Quite possibly my favourite city in the world, Mexico City quickly won a special place in my heart during a month-long stay last winter. Commonly referred to as CDMX, or Ciudad de Mexico, this vibrant capital oozes energy. It's a cultural mecca, expat collective, food haven, and global fashion and design destination. Each neighbourhood has its own distinct personality and offering - most of my time was spent between Condesa, Roma and Polanco.
The city is so big, and even with four weeks, covering my wish list in full wasn't possible. I arrived with lengthy note of top spots based on a range of Mexico City archives from the likes of Conde Nast Traveler, Eater and Bon Appetit, but was lucky enough to make local friends who helped edit the choices to include a few more under-the-radar spots. These are a few of my most-loved places - a mix of fine dining and elevated casual; globally recognized and locally discovered.
BOTTEGA SARTORIA | Bottega is the sister eatery to Sartoria restaurant, both located within steps of each other in Roma Norte. Open from brunch into the late night, but we love this spot for mid-day brunch. Order bubbles, mortadella, burrata, heirloom carrots + hummus.
YORU | Incredible Japanese eats, and by far a top food experience in CDMX. Small and unassuming, with sidewalk tables and a few bar seats at the chefs counter, the experience is intimate and approachable. Go for the natural wines, truffle mushroom and eel/foie rolls, seasonal sashimis.
SARTORIA | Upscale Italian in a modern, minimalist space. They make a wicked mezcal negroni, and their cacio e pepe was standout.
EXPENDIO DE MAIZ | Run, don't walk, to ensure you get a seat at Expendio before they fill up for their brunch seating. Breakfast here was exceptional, and one of the meals in Mexico City that I can't wait to experience again. Expendio uses indigenous Mexican ingredients and offers no menu - they'll send one dish at a time until you beg them to stop. Cash only.
QUINTONIL | Another all-star from the World's Best List with a chef trained at Pujol, Quintonil is the #24 restaurant in the world. We opted for an a la carte option over the tasting menu and raved for days over the oxtail.
LA BIKINA | Extensive mezcal list with exceptional tuna tostadas, esquites and carpaccio. Located in Polanco, exceptional service.
PUJOL | A splurge that I had been dreaming about since early episodes of Chef's Table, Pujol is currently the #12 restaurant in the world. It offers a beautiful atmosphere and exceptional service, with high level of technique and skill. When we dined in May, their mole was over 7 years old and counting. While not my favourite meal in CDMX, the experience alone was one I'm extremely appreciative of. Note that reservations need to be made 6+ weeks in advance.
PARAMO | Casual, yummy Mexican food. Go for their mezcal negroni (are you sensing a trend yet?!), burrito, shrimp ceviche and lentil salad.
CHIQUITO CAFE | My front-runner coffee shop in the city, near the Amsterdam circuit. Excellent oat milk latte and banana bread.
ROSETTA | Upscale restaurant in Roma Norte with gorgeous architecture and outdoor dining. Order El Garabullo wine if available (one of the hidden gem wineries in San Miguel de Allende and hard to find!), camote, and much-loved tagliatelle with salchica and chile de arbor. Wrap up the night with a carajillo - don't miss it.
ROSETTA BAKERY | Sister bakery to Rosetta restaurant in Roma Norte. Seating can be a bit of a nightmare - I highly recommend lining up for coffee/pastries to go. Their fig croissant is a must.
EMILIA | Upscale Japanese fusion in Roma Norte. The omakase was outstanding - a top choice dinner in CDMX.
BACAL | A true gem in the heart of Roma Sur, this little natural wine bar in Roma Sur served as my local haunt. They have a killer wine list and offer small plates rotating regularly as they bring in guest chefs nightly.
HANKY PANKY | This little speakeasy is highly ranked globally and has held its place on the World’s Best list. These guys are exceptionally creative - have fun going off-menu to let them shine.
Drop me a line if you make it to Mexico City. We'd love to hear from you.