The Best Restaurants in Polanco, Mexico City

The tuna ceviche with avocado is a crowd-pleaser at Chapulín
The tuna ceviche with avocado is a crowd-pleaser at Chapulín | Courtesy of Chapulín Restaurant

After admiring the Rodin sculptures at Museo Soumaya and shopping along Avenida Presidente Masaryk, head to one of these top restaurants in Mexico City’s upscale neighborhood of Polanco.

You won’t be scouring every corner for taquerías (a restaurant specializing in tacos) and street food in Polanco, one of the fanciest neighborhoods in town. Instead, expect some of the finest restaurants in the world serving French cuisine, hand-stretched Italian pasta and gourmet Mexican tostadas. Here’s our pick of the bunch along Mexico City’s answer to Rodeo Drive.

1. Chapulín

Restaurant, Mexican

Chapulín Restaurant
Courtesy of InterContinental Presidente Mexico City / Expedia

This top-rated restaurant is a short walk from Chapultepec Park, the National Museum of Anthropology and the National Auditorium. Chapulín, which means “grasshopper,” jumps into action with dazzling dishes, including, of course, fried chapulín with guacamole as an appetizer. Its other traditional Mexican dishes, such as the ant larvae tostadas, are also must-tries. If you aren’t quite ready to munch on insects for dinner, there are always killer seafood options, including red snapper in mole and sesame-coated tuna. To top things off, Chapulín serves close to a dozen tequilas as post-dinner digestifs.

2. Quintonil

Restaurant, Mexican

With just a handful of staples and a rotating seasonal menu, you know what you get at Quintonil will be top-notch Mexican food. There are a few twists to the classics, such as a glazed pork chop served with Oaxacan segueza (corn mole) and apple pico de gallo, or tamales stuffed with duck meat and topped with black chichilo mole. If ordering off the seasonal menu, it’s best to split it with the whole table – you’ll have almost a dozen dishes to share between you. The restaurant’s wine list is also extensive, offering bottles from Argentina, France, Slovakia and others.

3. Au Pied de Cochon

Diner, Restaurant, French, Mexican

Au Pied de Cochon Restaurant
Courtesy of InterContinental Presidente Mexico City / Expedia

French food may not be at the top of your mind when you come to Mexico City – but it should be. This formal dining room in the InterContinental Presidente Mexico City has been open round-the-clock for more than two decades, plating mouthwatering dishes such as Kumamoto oysters, foie gras and blanquette de veau (veal ragout). There is a rotating prix-fixe menu, though we recommend ordering à la carte for favorites such as onion soup, pork confit with lentils and chouquettes (French pastry sugar puffs) stuffed with chantilly cream.

4. Porfirio’s

Restaurant, Mexican

Named after former Mexican president Porfirio Díaz, Porfirio’s focuses on quality Mexican food. The best dishes here are shared. Try the chamorro cantinero, pork shank marinated in adobe and roasted for eight hours and served with black beans and purslane (also known as duckweed). There’s also the barbacoa de res, beef barbacoa cooked for up to 12 hours in maguey leaves and served in tacos with onion, cilantro and lime. Save room for desserts you can’t find anywhere else in the city, including the Jalisco-style jericalla, a flan-like sweet topped with vanilla ice cream, slightly runny sweet cream and a crunchy buñuelo (fried dough fritter).

5. Agua & Sal

Restaurant, Mexican

As you may be able to guess from the name, Agua & Sal serves up fresh, salty seafood in a slick, Spanish-tile-lined spot a block from Chapultepec Park. What you may not know is that the restaurant draws from its reserves of 12 different salts from all over the world, including Peruvian pink salt and Oaxacan worm salt, to garnish its dishes. Both the salty and sweet ceviches are showstoppers, along with the moqueca de camarón (blue shrimp cooked in coconut milk with vegetables) and the Pacific totoaba fish doused in a bean salsa.

6. Prosecco

Restaurant, Mexican

There’s a lot going on inside Prosecco, from the red-and-white-tiled pizza oven to the tin-punched ceilings and art deco-style floors. And that’s just the beginning – the food is even more dazzling. This Italian restaurant whips up hand-stretched pasta, such as pappardelle with wild boar ragu, ravioli stuffed with lobster, and spaghetti topped with pomodoro sauce. For the piatti forti (main courses), try the steak slathered in a porcini mushroom sauce, salmon baked in a dried-fruit crust, or sea bass served atop a bed of parmentier potatoes. Funky desserts, such as asparagus ice cream and banana calzones, finish off the menu.

7. Restaurante Pisco

Restaurant, Mexican

A few streets outside Polanco, Restaurante Pisco offers a lower-cost option for those who want to see the sights in town without breaking the bank. This Peruvian joint is the only one in town with the “authenticity” stamp of approval from the top university in Peru. It’s perfect for trying classic ceviches (spelled cebiches in Peru), parihuela (a fish and shrimp soup) and ají de pollo (a thick, creamy pasta served with shredded chicken and potatoes).

8. Dawat

Restaurant, Mexican

Only a few steps from the Indian Embassy, Dawat is a popular lunch spot for officials looking to wine and dine. Portions are large – feel free to split entrées here – and filling. If you’re in the mood for chicken, the kali mirch (black pepper chicken curry) and the biryani are some of Dawat’s most popular dishes. The tandoori fish, bass chunks grilled in curry, and the mutton saagwala (lamb curry with spinach) are also standouts. Of course, the meal wouldn’t be complete without gulab jamun (fried milk pastry) for dessert or a sweet lassi drink to wash it all down.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Book into one of the hotels in Mexico City that you’ll be talking about forever, or treat yourself to a luxury boutique hotel stay. Inspire your itinerary with the must-visit attractions in Mexico City, including the most iconic landmarks for first-time visitors. And don’t forget to soak in the skyline of Mexico’s capital with a drink at its best rooftop bars.

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