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Feb 14, 2012 10:53 PM

Which restaurants should I cut from my last minute 4 day weekend in Mexico City?

Visiting D.F. for the first time this weekend. We're arriving from Puebla on Saturday afternoon, staying til Tuesday afternoon. Our hotel is in Condesa and we wouldn't mind staying in that neighborhood for dinners, while venturing out for breakfasts/lunch. I also made a reservation at Pujol for Monday night, but I'm not married to that.

Due to time constraints, I need to cut a couple of these. Which go?

Fonda el Refugio
Azul Condesa
Corazon de Maguey or Restaurante San Angel Inn after visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum
El Cardenal for breakfast
El Califa and El Kaliman for tacos al pastor
Churrería El Moro (for churros and hot chocolate)

We don't mind expensive restaurants but would like to avoid anything formal. Any feedback would be much appreciated as this is a last minute trip! Thanks in advance.

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  1. I've not been to most of the restaurants on your list. I have eaten at El Cardenal, (both breakfast and comida); and Churrería El Moro. Also had drinks and botanas at Corazon de Maguey, prior to crossing the plaza for comida at Los Danzantes. The visit to Corazon de Maguey was pleasant but our meal at Los Danzantes was a mixed lot.

    The chocolate caliente at El Moro is good, (the Español variety is killer!) but except for one out of several visits, the churros were bad. At any rate, if you wanted to go there. it doesn't take much more than 30 to 45 minutes to drink a cup of chocolate and eat some greasy, cold churros.

    Azul Condesa or Azul Histórico are on my to do list for our next visit.
    Often overlooked is the Catalán restaurant, El Racó, on Avenida Sonora, Colonia Condesa, where we had a fantastic meal.

    Tacos al pastor are a Mexico City institution; you can fnd them nearly everywhere. I haven't been to either El Califa or El Kalman, so I can't evaluate those.

    Although not a restaurant, it's worthwhile to visit the Pastelería L'Ideal, either on Av. 16 de Septiembre near Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas; or on Rep. de Uruguay near 5 de Febrero. The first is the main bakery, and on a late Friday afternoon, it's packed with customers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Anonimo

      after many years of eaating and vacationing in europe, and living in france, we have recently started to travel some closer to home. i found gaston and astrid in lima to be the perfection oriented equivalent of taillevent 25 years ago. i thought pujol was nearly in that class.?? i can not understand them as what objected to pujol--it is a great dining experience in the old classic ( except in this case mexicano) sense. sure , there are great taquerias and oaxacan moles around--god love them, and i'd eat there every day --but this is truly a haute cuisine, and should be understood, and compared as such. i'll try dulce patria this next visit, but i certainly will return to pujol... ( side note--wait till you get to lima---it's better than lyons 30 years ago-- even the tourist traps are great

    2. To cut for sure:
      --San Angel Inn
      --El Califa

      Possible cuts:
      --Fonda El Refugio
      --Churrería El Moro
      --El Kaliman

      Definite keepers:
      --Azul Condesa OR Azul Histórico
      --El Cardenal at the Hilton for breakfast OR comida

      La Casa de Toño, Zona Rosa
      Dulce Patria
      El Bajío in Azcapotzalco
      Fonda San Ángel for the buffet breakfast after a Saturday morning at the Bazar Sábado in San Ángel


      7 Replies
      1. re: cristina

        El Bajío Azcapotzalco, sí. Closes early. Worth the long cab ride.

        1. re: cristina

          I'm mostly in agreement with Cristina with a couple of buts:

          I would certainly *not* cut El Califa (it's worth going just for their salsa molcajetada), and I'd recommend it over El Kaliman, but if it's al pastor you want go to El Huequito in Centro.

          And I would certainly scratch Xel-Ha. Limited Yucatecan offerings, terrible panuchos and frijol con puerco, odd-tasting cochinita, no habanero salsa. Though they do make a decent sopa de lima and pollo pibil. If you want Yucatecan substitute Coox Hanal. Or for possibly the best cochinita in the city (and that's all they do), El Turix in Polanco.

          My experience with Pujol was mixed. Several of the plates were mind-blowing and several just so-so, but overall worth it. Dulce Patria might be a more solid choice. And Jaso is worth considering.

          1. re: Soul Vole

            Since you're going to be in la Condessa, Xel-Ha seems like an obvious include. I think their Cochinita is fine, never understood burying the wonderful orange flavors under habanero salsa, fine to include on the side, but not overwhelming the subtleties of other seasonings.

            1. re: Soul Vole

              Everybody is different, that's for sure. I live just two blocks from El Califa and wouldn't go back there if there WERE no place else for tacos. I thought they were not only dreadful, but seriously over-priced. But that's just me.

              I agree 100% re Dulce Patria--a much better choice than Pujol. And Jaso--the only reason I didn't mention Jaso is that it is high end American food, not Mexican.

              Matisse, in La Condesa, is also worth considering for breakfast.

              And just a note about the Frida Kahlo museum: they have opened a new section and the lines to get into the museum are nearly a block long. Plan accordingly.


              1. re: cristina

                Well, everybody's experience is different. You clearly despise El Califa, and Nick Gilman pans Azul Condesa. Equally mystifying to me. I've eaten at both places a bunch of times and I *always* take visitors to both. And it's always been a success in each case. But I've been to both enough times to know that neither is consistently excellent.

              2. re: Soul Vole

                "if it's al pastor you want go to El Huequito in Centro."

                The one on Bolívar, between Rep. de Uruguay and Rep. Del Salvador is one of our favorite sit down taquerías in el Centro. I especially like the Tacos Ingleses, beef seasoned with Salsa Inglesa.The menu is quite extensive, and they do serve breakfasts!

                The original El Huequito, on Ayuntamiento, tucked between a pair of La Europea stores, not far from the Mercado San Juan, is just a tacos al pastor stand. I don't think that there's any seating.

                1. re: Anonimo

                  We had supper at El Huequito on Bolívar in april, and I was not as impressed with the tacos Ingleses as I had been previously. We liked the the tacos de Cochinita Pibil more.

            2. Thanks all! Here's my revised itinerary:

              Fonda el Refugio
              Azul Condesa
              Corazon de Maguey after visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum
              El Cardenal for breakfast
              Churrería El Moro (for churros and hot chocolate)
              El Bajío in Azcapotzalco
              La Casa de Toño, Zona Rosa
              plus as many busy street vendors as we can fit in!

              Any other Condesa spots not to miss for dinner?

              4 Replies
              1. re: rararachel

                That's a solid list. Don't forget Contramar if you like seafood, but they're only open until 6:30, 8:30 Fri & Sat. Not-to-miss for dinner in Condesa? Mero Toro (same owners).

                1. re: Soul Vole

                  I agree with Soul Vole on MeroToro and I also agree with Cristina on the fact that it is pricey by both Mexican and American standards. I had lunch there in July (2011) and it was $40 (including tax + tip) for a non-alcoholic beverage, app & entree. It was, however, absolutely sublime and worth every peso on the bill.

                  Extremely good, expect to pay for it and be sure to make a reseration.

                2. re: rararachel

                  If you go to MeroToro, bring large amounts of $$$$$.

                  Are you staying in Condesa? We live here. Coffee?


                  1. re: rararachel

                    Just to add to confusion I wouldn't cut the San Angel Inn. True the food is not particularly memorable but the bar, lingering in the beautiful courtyard over lunch, plus the fact that you can visit Kahlo and Rivera's studio across the road make it a wonderful place to visit. In a life of memorable lunches, this was one!