Thursday, 19 January 2017

Mexico City - 5 Great Places to Eat

Mexico City is a vibrant, cosmopolitan and multi-cultural city.  It is the capital city of The United States of Mexico and is steeped in history dating back to civilisations pre-dating Mayan and Aztec pre-hispanic people.  The cuisine of Mexico City has it's roots in the indiginous foods such as corn (maize), beans, avocados, tomatoes and much more.

I have been to Mexico City twice now and have eaten in some of the best restaurants and had fantastic street food.  I want to tell you about five great restaurants to try when you visit the city. This list stretches from quick food at El Califa to the sedate and precise Zafiro.

1.  Tenampa
Garibaldi Square is full of local Mariachi bands each looking for a celebration or group of families to play their iconic music for.
On the left side of the square is a restaurant called Tenampa where they say it all began! It is reputed to be the home of the Mariachi bands, bands who play sad songs of loss (usually the loss of a woman).  There are songs written on the walls to sing along to if you wish.

It costs Mexican peso $120 (approx £5.00) to have the band come to your table and play for you and your family and friends.

The menu is local and authentic.  I had a flank steak which was really tender, garnished with a piece of cactus leaf, guacamole and green chili peppers.  I had one bit of the peppers and thought my head was going to explode, tears running down my face and my nose blocked with a cold immediately cleared!  I was not brave enough to have another bite!!
The Margaritas are huge, frozen and very, very delicious!  You don't need many of these to get into the Mariachi mood!!
2. Zafiro
Zefiro Restaurante Escuela - Universidad del Claustro de Sir Juana (University Restaurant) is Mexico's finest school of gastronomy, each day serving members of the public meals that were cooked by student chefs and served by students learning everything about the hospitality trade.  The teaching is supervised using the high standards based on Distinctive H and Tesoros de Mexico, both recognitions given by the Secretary of Tourism.
The menu was simple and offered to us in English as well as Spanish. The service was impeccable making each of us feel we were the only diner in the restaurant!

The soup (Shelfish Pozole) made with guarjillo chilli,white hominy, squid, scallop, Amberjack fish and shrimps was without a doubt the best soup I have ever tasted!!
My main course a Pork Meatloaf, juicy pork with salad and lime vinaigrette, sweet potato puree drops, apply, chilacayote slices with arlic oil, radish slices and a tasty dressing made with guajillo chili and cinnamon was absolutely delicious but far too much to finish after that wonderful soup.
For dessert we were served the most beautiful and sublime I have ever been served or tasted.  Blanca Plata - a delicious macadamia mousse,pistacio dacquoise, caramalised apple gelee and toasted coconut rings with a dash of edible silver. It was a white cloud of lightness that arrived at the table under glass to a chorus of ooohhs and aaahhs from all around the table.
3.  Taqueria El Califa
El Califa with it's open and transparent kitchen area is a fun place to eat full of young Mexicans out for an evening of quick, simple but tasty taco restaurant situated on the busy and main Paseo de la Reforma 382 in the Juarez district.

The main draw to this restaurant is their kebab like meat on a large skewer cooked rather like our traditional kebabs however tasting completely different.
You order how many tacos you want and they are served quickly with plenty of lime slices (I do love the abundance of limes served in most restaurants in the city.
Sauces are put in front of you and when you run out they will bring more.
The guacamole was without a doubt the best I have ever had, chunky and creamy and truly delicious!
El Califa is fun and vibrant and a must-try if you want up to the minute and contemporary food.

4. La Casa de Tono
Another fun place to pop in for a quick meal that is freshly cooked, up to the minute and makes a great place to meet friends for some tacos before going on together to a nearby club or favourite venue.  There are over twenty venues across the city.

The menu is under glass on the table as part of the tablecloth and the waiters(waitresses) are there to serve you more or less immediately.  All around me was buzzing and full of atmosphere - we were quite late in the evening and there was no sign of a slow down.

I chose the Pozole - a filling and very delicious soup I have fallen in love with! You can pick which meat you want or have a vegetarian version.
On the menu are also the everyday Mexican food choices like Tostadas, quesadillas, soups and tacos - all able to be customised to your favourites.
The kitchen is open and transparent as well as being a hub of activity.
5. Restaurante Terraza y Jardin Nopalito 1949
It was time to head to the Mexico City airport however we stopped for one last meal.  Nopalito1949 is a lovely restaurant perfect for family a get together and Sunday lunch.  As the traffic was a bit heavy we arrived a bit late for our reservation, having to wait about 15 minutes which gave us a chance to have a good look around.

The inside of the restaurant was bright, welcoming and very busy. There was a Mariachi band playing from table to table to add to the atmosphere. In our honour they came to our table and played 'Guantanamera' for us.
The inside of the restaurant is open, bright and airy with trees and fountains.
I love how as soon as we sit down in any restaurant in Mexico City lovely little bowls of colour appear on the table, usually accompanied by tortilla or taco chips. Each bowl contains an explosion of tastes, some quite spicy and other less so but all equally outstanding.
My starter was a mini casserole of breaded shrimp in a bittersweet sauce.
My main course, Mestizo Pasta & Shrimps - Big shrimps and pasta bathed in a tamarind and mini shrimp sauce was pasta with a difference, the tamarind and mini shrimp sauce giving a latino edge to the meal.
Although I chose shrimp for both of my courses the menu was varied and contemporary. I just love shrimp and as I was about to take a flight I didn't want to eat anything particularly heavy however there was plenty on the menu to tempt me another time.

One for the road or should I say one for the sky as we made our way to the airport ready for our long flight home!
As we flew out into the night with the lights of Mexico City beneath us I started thinking about the next time I could visit this fantastic city

I was a guest of Mexico City Tourism Board. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions and photos are my own. No photos may be reproduced in any form without my written permission.

27 comments:

  1. What a wonderful gastronomical experience. Mexico sounds fabulous.

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    1. The food in Mexico City is very varied but always tasty!

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  2. Oh how fantastic, real mexican food in Mexico! Love all those little adobe bowls. I still have a Mexican tile trivet I got in California in the 1980s and I love the colours and style.

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    1. I love the bright colours too, the textiles are amazing!

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  3. What great food! I'd love to go to Mexico one day. The cactus leaf would be great to try and I'd love to dip some tortilla chips into that chunky guacamole.

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    1. That guacamole was perhaps the best I have ever had, chunky and full of flavours.

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  4. Ah, as green as the avos with envy. Those prawns look lush. One day I'll go! Great write up, Heidi!

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    1. You definitely should go one day Michelle, it is a fantastic place!

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  5. Mexico does look fun AND foodie! I do hope I get to go soon

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    1. I love Mexico and really look forward to exploring more of it.

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  6. Mexico is somewhere I've never been, but I'd like to visit. I love all their beany dishes and cocktails.

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    1. You would love the fruit and vegetables in the markets!

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  7. Love Mexican food and all of this looks so tasty! Gary x

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    1. I need to eat more Mexican food in London to keep my passion for Mexico alive!

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  8. I'd love to have Mexican food in Mexico. I've been over the border to Tijuana, not really a real view of what Mexico has to offer. GG

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  9. Your Instagram photo of the Mexican food looked great!

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  10. Mexico sounds wonderful and what an experience for you trying out the different restaurants. Love the idea of meals served by student chefs and students of hospitality. A great way to encourage them in their chosen fields. Macadamia mousse was the most tempting for me:)

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    1. I love Mexico, always an interesting experience

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  11. Mexico sounds like a great place to visit. I loved all the different presentations and the lovely crockery in some of the places you ate.

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    1. I would have loved to take some of the bowls etc however subject to luggage restrictions!

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  12. Authentic Mexican food in Mexico, sounds and look delicious! What a wonderful trip to go on. Would love to visit Mexico! :)

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    1. I love trips to Mexico - can't wait for the next one, hopefully it's not too far away!!

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  13. That looks like absolute foodie heaven! I'd love to visit Mexico one day. Love the flavours they use.

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    1. The Mexican food flavours are so intertwined and so lovely - only hot when you want them to be.

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  14. I would love to visit Mexico City one day!

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    1. It was a dream come true for me to go there!

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