Xochimilco (sho-shi-milco) in Mexico City is most famous among foreigners for its trajineras, the colorful painted boats. However, this region is also known for great restaurants and cafes – these are the best ones.
Mexican traditionalism with a touch of French influence can be found at the quaint Valentin Restaurante & Bistro in Xochimilco. We recommend starting with a sopa Azteca(lightly spiced tortilla soup, garnished with sour cream, panela cheese and avocado). Then give their molcajetedishes a go – molcajetesare Mexican pestle and mortars. These are overflowing with meats, vegetables, and melted cheeses. Enjoy all of this in the simple, classic interior of Valentin Restaurante & Bistro, which has excellent attention to detail in the presentation of all their dishes.
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A project begun in 2008, Pethra Café was a family-run operation initially located in a small village in the región of Xochimilco called Santa Cecilia Tepetlapa. Now relocated in a more central location in Xaltocan, Chef Isidro has once again taken control of this quaint café whose specialty is coffee, but American snacks and light bites are also served. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City and relax in the colorful, warm interior of Pethra Café, with its full-wall paintings and and homey feel.
Quirky Pan de Azúcar is an artistic haven, and actually operates from a renovated food truck rather than a cafe. However, their service and attention to detail is still excellent. Enjoy one of their delicious breakfasts made with the highest quality ingredients, accompanied by a rich coffee while you soak up the artsy, cool vibe of Pan de Azúcar. Stop by if you’re feeling the heat. Make the most of their cool and refreshing smoothies and frappes. This is the perfect place to go with friends.
If you’re searching for seafood in Xochmilco, look no further than Mariscos Toño. This Xochimilco institution is widely considered to offer the best mariscosin the area and at very accessible prices too. Their warm and friendly atmosphere screams ‘Mexican restaurant’. They even offer various meat-based dishes if you come accompanied by someone who isn’t in the mood for seafood. Often, Mariscos Toño has live music playing, making your dining experience just that bit better.
Mole is the specialty of El Acuario. Purported to have originated in Puebla, Oaxaca or Tlaxcala (all three states maintain that mole originated there), mole is a typical Mexican dish. It is rich, spicy and chocolatey all at once and usually served with plain rice and chicken. There are several variations of it. They use different chilis and spices but are all as delicious as the last. If this is the kind of dish you’re searching for, then El Acuario is the perfect place, with its welcoming atmosphere and quesadillas starters.
Typical Xochimilco cuisine is served daily at Chantico, a favorite drop-in point for tour parties in the local area. All the meals are carefully prepared with regional ingredients, and can be pretty spicy so make sure you can handle the heat before dropping by. Chantico is a restaurant based on sustainable development and helps to preserve the ancient technique of chinampa.This is a Mesoamerican technique of growing of plants in small, rectangular plots in the shallow lake beds of the Valley of Mexico. Anyone searching for exquisite and moreish traditional food can’t go wrong here.
Simple, Mexican dining can be found at Los Alcatraces. They offer a range of classic dishes, including tinga de pollo, chicharrón en salsa verde, picadillo (spiced meat and potato mix) and rajas con crema (creamy sauce with sliced poblano peppers). If none of that takes your fancy, how about a gut-busting taster board of avocado, fresh cheeses, beans, rice, cheesy nopal (cactus) and meat? Not the healthiest of options, but perfect if you want to try out a range of Mexican delights.
Restaurante María Isabel | courtesy of Restaurante María Isabel
Restaurante Maria Isabel
Bar, Restaurant, Mexican
This simple and spacious establishment offers a hospitable vibe for its diners and serves up large portions of typical Mexican cuisine that would satisfy even the fussiest guest. Restaurante María Isabel is also excellently situated next to the embarcadero(dock). This makes it the perfect stop-off point whether you’re on the way to Xochimilco’s famous trajineras,or headed back to Mexico City. On top of that, the service is efficient and the prices accessible, making this a top restaurant in the Xochimilco area.