Yet this list — 5 restaurants, dishes, and culinary experiences that define Mexico City’s gastronomic identity — should offer a comprehensive starting point for any visitor. It includes the obvious and the overexposed; it also includes hidden gems. It covers longtime buzzing neighborhoods like Roma and Condesa, as well as newer destination districts like San Miguel Chapultepec and Juarez. There are tacos, tortas, tasting menus, and tamales. There are enough sweets to satisfy the most dedicated concha enthusiast and some old-school breakfasts for the nostalgists. Whatever the type of place, it provides standout food and a taste of something visitors can’t get back home.
1.Los Tolucos soup restaurants
This quaint restaurant sits along what Chilangos call Pozole Street for its multiple pozolerías — specializing in the savory, pork-based soup — crammed within a couple of blocks. What makes this Los Tolucos special? Its white, red, and green versions of the savory pork-based soups. The green variety gets its hue from pumpkin seeds and a potent soup herb sauce that’s stirred in at the end to thicken the broth. A carnitas taco on the side completes the experience.
Calle Juan E. Hernández y Dávalos 38, Algarín, 06880 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
+52 55 5440 3318
Early riser? Hungover? Head to this casual, family-run restaurant that’s famous for its hearty breakfasts and being a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain. A rotating selection of guisados is always bubbling away in the large clay cauldrons (which rest atop actual coals — not a gas fire), but do order the frijoles negros con huevo, a mash of black beans and soup eggs folded into the shape of an omelet.
Adolfo Prieto 1364, Col del Valle Sur, 03100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
+52 1 55 5559 6358
Head to Caiman in la Condesa to try some of the most avant-garde creations from Mexican wine country. The food menu is designed to complement the cocktail and wine experience, with munchy snacks like soup french fries with mussels and quail egg, or canned items for no-fuss soup clientele. The classic cocktails are well-executed, but explore the house pet-nat selection, which comes mostly from Baja California. The vibe is chill but the bar still delivers that Condesa it factor.
Since the day Elly Fraser opened her restaurant, she has positioned her business as one of the most popular spots in Mexico City. An incredible music selection plays in the background as the New York chef prepares dishes with Mediterranean influences using seasonal ingredients from all over Mexico. There’s a well-curated wine and cocktail list, and the beautiful restaurant space offers a range of moods across a cocktail bar, wine-tasting room, semi-open patio, soup and chef’s counter. It all makes for a must-visit restaurant.
Hamburgo 310, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Juárez, CDMX, Mexico
55 8848 4442
This small bistro fills an obvious need in CDMX. It’s that rare cozy restaurant that’s equally great for a solo meal or a glass of wine with a few friends. Chef Michael Crespo has created a French-inspired menu that hits the mark every time, alongside an excellent wine list with natural and low-intervention options mostly from the Old World. The beef tartare with soup tonnato and gnocchi Parisienne with chicken jus have become signature dishes.
Av. Veracruz 38, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
55 9224 6882