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Dec 2, 2008 05:05 PM

Best High End Butchers in Mexico City DF

I just realized that when I visit Mexico City for a month very soon, I'll be able to visit some butchers and get some quality cuts of meat there for probably drastically cheaper than I can at home (in Toronto, Canada). It would be nice to surprise my family there with some nice home cooked meals that they're not used to.

I'd probably be looking for things like prime steaks, rib roasts, beef ribs, veal shanks, free range chickens, maybe even some ducks...

I went to a few butchers today around here, I saw some really amazing looking well marbled prime strip steaks, selling for $19.99/lb. Rib steaks (prime) for $16.99/lb, and then normal but still quality strips etc for $9.99/lb.

Curious what the prices will be like there too, if anyone knows the lowdown.

Oh, good to mention.. We'll be staying in Colonia Moctezuma Segundo Seccion, basically right at Benito Juarez Airport.

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  1. Anyone? T-minus 3 days till my trip begins...

    As a sidenote I have a plan for La Merced that will benefit all of you! Only time will tell if I can actually pull it off though..

    1 Reply
    1. re: SocksManly

      I don't have any experience at all in buying better meats in Mexico City. But you might try the Mercado San Juan, on Ernesto Pugibet, a few blocks south of the Alameda. The meat shops I saw there in Sept of this year looked very good.

      Also, the Mercado Medellín, in Colonia Roma Sur. Good looking beef.

    2. In the mercado San Juan you can find everything you are looking for, there's also Sonora Beef, Guanajuato 36 in Colonia Roma.

      1. i live in mexico and when we go to the u.s. and/ or canada we look for beef, salmon, berries, sweet corn (bicolor!), snow peas, scalops, Canadian that is much better there than here...Beef from Sonora is very good..but i think yours is even better... i would look for red snapper, queso oaxaca, queso panela, queso bola de chiapas, pampano, pez bandera, chorizo, cesina, tacos al pastor, pastel 3 leches, margaritas, horchata, tamales...but that´s just me. Liverpool used to have at the gourmet section frozen beef cuts from Sonora and theres a carniceria at Napoles on Pennsylvania Street that sells fish, beef, chicken and the quality is very good.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Xacinta

          Wow just found your post, woops. :) Thanks.

          We found the San Juan market and that was pretty much meat heaven. I'd still like to find a place that sold quality prepared foods, expensive cuts of beef and pre-marinated meats in DF though. There's lots of places like that in Toronto, just not sure if anything exists in Mexico City.

          Something like:

          1. re: SocksManly

            As far as I am aware there is nothing quite in that same niche you have in Toronto:

            1) Most Mexicans are not yet into the cute marketing of that place, and don't purchase as much prepared, marinated meats as people in North America do. Most serious cooks shop at places like Mercado San Juan which you visited.

            2) At a higher end level, with more corporate & serious style less cutsy marketing... but expensive prices is the La Europea chain which I think provides the products your look for... but with less artsy middle class neighborhood charm than your place in Toronto.

            3) Within the residential, established middle class suburbs you will find small, no frills butchers putting out high quality meats at good prices but without the chic & style of your place.

            4) Within in the Tianguis & Mercados you will find very high quality meats & seafood for very low prices... but in much more standard, high turnover, less cosmopolitan cuts & animals than you would find in San Juan, La Europea & the neighborhood butchers.

            5) Increasingly more & more of middle class is shopping for decent quality (but less varied, cosmpolitan & chowish) meat at Costco & the big box retailers.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Thanks for your thoughtful response!

              Do you think there is a market for this kind of butcher in Mexico City, in certain zones obviously?

              While the shops here are very "cute" and organized, they also offer much superior products. Specific breeds of cows and pigs (Berkshire Pork comes to mind, so delicious) but of course the prices are high.

              Do you think it's possible to have a sort of "farm to kitchen meat market" in DF? Of course after taking the time to source quality farmers with superior products.

              I think it's pretty hit or miss, because of the price and quality of things you can get at places like San Juan Mercado. However also every time I visit Mexico City I notice MANY more people have new cars, a sign that the middle class is really starting to develop.

              Also if you source good products, I'm sure lots of small restaurants would come knocking too... Any thoughts?

              1. re: SocksManly

                I think there is definitely a market for something like that. Mexico City has 250,000 people with a Net Liquid Worth (Real Estate excluded) greater than $200,000 USD so that is the size of the target market... I imagine a much smaller city like Toronto has a smaller total (not per capita) upper middle class than DF.

                However, I think you need two things:

                > Money
                > Educated (brainwashed) / Coaxed to be willing to pay for that (might not be that hard as you have people paying $20 USD for a single appetizer of Pata Negra ham)

                The challenge is that the Mexican market is starting with higher quality meats than the baseline in either the U.S. or Canada and it tends to be cheaper. Meaning the average meat offered in Mexico tends to be from small producers, a little more free range, less factory-ish... and from superior breeds (although you note there is a quite a range... that is because there is less standardization of breeds than in the U.S. & Canada where the baseline has been breed for maximum yield & standardization vs deliciousness & variety of terroir).

                If its going to work... it will work in neighborhoods like Condesa where the young profession yuppies are more cosmopolitan... often to a fault. I think once you get out to the working class suburbs like Tlanepantla (where there is still a bit of money as evidenced in Country Club or by the german cars on the streets)... you are competing with the traditional butchers who often have ties back to their hometown. For example, you will have butcher that emigrated from Zamora, Michoacan & specializes in pigs that he sources from relatives.. and you are talking about a product that is superior to the Berkeshire Pork that is so cleverly marketed in the Bay Area for example) and that butcher will be able to do it inexpensively and provide all kinds of cuts that your "Artisinal" north of the border butchers usually don't carry... Pork Jowl, Shanks, Skin etc., In other cases you have Cremerias owned by Chiapas natives that can source the Serrano style aged hams & the Chiapas cheese with the buttery core etc., and they get straight from the producers through family connections & do it cheaply without much fanfare & marketing. And the consumers can tell the quality, even in the working class neighborhoods... they may not be able wax poetic like we do on this website... but they will say its better than the FUD stuff and be willing to splurge for it on special occassions.

                In essence there is already a Farm to Kitchen Meat Market concept in place in DF that has been there for 100s of years... its just not as craftily marketed as North of the Border.

                Now with that said... you just need to walk around Roma, Condesa, Tlalpan, Santa Fe, Polanco etc., to realize that any hip, design friendly establishment that offers something different & new has a great chance of surviving even if its mediocre relative to the less flashy establishments in town.