We left city life for rural living years ago, but sometimes we crave the liveliness of urban life. Mexico City is our favorite city to visit, the vibrant culture, the lush gardens, but to be honest - we get the most excited planning out all of the delicious meals we hope to eat while there. It was hard to pick just five, but we narrowed it down to our favorite places to eat while in Mexico City. Usually these restaurants were ones we found ourselves going to more than once during our visits to the great Tenochtitlán.
There are a couple locations of Ojo de Agua,
we have only frequented the Condesa location. We like Ojo for breakfast. After a few days of tacos and many meat heavy meals, it feels good to have a fruity açai bowl or a freshly made juice. If you order a savory dish, ask for the salsa macha (a chile oil condiment with nuts and dried peppers.)
Expendio de Maiz
is a very special place. With an open air kitchen, and 4-5 tables, you have to time it right to get a spot, which you will likely share with other diners. There is no menu, and the daily offerings vary upon what they get from the farmers market that week. When you sit down, they will ask you if you have any food preferences, the only limitation during the meal. They will bring you one dish at a time, usually with a story on what inspired the dish - sometimes it is personal story, like a family recipe. You are free to request as many courses as you can handle. The last time we went, they were not accepting credit cards, so bring cash just in case. In our experience, the check was around $35 a person after 3 or 4 plates of food.
To dine at Tetetlán
, you will have to take an uber or taxi out to the Jardines del Pedegral neighborhood, about 20 minutes south of the Condesa/Roma area. Weekends are busy times to avoid, with guests going for brunch, or yoga classes upstairs from the dining room. The restaurant is housed in the former horse stables of the Luis Barragán designed house next door - Casa Prieta (or Casa Pedregal). A glass floor exposes a lava rock fern garden below the dining tables. An in house library and record area encourages patrons to spend hours eating and enjoying the space. Tetetlán is not just an instagram moment however, the food is amazing. We recommend ordering off of the comal section of the menu, where all the dishes are tortilla based and cooked on a comal (a large pan or clay pan used to cook tortillas). If you can, pre-book a tour next door at Casa Prieta - it is our favorite Barragán site that we have toured so far.
After flying, checking into your accommodations you have got to be ready for tacos, right? Our tried and true quick taco stop is El Tizoncito,
there are several locations. El Tizoncito claims to be the creator of the al pastor taco, and whether or not that is true, what IS fact is that their al pastor tacos are so, so good! Al Pastor is marinated pork, slow cooked on a spit and garnished with pineapple. El Tizoncito is pretty much always our first stop once we get settled in and need food immediately. You can sit and order a few tacos, eat them and then order a few more. When you sit down, they give you tortilla chips and salsa along with a delightful little bean dip.
For a slightly more elevated taco (and mezcal) experience, Taqueria Gabriel
is a great little spot. If you are going for dinner, arrive on the early side, as it is a place people like to sit, have drinks, tacos and hang out for a while. On our most recent trip, we became obsessed with the lechon taco - bits of suckling pig that is fried up with crispy bits. All of the tacos here are good, and they even offer a mushroom option for vegetarians and shrimp for pescatarians.
We said top 5, but we are sneaking in Niddo
!! I will be honest with you, my obsession with Niddo started before I ever went there, because they are good at luring people with their instagramable pancakes! We went to the Jaurez location that serves breakfast all day, just to order these pancakes in the afternoon. They did not disappoint. I would love to know how they make these pancakes so thick and fluffy, yet crispy on the outside. They are sturdy pancakes, that don't get soggy after drowning in syrup. All we do is talk about these pancakes . . . what a treat! They have several options on the menu, with different toppings. I am sure they are all amazing. Heads up: the Niddo in Polanco does not have the full menu, only grab and go - thus no pancakes at that location.