Three days in Mexico City is a whirlwind, considering the size and span of the actual city. To say I barely scratched the surface is an understatement, considering that a 1/3 of the time I was violently sick. I will share the things that I liked and disliked and also all the amazing crowd sourced recommendations that I didn't get to but shouldn't go to waste.
We stayed at Casa Decu which I found perfect for our needs. The suite we were assigned was well decorated, had two comfortable beds, a common area, and two bathrooms. The rooms were clean and modern. The rooftop patio was a lovely way to start the day with continental breakfast included and I thought the pricing was very reasonable.
I went with two girlfriends and we knew we would be staying in the Condesa/Roma neighborhood. Anyone I knew who had recently gone and enjoyed their time insisted this was the area to be in and they were right. The feel was the right one quieter leafy lush streets brimming with cool cafes, restaurants, and shops. To be fair, this is an American heavy area - all we heard was English next to us in restaurants and walking down the street. Both expats and tourists in for the weekend like us. It had a hip, young, friendly, and relaxed airiness to the neighborhoods which we enjoyed very much.
Before that, arrival from the airport - the hotel arranged a car for us but I regret that. It was $45 which is fine, but Ubers and taxis were easy enough to hail from there and the Uber ride back was like $12.
Our first evening in we were looking for a casual late dinner. I saw that I had bookmarked Botanico in my maps and it was close enough to the hotel for us to walk over. It was beyond a delightful surprise. The street was quiet on a Thursday night but once we walked through the doors of the art deco villa and 100 year old cacti garden converted to a restaurant it was buzzing with people and energy. The definition of a fun night. The interior rooms of the house were converted to the kitchen, cocktail bars, and private dining rooms but we were able to walk around and absorb the modern design updates to the historic house. The garden was a tropical haven with a koi pond and brutalist concrete outdoor bar. I loved the food too. It was the perfect way to start our trip and I highly recommend it.
The next morning was ripe for exploring by foot. The hotel was at the base of a horseshoe shaped boulevard surrounding Parque Mexico called Avenida Amsterdam that is dotted with relaxed cafes and a few small shops. Its a residential part of the city that connects to the more commercial parts of the Roma neighborhood and a very pleasant area to walk back and forth through for us.
- Ojo de Maiz/Ojo de Agua was a great natural eatery for us
- Tout Chocolat for coffee and confectionaries
- Quentin Cafe for very good coffee
- Mendel is a Jewish Deli with a rad looking modern interior that was about to open when we there. I would have loved to check it out in person but I fully appreciated the aesthetic peeking through the window.
Moving into Roma where the majority of the hip vintage, restaurants, and clothes/home shopping is located. Very Brooklyn feeling with a lot of Old World Colonial architecture meets jungle. The food scene in Mexico City is HUGE with so many imaginative forward thinking fusion infused dishes and spaces to try. There simply wasn't enough time to get to them all but even the $$$ restaurants were very affordable. We had beautiful meals and walked away spending about $40 pp.
- Blanco Colima
- Masala y Maiz (Indian Mexican fusion that was raved about)
- Kura (Japanese)
- Hugo (wine)
- Lardo (Med)
Try to get reservations in advance for the nicer or more popular restaurants or your chances are kind of slim.
- Rosetta has a more accessible European style Panaderia down the street that was bustling, if you want a taste without the full service rigamaroll.
Roma has its share of street food vendors and taquerias too if you want a more authentic local flavor. We were tempted. They did seem very popular and delicious. But with only so many meals, we never got the chance.
The next day we took a 25 minute car ride via Uber to the posh San Angel neighborhood. Its a upscale historic neighborhood known as the Beverly Hills of CDMX. On Saturdays there is an outdoor artisan craft market on the San Plaza San Jacinto. Very nice, sanitized, more of silver haired touristy excursion but very lovely goods for sale both outside at the temporary booths and indoors at the permanent halls. It got very crowded the later we stayed so go before lunch time.
We walked through the streets of this nicer neighborhood to the Diego Riveria Studio. It was great. That's when I started to feel ill. My friends wanted to visit the Coyoacan Market for lunch. By the time we got to that area, I started vomitting and it was game over for me. This oldest area of town is "muy autentico". Its grittier and dirtier for my taste but also interesting and colorful. It did not agree with me. I know plenty of people love it because the market has a lot to offer in terms of food and right next to it there is a big plaza and church. Freida Kahlo's house museum is a few blocks away. Its an experience. Because I was so sick and the sights, smells, and sounds were making it worse I needed to jet. I can't say I enjoyed it but you might.
Then I was out for the count but the final day I was able to do a walk through the Condessa neighborhood to the large Chapultepec Park and onto the Polanco neighborhood. We found this luxurious neighborhood to be too scrubbed and polished for us. A lot of the major high end retailers we have in the US have stores here and it feels like being in Palm Beach or Palm Desert. It just wasn't interesting so we left and spent the reminder of our time meandering through our home base of Condessa.
I know there is a lot of art and museums to get to visit in CDMX that all seem incredible. I wish we had time to visit Jumex Museum for contemporary art and the Louis Barragan house. (I tried so hard to get tickets online in advance but it was an impossible feat). I wanted to visit Masa Galeria but it was out of the way for our itinerary. I did thoroughly enjoyed Casa Basalta as a cultural center with galleries and more restaurants in a unique multi leveled space. There is a lot of vibrant creative artistic energy in CDMX at the moment. It was a joy to behold and we barely scratched the surface. I did discover quite a few makers through our visit I'm excited about.
There is also the City Center with the colonial government buildings, Zocalo Church, and National Museum and extra traditional restaurants.
- House of Tiles looks beyond as a restaurant with a historic facade
- Miralto has engaging skyline views
- Danubio is a Basque restaurant founded in 1936
My best advise is to map it out on Google Maps and see where the things that interest you end up clustering to each other. Then plan out days and outtings based on those clusters. You won't get to see it all in 3 days or even a week. Just don't get sick like I did. Enjoy!
Here is a wonderful list a dear client shared with me for a deeper dive:
Local food / Comida típica / Antojitos / Botanas / Postres Tacos Ricos Toluca Calle López 87B, Colonia Centro, Centro A solid spot for green chorizo (chorizo verde), which is a specialty of the city of Toluca, about an hour west of Mexico City. Few blocks from Mercado de San Juan. Try any of the chorizo tacos and add beans and fries (papas). El Moro Churreria Av. Álvaro Obregón 24, Roma Norte Churro institution from 1935. Freshly-fried churros dipped in your choice of white sugar or cinnamon sugar. Recommend it with the Mexicano chocolate (lighter) or for thicker dipping, Español chocolate. Original is in Centro Historico, 30-45 minute wait. Neveria Roxy Av. Fernando Montes de Oca 89, Cuauhtémoc, Condesa Mexican-style ice cream / sorbets. Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales Av Francisco I. Madero 71, Centro Histórico Steamed tacos in a basket. Messy and awesome. Tacos de Canasta Madrid 5 de Febrero 27, Centro Histórico, Centro Taqueria Los Cocuyos Calle Simon Bolivar 56, Cuauhtémoc, Centro Histórico Tacos Richard Avenida Tamaulipas / Alfonso Reyes Second best street food I ate. Recommend the quesadilla de chicharron prensado (pressed pork). Look for two guys selling from the back of a truck. Delicious. Taqueria El Abanico Francisco J. Clavijero, Cuauhtémoc, Tránsito Further out of Centro area, but worth it or heard good things about them. Tacos El Vilsito. Avenida Universidad, Narvarte Poniente Favorite taco for now from this car wash / taco shop – everything I had was delicious. Recommend the volcán charro, which is a tortilla grilled crispy, topped with protein, griddled cheese and pureed beans. Heaven. Any of the "gringa" tacos which means a taco with melted cheese on top. Watch how fast the taqueros are. Taqueria Los Pericos Enrique Rébsamen 701-A, Benito Juárez, Narvarte Poniente Taqueria Don Frank Calle Torres Adalid 1353, Del Valle, Narvarte Poniente Tacos Manolo Calle Luz Saviñón 1305, Narvarte Poniente Tacos Al Pastor Hop El Califa Altata 22, Cuauhtémoc, Hipódromo El Farolito Altata 19, Cuauhtémoc, Hipódromo El Kaliman Calle Ensenada 74, Cuauhtémoc, Hipódromo Chef-driven Mexican Seafood, International. Contramar Calle Durango 200, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Norte Seafood institution for the business people of Mexico City, it's a bit on the pricier side but you'll understand why. Recommend sitting out here during lunch. Don't miss the tuna tostadas (tostadas de atún, grilled soft shell crab tacos (tacos de jaiba suave) and any seafood dish done "al pastor". Entremar Hegel 307, Polanco, Polanco Same exact menu as Contramar. The main difference is that Entremar is in a more upscale area, overlooks a beautiful park if you've reserved a balcony seat and is less than a 15 minute walk from the Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Contemporary Art. I prefer the Contramar location in Roma Norte. Cocina Conchita Avenida Álvaro Obregón 154, Roma Norte Another one of our favorite seafood spots. Perfect for lunch, sit outside on the sidewalk. The fish tacos were a bit sour but don't miss the sea urchin/mushroom taco. It's excellent. Good selection of Mexican wines. Maximo Bistrot Calle Tonalá 133, Roma Norte By far, one of our favorites. We love the chef and his wife, Lalo and Gaby. We've been both for lunch and dinner and everything is good. Don't miss either of the tuna crudo appetizers. If you get there early, there is a lounge upstairs where you can enjoy Mexican wines, tequila/mezcal or a cocktail. Havre 77 Calle Havre 77, Cuauhtémoc, Juárez If you don't get into MaximoFrench brasserie by the Maximo Bistrot couple. They have a raw bar featuring Baja seafood that is open all day and a regular restaurant for lunch and dinner. If you don't get into Maximo Bistrot, at least try the seafood here and Mexican wines. La Docena Avenida Álvaro Obregón 31, Roma Norte A busy, loud gastropub-y but they are known best for their grilled Baja oysters and daily seafood offerings. Nice selection of mezcal and tequila. Try the grilled oysters topped with toro, anything crab, anything involving geoduck (almeja generosa, aka generous clam). Merotoro Calle Amsterdam 204, Cuauhtémoc, Hipódromo Baja California-focused, chef-driven spot. Really excellent food. A good option if you can't get into Maximo Bistrot. Rosetta Calle Colima, 166, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, Col. Roma Norte Mexican chef doing Italian cuisine. There are some fusion dishes which are nice but I took more advantage of their nice wine list. Panadería Rosetta Colima 179, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Norte Great baked goods from same chef as above. Two locations. El Parnita Avenida Yucatan 84, Roma Norte More of a day-time sit down spot for mexican seafood. El Pescadito Calle Atlixco 38, Cuauhtémoc, Condesa This casual seafood focused spot is always packed with locals. Expect a wait. Tres Galeones Calle Jalapa 117, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Norte Fish and shrimp tacos. Casual spot. Stuffy, haute cuisine Pujol Calle Francisco Petrarca 254, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco A must. A great intro into Mexican-style fine dining. Quintonil Newton No. 55, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco Pretty and fussy dishes. Biko Plaza Zentro, Presidente Masaryk 407, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco Basque-inspired menu from two chefs that trained at El Bulli in Spain. Japanese. From the Edo Kobayashi restaurant group, an excellent offering of Japanese food if you're taco'd out or yearning for something lighter. Sushi Kyo Havre 77, Juárez Impressive sushi experience in Mexico City. Super friendly chef is from Japan and has lived in CDMX for 5 years and speaks English, Spanish and Japanese. He showcases fish from Baja California, the U.S. and Japan. Very fair price. Make reservation via Facebook (message them). Rokai Río Ebro 87, Cuauhtémoc Izakaya Rokai Ramen-ya Río Ebro 89, Mexico City, Cuauhtémoc Ramen Hiyoko Rio Panuco 132, Cuauhtémoc Yakitori using Mexican chicken. Heard great things. Le Tachinomi Desu Rio Panuco 130, Cuauhtémoc Hip sake bar and natural wine bar. ______________________________________ M E R C A D O S Mercado de San Juan #78 Avenida Arcos de Belén, Cuauhtémoc, Centro A good place for comida tipica / comida economica / breakfast. Try the flautas/birria stall. Mercado de Medellín Calle Campeche 101, Roma Sur Mercado de Coyoacán Ignacio Allende, Coyoácan, Del Carmen Market near Frida Kahlo's house. Try the Tostadas Coyoacan place inside – recommend the crab (jaiba / cangrejo) or the pata de res (gelatinous cow foot "jelly"). Seafood spot outside isn't bad either. Mercado de Jamaica Guillermo Prieto 45, Jamaica Mercado Roma Calle Querétaro 225, Roma Norte Hipster food hall with biergarten on top. ______________________________________ C O F F E E Lalo Calle Zacatecas 173, Roma, Cuauhtémoc Buna 42 Orizaba 42, Roma Norte Cafe Passmar Calle Adolfo Prieto s/n Local 237, Benito Juárez ______________________________________ D R I N K COCKTAILS Licorería Limantour (Limantour the bar, not the restaurant) Avenida Álvaro Obregón 106, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Norte Solid cocktails. Nice list of tequilas and mezcal. Nice staff. Departamento Bar Avenida Álvaro Obregón 154, Cuauhtemoc, Roma Norte Heard good things. Baltra Bar Iztaccíhuatl 36D, Cuauhtemoc, Condesa Solid cocktails in this Darwin-themed bar. Hanky Panky Hidden address, released upon making a reservation on Facebook, or by local. Jules Basement Julio Verne 93, Polanquito, Polanco Popular speakeasy Hotel Carlota Río Amazonas 73, Cuauhtémoc New hip hotel with a nice cocktail lounge. WINE BARS Le Tachinomi Desu Rio Panuco 130, Cuauhtémoc From the Edo Kobayashi restaurant group, a sake bar and natural wine bar. Maximo Bistrot Calle Tonalá 133, Roma Norte Havre 77 Calle Havre 77, Cuauhtémoc, Juárez Amaya Calle Gral. Prim 95, Juárez Food is chef-driven (same chef/owner of Baja-focused Merotoro) and very Western, but recommend trying the wine from the young, well-known Mexican sommelier. MEZCAL Bósforo Luis Moya 31, Cuauhtémoc, Centro Divey, happening spot for mezcal with eclectic music. DJ is terrible, but you're not there for the music. Heard the blue Oaxacan hot pockets called "itacates" are delicious. Food next door is supposed to be good too. La Clandestina Avenida Álvaro Obregón 298, Cuauhtémoc, Condesa Cool mezcal container set up. Almost like an intravenous system with glass Sparkletts water containers. Really nice staff. La Mezcaleria Calle James Sullivan 99, San Rafael Xaman Bar Copenhague 6, Cuauhtémoc, Juárez Yucatan-themed cocktail lounge (house DJ later in the week) with a nice list of mezcals. They also burn a calming incense throughout the lounge that is indigenous to the Yucatan area. La Bótica Orizaba 161, Roma Norte Quaint spot for mezcals. Bar Milán Milan 18, Cuauhtemoc, Juárez Local, divey spot that gets PACKED with pre-partiers. Crappy selection of liquor but it's pretty fun. MONO club is nearby. _____________________________________ M U S E U M S + G A L L E R I E S Museo Nacional de Antropología Av Paseo de la Reforma & Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco Beautiful architecture and amazing mushroom-like/spaceship fountain installation upon entry. Museo Tamayo Arte de Contemporáneo Paseo de la Reforma 51, Bosque de Chapultepec Museo Jumex Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Granada, Amp Granada Awesome contemporary art museum. 20-30 minutes out of downtown Centro area but well worth it. Closed Mondays. Museo Archivo de La Fotografía República de Guatemala República de Guatemala 34, Centro Histórico ______________________________________ D A N C E + M U S I C Mexicans don't start clubs ( antros / discos ) until 12 am / 1 am. Pre-party accordingly. Guys usually pay a cover anywhere from 150 – 250 pesos, ladies enter for free. MONO Calle Versalles 64, Cuahutémoc, Juárez Electronic club with emphasis on minimal techno / techno house. Fridays and Saturdays are the big nights. Enter through a parking garage into the club. Club Social Rhodesia Durango 181, Roma Norte Beautiful interior. AM LOCAL Nuevo León 67, Cuauhtemoc, Hipódromo Beautifully lighting setup behind DJ and ceiling/dance floor. MTV kind of shit. Xaman Bar Copenhague 6, Cuauhtémoc, Juárez Thursdays – Saturdays are the big nights. DJ usually plays house and a dance party inevitably happens. Crowd can be a little DB, pay attention to the mezcal. Zinco Jazz Club Calle Motolinia 20, Cuauhtémoc, Centro Histórico Heard great things.