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Mexico City - best neighborhood to eat/sleep/wander?

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We're considering a short trip to Mexico City (our first) - just 4 or 5 days. I have read up on it here, but I still don't know where to begin. We would like to stay in a hopefully picturesque neighborhood where we can wander around safely, get to know the immediate surroundings, be surrounded by locals as opposed to throngs of tourists (eg we hate huge hotels), and eat great food. I guess this is called "slow travel" or thumbprint travel." We're not as interested in seeing everything on a "must see" list since we're just dipping our toes in this first visit.

We love street food and have spent lots of time in other parts of Mexico, but are somewhat intimidated by the Ciudad. Any recommendations for specific areas and chow therein?

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  1. I enjoyed staying at La Casona (the Big House) (http://www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com/l...
    )which is in the Roma area, adjacent to La Condessa, and is a very beautiful and safe area. Condessa has tons of restaurants and it is a 10-15 minute walk away.

    Contramar, a trendy but good seafood restaurant is one block down the street from that hotel, and there are a few others a block in the opposite direction, including an Italian place with a great bar (for example, it was the first place I saw drinks with muddled basil leaves).

    Another not too far walk, though an amazing park with a David in a fountain (!), there is a beautiful book store/gallery/cafe/restaurant called Casa Lamm, and many other cafes in that neighborhood.

    Those are the higher-end highlights in the neighborhood, but of course there are also tons of every-day food stalls and casual restaurants.

    Fellow-poster Anonimo has spent some time in that area also and recommended it, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Guzgo

      "Fellow-poster Anonimo has spent some time in that area also and recommended it, too."
      ¡Presente! See a few photos of Colonia Roma here: http://www.pbase.com/panos/colonia_ro... and Bistro Mosaico, a spiffy French Restaurant in adjoining Colonia Hipódromo-Condesa here: http://www.pbase.com/panos/bistro_mos... (It was good, but I probably wouldn't return.
      )I found Contramar http://www.pbase.com/panos/image/2662... less than satisfying; first, because of the extreme noise level, and second, I didn't order very intelligently and ended up with a small, ok appetizer of seared scallops with tapenade, and a later side of steamed rice to help fill in the void.

      I recommend the neighborhood street foods, as you'll see in the Col. Roma Sur photos. We particulary enjoyed "La Reina de Roma", Ave Campeche, between Monterrey and Medellín, opposite the Mercado Medellín. The huaraches are great! http://www.pbase.com/panos/image/5400...

    2. Colonia Roma (the aforementioned Casa Lamm [best bookstore in all of Mexico, excellent restaurant with Sopa de Lima to die for] and the park with the statue of David are there, as well as Casa Tibet and a zillion other wonderful things to see and do) is marvelous and the Metro Insurgentes is a short walk away.

      Colonia Condesa, with its myriad of charming nooks and crannies and upscale restaurants and bars and...well, it's marvelous.

      Colonia Polanco, the hippest coolest highest-end neighborhood of the DF. Patricia Quintana's Izote for comida...

      And Coyoacán, so green and old-school beautiful, full of fascinating museums (Frida Kahlo's house, Diego Rivera's studio, the Trotsky Museum, the...oh, the list is long, long). Comida at El Tajín. Churros y chocolate, Templo San Juan Bautista, coffee at that place on the corner whose name I can't remember...

      San Angel for the Bazar Sábado and comida at the San Angel Inn.

      And on and on and on and on...the joys of the Distrito Federal are never-ending.