The leafy neighborhood of La Condesa in Mexico City is studded with bistros, open-air cafés and yes, plenty of taquerías too. Check out the best restaurants in this luxe area of the capital.
In La Condesa, you can munch on churros while strolling around the fountains of art deco-inspired Parque México; nibble on enchiladas from the terrace of a French-style mansion; or belly up to the bar of a tiny spot that’s more pizza oven than anything else. You’ll find consistently good food throughout the neighborhood, but great food? You’ll have to read on for the top spots in La Condesa that have Mexico City’s residents lining up for blocks.
This gorgeous spot, just peeking through the trees of Parqué México, is two things in one: downstairs, a patisserie with a decidedly Mexican twist, and upstairs, a brunch and lunch joint where you can watch passersby from the open French doors. Try the enmoladas (like enchiladas but smothered in mole, instead of salsa), smoked salmon omelet or, if you’re really looking for something new, the timbal de huauzontle – a broccoli-like vegetable that’s stuffed with cheese, fried and bathed in pasilla chile salsa. For dessert, pick out a freshly baked concha or other pan dulce (sweet bread) and wash it down with an espresso.
El Pescadito has been slinging fish tacos in La Condesa for more than a decade. The menu is pretty simple here, but if it’s your first time, ordering might not be. Instead of being seated first, you head up to the chef who’s busy chopping up chiles, shrimp and tuna into delicious tacos. Order from him – we recommend the chile relleno de marlitún, or poblano pepper stuffed with smoked tuna, as well as the campechano, a mix of shrimp and fish. Take your seat and the food will be brought out to you – definitely take it up to the salsa bar, where you can top your meal with pickled onions, cilantro salsa or lime. Once you’re done, take the check back up front to the cash register to pay. Simple? No. Delicious? Absolutely!
While many gringos opt for tacos from El Tizoncito next door, El Kalimán is the real deal. Chile-soaked pork roasts on the trompo until the wee hours of the morning – perfect for a post-party pick-me-up – and it is served up with onion, pineapple and cilantro for a juicy-tangy-sweet taco al pastor. Order an agua fresca or a national beer to wash it down. If you’re feeling daring, ask for your tacos with a costra – a grilled, slightly crunchy “crust” of cheese – on top.
For a slower-paced meal, head to Lardo. Whether you pick a table off to the side or sit at the copper-colored bar, you’ll be able to see the chefs preparing your plates right in front of you. The menu, meant to be shared tapas-style, is filled with small dishes like risotto croquettes, huitlacoche (corn smut) and stracciatella pizza and stuffed squash blossom. Savor each bite, pairing it with a French, Italian or Mexican wine. If you make it in for breakfast, you’ll have your choice from a page-long pastry menu filled with rich pan dulce.
La Esquina del Chilaquil
This street stand has residents lining up for blocks every morning, trying to get their hands on a coveted torta de chilaquiles before heading to work. It consists of a bolillo roll, slathered in saucy refried beans, filled with breaded chicken and chilaquiles (old tortillas cut up and fried, topped with onions, crema and cheese), which gives the sandwich its cult-status carb overload. One of these will give you the energy to get through the day, or to soak up the previous night’s booze.
Just off the avenue lining Parque México, Koku is a relaxed Japanese spot that’s unassuming from the outside. Head in and you’ll find gorgeous wood floors and a long bar leading to the covered patio around back. The shrimp gyoza, elote and conch sushi and coconut curry ramen are all standouts, but don’t miss the yuzu mousse, matcha tiramisu or black sesame ice cream for dessert.
Cozy up at the bar or pick a street-side table at this tiny restaurant on the corner. The pizza oven is the star of the show at Nosferatu. Expect to wait for your pie to cook long enough to reach cheesy, crunchy perfection. Try the namesake pizza, topped with spinach, pistachio ricotta and basil, the seven-cheese pizza or the Serrano ham and tomato compote pizza.
Churrería El Moro
Grab an order of churros to-go and take them for a walk around Parque México just next door. El Moro, perhaps most well-known for its century-old flagship location downtown, is a staple for residents looking to grab a quick snack. Don’t forget a hot chocolate to dunk your sugary, cinnamon sweets in – you’ll have seven flavors to choose from – or try the consuelos, coiled churros turned into ice cream sandwiches.
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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