During much of our late-2015 Mexico City trip I was eating tacos and street food, but we also had some really excellent sit-down restaurant meals. The ones that stand out most are:
We knew from the beginning we’d have to come here for an extended small-bites tasting menu.
Looking at my phone, I apparently emailed myself some notes later that evening when back in our B&B because I couldn’t stop thinking about the meal (what a dork), so I’ll just copy them in here:
- “tortillas!!– creamy corn center– skins on either side– very soft”
- “Great ‘new and old mole’ dish– a fresh 1-day mole and an aged 786-day. Fresh was more acidic, tart, distinct spices, chocolate. Old was more mellow, umami, less acidic, a bit oxidized, smoky.”
- “v. good taco w/ 7 kinds of mostly wild mushrooms (rain mushroom taco) that were just being found at this point in the season– some morel-like smoky/meaty”
- “Baby corn smoked w/ corn husks in a gourd, w/ a savory, earthy sauce– a chile mayonnaise made with coffee and ground red ants”
- “chicken w/ crispy skin and interesting beans– good w/ tortillas”
- “escamoles (ant larva) in a pea pod– a bit eggy, rich, nice acid balance, mellow”
- “great dessert mix– amazing spiral churro, crispy outside, thin, cinnamon. choc/corn drink was OK. Tamarind ice cream (tart not too sweet!) w/ cilantro cream? Anyway, excellent”
- “such a good evening. Not too fancy or stuffy-feeling, just a refined / interesting take on various aspects of Mexican cuisine and ingredients.”
This was A+ seafood, in a bustling, social, cheerful dining room where there were many large groups, with people showing up to join friends at dinner mid-way through a meal and ordering rounds of small and large plates.
The highlight was a whole red snapper ‘Contramar style’– grilled and split open, half covered with an amazing parsley butter, and half with a red sauce I don’t remember the details of. Accompanied with tortillas, picked onions and peppers, escabeche, and a great jalapeno sauce.
The ceviche was also excellent.
This was about twice as much food as we could eat– we should have invited our other two friends who were in town. But getting the snapper with parsley butter was definitely worth it.
Ojo de Agua was a great low-key pit stop when feeling dehydrated, overheated, or tired from walking the city– there are several locations around the city including on a little park in Hipodromo and they serve revitalizing agua frescas including an amazing coconut milk (they also sell coconut water, but the coconut milk was especially creamy, rich, and rehydrating) and some decent breakfast chilaquiles with avocado.
Just nearby, the cafe Maque served a great breakfast– I loved the chilaquiles divorcados (half and half green chile verde and red salsas — probably my favorite of the trip) and the fresh biscuit with cheese and honey.
I had a great crispy, tender lamb and a hibiscus-mezcal sorbet at Merotoro.
Finally, at El Cardenal we had a good poblano mole chicken breast (though next time I visit I want to explore mole more broadly– a friend recommended Fonda Mi Lupita for mole and I never made it there). El Cardenal was especially notable for excellent tortillas (perhaps freshly-nixtamalized corn?)