Neighborhood in Focus: Narvarte, Mexico City

There are plenty of surprises waiting in the Narvarte neighborhood
There are plenty of surprises waiting in the Narvarte neighborhood | © Francisco Enrique Camacho Mezquita/Flickr

Northern England Writer

A relatively ignored neighborhood in the south of Mexico City, Narvarte hasn’t had the investment in urban planning and infrastructure that many others have recently. But that just culminates in a vintage feel and an up-and-coming vibe. There’s a wealth of places to eat, traditional cantinas and a slow-paced style of living, which will leave you feeling like you’re far, far from the capital. Here’s your guide to Narvarte.

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Where to eat

Traditional taquerías

Narvarte is known for having several excellent taco options (and several not-so savory spots too). Kicking it off is Taquería La Costilla, which has churned out these Mexican favorites for years. Alternatively, head to Taquería Don Eraki for kebabs or Juan Bisteces if you’re craving some of the south’s most famous tacos. A trip to Tacos Beto and the much-loved Casa del Bauce is essential.

A visit to a traditional taco stand is a must when you’re in Narvarte

Foreign finds

To branch out a little from the classic Mexican treats, and experience the diversity of people and food you’ll find in Narvarte, eat internationally influenced food. La Charcutería El Vasco, as you might expect, sells delicious Spanish cold cuts, from Pamplona chorizo to Catalan fuet and even imported cheeses. For French, El Entremés Francés is unmissable. This tiny deli is takeout only and its pates, cheeses and terrines are to die for. Finally, give Lebanese food a go at La Nueva Libanesa.

Quirky cafes and bakeries

Bike fans will love NBiCi Café, a coffee-bike boutique where you can upgrade your wheels while you have a coffee. If you just want bread on the go, stop by Costra Panadería instead.

Tasty tortas

If you want the delicious Mexican take on a sandwich, head to Tortas Jorge, which has more than 60 years in the biz. Or, check out La Especial, which also has tacos and other Mexican dishes. For a Yucatecan twist on classic tortas and other Mexican favorites, El Maquech Púrpura is a must.

Fill up with a lunchtime stop at one of the many excellent torta outlets in Narvarte

The best of the rest

Londonburro is a great restaurant-bar that mixes Mexican food with British music – a combination more harmonious than you’d think. Romulo’s is another long-running classic, which serves deliciously fresh seafood daily. If you’re looking for more seafood, visit Henry Sailor. Finally, for a real USA dining experience (in Mexico) Pinche Gringo BBQ is the place to be.

Where to drink

1. La Valenciana

Bar, Authentic

The most traditional cantina in the area is, without doubt, La Valenciana, which has been around since 1911. Enjoy a cold beer and accompany it with one of the many dishes served here; how about something warm and flavorsome, such as the caldo de camarón or an enormous molcajete filled with veggies, meats and cheese?

2. Hop the Beer Experience 2

Bar, Pub, Beer

If you’re a beer fan, Narvarte has the perfect destination in Hop The Beer Experience. It’s ideal for groups looking for somewhere a bit more laid-back than the historic center and Roma typically offer. It also has an impressive range of beers, both national and international, including artisanal options.

What to see

3. V&S Galería

Art Gallery

In this small but well-worth-a-visit gallery is a selection of exhibition rooms, each with a beautifully curated selection of paintings and sculptures from emerging artists. While neighborhoods such as Roma are generally considered the artiest in Mexico City, the V&S Galería proves Narvarte has artistic charm too. Plus, entry is free.

4. Instituto del Arte Mexicano del Azúcar

Art Gallery, Museum

Mexico is known internationally for its Day of the Dead celebrations. And one art form that goes hand in hand with that day is sugar art, otherwise known as arte en azúcar. At this museum, founded by Marithé de Alvarado, step back in time with a tour through the world of sugar art in Mexico with rooms that include photographs, artefacts and examples of de Alvarado’s work.

5. The SCyT Building

Architectural Landmark

While a building that houses the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transporte may not seem like it would be a top tourist attraction, this elaborately decorated edifice is different. Bringing together both modernism and nationalism, the external walls have Juan O’Gorman murals plastered all over them.

6. The Altar of Santa Muerte

Shrine

Tucked away in Narvarte, an otherwise relaxed and unassuming area, is an altar dedicated to Santa Muerte. An alternative patron saint, she’s associated with narco culture and underhand dealings, although her official role (not endorsed by the Catholic church) is one of healing and safe passage to the afterlife.

Where to shop

7. Parque Delta

Shopping Mall

Parque Delta | © Santix Ruiz de Ch/Flickr
© Santix Ruiz de Ch/Flickr

This is a one-stop destination for all of your shopping needs in Narvarte. Constructed over an old jockey club, it now houses big-name brands, from menswear to kids clothing and beauty products.

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