Distrito Federal, Mexico City, now formally Ciudad de México, is a dynamic and quickly evolving destination full of dichotomies, tradition and innovation. Whether attending Zona Maco, Design Week, or at any other time of the year, food is guaranteed to be a big part. While street food and family-style restaurants are essentials (try the white pozole at Los Tolucos), there are countless sophisticated and contemporary establishments worth visiting (you have, no doubt, been directed to Pujol). Long, late lunches are ideal for many of these places—start around 3ish, and graze while people-watching through to the evening. And, if there’s one thing to take from our guide to eating and drinking in Mexico City, it’s try to make a booking—as many of the more upscale locations are reservation-only and fill up weeks in advance.
After a visit to Museo Nacional de Antropología, Castillo de Chapultepec and the sprawling, surrounding park, extend your walk to Lardo for a long lunch. Take a spot at the bar, order from the lengthy list of natural and funky wines, and snack on everything you see—from grilled octopus to baby chili peppers. This bright, airy space—with plenty of timber and brass fittings, and lots of greenery—lends itself to hanging out for the whole afternoon.
When dining at seafood-centric Contramar, we offer one tip: make a reservation at an outside table to enjoy a long and lazy lunch. This gives you a little space from the busy indoor restaurant (with people-watching opportunities). Make sure to try the tostadas de atún, the red and green grilled whole snapper, and then take your waiter’s advice (especially if they suggest the fig tart) as this place has some of the friendliest and most knowledgable staff around.
The perfect spot for late-night drinks and bites, a casual afternoon hangout or a dinner date, Loup Bar boasts an extensive wine list (from bubbles to orange and more) and plenty of fresh and seasonal dishes that draw inspiration from Mexican, French and Mediterranean cuisines. Trust your waiter regarding the glorious low-intervention/natural wines, and try everything from the burrata to the lush salads. (Vegetarians will be very happy here.) Just a five-minute walk away is another essential: Rosetta, which provides a romantic and sophisticated, but not uptight, atmosphere. Helmed by chef Elena Reygadas, this place is covered in floral wallpaper, bouquets and ferns and is equally perfect for a quick pastry and coffee or a fancy dinner.
If you’re going to Museuo Frida Kahlo, aka The Blue House (be sure to buy tickets ahead of time), grab a quick breakfast at Bella Rafaella, just a 10-minute walk away. There are plenty of pastries and sandwiches to take away, but if you’re staying we recommend tostado with guacamole or creamy huevos con requesón—both served on super-fresh bread. There are also bowl-sized coffees available here, for those in need of a big caffeine hit.
Whether there for a burger (180 grams of Wagyu beef, covered in provolone cheese, caramelized onions and all the toppings), pizza or a hearty breakfast, Lalo! is a sun-drenched, airy, and cheerful cafe that’s oftentimes full to the brim. Helmed by Eduardo García (the chef behind Máximo Bistrot, which is also worth a visit), Lalo! focuses on accessible and seasonal dishes. We suggest grabbing a coffee and huevos con escamoles (aka ant larvae) before heading out for the day.
Beautifully designed—with exposed beams and bricks, and colorful traditional tiled floors—Amaya is located on an unassuming street in Juárez. Helmed by chef Jaír Téllez (who’s also the winemaker at Bichi Wines), this restaurant boasts an all-natural wine list and an interesting melding of various cuisines. There’s plenty of seafood on the menu, but vegetarians will find plenty to try here, too. For a pre- or post-dinner cocktail, Hanky Panky is just an eight-minute walk away.
Images courtesy of respective venues