’m fine with drinking iced drinks such as cocktails and fresh fruit juices, but if your stomach is extra sensitive you might want to ask for drinks sin hielo (without ice).”

A couple of etiquette tips for going to CDMX – please, I beg of you:

  • The easiest way to spot an American is by the shorts on the men, jorts on the women, flowy shirts/sundresses, and short sleeve button downs. Extra points for a floppy Coachella hat. If that’s your swag… by all means. I personally have a fear of being called out as a tourist, so try to blend in with how people dress wherever I am visiting. in CDMX, people wear jeans and a nice top, not flowy sundresses. Men tend to wear long sleeve button downs with sleeves joozshed on the work days, and a nice (aka not tattered/university football team) t-shirt on the weekends.
  • Please don’t be that American who blithely speaks English to the server without making any effort to *try* to say a few niceties in Spanish. If you just want to get an iced americano as if you were in Williamsburg and not make any effort, just go to Starbucks, please.
    • like in france, say hi to people when you enter their store. if you don’t know what time of day it is, say “buenas” – a generic pleasant hello greeting! say hello to your uber driver!
    • “i’d like” or “we’ll have” = “me gustaria tener…” or “nos pone…”
    • download duolingo and play with it on the flight, jesus h christ please
    • say GRACIAS!

Ok, end rant, onto what you really came here for FOOD RECS. below is an edit of my fav places in CDMX. if you want to see all this and more, here’s my patent-pending mexico city google map.

coffee/cafes

abarrotes delirio – map – like joan’s on third but a third of the size. soo cute. my fav

chiquito cafe – map — a cute, very small breakfast joint in condesa. it’s not for quick coffee service — they make your coffee with your food order, so sit down and be patient. (say that last part in your head like kendrick lamar “sit down, be humble”)

cicatriz cafe – map — they call this the sqirl of CDMX. like sqirl, there was an hour wait when i went. so i left lol but it looks super good.

tacos

taco stand on the corner of colima and valladolid – map

el farolito – map – there are a ton of these around the city

azul condesa – map – sitdown restuarant with really lovely cochinita pibil

el tizoncito – map – a casual, easy sitdown in la condesa

sweets

helados cometa – map– a fancy ice cream spot in la roma

churreria el morro – map– a CLASSIC place to get churros. there are a few

helados santa clara – map – a fancy ice cream spot in polanco

casual meals

yuban – map – – a nice ish spot with great mezcal cocktails

when you forgot to make a dinner reservation on sunday night: cantina riviera – map

[or just eat more tacos]

nice meals

meroma – map – this is the place that i tweeted about as truly blowing my mind with the quality of the meal at its price point.

contramar – map – a classic seafood restaurant. get the aguachiles!

kaye – map  – if you can’t get into pujol, go here! in condesa.

raiz – map – also a lovely, innovative spot in polanco that’s an alternative to pujol

san angel inn – map – muy classico

night cap > night club

felina – map – i’m too old for the club but this place had great cocktails and was an easy walk home to our airbnb in condesa.