We may be stating the obvious here, but one of the main reasons to visit Mexico is the food, especially Mexico City. With more than 20 million people living in this metropolis, the culinary offerings seem endless, making the selection process a little bit overwhelming. And it’s no exception when it comes to fine dining, with excellent restaurants of every kind of cuisine spread out all across town. However, there are certain spots that make their way into every kind of list: from Travel + Leisure Mexico’s Gourmet Awards to San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants, but most of all, the list of personal favorites of those of us who live here and eat at those places, and who have made them as relevant and successful as they are, regardless of ratings and reviews. From Basque specialties to molecular cuisine to a creative take on Mexican recipes, these are five fine dining restaurants that have helped Mexico City become the culinary mecca it is today.
A frequent presence in the Pellegrino World’s Best list, this luminous Polanco restaurant is the result of Basque-born duo Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso’s relentless creativity. Their tasting menu may include surprises like onion and Cotija or fish and zucchini, all presented with painstaking attention to retail, and can be ordered with or without wine pairings.
With his very personal way of mixing tradition with contemporary techniques, chef Enrique Olvera has made this restaurant a reference in modern Mexican cuisine since 2000. The five-course tasting menu may include surprises like corn with chicatana (leaf-cutter ant) mayo, or a barbacoa taco with avocado leaf adobo and guacamole.
Husband-and-wife team Jared Reardon and Sonia Arias are the creative force behind this Modern American-meets-artisanal eatery in Polanco. With a menu that changes seasonally (expect delicacies like foie gras ravioli), order a la carte or put yourself in chef Reardon’s hands with the five or seven-course tasting menu. Dig into one of the chocolate desserts that have made Arias one of the top pastry chefs in the country.
A cozy, cottage-like setting is the ideal scenery to experience Chef Vicente Etchegaray’s Basque-French menu, featuring hearty dishes like rack of lamb, crab-filled canelloni and eggplant flan. Don’t skip dessert –their orange coulis and Cointreau crepes are spectacular. Intimate and quiet, it’s the kind of spot where you know people aren’t here for the scene, just the food.