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Hottest table (best fooood) in DF?

Hi! We are a couple, both 30, celebrating our engagement. We are staying at the Condesa DF and have vacationed in Mexico City before. We visited Fonda del Refugio (sadly, not as great as it used to be) and Bellinghausen, and had dinner at Izote (amaaaazing but a bit sterile ambiance) and at asian-mexican fusion Bistro MP by Monica Patino (great food, but seeking a change of pace!). We also had a wonderful brunch at one of our all time faves, Mama Rosa in Condesa.
We'd like to have dinner at the hottest, must-hit restaurant. I currently have reservations at Aguila y Sol but am not sure if we've made the right choice. We're ready to work within a large budget since we're celebrating but want it to really knock our socks off and typify the resurgence of amazing Mexican alta cocina. Other options include El Bajio, and Taberna del Leon, but I read something about the mall location being a downer.
We are looking for a fun, hip restaurant scene good for a 9 PM dinner after a day of hitting the pyramids and zocalo and sightseeing.
Does anyone have any other recommendations for us? We love Mexican food and love hunting down an end-all-be-all meal. We're happy to stay at our fun little hotel for drinks etc... but if anyone could pinpoint a must-hit dinner place for us I would GREATLY appreciate it!!

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  1. I really don't think you'll be disappointed with Aguila y Sol. The space is subtle and sophisticated, as is the menu. I had amazing ceviche there, probably the best I've ever eaten. My tuna entree was also exceptionally good. I really thought that for the quality of the food and ambiance that the price was quite reasonable. I would have paid more and I can definitely see why many people say this is currently the best resto in Mexico City right now.

    Pujol is also very good but the decor is sleekly modern and probably emits a similar sterile atmosphere as Izote. I really like modern/contemporary style and didn't find the all white interior cold or uninviting, but I suspect others may. I was actually surprised at the warmth of the restaurant given it's minimalist white decor.

    If you like coconut, try a CocoMargarita. I had them at both Izote and Aguila y Sol. I think it was a shade better at Izote, but it's a surprisingly great combination and avoids being a cliche of a bad umbrella drink. If you're in the area stop in at the San Angel Inn for margaritas. They make a very good one. It comes in a little silver urn nestled in a small silver ice bucket. The waiters make a great show of pouring the drink. The grounds are beautiful. The food is old school continental and not that creative, but it is generally fairly well executed. I'd go mostly for drinks in the gardens.

    Hacienda de Tlalpan has gotten some interest on the board lately. It's in the southern part of the city and as has been noted (by El Chilango I think) it's a long taxi ride from where you'll be. At night, however, it is magical. The trees are full of twinkle lights, there are birds (peacocks?) wandering the very well manicured grounds, patio seating seems elegant and the food good to very good. I still remember the sopa de crema de cilantro that I had there 4 years ago. Service was attentive and very professional that night as well. If you find yourself in the southern part of D.F. then go, but I'm not sure it's worth the trip from the Condesa, but at night the place is definitely romantic.

    1. I am kind of looking for similar things as well. If you hear of the greatest new place, let me know. I go next weekend so if word spreads about the place to be seen, I will write back.

      1. Was just in DF at the beginning of the month. My friends went to both Izote and Aguila y Sol, but I chose to go out with the girl I'm seeing down there. I went to mostly mid-line joints that are relatively unknown here but also quite tasty.

        El Vip Sito is a very casual, street-food kind of joint that makes excellent tacos al pastor.

        Close to your hotel in Condesa is La Buena Tierra. Went there for breakfast one morning and then to their Insurgentes location that night for cena. The food is thoughtful and some of it is organic. Very good and enjoyable.

        El Ocho is also in Condesa (I think). We had empanadas and coffee there one night. Good stuff.

        Went to El Bajio at Parque Delta mall one morning for breakfast. I had the best chilaquiles (in a verde sauce) of my trip. My girls' tacos carnitas were also very tasty. And with the sheets of chicharrones standing there, how can I not recommend this place?

        For Sunday brunch, we went to Bondy in Polanco. Good food and great conchas. Had their chile en nogada - excellent.

        Also went to some of the more mainstream places like Vips, Sanborns and Los Bisquets, Bisquets Obregon. All of them were decent places, but the first two were definitely more along the lines of a Denny's style eatery, albeit with traditional Mexican dishes.

        Without trying to sound like I'm promoting - I do have a blog where I've written more about my experiences at these places. IM me if you'd like the URL.

        1 Reply
        1. re: onocoffee

          onocoffee, I don't think we can IM or PM on Chowhound, so please post your blog URL here. Thanks.

        2. Agree with DD on Aguila o Sol... and Pujol (really the hottest restaurants... particularly for Mexican cooking)... another place to check it might be Nick San (I ate at the original in Cabo recently and the fish was superior to any sushi I've had in California... I stuck to traditional Japanese nigiri & sashimi.... but the fusion items sound fabulous).


          1. Just got back from Mexico last night. Food was absolutely delcious. I had lunch at Izote which was fantastic and to give you an idea of the creativity, we had lobster enchiladas, chile rellenos with fois gras, jicama wrapped avocados, and a truly divine chocolate walnut tart with vanilla bean ice cream. Hmmm. Stunning. San Angel Inn serves very good food, nothing like Izote, but the setting is pure charm and elegance. Lunch is quite an ordeal but so worth it just for the experience. I cannot believe that I am going to admit it but we had an early brunch on Sunday at the JW Marriott in Polanco. Long story on why but the buffet was sensational. I am in shock. A Marriott??? I had ceviche, chilaquiles, leek soup, shrimp with cream sauce, eggs benedict, and all kinds of Mexican food. All of which was truly delicious.
            Now, if you want to hit the town and dance until dawn, go to a nightclub called Shine which is in Bosque de Lomas. It may take about 25 minutes and does not get hopping until around 1:00 am but what fun. Great 80's disco music and tons of fashionable people if that it the sort of thing you want. Definitely NOT touisty.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mikey

              Sounds like a lot of the same dishes from years back... it is my impression that Pujol's menu is significantly more creative than Izote.

              1. re: mikey

                I've had several Mexican chefs tell me never to overlook a hotel dining room in Mexico. They're feeling is that the big hotels have the best resources to acquire teh raw ingredients and the talent in the kitchen. Also many of them worked or ran hotel kitchens so they are familiar with the operations. They're not saying all hotel restuarants are good (clearly they aren't), just don't automaticall assume they're all bad.

              2. If you are looking for "must-hit" trendy places, then you might want to check out Jaso (or Jasso?). I was just in Mexico City and this place was reviewed in a few of the magazines I picked up. The food doesn't sound Mexican though.

                maybe someone on the board has been.


                12 Replies
                1. re: Mari

                  Paxia seems very interesting... but if you don't live in Mexico City I wouldn't risk missing Aguila o Sol... or some of the other more established places.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Yes, definitely Aguila y Sol over Jaso.

                  2. re: Mari

                    I realize this is in reply to an older post... Just ate at Jaso last Tuesday. We wanted to go to Aguila y Sol, but as some of you know now, it's been closed (and i even heard that the chef has already left for another position, which bodes ill, but maybe that was random and wrong gossip...). Anyway, we were really hoping for food in the AyS or Pujol model. Jaso was quite good, but since we'd hoped for Mexican flavors, we were a bit let down. we didn't know this going in, as I couldn't get the menu on Jaso's website to load. They are very generous with the amuse and the first was a deconstructed salmon roll--gelee of soy sauce, tartare-sized pieces of salmon, tobiko, and i can't remember, now, how the nori was conceived. I ordered the Squid starter, which had a great texture, not at all rubbery, and a lovely, though perhaps a bit sweet for my taste, reduction sauce...i'd take a stab at saying it was kinda teriyakish, but not that cloying. My companion had a soup, a puree of a root vegetable which was sort of like a sweet potato, but not as rich. It was good, but bland to my palate, however, he enjoyed it immensely.
                    Next, we were presented with a scallop, which had been seared and cut up the way one might cut up a half of mango. This was terrific, sweet and fresh!
                    I had the Huachinango, which was served with two amazing purees--an asparagus one and a mushroom one. These were like ultra concentrated essence of each veg and were superlative! The Huanchinango was a la plancha, if memory serves, and was flaky and perfectly cooked. My friend, however, was not so pleased with his bland dish of sole (which he later admitted was a mistake, as he feels sole is best in Spain and nowhere else). This was accompanied by pea shoots and edamame. It really paled in comparison to my dish which was stunningly flavorful!
                    We weren't in the mood for dessert, as it was, for us, on the later side. We were in DF for a work trip and had had a super long day. However, even though we'd asked for the check, we were still presented with a dessert amuse of what i think was a light and yet delicious date ice cream. Now, I can't recall what the sauce was, but I think it was orange blossom? Lastly, they brought us about 6 hot madeleines, which my friend pronounced divine. I'm like the anti-Proust in my distast of madeleines, so I can't say anything pro or con...
                    The service was terrific, the ambience modern and sleek, yet warm. It was pretty quiet that night, but a)we sat down at 8pm and b) it was a Tuesday, which, for all we know, is a slow restaurant night in DF.
                    I'd go back and would definitely recommend Jaso. Obviously, if you're looking for a modern approach to Mexican flavors, you shouldn't go here. Pujol might be your spot. I've not been to Izote and in fact, was warned away this trip as my local friend says it's overpriced for what you get and a bit tired. I did enjoy Pujol when in DF last March and I think I posted about it back then.
                    Oh, lastly, the wine...we didn't feel like paying $45+ for a good bottle and so were stuck with either an overly sweet Mexican Chenin Blanc (which I'd had and not loved at Pujol) or a flinty and otherwise lifeless Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. I guess my point is that it's too bad that you have to pay a lot for a good wine when the food itself is pretty reasonable. It was $120usd for the two of us, with a $36 bottle of wine, tip and tax. Not so bad, really, for the sort of restaurant it is, especially when you compare it to, say, WD-50 in NYC. I use that as a point of comparison b/c they're making creative and wacky foams, gelees and reductions there, too.

                    1. re: brownie

                      I think they're making creative and wacky foams, gelees and reductions just about everywhere these days (except here in San Diego <GG>) :-). Thank you for posting about Jasco. I am glad to have the information. I had posted a request for info about it last July as I was supposed to attend a dinner there. I got no response and the dinner ended up being at Izote. Izote was, BTW, very good last July, better than when I had eaten there originally in Nov. 2004. I may be in DF for my birthday this coming August and Jasco sounds like it might be just about right for dinner that night.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        true that! gelees et alia are unavoidable these days...well, you know what i mean ;)
                        btw, it's Jaso, not Jasco, just so you can more easily find it when you try to make a rez. and speaking of, you can reserve for Jaso on Open Table. which is probably b/c the chef is from NYC--via the CIA and Bouley if I recall correctly...

                        1. re: brownie

                          Ph, right on the name. For some reason I always seem to want to add in that "c". Isn't Jasco some sort of carptet adhesive, I think I've seen it at Home Depot ;-).

                      2. re: brownie

                        just asking for confirmation from you (or anyone), Aguila y Sol is really closed? any details? I'm on my way to DF end of next week and was hoping for dinner there, as it's been absolutely fantastic in the past.


                        1. re: Geoff

                          No, not closed. They moved from Av. Moliere to:

                          Emilio Castelar 229
                          Col. Polanco
                          11560 México, D.F.

                          Tel: (55) 5281 8354

                          1. re: gringo_puma

                            Using the phone number you have given, I have tried unsuccessfully for the last four days to reach Aguila y Sol. The phone is not answered. My hotel (La Casona) also reports that they are closed.

                            1. re: geleon3

                              A friend is having dinner tonight at the new Emilio Castelar location.

                              1. re: mjs

                                It is temporarily closed due to "irregularities with the ppermits"
                                (this is as of February 7th, when I also tried to call) The location changed quite a while ago, but not the telephone number.

                                1. re: Elchilango

                                  Aguila y Sol has been closed because it is off by 2 parking spaces, supposedly, but then "quien sabe?".
                                  I've always felt that A y S has always been the buzz place and that Pujol ( for all its undeserved "foam" rep) is the serious "foodies" ultimate in terms of exquisite flavors, texture and visual presentation. If you get there at 9 PM you'll be part of the crowd, reservations a must, unless you can get there at 8 PM and then watch as it fills. I don't care what time, what the crowd, I go for the food, and it has changed to a new winter menu. I must say that the way to go is the tasting menu. Start with a fine tequila and then have the sommelier recommend a bottle/glass of wine to go with the menu. I never order the wine pairing -- its overkill.
                                  Or go with beer. But don't miss Pujol.
                                  The other MUST GO restaurant is Contramar, ( Avenida Durango 200, Mexico City, TX 06700 Mexico, +52 55 5514 9217 / +52 55 5514 3169, Open Hours 12:30p-6p). But only for "comida". The place opens early ( for comida) but by 2 PM the wait list can be as long as an hour. Sit next to actors (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal just as an example, Edward James Olmos who couldn't get a table even though he said hello to the owner) contemporary artists, politicians and super trendy 'fresas".
                                  Must have dishes if you go, the tuna tostadas, the sauteed soft shell crab with tortillas and salsa, and the pescado a la talla with both green and red sauces.
                                  Don't miss these two and then come back again for a longer visit. Do get Nicolas Gilman's new book (http://www.amazon.com/review/product/...) Good Food in Mexico City (long title but worth it).
                                  For more info on the leading chefs you can go to www.ruthin condechi.blogspot.com for a 2007 overview.