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DF in March -- Just Back

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ehrmanna Apr 1, 2007 06:22 PM

2 New Yorkers just got back from a week long trip to Mexico City. Here's what we ate and what we though (excuse the type-o...too tired from the trip to fix)

I'll start with the best...

AGUILA Y SOL: Excellent!! So good, we ate there twice. The pork taco and goat cheese/parmesan "raviloi" appetizers were outstanding. But the true winner was the beff fillet in a pepper cream sauce. To die for. It cam with a peppered mashed potato and a local root vegtable gratin. All amazing. Derserts were unremarkable. Service outstanding. Even the bread was delicious. The only "complaint" I have is about the pacing of the meal. In NYC, a meal of this calliber, would have lasted over 2 hours. But in DF, the entrees were brought almost immediately after our appetizers were cleared. We definitely needed more time to digest before the next course. At first, we thought it was because we had a late reservation but when we went back the 2nd time, the same thing happened. We also noticed that all tables were being served this fast. We had to keep telling them we needed to wait before desert. 2 apps, 2 entrees, 2 deserts, many drinks came to $150. One other bonus...the provide a menu in English so you can really understand what you are ordering/eating.

PUJOL: Good food but too much emphasis on presentation vs taste. Everything came out looking very modern and well-designed but I left a little diassatified. For example, I ordered the short ribs in mole. Delicious, but there the very large plate can with a few pieces of meat piled in one corner and some sauce dirzzled on the remaining area of the plate. No accompanyments. While I loved the meat, I did want some complimnetary tastes and textures. I don't think there were even side to order. Everything was tasty but very singular. Another negative, only wine, no booze. No one spoke English so we didn't fully understand what we were ordering. Good bread and olive oil to start. Nice people.

CAFE TACUBA: So-so. Nice atmosphere but everything was drowned in somewhat tasteless sauce. Mediocre at best.

LOS GRISOLES: Another OK place. I had chicken in a creamy walnut sauce which was nice. My friend had the snapper. Another good choice. Everything was tasty but unremarkable.

LA CASA DE LAS SIRENAS: Location was amazing -- right behgind the cathedral. Lights at night were lovely. But it was empty at dinner. First,we ordered 2 maragritas without salt. When the arrived with sat, our waiter simply took a napkin and wiped off the salt in front of us. But as anyone knows....but that point, it is too late -- the salt has already "contanimated" the drink. Had my spanish been better I would have said something but was trying to keep ny NYer in check. Appetizers were fine. I ordered the stuffed peppers in walnut sauce appetizer for my entree as I wasn't starving. I think this confused them as when my friend's entree came out, my "entree" was cold. When I pointed it out, they took it back (after I am pretty sure I saw the waiter put a finger in it) and it came back two minutes later. This time my food was slightly hotter but had t he added bonus of chewiness from the microwave. It was unedible. I pointed this out but I got a nod and no offer to make it right with a replacement or it taken off the check....I know, I am spoled living in NYC. Still, overall, our experience here was not the best.

BUFFET ATOP THE GRAN HOTEL (on the Zocalo): The first few nights we stayed at the Gran Hotel right on the Zocalo in Centro (The hotel with the stained glass ceiling). One day, we had lunch on the roof at a table overlooking the to square. For a buffet, the food was quite tasty. Plus, the view was amazing. It was a lovely experience.

Hope this helps!!!

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  1. Mari RE: ehrmanna Apr 1, 2007 09:58 PM

    Thanks for the report. I am heading to Mexico City in May and have put Aguila y Sol (and Izote) at the top of my list. However, $150 for 2 is way more than I might want to spend. Are the prices of the entrees & appetizers comprable to those at better restaurants in NYC or were the drinks largely to blame?

    Also, is Aguila y Sol a trendy place? I am going with my boyfriend's parents to either Izote or Aguila y Sol - I think I'd rather stick to a little more conservative place when the 4 of us dine out one evening.

    Thanks!!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Mari
      Eat_Nopal RE: Mari Apr 2, 2007 06:58 PM

      A more conservative but good choice try Hacienda de los Morales... or better yet Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan.

      1. re: Eat_Nopal
        Mari RE: Eat_Nopal Apr 2, 2007 09:01 PM

        Is the food really better at Hacienda de los Morales than Aguila y Sol? La Hacienda de los Morales seems a bit touristy - like for suits on business in DF, but what do I know since I've never been!

        1. re: Mari
          Eat_Nopal RE: Mari Apr 2, 2007 10:02 PM

          The food is good... definitely not in the realm of Aguila y Sol, but it has the conservative feel & menu that might appeal to the parents. Is it touristy... yes, more than that every U.S. business person or diplomat seems to end up there sooner or later. In that respect its comparable to U.S. touristy & business stalwarts like Tavern On The Green etc.,

          However, if you can make the trip... Antigua Hacienda del Talpan is generally better but with a similar feel.

          1. re: Mari
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            gueraaven RE: Mari May 2, 2007 03:46 PM

            Food at Hacienda de los Morales is normal. Fine, but nothing special. The setting has always been the draw. If you are looking for super traditional and willing to sacrifice the food a bit, I prefer San Angel Inn.

        2. re: Mari
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          ehrmanna RE: Mari Apr 3, 2007 07:11 AM

          Yes, drinks really did add to the bill....we boozed it up.

          Appetizers were about $10-15 each and entrees $20-$25...if I remember correctly.

          SOOOO worth it. Really great food.

          1. re: Mari
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            gueraaven RE: Mari May 2, 2007 03:48 PM

            Aguila y Sol is very popular, reservations needed, but not trendy in the sense that there is loud music or only writhing 20-somethings washing back martinis. It's quiet, pretty, and perfect for boyfriend's parents. Food better than Izote, IMHO.

          2. b
            bruce in oakton RE: ehrmanna Apr 3, 2007 07:04 AM

            I agree re Cafe Tacuba (see my post about the margaritas), Sirenas and Girasole. As far as the pacing of the meals is concerned, we found the only way to have an enjoyable experience was to order the starter and tell the waiter that we would order the next course 'mas tarde'. This did not seem to surprise or faze them in the least - the rooms were always at least half empty so it was not as though the table was in great demand - and it also meant that, often having eaten a starter that was new and unfamiliar one's original inclination as to a main course changed. The very best meal I had, however was at La Opera - Caracoles in a Chipotle Sauce and Callos Madrilena. The very worst dish was at Girasole - a snapper concoction that was alleged to contain some Jamaican herb but came across like tired dry fish cooked in Branston pickle. Dreadful.

            1. cristina RE: ehrmanna Apr 5, 2007 08:05 PM

              "I ordered the stuffed peppers in walnut sauce appetizer for my entree as I wasn't starving. I think this confused them as when my friend's entree came out, my "entree" was cold."

              It seems to me that your 'stuffed peppers in walnut sauce' must have been chiles en nogada (translates to stuffed peppers in walnut sauce). FYI, the dish is always served either at room temperature OR cold. In 26 years in Mexico, I've never seen it served hot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cristina
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                ehrmanna RE: cristina Apr 11, 2007 12:52 PM

                Ah...that explains it. I had no idea.

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                littleredbike RE: ehrmanna May 1, 2007 01:35 PM

                Did you feel like your experience at AGUILA Y SOL was unique to Mexico City or that it could have just been another great resturant in NYC? We are heading to the D.F. tomorrow and while I am looking forward to some fantastic meals, I dont want to eat at places that transport me back to my own country. I want something that is unique to Mexico.

                2 Replies
                1. re: littleredbike
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                  ehrmanna RE: littleredbike May 1, 2007 05:04 PM

                  A llitle bit of both. The food presentation and decor could easily be NYC. But the service/hospitality and the flavors were certainly Mexican. But all the top end places in DF seem to be this way. In fact, top rest in any city I imagine would tend to be more similar than unalike.

                  1. re: littleredbike
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                    gueraaven RE: littleredbike May 2, 2007 03:50 PM

                    As a resident here, and a 4-year former resident of NYC who loves the city, sadly there is not much higher-end Mexican food really worth it's salt. Rosa Mexicana tries, and is good, but Aguila y Sol is different than anything you'd ever get in NYC.

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