There might not be a more exciting restaurant in Mexico City right now than this clandestine restaurant, which requires reservations via Instagram for one of its eight weekend lunch and dinner services. You don’t learn the address of the location, on a rooftop terrace in La Condesa, until your spot is confirmed. Crafted by chef Ana Dolores, the contemporary menu of seasonal dishes, such as chorizo croquettes and wild-mushroom fideo (vermicelli), is worth the extra effort.
Yoshigei Nakatani, grandfather of chef Eduardo “Edo” Ramirez Nakatani, invented the soy sauce–kissed fried peanuts known as cacahuates japoneses, one of Mexico’s favorite snacks, after emigrating from Japan in the thirties. The younger Nakatani is carrying on his family’s legacy at this udon shop in the Roma Norte neighborhood. The slick oils released by the lamb birria cling onto the fat noodles until they fuse with the udon under a bramble of wild cilantro. Wash it down with an en vogue Mexican-brewed rice lager, if available. Colima 5, Roma Norte.
A map of the world chiseled into a concrete wall in the back dining room of this modernist restaurant in Roma Norte portends the dishes to come. Chef Fernando Martínez Zavala sees Mexican food through an international prism: beef suadero is served in a steamed bun with green apple kimchi; serrano chiles spike a beef tartare; and an orange-cured soft cheese tart is accented with jackfruit ice cream. C. de Chiapas 186, Roma Norte.
Alejandro Escalante has dedicated his life to tacos. The author of La Tacopedia, the first comprehensive encyclopedia of tacos across Mexico, he is a co-owner of this eatery, in the Coyoacán neighborhood. It offers pre-Hispanic dishes and top-notch salsas, with a dazzling selection of everything from tamarind and peanut to habanero and morita. Felipe Carrillo Puerto 16, Coyoacán TNT, Coyoacán.
This 64-year-old taqueria excels at one thing: tacos al pastor. The pork is sliced razor-thin and dipped in drippings from the trompo before being rolled into a corn tortilla. There are nine outposts now, but the location near the Plaza de Toros—the world’s largest bullring—features full service. Multiple locations.
Established by an Italian boxer in 1939, this soda fountain and ice cream shop, in the enclave of Nápoles, is a trip back in time. Order a loaded sundae or a slice of vanilla-and-mamey ice cream cake topped with crushed almonds.
This Mexico City staple stands on a street corner in the northwestern neighborhood of Azcapotzalco. Although it feels far from the touristy historic center, it’s really only about a twenty-minute drive (depending on traffic) from the main plaza, the Zócalo. Founded in 1957, it is a must visit. That’s it. Just go. Av. Cuitláhuac 3102, Claveria, Azcapotzalco.
You might wait two hours for the finest, flakiest croissants this side of the equator, or for the sugar-dusted empanadas filled with mouth-puckering fresh fruit, at the original Roma Norte location of this pastry paradise. For a shorter line, scoot over to the second outpost, across Avenida Insurgentes Sur. Two locations.
This article originally appeared in the January 2023 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “How to Eat Your Way Across Mexico City.” Subscribe today.