Full of landmarks, sights and energy, Mexico City is a lively place, with an equally colorful dining scene. For a great meal, the Centro Histórico is a good place to start, offering a myriad of options for a light lunch or a long dinner. We list ten of the best places to eat at while you’re here.
Inside a former 17th century palace close to Mexico City’s main square Zócalo, Padrinos combines a retro-style interior and excellent food. From traditional Mexican dishes such as the fresh seafood tostadas to international fusion plates there’s a vast menu and a great selection of drinks, best enjoyed along with a balmy evening in the garden or on the beautiful terrace.
Gotan offers authentic Argentinian cuisine, using recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Efficient and friendly service alongside outstanding dishes has made this restaurant a favorite among locals. And being an Argentinian restaurant, the meat-based dishes are outstanding. Their empanadas in particular are spectacular. However, if you have a sweet tooth you’re in luck as their fantastic desserts run a close second.
Located on the sixth floor, Puro Corazón has spectacular views of the Zócalo and the Metropolitan Cathedral, which you can enjoy from the beautiful terrace. The restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes made with native ingredients, but many with a contemporary twist. The chef will also prepare made-to-order meals on request. Wash down with one of a range of delicious cocktails; the margaritas are particularly good.
Pre-Hispanic cuisine is what Los Girasoles is all about; maguey worms, ant larvae and fried grasshoppers are some of the dishes available to order. However, the menu does also offer modern Mexican cuisine for the less adventurous. Located within a restored colonial house, a block away from Bellas Artes, Los Girasoles is an attractive restaurant surrounded by history and Mexican culture. It has seating both inside and outside in the covered terrace which provides a lovely view of Plaza Manuel Tolsa.
Historic El Danubio was opened in 1936 by Basques who had escaped the Spanish Civil War and has kept the same external appearance over the decades. It even has the original coal fire stove inside, which is still in use today. The restaurant specializes in fish and seafood, with highlights that include Langostinos a la plancha, although its vast menu of over 110 dishes has something for all tastes. Since El Danubio is such a popular restaurant, reserving a table in advance is advisable.
Hostería la Bota is known for its lively atmosphere and well-executed international cuisine. Good music, stylish décor and friendly staff add to the ambience. A relaxed and enjoyable place to go, whether you’re just having a casual pint and tacos or a full meal such as the delicious enchiladas served with home-made salsa verde.
El Mesón del Cid is a Spanish restaurant, opened in 1972, with an interior dominated by stained-glass windows and a fireplace. Traditional and contemporary dishes are prepared by Spanish chefs on weekdays; however it is the weekend that is the most fun here. On Saturday nights, the chefs prepare a four-course medieval banquet where costumed waiters serve the guests and entertainment is provided by a student vocal group, a juggler and a magician.
Limosneros has an interesting and varied Mexican menu which changes according to season and the chef’s innovations. The restaurant itself is trendy and cavernous, with exposed brickwork and dark wood tables. Try the tender duck and if you’re feeling adventurous, the fried crickets. Follow with the decadent chocolate volcano dessert.
The grand Mercaderes restaurant, located in a 16th century building in the heart of Mexico City, has an impressive entrance, with four Atlas statues ‘holding up’ the building. Yet the atmosphere at this restaurant is notably relaxed, if formal in dress code and a starched white tablecloth vibe. The menu is nouvelle Mexican cuisine, with specialties that include succulent duck carnitas. The house wine cellar holds an extensive selection of wines to pair with your food.
Over 100 years of history La Opera Bar has variously been a favorite of Gabriel García Marquez, all the Mexican presidents and General Francisco Villa, who supposedly left a mark in the roof when he shot at it. Look up and you can still see the hole. Back in the room, the elegant French-style décor and friendly atmosphere pair well with fresh, beautifully presented Mexican cuisine. All regularly accompanied by a live mariachi band.