Mexico City Recommendations Needed
Mexico City Recommendations Needed. We are a family of 4 including two kids ages 6 and 7 who are staying at the Embassy Suites on the Paseo de la Reforma between Insurgentes and Bucareli. Price is not an issue. We eat anything and are hoping to eat authentic.
We are flying in on Christmas Day (Hopefully stuff will be open!!!) and probably spending the day in the Historical District and need dinner recommendations there. Day 2 will be a Saturday and we will probably see the Pyramids and then head down to Zona Rosa so we need a Dinner recommendation there. Day 3, Sunday, will be a long day. I think Xochimilco in the morning and if there is a bullfight, head there in the afternoon. We then need dinner recommendations near the Stadium back up towards the hotel.
Also, how formal are restaurants? Can we wear shorts or are jeans or slacks or dresspants required?
Thanks for any help!
Hi, I would start with Nicholas Gilman's site http://goodfoodmexicocity.blogspot.com/
and order his book as well.
For the Centro Historico I would definitely do El Cardenal http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guid...
The Zona Rosa is NOT what it used to be, the only restaurant of note is Fonda El Refugio which I consider uneven at its best.
You can check out the Mexico City tourist web site with tons of info, including restaurant listings with phone numbers.
As to Christmas Day Dec. 25, you are probably going to be limited to hotel restaurant dining.
The other important thing to remember is that the main meal of the day is "comida" which is between 2 and 5 PM.
And for more on Mexico City check out my site www.ruthincondechi.blogspot.com
Have a great time!
re: Ruth in Condechi
All of the food you'll find will be "authentic," so drop the thought it isn't from your mind.
The first thing I suggest for you to do is to take the time to work your way throught the many helpful and informative prior discussions - and I suspect you'll find more restaurants to your liking that you'll have time to visit. Then, ask away with the questions - for more information, clarifications, etc.
About shorts in the city: you will see them throughout. You don't wear shorts in fine dining restaurants in Mexico City just like you shouldn't wear shorts at fine dining restaurants in Chicago or San Francisco, or Istanbul. But, you will be tourists and you really shouldn't dress to suit the expectations of others. Many Mexicans wear shorts, particularly children, so you won't feel out of place from what I've witnessed. Travel for your own enjoyment, not that of others.
The Zona Rosa is one of the principal and best for some tourists sections of the city, full of "authentic" restaurants, live bands, entertainment, pedestrian street or two, lots of shops, etc. and I suspect you will enjoy it.
The time you are going to visit will be very quiet in the city, though - and some businesses will be closed or have restricted hour the week between Christmas and New Year's - and many city residents will leave for a beach destination. Though most people will still be at home in the Federal District, they'll likely stick close to home. Though, Mexicans like to be tourists in their own country -and own city, as well - so enough people will be out and about and enough tourist sites will be open to enjoy . . . even nicer to enjoy at this "quiet" time of year.
Bring some cool/cold weather clothing with you because nights may be cool/or cold for you at that time of year . . . depending upon where you live now.
Don't wear shorts anywhere in Mexico City, besides they are unsuitable for wear in any great capital cities. Plus it will be too cold for them so you don't even need to pack them. Historic District: Sanborn's on Cinco de Mayo might be open Christmas Day and while I don't really recommend Sanborns as a rule this one is housed in a fabulous blue tiled building. If the Opera Bar is open across the street, it's wonderful. The Gran and Majestic overlook the Zocolo and they should be open Christmas Day.
Zona Rosa: I like Fonda El Refugio, one of the best in MC.
1) No shorts.
2) Here's a thread that has the standard recommendations, though there are others and I don't agree with all the comments in the suggested thread:
3) Do buy Nick Gilman's book. He leaves out a couple of my faves, but I'm not telling...
4) No idea why anyone would want to go to La Zona Rosa (with kids, no less) for food or anything else, particularly after a day at Teotihuacan. Coyoacan or La Condessa are better choices. I was wowed by El Tajín last time I was in DF, but they close early.
5) The Sanborns in La Casa de Azulejos is on Madero, not Cinco de Mayo. Opera sí, is on Cinco d Mayo, and although the food is only serviceable to good, it's pretty much obligatory.
Weighing in here, I'll echo the 'no shorts' comments. Don't do it, please.
Ditto the comment from Ruth about comida. Make your main meal of the day at midafternoon, sometime between 2 and 5PM.
Zona Rosa is a very sleazy area right now. I wouldn't go at all, and especially not to eat.
As for El Cardenal, be sure that you go to the one in the Sheraton Alameda, not the other branch. You'll love it.
Last year another poster here had Christmas dinner at the Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan, on the far south side of the city. She posted back and said that she (and her mother, if I recall correctly) loved it. They took a taxi there and back. Here's the website: http://www.antiguahaciendatlalpan.com... which includes their menu.
For a child-oriented treat, take your kiddos to the Monumento a la Revolución. It's any child's Christmas heaven. They (and you) will have fun. Read about it here:
There's lots more about Mexico City in the December 2008-January 2009 articles on Mexico Cooks!
Cena de Navidad is the most important, formal meal of the year for most Mexicans. I would make a reservation in advance. Ex-Hacienda de Tlalpan, San Angel Inn, Hotel Presidente Chapultepec, Hotel Camino Real, Restaurante del Lago, all those would be great, and i´m sure there are much more choices.... But even if you are not able to make reservations, all Sanborn´s nationwide are open during x-mas and new year´s, some would have live music, and for both days they have a special x-mas menu, we go there every Jan 1st, since everything else is closed, besides we love their pecan cream soup that is part of this x-mas menu, we wait the rest of the year to taste it..... In a Mexican traditional Cena de Navidad you would find turkey with meat stuffing, romeritos, pierna de cerdo, bacalao, ponche. If you speak some Spanish i would highly recomend going to a pastorela, Pastorela de Tepotzotlán is huge, most of it is in old Spanish so no one understands what the actors are saying, but it is much more a visual show, like in opera, if you know the plot you can pretty much understand what´s going on, a big banquet is offered at the end, pozole, pambazos, tamales, ponche, there are many other pastorelas, Casa de la Cultura Coyoacán, Ex-Convento de Churubusco, etc... they´d usually have at the end tamales and atole........Mexico City is not Cancun or Acapulco, most of the year is too cold to wear shorts. During the summer it rains every day and that lowers the temperature a lot, during Eastern it gets hot enough to wear shorts, but for the rest of the year....bring a light sweater....It´s going to be great !! you´re going to have a wonderful time, i´m happy for you.
....my dad took to a bull fight when i was 6 or 7...6 bulls, it was too long for me. I have never tried it again, not even in Spain. Plaza de Coyoacán would be fun, there´s Museo de Culturas Populares, the market, El Mercado, cajeta ice cream, elotes, algodón de azúcar, mimes, Museo de Frida Khalo, Casa de Trosky, San Francisco church, small restaurants, cantinas, art galleries, there´s also a little acuarium..
Not to beat a dead horse, but absolutely no shorts. Shorts are for going to the beach in Mexico in general.
Cafe Tacuba would be a nice place to take family in the Centro Historico. It might be fun to take them to Mercado Merced or Cruz San Juan de Letran.
You can find great food practically everywhere, but maybe for a family with youngareas like Condessa or Polanco would be nice, too.The Centro Historico has so much to offer, Zona Rosa not as much, except wonderful street food options, which your children might not be up for.
We went to the El Bajio branch in Polanco with a toddler in tow for an early lunch (noon) which was perfect, since no one else was there yet.
Alejandro Dumas 7, at the intersection of , Colonia Polanco , Mexico City Tel 5281-8245
Although the décor may be less homey than the original since it has the modern Polanco look, the glass windows let in lots of light, the folk art was beautiful, the food was wonderful and the location convenient.
I've been to the Polanco branch multiple times. Preferred breakfast to dinner there. I thought the food was better at breakfast. In any event it's a relaxing venue and the food is usually pretty good.
Love the decor, they've done some really interesting arrangements of traditional folk art genres. The first time I went to this branch there seemed to be an over abundance of flat screen TVs scattered throughout the restaurant. There seemed to be fewer of them on my last visit, or perhaps I've just grown used to them ;-O. But given the heaven emphasis on the traditional art work, all those flat screens seemed out of place to me.
maybe the screens are to watch soccer games....remember the radio commercial during the world soccer cup, the Sanborn´s waitress: "señor, le recomiendo las enchiladas suizas" "Nooo!!" "Bueno, entonces quiere ver la carta?" "Si, si, si, déjala, déjala" "Aqui está" "Llévatela! llévatela!" "Bueno señor, entonces, qué quiere?" .....the guy was watching a soccer game...
Here is the latest itinerary. Still so many holes…. Still need many recommendations!
Day 1 Dec 25 Land at 2:00pm and head to hotel then walk through Alameda/Zocala. Most places won’t be open but the kids won’t tolerate the museums well anways.
Comeda - El Cardenal (assuming they are open on Dec 25). Will Call ahead.
Later – Drinks at Puro Corazon for the view (assuming they are open) or Bar Opera
Cena – No Clue. Head to Monumento a la Revolution for the evening festivities. Probably just grab street food, tacos….
Day 2 Dec 26 Take Taxi to Xochimilco then taxi to San Angel
Comeda – Somewhere near the Bazaar?? Not sure. San Angel Inn looks too far.
Walk La Paz to Francisco Sosa to Plaza de Coyoacan
Afternoon snacks such as Churros at Churreria de Coyoacan and Ice Cream at
Kioske de Coyoacan
Cena – Still up in the air. Whats good near the plaza???
Day 3 Dec 27
Take early Taxi to Teotihuacan so as to finish up prior to noon. Then taxi back to
DF, perhaps back to hotel to clean up and then taxi to Chapultepec Park.
Comeda – El Bajio in Polanco?
Roam the park and hit the Anthropology Museum, Zoo, Castle, Kids Museum…
Cena - Pujol
Day 4 Dec 28
Leaving for Morelia very, very early….
Your itinerary is very ambitious, particularly the plan for the 27th. The thought of going to Teotihuacán, then to your hotel to change clothes, then for comida and THEN to the Anthropology Museum, the zoo, the castle, and the kid's museum makes me want to lie down with a stiff drink. Just going to Teotihuacán will be very time-consuming and tiring, particularly on the Sunday after Christmas. Remember that you will be here during school holidays, which means that architectural sites and museums will be super-crowded.
I think (and it's just my opinion, based on long years of living here in Mexico) that you will have a tough time eating comida in the mid-afternoon and then eating another real meal at suppertime, which is usually around 9:00PM or later. Most folks have comida and then something light in the late evening, maybe pan dulce and hot chocolate, or fruit and an herb tea. When cena is a full-on supper (a formal dinner, for example), people usually eat something light for comida rather than fit in two big meals.
The Alameda Central is a city park, so it will definitely be open on the 25th. Very, very little else will be. Even street vendors won't be selling. Christmas Day is a day that most of Mexico--the country, not just Mexico City--is closed. Stores like Wal-Mart and grocery stores are open, but with short hours. Most everything else is closed.
Email me, you have the address.
If you end up at Bar Opera, be sure to have the vaso de clericot, their signature cocktail.Like a sangria with fruit cocktail, and apple soda.
Get the caracoles en chipotle(snails in chipotle), machitos, or creadillas for something a lttle different.
I reccomend my favorite taxista in DF, Rodrigo http://streetgourmetla.blogspot.com/2....
He can help you pull off some of these itineraries, just a cool guy all around.
Excited you'll be in Mexico at Christmastime - it's very festive!
I'm in agreement that this is probably ambitious, both because of the timing of your trip and because this city is just so darn big! My thoughts:
Agreed that you won't find much joy in the Zona Rosa on weekend days. It's mostly a business district during the day and a hub for young gay nightlife at night. The rest is residential. There are fun antiques markets and Korean restaurants, but that's not what you want to do if you are here for only a few days. I'd recommend staying at the Sheraton Centro Historico for it's proximity to downtown (tho nightlife is pretty sparse in the centro, too) or the hotels in Polanco for their proximity to the museo de antropologia et al on your very busy third day in town. (JW Marriott, Nikko, Intercontinental, Camino Real, and W are the biggies, but there are some littler ones as well)
None of El Cardenal's three locations are open on the 25th, and neither is San Angel Inn. I think that's going to be most places, although I have heard that in past years the Antigua ex-Hacienda de Tlalpan (about 45 mins away) and Hacienda de los Morales (about 15 mins away in Polanco with no traffic) have offered Christmas dinners.
Love the street food idea for dinner - you'll see lots of tamales (try sweet ones, too!) and ponche (like mulled cider, a bit) The kids will also probably like atole and champurrado - thick corn drinks that are kind of like thin Cream of Wheat. Champurrado is half atole and half Mexican hot chocolate - it's perfect for the cold winter nights here. You'll probably see highs in the high 60s during the day with bright sun, but as soon as the sun goes down the temp drops. Expect mid 40s to low 50s.
Taxi to Xochimilco will take you about 1 hour, and then another 30 mins from there to San Angel, just FYI. The San Angel Inn is not actually that far from the Bazaar Sabado area - maybe 12-15 minutes walking. HOwever, you'll need a good map of the streets to wind your way through the twisty, cobblestoned streets. No heels, no strollers for sure. Try Google Maps. A cab could take you in less than 10 mins, but the sitio de taxis in the plaza there at Bazaar Sabado charge an arm and a leg compared to others. 50-70 pesos, maybe. Still, not much in dollars, especially for a family. For the atmosphere, that's my choice for you guys. HOwever, if you want to stay in the plaza there's several restaurants. You could try Saks, a mini-chain here in el DF with decent, fairly healthy food. They've also got a cute terrace. The restaurant inside the Bazaar Sabado building is also oozing with atmosphere - marimba band usually playing - but i have no idea what the food is like. My sense would be decent, but nothing to write home about. Still, it' close and cute. Don't forget to ask the bird to tell your fortune, even if you don't eat there. And, the restaurants around there are crowded. Most won't open until 1pm for lunch, and will start getting crowded by 2. I'd go by 1:30 to be sure you get a table, even though things will be a little slow at first. Or, reserve!
The walk you describe to Coyoacan will take you about 40 mins and is pretty non descript until you cross Universidad onto Francisco Sosa. That final leg on Francisco Sosa is totally worth it, though - colonial buildings and hidden plazas galore. You could take a taxi to that corner, too, and walk from there about 15 mins to the center of Coyoacan.
Churros and ice cream are great - go nuts! I'd suggest a few places for dinner, but if you've finished lunch pretty recently I doubt you'll be ready for sit down dinner. If you are, try Entrevero (uruguayan) or los Danzantes (upscale mexican), both on the plaza. I like La Bipolar on Malintzin better, but it is a few blocks from the plaza. It's hipster mexican but really yummy. I'd much prefer the mercado de quesadillas (facing the big church in the plaza walk along the left side of the church, cross the street, and go down about 1/2 a block) for some really authentic Mexico City eating. You can have your quesadillas "fritas" (fried) or "de comal" (toasted on the griddle). Remember, in Mexico City a quesadilla comes with a big corn tortilla and does not automatically have cheese - if you want cheese you have to ask (una quesadilla de comal de flor y queso = a zucchini flower and cheese quesadilla on the grill). They also have sopes and huaraches as most of the places - they are all good. Also, if they are junior high or younger the kids might like the fun guy who makes pancakes with amazing designs of cartoon characters - an artist in batter! He'll do adult ones too...for the adults. ;-) Not sure how late the mercado is open... can try to find out.
This is a really long day. I fear you all will want a rest and definitely a clean up post-pyramids. It's at least an hour out to the pyramids, but if there's traffic it could take longer. That sunday should be pretty light because of the holiday vacation, but if there's a fancy service at the Basilica de Guadalupe you might have some. You'll probably want 2 hrs there at least - I usually take 3-4.
El Bajio is a good choice for comida if you are going to the anthropology museum - you can walk 10 mins on Reforma and get there or to the zoo. the castle is another 10 mins down the road, and the children's musuem another 15 or so past that. I'd count on most stuff closing by 5pm, though the anthropology museum is open until 7pm. It's Sunday (free day if you are Mexican) and it will be mega-crowded, too. This aims to be a really long day, which is why staying at ahotel in Polanco might be just the ticket - how great to run home for a rest if things turn south?
Pujol is completely closed on Sundays, and I have to say 90% of the restaurants that I know are closed on Sunday nights as well. Most people have stuffed themselves silly at a huge Sunday comida with their family, so no one is eating dinner at night. There are a few places open in Polanco and Condesa, and probably some hotel restaurants open? I can try to help if you are hitting a wall here.
Hope you enjoy!
You are really sweating this - why don't you go with the flow a little, you'll be passing lots of restaurants and cafes after all! But so saying, I love Meson del Cid in a funny little street (Humboldt I think) not far from the Parque Alameda. It is very beautiful and transports you to Spain and has fantastic paella. Also Los Girasoles in the Historico is great. If you're in Xochimilco I recommend the Dolores Olmedo Patino Museum, it has a little cafe with great soups and queso fundido
As a DF native I am glad to see the quality of the recommendations posted so far. Defintiely hit El Bajio for carnitas. The downtown recommendations such as La Opera and El Cardenal are great. I'd add La Hosteria de Santo Domingo and the Cafe Tacuba for dinner (where my grandfather proposed to my grandmother in 1937). Both have been there for ages. If you want something more upscale, Los Girasoles is a newer restaurant near the Museo Nacional de Arte. The food is quite good.
For tacos, go to El Farolito in Polanco. I've eaten their tacos since 1969, you can't beat them. If you find yourself in the southern part of the city, go to El Arroyo. As authentic as they come and a perfectly nice place to take your kids.
I'll be in town 3 full days plus Sunday morning, Thanksgiving weekend. My current short list includes lunches at Contramar & Don Chon, dinner at La Tecla, and breakfasts at Cafe Tacuba & El Cardenal.
I'll be doing a Saturday in Coyoacan, so I'm leaning toward lunch at Jardin del Pulpo or a pozole at the market, and maybe breakfast at Cafe Parnaso (unless a not to miss suggest suggestion turns up).
As far as other dinners, I've been thinking about Izote, but it gets mixed reviews here. Fonda el Refugio has at least one fan here, but it doesn't seem to be a CH favorite.
re: Peter Cherches
By all means have comida at Contramar. Go early (they open at 1:00) unless you want a long wait. I've waited to be seated for up to an hour when I've gone between 2 and 3PM. Don't miss the pescado a la talla, and order it with both red and green sauces. I hope someone will accompany you to your Contramar comida, because there are so many wonderful things on the menu that you'll want to share.
If you haven't considered comida at Ricardo Muñoz Zurita's Azul y Oro (on the UNAM campus--yes, it's a hike, but so SO worth it), plan to go there one weekday. The food is some of the best in the city.
re: Peter Cherches
I don't blame all the negative comments for Fonda el Refugio here on CH.
I'm the grandson of the founder. and after spending 7 years away (at culinary school and specializing & working in nutrition & raw food in the US) I just returned to work there again.
I was shocked on how bad things are in the kitchen. Our mayora for the last 25 years retired a couple of years ago and the place is a shadow of it's former self. Stale, uninspired & inconsistent.
but... nothing that can't be fixed. :) I am doing that as we speak. So look for "The Fonda" to be steadily improving & achieving new glory. (no... I have no fancy fusion aspirations. All new dishes will come from ancient recipe books, prepared from scratch. As all things there are)
Thanks for all the feedback here & I do hope we become a CH favorite come the bicentennial celebrations.
I didn't read everything everyone else wrote, so I'm hoping this isn't redundant, but I would really encourage you to spend some time in Roma/Condesa instead of Zona Rosa (or perhaps in addition to). To me, this is one of the cultural centers of the city and there's great food in the area. Mercado Medellin (Calles Couhuila and Monterrey) has great food for home cooking, but it also has a few wonderful stalls, including one called Canarios, which serves classic grilled meat dishes to perfection. There's also a really popular seafood restaurant that is always packed on Sundays, which I can't remember the name of. During Christmas, the market's really buzzing and there are pinatas hanging everywhere.
In Centro Historico, we had a couple of great meals at Casa de las Sirenas (on the Zocalo, http://www.lacasadelassirenas.com.mx). It's also a great location, overlooking the zocalo and the Catedral.