Mexico City and Cuernavaca
First time visitor to Mexico. I'll be in Mexico City and Cuernavaca next month and I'm looking for some tips. In Mexico City I'm staying in the zona rosa. I'd like to eat some great Mexican food in both places that won't break the bank as I'm on somewhat of a budget. I could splurge out once or twice(keeping it under $100 U.S.) I'm fine with eating local, off the tourist trail but I can't speak Spanish so this may be an issue.
The good news is that you can eat very well in both cities for a lot less than $100 USD
Cristina lives in el D.F. and will probably chime in with some suggestions (yes, pay attention to them, they are usually good). In the mean time you might want to scroll through some of these previous threads for some ideas
It's been a long time (5 years?) since I was last in Cuernavaca and I don't remember the food being particularly outstanding. The one exception was the brunch at the hotel Villa Bejar which was at that time the power breakfast spot in town. The food was good to very good and we were the only non-locals in the place. But that was at least 5 years ago and things can change, so I'd ask around first to see if it's still doing good food before going
It's been a very long time since I was in Mexico City and Cuernavaca so I can't offer any restaurant tips but I can speak to the language issue. I spoke little to no Spanish when I was there and had no issues in Mexico City. They're used to English speaking travelers and a little goes a long way. Learn a few basics- proteins you like, a few polite phrases, and you'll be set. Cuernavaca was also not much of an issue. Spanish is at least easy to look up (ie, not Thai or Russian) so just tote a pocket sized food dictionary and you'll be good. Please let us know where you end up eating and enjoy your trip!
There are tons of inexpensive restaurants in the Zona Rosa. You will be going to visit the Zocolo in the Historico so go to the Opera Bar, their food isn't marvelous but it's a great bar. If you want to splurge I'd suggest the San Angel Inn in Coyoacan, or do brunch at the Four Seasons.
There are locals in D.F. who drive to Cuernavaca for the brunch at Las Mananitas. I did a few times when I lived in Polanco, but it has been years.
Thanks for the information guys. Please keep it coming. I still have a couple of weeks to gather information.