Mexico City’s cultural and historical centre, Cuauhtémoc, is home to 35 neighborhoods and a vast range of eating and drinking choices. Whilst street food tacos and tortas are still widely available, this is the area to come to if you have a slightly more flexible budget. Although it’s impossible to provide details of all of the places worth visiting, we’ve collected our favourites – here are five restaurants guaranteed to whet any diner’s appetite.
A firm favorite among inhabitants of the La Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, El Parnita is consistently busy. Booking is advisable, but once you get a table you won’t be disappointed by the modern take on Mexican cuisine. Choose from a selection of tacos and quesadillas, tortas (a chunky, Mexican sandwich) or between two fresh and filling salads. But it doesn’t end there…El Parnita also offers an extensive list of varying specials. For the best dining experience, book a table in the light and airy upstairs room, start at lunchtime and continue to order dishes throughout the afternoon. In between plates, indulge in tequila, micheladas (beer served with lime juice and a salt rim) and refreshing non-alcoholic aguas frescas (delicious mixes of fruit and water, which change daily).
Av. Yucatán, No. 84, local “E2”México, Colonia Roma Norte, +52 55 52 64 75 51
On the other side of Reforma, the main street that cuts through Cuauhtémoc, sits Primario. Another modern type of café, Primario is small, clean and busy at lunchtimes. The decor is fresh and crisp, much like the food which is served promptly to local business people on their lunch breaks. They serve breakfasts consisting of hot cakes, fresh fruit and more between 9am and 1pm and a large choice of burritos, tacos and salads from 1pm to 6pm. For a variety of flavors, order the paquette which buys you an agua fresca, soup, salad and three filling tacos, all artfully presented. Vegetarian options are available and staff are happy to adapt dishes to make them vegan-friendly.
Río Elba 31, Col. Cuauhtémoc, 06500 México, D.F. Mexico Cuauhtémoc, +52 55 6840 7528
Tacos from Primario Mexico City| © Kate Knowles
Felina is a somewhat hidden away bar located in Condesa, a neighborhood which has been subject to aggressive gentrification over the last 10 years. Now well established as a home to bourgeois, creative and international residents, there is no shortage of impressive bars, cafes and restaurants to cater to the swathes of young professionals. Don’t let that put you off Felina, as it manages to stay interesting rather than gimmicky by providing high quality drinks, dishes and good service. The low lighting, Spanish covers of songs from the 1960s and classic cocktails make for pleasant evenings at Felina. The martinis and kale bruschetta come highly recommended.
Ometusco 87 (Baja California), 06100 Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico, +52 01 55 5277 1917
If Felina is just a taste of Cuauhtémoc’s classier dining options, then Rosetta is a full, three course meal representation of the area’s more upmarket options. The restaurant is located in Roma Norte, in a beautiful townhouse with high ceilings and walls decorated in lengths of pale tapestries. It is an ideal backdrop for tasting the creative, Italian inspired and artisanally made dishes. Buttery risottos, plump meats and simply-dressed seafood follow leafy green salads and everything is accompanied by freshly baked bread from Rosetta’s own bakeries. The staff are knowledgeable about the produce, much of which is locally sourced, and attentive. There is a range of wines to choose from and a sommelier on hand for guidance.
Colima 166, Colonia Roma, Mexico City, +52 5533 7804
La Nueva Chul
If you’re vegetarian or vegan and craving tacos, you don’t have to look far in Cuauhtémoc – where herbivores are well catered for. La Nueva Chul is a relaxed little lunch and dinner spot in Condesa, serving a delicious array of plant-based tacos, plus a few extras. For added wholesomeness, toppings such as jamaica flower, flor de calabaza (courgette flower) and corn are used rather than meat substitutes and topped with the obligatory choice of salsas and guacamole. If you’re hungry, start with a freshly made soup and order a side of meat (less) balls as well. Wash everything down with the agua fresca of the day – there is always a choice of two.
Nuevo León 133, Condesa, 06100 D.F., +52 5511 6997