Quite a few people looked surprised when I said I was going to Mexico City. ‘Isn’t it dangerous?’, ‘Why would you go there?’ were common questions. Not many were convinced when I said Mexico City was meant to be really cool, and the food scene there one of the best in the world.
Now I’ve been I can try and convince people that it really is the case, because I loved the city! And our two days there were certainly not long enough (though we did make the most of it, since we were up at 5:30am every morning due to jet lag).
Here are my highlights:
Mexico City is a huge, sprawling city and it can take quite some time to get from place to place. Ubers are brilliant though – safe and super cheap, though public transport is apparently easy to use too (though we didn’t try it). The first port of call is of course the main square, Zocalo, immortalised in Hollywood film through James Bond’s Spectre. It is the third largest square in the world (apart from Tiananmen Square and the Red Square) and worth a wander. The cathedral is more impressive from the outside, but it was the National Palace which we found most interesting, especially Diego Rivera’s famous mural – which takes you through Mexico’s fascinating history. Mexico City is also known for its museums, the most well known being the National Museum of Anthropology, which is beautifully done (the building in itself it worth seeing). Also worth visiting are the Frida Kahlo museum and Trotsky’s house (he was assassinated here), in the south of the city, which we had to miss due to lack of time.
We were lucky enough to stay at the St Regis, known to be the best five star hotel in the city. But this big glitzy chain hotel might not be for everyone (though it’s central location right on the Paseo de la Reforma is ideal). If you prefer smaller, more unique boutique hotels, then Condesa DF or (the more affordable) Hotel Carlota are perfect, especially because they are in the super trendy and fun area of Condesa, where you can find lots of great restaurants and bars.
Mexico City is the ultimate foodie city. From street food to Michelin star cuisine, it has it all. Our one full day in the city was thus based around food. A massive (and incredible) breakfast at the St Regis, followed by a superb lunch at Quintonil (photo 1 below), in the upmarket area of Polanco. Pujol (photo 2 below) is most famous and exclusive restaurant, known as the best in Mexico and (apparently) 17th best restaurant in the world. We managed to get a table here at 9:30pm and did not regret it. The six course tasting menu is not cheap, but the food and experience excellent (though we weren’t keen on our waitress). It’s most famous for it’s ‘Mole Madre, Mole Nueve’ dish, with two types of ‘sauces’, one made on the day, one over 1000 days old (sounds weird, tasted quite good!). Other than those two restaurants, Maximo Bistrot, Raiz and Rosetta come highly recommended, but if you have the time do explore some of the street vendors and markets for some proper authentic food.
On a more casual cafe/brunch level, we wandered through Condesa on Sunday morning, and while most places hadn’t opened yet, we really enjoyed a juice at Monsieur Croque (and I loved the look of neighbouring Ficelle Patisserie). Almanegra in Roma Norte apparently serves some of the best coffee in the city, and Ojo de Agua is the place to go for healthy food (they do great juices and acai bowls).
Mexico City is a fantastic place for drinks. There are bars around every corner, and they’re pretty cool too. We spent our night bar hopping in the hipster area Roma Norte. Huset has the prettiest terrace (photo 1) and a great cocktail list (they also serve great food apparently). Patio Aurora (photo 2) we stumbled upon by accident, but liked the look of it and loved it. Really fun vibe, good cocktails (they specialise in G&Ts) and reasonable pricing. Limantour is one of the best known bars in Mexico City, and is often found on the ‘Best bars in the world’ list. I had a fantastic smoked Margarita here, but we found the atmosphere at the other bars better (and there were way more tourists/expats here than the other more local bars). Apart from the above, the Hanky Panky Cocktail bar (speakeasy style) is meant to be fun too. And there are a tonne of other Mezcal and Tequila bars worth exploring.