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Feb 24, 2004 09:35 PM

anomalously excellent food in mexico city airport

  • b

(hopefully the first of 3 posts on my week in mexico city and oaxaca)

The mexico city airport is not a promising place to find excellent food. The airport is pretty small to begin with, and the food court is almost all multinational chain restaurants (mcdonalds, burger king) and mexican chains (red baron, taco inn), a few upscale theme park restaurants ("La Cantina"), and a couple nondescript asian restaurants (picture "Chinese Food" in block letters on the sign, open trays of soy browned rice and chicken). I hate to call it exploring, but you know how, if you are going to find something special in a place like this, it's going to be at most 50 feet from where all the other restaurants are, and it's going to have almost no foot traffic.

The place is called Tacañon, and I had one of the best meals of my vacation there. It looked like a lot of small restaurants I had seen around the city selling typical Mexico City fare (Tacos de Guisado, tacos al pastor, tacos de bistec, licuados and fruit) and some less typical fare for Mexico City (tamales, tacos de mole negro). It wasn't dressed up, standardized, or paraded about at all -- just good home cooking. I had two tacos (they were way, way stuffed); the first one was a "guisado" with shredded chicken and peppers stewed in an extremely flavorful sauce and the second one was a "mole negro" with shredded chicken and rice. The guisado stood out -- it was flavorful and full of soul, and the mole was very good as well. The horchata y jamaica (flavored horchata) drink I had to go was absolutely perfect.

I just wonder how they got there, and how long they will stay there, as there's nothing else like them at the airport. They're not part of a chain (I asked).

Some directions: Go to the international terminal food court upstairs (there's a McDonalds there, not a Burger King). Go past the row of restaurants (Taco Inn, Chinese food, the Helado del Future) and turn right down a hallway that looks like a dead end. Go up a slight ramp; they're on the left. Their phone number is 3094-0189.

If you check them out, please respond here -- I'd like to know how they're doing.

Also, Before finding Tacañon, I tried Taco Inn. I had a taco árabe with pork (couldn't resist the idea). Competent. Really good guacamole. I'd definitely eat there if they were in New York.

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  1. Wow, great going. That's the sort of find that can make your whole vacation. I look forward to reading other reports from your trip!

    And I also hope the next hound to fly into/out of/through Mexico City posts a follow-up!


    1. Perhaps by now, someone has advised you that Taco Inn is a nationwide chain in Mexico, having started in Mexico City. There are several dozen stores in old Mexico and in resorts such as Cancun and Cabo. (in fact they have two in Cabo. They also have stores in Honduras and Guatemala. They are expanding by selling franchises, but no word as to whether they are going to try the USA. But who knows? What with Grupo Bimbo owning Wonder Bread, Grumma owning Mission Tortillas and Guerrero Tortillas, and TelMex owning Compo USA and The Good Guys. My favorite is the al pastor. To die for!

      1. So this thread is insanely old but I just wanted to say that I took your advice and ate at Tacañon while stranded at the Mexico airport recently. A happy discovery! Thank you for posting this, I just wanted to say that it's still there and still the best option that I saw at the airport (and I had a lot of time to look around).

        5 Replies
        1. re: Manybears

          have to pass through the airport for 4 hours next week. I'll look for Tacanon, any other info?

          1. re: TastELA

            4 hours!!! Get yourself to the metro stop near the airport and take it to La Merced. Mercado Merced has incredible eats for days.If you are feeling adventurous. We recently did this with only 2 hours, it was quick but well worth it.

            1. re: streetgourmetla

              Travel to La Merced with only a 2-hour layover? Not likely. Not likely with 4-hours, for most people I think. And why trek to La Merced? You can find similar food throughout the city because what you find in that market is not distinctive enough to risk missing your flight because you got stuck in traffic, didn't clear security in sufficient time, couldn't run to your gage quickly enough, etc. There are enough options inside the airport to keep someone busy for that relatively short (4 hour) time period.

              1. re: gomexico

                Well, did it in two hours.No problem making it back on the metro in time, no traffic worries on the metro. Four hours is perfect.Merced is a close stop, about 20 minutes each way, and the comida del dia and street food is plenty distinctive and there are a huge concentration of stands .Much more diverting than an airport torta, or cafe. Living in LA, even a tacos de guisado stall in La Merced is worth the trip.We don't have tacos like those, nor the incredible hauraches, and odd specialties you may come across.

                The airport is fine, but the mercado is a cultural experience as well. It's the best option of the nearby metro stops.

                Anonimo, I'm much more fussy about what to eat! Two hourswas tight, but whenever we have four or more hours it's a nice option, just check in first, skip security, and go.

                Or, not.It's just an option. Otherwise, Mexico airports always have nice places. Even a VIPS isn't bad, huevos divorciados, and some fresh squeezed papaya juice. Most places have preety good menus, maybe some Mexican wine or a paloma. Anyways, a chance to get out in DF is always a tremendous opportunity.

                1. re: streetgourmetla

                  "Anonimo, I'm much more fussy about what to eat! Two hourswas tight, but whenever we have four or more hours it's a nice option, just check in first, skip security, and go."

                  Sure, I can understand wanting to extract every possible great cultural/taste experience while in Mexico,. But as we live year-round near Pátzcuaro, we can get that whenever we want. So it's more important to us to be lo más tranquilo como posible when checking in at the airport, etc, and the ensuing process of air travel. When we are in Mexico City for diversion, then, yes, we go to mercados and fondas and street stalls as well as restaurants. But not when we need to get up at 6 a.m. in order to get to the airport to make sure thay have seats for us on the flight.

        2. We'll soon be flying out on Continental, from Terminal 2, and I wonder what some of the better food options there might be. It's a 9:05 a.m. flight, and it would be smart to check in 2 + hours before scheduled departure, because the flight is full.

          At times like those, I'm less fussy as to what I eat compared to not missing the flight or getting bumped.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Anonimo

            I doubt there'll be much choice in Terminal 2 at that hour - say, 8 a.m. in the unsecured zone of the airport (prior to clearing the security checkpoint process).

            A favorite restaurant of mine in the city is Restaurante Pollos Rio and there's an outpost of the restaurant in the food court of Terminal 2. I've not had breakfast there, however. Other spots I've yet to try but which have looked interesting to me are: Juan Camaron, La Ciudad de Colima, Tortas Don Polo and another city favorite of mine, El Fogoncito. A couple of these restaurants I've just mentioned feature seafood and that's not a typical choice of mine for breakfast.

            If this were my trip, at that hour of the a.m., I'd probably try to have breakfast before arriving at the airport but there's a lazy, delayed start to the city at the early hour of the morning and choices, other than tamales purchased street-side tend to be limited.

          2. That's the little ramp up to the bus terminal inside the airport - if you are having trouble finding it, ask for the "terminal de camiones" and they'll point you to the ramp. Bus service straight to some nearby cities - it's great!

            Also, Bistrot Mosaico, a Condesa standby, has a resto just to the right of the main international security gate now. It's a sit down place and all, but if you are killing time and don't want food court food, it's a good choice. Like any good Mexican restaurant, they also let you sit there for hours.

            3 Replies
            1. re: gueraaven

              Gueraaven, thanks for reviving this thread. I've looked for this mythical Tacañon on two separate trips now, and failed both times!

              I did go down the ramp. I did see the buses. I saw nothing. What's the trick here?

              I need to try Pollos Rio...

              1. re: Jim Leff

                I tried Tacañon a few months ago -- it was great! Here is how I found it: Walking from the far end of the terminal (American Airlines check-in counter/Sala F3 area), we walked past Bistro Mosaico, and through the food court. At the end of the food court, we saw a little hallway to the right, which didn't look like it led anywhere. But we turned right there, and sure enough, up on the left, there was Tacañon. It's not in the Food Court area proper, but very close to it.

                1. re: danebaxter

                  I am definately trying this place the next time I fly! I am in the airport all the time. I used to get the falafel, but they closed. Then the Japanese food, but then they closed.
                  I am glad to have a new place to go, as most of the places are really terrible.