The Best Hidden Gem Shops, Bars, and Restaurants in Mexico, According to Locals

Pair of photos showing writer Silvia Moreno-Garcia and the packed shelves at a used bookstore in Mexico
From left: Silvia Moreno-Garcia; the shelves in a bookstore on Calle Donceles. Photo: From left: Martin Dee/Courtesy of Penguin Random House; Rodrigo Ojeda

To find the best hidden gems in any destination, it always helps to have local advice. That's why, in celebration of Mexico as our Destination of the Year, T+L contacted some of our favorite Mexican authors, hoteliers, and chefs to ask for their recommendations in their home country. Here are their suggestions, from Oaxaca to Baja.

Pai rot photos showing a person diving under turquoise water, and two men who are the founders of the Paradero hotel in Mexico
From left: Diving with El Burro Baja tours; Josh Kremer and Pablo Carmona. From left: Courtesy of El Burro Baja Tours; Courtesy of Josh Kremer and Pablo Carmona

"For years we have been discovering the greater Baja Peninsula. An incredible culinary journey starts with a taco tour of Todos Santos―including stops at Barracuda Cantina, Santo Chilote, and TikiSantos. Then make your way north to Magdalena Bay, where you will find the best seafood in Baja, then to Concepción Bay, where you should take the El Burro Baja Tour and go diving for fresh clams."
—Josh Kremer and Pablo Carmona, cofounders of Paradero Todos Santos

Black and white photo of Chef Enrique Olvera paired with a colorful handblown glass from Xaquixe studio
From left: Enrique Olvera; a glass from Xaquixe. From left: Araceli Paz/Courtesy of Enrique Olvera; Courtesy of Xaquixe

"A vibrant destination with endless things to discover, Oaxaca is one of my favorite cities in the world. It's only a one-hour flight from Mexico City, my hometown. There is a small shop called Xaquixe, where you can buy beautiful blown-glass objects. But I'm a proud chilango, and I'm always happy to be back in CDMX: Fonda Margarita(entrées $3–$4) offers delicious casual breakfasts. After a day exploring the city, stop by my bar, Ticuchi, for a cocktail."
—Enrique Olvera, founder and co-owner of the restaurants Pujol, Cosme, and Damian, among others.

"My favorite thing to do in Mexico City is to head downtown and walk by the used bookstores at Calle Donceles, a historic bookseller alleyway. There are more than a dozen; some of them have been there for decades. Afterward, it's just a question of finding a coffee shop and sitting down to read your recent purchases while sipping a coffee with milk."
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the New York Times best-selling author of Mexican Gothic, among other novels.

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