We show you where to find the best eats in Mexico City, from street tacos to chilaquiles verde.
Mexico City has boomed in popularity with hungry Canadian travellers in recent years and it’s easy to see why: it’s one of those places where it’s possible to eat exceptionally well, regardless of your budget.
If you’re pinching pennies, you’ll find more affordable, delicious street food options than you could possibly gobble up in a single trip. Likewise, if you’ve got cash to burn, you’ll find high-end restaurants helmed by ground-breaking chefs where you can enjoy some truly memorable meals.
Mexico City is high on our list of places to return to as the world slowly begins to reopen to travellers. To inspire your future food travels, we’ve assembled some field notes from our own culinary explorations of Mexico’s capital.
With its chandeliers and exposed brick walls, this bakery-restaurant from notable chef Elena Reygadas makes us swoon with its Paris-meets-Mexico City vibe. The delicious pastries and other baked goods make for wonderful quick breakfasts or snacks, but they also do more substantial dishes like pasta and fusion dishes like curries that are equally excellent.
Hands down, El Hidalguense makes some of the best tacos you’ll eat in Mexico City. The restaurant gets its name from nearby Hidalgo, a Mexican state known for its barbacoa, which is El Hidalguense’s specialty. El Hidalguense’s slow-cooked lamb barbacoa is prepared in Hidalgo and regularly transported to the restaurant.
Aside from their famed barbacoa, which is served with warm tortillas, salsa, and other taco fixings, their deeply flavourful consommé is another worthwhile order. For adventurous eaters, the restaurant also offers well-prepared versions of palate-pushing bites like ant larvae.
This down-to-earth spot attracts a mixed crowd that ranges from local families to tourists. It’s only open Friday to Saturday and it’s almost always busy. You’ll likely have to wait for a table, but it will be worth it.
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Tacos los Cocuyos
For another can’t-miss taco, head to this single-window stall in Centro Histórico. The meat here is slow-cooked and then quickly fried, making for a juicy yet crispy texture.
The campechano (beef and sausage) is a reliable bet, but this stall will also make you fall in love with more unusual cuts of meat like tongue, eye, and cheek. Tacos los Cocuyos is almost always open, and there are a few plastic stools for seating set in front of the stall, but most people stand so they can efficiently shovel in taco after taco.
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This modern, multi-level food hall is a convenient go-to when you’re not exactly sure what you want to eat (or maybe want a little bit of everything). A number of locally popular restaurants, like El Moro Churrería, have satellite locations within the food hall, but you can also find everything from sushi burritos to Mexican-style macarons. There’s also a convivial beer garden on the upper level.
Another hip spot from chef Elena Reygadas, Lardo is a lovely all-day restaurant in Condesa. Unfussy, yet impeccably executed Mediterranean-influenced fare is served throughout the day, from chilaquiles verdes at breakfast to grilled seafood at dinner. An open kitchen provides a view of the restaurant’s rotating wood-fired ovens, where simple, sublime pizzas are cooked up.
Hidden bars often feel a bit gimmicky, but Hanky Panky exudes effortless cool. Tucked behind a no-frills restaurant, you’ll find this speakeasy-style bar awash in dim lighting and decked out in marble, leather, and bronze. Reservations are highly recommended here, but there’s a great benefit to waiting around for a seat at the bar: you’ll get a front-row seat to a view of the expert mixologists whipping up artful cocktails.
Eat Mexico walking Tour
It’s all well and good when someone tells you a city’s street food is excellent, but navigating the street food scene in a new city can sometimes feel daunting. That’s why we loved kicking off our trip with Eat Mexico’s “Mexico City Street Food” tour. It provides a solid starting point on where to seek out the best street food in Mexico City, plus provides a primer in the basics of how to order that will leave you with the confidence to further explore the city’s street food scene.
Molino El Pujol
Molino El Pujol is an affordable option for those who want to experience famed Mexican chef Enrique Olvera’s culinary prowess without dining at his budget-busting restaurant, Pujol. This tiny tortilleria in the Condesa neighbourhood feels a bit like a coffee shop — you order at the counter and there are just a few patio tables set out front for seating. Here, the brief menu focuses on tortillas and simple tacos, along with other corn-based eats like elote (grilled corn), served on a corn tortilla made from scratch.
We know it’s a controversial opinion, but hear us out: Pujol is one of Mexico City’s most widely acclaimed restaurants, but it’s a good idea to at least know what you’re getting into before spending a whopping $300 per person on the tasting menu here.
If you do decide to bite the bullet and dine here, keep in mind that reservations need to be made way ahead of time (basically before you even book your flights to Mexico City).
Contramar is another widely publicized spot that doesn’t make our must-eat list. In our opinion, Contramar is to Mexico City is what Momofuku is to New York: is the food excellent? It is. But in a city packed with incredible restaurants, Contramar isn’t head and shoulders above the rest.