Mexico City is a vibrant city with the most delicious food, lively colors, happening nightlife, and the most hospitable people I’ve come across. Even a week in Mexico’s capital will leave you hungry for more and wondering when your next trip back will be! As a friend put it: right now, Mexico City is “The Capital of Cool” of the Americas!
Mexico City has always been a place I’m passing through, which is funny to say as it’s one of the most populated cities in the world. I grew up going to Cuernavaca in Morelos with my family, which is just an hour or so south of the city, and Mexico City was always the place that we flew in and out of. It wasn’t until 2015 that I started exploring Mexico city — and I’ve been hooked ever since!
The culinary scene in Mexico city is somewhat insane. Some of the best food, service and experiences have been from restaurants in Mexico city! If it’s your first time to Mexico City, right after you book your plane ticket try and find reservations at Enrique Olvera’s Pujol. His restaurant put Mexican fine dining on the map and it’s a mind-blowing experience. It’s great for lunch or dinner, honestly whatever you can get! Be sure to watch Nexflix’s Chef’s Table episode (season 2) on the restaurant. I’ve included quite a bit below for food options, but if you are only in Mexico city for a handful of days, here’s where I’d send you! For breakfast, you’ll definitely have to stop by Panadería Rosetta, for some of the best pastries I’ve ever had – looking at you, Paris. Niddo and Lardo are both fantastic brunch options. My favorite lunch spot is Maximo, followed very closely by Gabriela Cámara’s incredible seafood staple, Contramar. If you’re feeling like a break from Mexican, some of the best Israeli cuisine I’ve come across outside of Tel Aviv was at Merkavá! Dinner is a must at Meroma, Botánico and Rosetta.
Mexico City is so expansive it makes Los Angeles feel like a compact city. The good news is that most of this guide covers about 4 neighborhoods, so I won’t have you bopping around town. They happen to be where the most exciting restaurants, quality shopping, and beautiful history are: Condesa, Roma, Juarez, and Polonco! I’ve put a map below so you can get an idea of where they are in the context of CDMX! Although I love walking between these neighborhoods, Ubers are quite cheap in Mexico City and I’ve found them the best way to bop around town. The Mexico City Metro is also a great way easily navigate through the city, but beware of rush hour in the mornings and late afternoons as it gets pretty congested with foot traffic!
Spring is my favorite time to visit Mexico City – April to be exact! Maybe it’s because I grew up always going for Easter, but the temperature is honestly perfect. It is typically in the 80s and sunny with some rare light afternoon showers that are always welcomed! Plus the beautiful violet & purple jacaranda trees are in full bloom!
My home-away-from-home in Mexico City is the Nima Local House Hotel. It’s a stunningly beautiful 4-bedroom boutique hotel that has been converted from a historic private residence to a b&b. The hotel is situated right on Colima, one of my favorite streets in Roma, it serves a delicious breakfast downstairs that is paired with the hotel’s equally excellent service. They also have an iconic atrium that is filled with plants and topped off with a glass roof, letting in warm natural light all day long. Another option is right around the corner in Roma, at Brick Hotel. I’ve stayed there twice and it’s always a wonderful experience. The rooms are simple but elevated and I also love the modern Mexican touch on this historic building! I’ve also gone the Airbnb route and there are some really excellent properties in Condesa and Roma neighborhoods if you’d prefer that mode of stay! It definitely feels like
Some required watching before you head to CDMX: Roma // Enrique Olevera’s Chef’s Table episode – both on Netflix!
I’ve jammed this city guide with quite a few options, but have a (*) by my favorites!! Also, because Mexico City is so expansive, I’ve included the neighborhood that each recommendation – I hope it helps you while coordinating your own itineraries!
- Maque – Breakfast & brunch fare like pastries, chilaquiles & coffee at an airy stop-off with a leafy patio.
- *Lardo – Hip Mexican-European fusion joint serving brunch with croque monsieur sandwiches & creative pizzas. Get the huevos revueltos & romero (rosemary) buns.
- Lalo – Granola & eggs for brunch, plus pizza & sandwiches, at a relaxed, colorfully decorated cafe.
- *Contramar – A CDMX must! This seafood forward restaurant is in an airy dining room with an expansive plant-filled patio. There’s a reason I was here twice (and almost a third time!) on my last trip. The tuna tostadas are a must-get. Also get the carnitas de pescado and pescado a la talla – and enjoy it all with a carajillo!
- *Café Toscano – It’s a great stop for breakfast or coffee as it sits on the edge of Parque Mexico! Their chilaquiles are some of my favorite in the city!
- *Botanico – It’s a modern bistro with a menu that changes constantly. The design is exceptional, with beautiful Art Deco touches and a secret-garden-esque patio with a 50-year-old cactus at the center of it.
- Ojo de Agua – Ojo de Agua is an airy, quaint spot with its own little fruit and vegetable stand. You’ll find salads topped with avocado, sandwiches, acai bowls for breakfast, and refreshing smoothies. It’s perfect for a quick & healthy lunch or dinner! They have a few locations in the city!
- Ciena – From pastas to pastries, and coffee to cocktails, Ciena is executing it all! Also great for brunch!
- Basico – This healthy breakfast spot offers coffee/tea, juices, smoothies, pastries, toasts, and bowls – the perfect way to start your day!
- Azul – Charming restaurant serving upscale Mexican dishes.
- Yoru Handroll & Sushi Bar– this small restaurant is full of Japanese flavor and a complete gem!
- El Parnita – Buzzy space known for tacos & cocktails, with sauces mixed at the table & live guitar players. (Paramo is upstairs!)
- Café Milou – A favorite spot for breakfast that has a great wine selection for later in the afternoon!
- *Merkavá – Merkava has quietly become a Condesa institution, and it’s without a doubt my favorite Israeli spot outside of Isreal. If you’re wanting a break from Mexican fare, this is a great option! Everything here is incredibly tasty!
- Merotoro – Creative takes on Baja Californian meat, fish & seafood dishes in a rustic-chic space.
- Helena CDMX – Chic eatery serving international dishes, brunch & cocktails in an airy dining room. Fun spot for brunch!
- *Castizo – The Spanish food here is genuinely incredible. If you’re here with a group or with your family, this place is a crowd-pleaser, has an upscale feel to it, and is still pretty affordable!
- Hotel Casa Awolly – Vibrant hotel restaurant offering Mexican plates & whimsical craft cocktails in a stylish interior.
- Hugo Wine Bar – A gorgeous wine bar serving up fresh & delicious bites. They’ve got a great selection of vinos!
- *Rosetta – Rosetta might be inside a townhouse in Roma, but it feels like it’s actually inside an Italian villa. The menu is Italian, with a Mexican twist!
- *Máximo Bistro – A must! Maximo Bistrot is a farm-to-table restaurant that’s kind of French, kind of Mexican. The focus is on seasonal and local ingredients, so the menu changes every day. A favorite for lunch!
- *Meroma – A must! Trendy eatery with a local & global menu featuring reimagined meat & seafood dishes, plus cocktails.
- Huset – Seasonal, global menu in a relaxed restaurant/bar featuring wood-fired grills & a shady patio. Ask to sit in the garden and be sure to try their off-menu avocado pizza!
- Tres Tonalá – Seasonal, local and contemporary cuisine, located in an art deco-style mansion. Great place for some afternoon drinks!
- UMAI – a Japanese restaurant whose interiors are as organic as its menu. Delicious simple + fresh sushi!
- *Em – With a farm-to-table-focused menu, this Roma spot offers a wide range of interesting and fun dishes, like mole served with beef tongue, a spicy chicken that even has its own Instagram, local wagyu beef, and even Petrossian caviar. Don’t forget to check out the upstairs bar/speakeasy, 686 Bar
- Pigeon – Great casual drink spot serving up fresh Mediterranean dishes
- Blanco Colima – Upscale cuisine is matched by an extensive drink list at this unique, sophisticated bistro.
- Tacos Orinoco – This chain of cool and mod taquerias brings the traditional style of white tiles, brash signage, and plastic folding chairs to a hipster neighborhood. The menu is short and sweet with just three types of meat: al pastor, bistec, and chicharron. Everything can be ordered on corn or flour tortillas and cloaked with cheese.
- *El Parnita – Buzzy space known for tacos & cocktails, with sauces mixed at the table & live guitar players.
- Supra– International dishes, cocktails & shisha offered in a leafy, bohemian venue with city views & DJs.
- Puerto Prendes – A fun restaurant in a beautiful space! Order the CaraJillo Prendes cocktail, it’s a favorite!
- *Madre Café & Rooftop – Traditional meals & gourmet coffee served in a smart cafe with a chic terrace & lush surrounds. Be sure to get reservations for their rooftop bar as well!
- Juana Juana – Decadent breakfast bowls and brunch items from this cute restaurant is serving out of a shipping container
- El Cardenal – Chilaquiles verde and a cinnamon-spiced café de olla.
- *Terraza Cha Cha Cha – A great rooftop offering great seafood with an innovative twist in the Mexican style!
- *Niddo – Relaxed, bohemian eatery with an open kitchen turning out hearty comfort food with a twist. Great coffee & baked goods for on-the-go as well!
- Havre 77 – Havre 77 is a French bistro and a nice place to spend an afternoon or evening if you’re here for a while and considering a break from Mexican food
- Cicatriz – Cozy, relaxed hangout offering brunch staples, sandwiches & salads, plus wine, cocktails & coffee.
- Elly’s – Tucked in a two story Bauhau-style 1930s style
- Taverna – Cozy, shabby-chic restaurant with a courtyard plating Mediterranean provisions, plus cocktails.
- *Pujol – One of Mexico City’s finest dining experiences. Chef Enrique Olvera showcases everything about Mexican gastronomy, from its unique techniques and inimitable spices to the country’s rich history. Be sure to watch Pujol’s episode on Netflix’s Chef’s Table before – season 2!
- Tori Tori – This contemporary Japanese restaurant is serving up a wide array of traditional Japanese favorites. Menu items include Sirloin Teppanyaki, a multitude of sushi options, and chocolate tiramisu.
- Quintonil – Noted restaurant with a tasting menu offering ambitious meat & seafood dishes, plus wine pairing.
- Casa Olympia – A place that transports you to the Mediterranean, with bright colors and eclectic nostalgia from the 50s & 60s. Perfect for a brunch with mimosas or late-night drinks!
- Colmillo – A restaurant that takes the best of Mexican street food and makes it its own, serving a wide variety of tacos, steaks and oysters! Get the tacos and tostadas!
- Parole – Parole is the best place to eat in Polanco in a romantic and sophisticated atmosphere, with impressive architecture and decoration that will envelop you with its dreamy design.
- Béluga – This seafood-forward restaurant is in a beautiful restaurant with hundreds of hanging lemons, transporting you to the coast of southern Italy!
- Carajillo – Colorful, hip restaurant with an artful vibe featuring a robust drink menu & modern cuisine.
- *Hotel CondesaDF terrace (Condesa) – Great rooftop bar and perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail at sundown!
- Jardín Chapultepec (Condesa) – Behind a discreet corrugated garage door is a lovely hidden beer garden at the edge of Condesa!
- Baltra Bar (Condesa) – Chic, laid-back bar offering creative cocktails amid decor inspired by Darwin’s Galápagos voyages.
- La Clandestina (Condesa) – Cozy and unassuming mezcaleria. A great spot to wet your whistle and have a mezcal tasting with their knowledgeable staff!
- *Toledo Rooftop (Juarez) Vibey rooftop with views of Chapultepec Castle. Direct message them on Instagram for a reservation!
- MN Roy (Roma) – This private club is in a house that was once occupied by Mexican communist party founder M. N. Roy. It has been converted into the best nightclub in Mexico City!
- *Hanky-Panky (Roma) – A world-renowned speakeasy serving up delicious mixology-forward cocktails. Enter through the kitchen of an unassuming taco shop!
- Fifty Mils (Juarez) Swanky bar at the Four Seasons! Great spot for a nightcap!
- Leonor (Condesa) – Located in the middle of a busy street, you would never stop to think that the door to this place led to a location filled with great music and excellent drinks!
- Xaman bar (Juarez) – This tiki bar isn’t visible from the street, but head down a flight of stairs and through a large door and suddenly you’ll pop out in a dimly-lit room that feels like a Jungle Cruise with sex appeal!
- Supra Rooftop (Roma) – This rooftop is a fun vibe! Serving up international dishes, cocktails & sushi in a leafy, bohemian venue with city views & DJs. Be sure to get the salmon tostada!
- Escorpio (Juarez) – Specialty wine shop!
- *Madre Rooftop (Roma) – Located on top of a colonial estate, this trendy and modern rooftop is a great spot for sunset drinks and bites!
- Departmento (Roma) – Laid-back restaurant & bar with a sprawling terrace, offering familiar bar bites & live music.
- Casa Franka (Roma) – Located in an old house, they’re serving up innovative cocktails along with live jazz!
- Tokyo Music Bar – a speakeasy bar where you can taste signature cocktails while listening to an incredible vinyl collection
- Salón Rosetta (Roma) – The cocktail bar above the acclaimed restaurant Rosetta. It’s so calm and stylish, with an almost speakeasy vibe.
- Loupe Bar – A lively wine bar with a selection of natural wines and great food!
- *Ling Ling (Juarez) – Located at the rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton, this cocktail bar and sushi restaurant boasts some of the best views of Mexico City!
- Blanco Castelar (Polanco) – Located in one of the hot spots of Mexico City, Blanco Castelar is one of the most beautiful and iconic places. It combines architectural beauty with amazing food and cocktails. The perfect spot to go for a date or have some drinks & party with your friends! Its sister bar is Blanco Colima in Roma!
- *Amantoli (Condesa) – This tiny taproom tucked in the very back of Casa Ikal right across from Parque España
- *686 Bar (Roma) Located inside of the restaurant EM, this elevated speakeasy is modern and sexy!
- Casa Prunes (Roma) – Located in an Art Nouveau-style mansion, dating back to 1916, Casa Prunes is defined as a gastronomic house where food and mixology seek to offer an evolutionary experience that respects the food season.
- *Zuzu Rooftop (Condesa) – Located at the top of Casa Ikal, ZUZU Rooftop Condesa inspired by country cuisine, has an outdoor grill, a terrace with a view of Parque España!
- Licoreia Limantour (Roma) – Legendary cocktail bar turning out clever drinks & snacks in a chic, 2-story space with a terrace.
Coffee & Bakery:
- *Panadería Rosetta (Roma)- This tiny cafe & bakery across the street from the main Rosetta restaurant serves fantastic coffee and pastries (the guava pastry is incredible!). A must – thank me later! They also have a great coffee table book!
- *Niddo Café (Juarez)- Delicious and buzzy brunch! The restaurant also has a grab-and-go cafe with coffee and pastries!
- *Café Nin (Roma)- Run by the same team as Rosetta over in Roma Norte, this bakery/cafe is also super cozy and beautiful in a much more rustic and imperfectly perfect way.
- Lolo’s Croissant Bar (Roma) – Offering dozens of decadent croissant options!
- *El Moro – Renowned & historic churrería open 24 hours for churros & hot chocolate. There’s usually a line wrapped around the block – but it’s worth the wait! Just on the edge of Parque Mexico!
- Buna – Cafe Rico (Roma) – One of Mexico City’s best specialty cafes for trying locally-sourced Mexican coffees in a sleek and trendy coffee shop.
- Forte Bread & Coffee (Roma) – This hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in Roma Norte reels people in with the smell of strong coffee and freshly baked pastries.
- *Tomasa (Condesa)- Trendy and cute Mexican bakery serving up all flavors of Mexican conchas!
- Tierra Garat (Polanco) – This hip coffee and matcha shop has danish pastries, sandwiches & flavored coffee at a streamlined contemporary cafe with a terrace!
- *Quentin Café (Condesa, Roma) – Great grab & go coffee
- Plan V Café (Condesa) – A specialty shop with a vegan Menu offering coffee from different states of the Mexican Republic. Their raw vegan cheesecake is unreal!
- Chiquito Café (Condesa) – Great little coffee spot!
- Constela Cafe (Roma) – This newer coffee shop has a great location, right on the corner of Colima street! It’s a great spot for meeting up with friends over coffee and an option for an easy lunch!
- *MOONi Gallery (Condesa, Roma) – Spunky and casual gallery for fun prints and wall art – one of my favorites!
- 180° Shop (Roma) – Boutique store with apparel, sneakers, and accessories.
- Concept Racer (Roma) – Men’s boutique store with motorcycle apparel and accessories.
- *Onora (Polanco) – Beautiful Mexican home goods and textiles are carefully curated
- Silver Deer (Planco) – An elegant and modern store dedicated to men’s fashion located in Park Plaza
- Goodbye Folk (Roma) – Warm, brick-walled shop offering stylish vintage clothing & accessories, plus handmade shoes.
- *The Erre Vintage Co (Roma) – Well-curated high-end Americana vintage goods in a beautiful space
- Zapateria El Tigre (Roma) – Men’s & women’s clothing store with a full café and mezcal tasting bar!
- *Chic by Accident (Roma) – Beautiful gallery and antique store with design-forward pieces
- *Utilitario Mexicano (Juarez) – Home goods from Mexican artists and designers – this space was perfect for my OCD!
- *IKAL (Polanco, Condesa) – Artisan home goods and chic Mexican designer apparel!
- Mercado Portales Antigüedades (San Simón)- Antiques flea market.
- Mercado Ciudadela (Juarez) – An artisan market with silver jewelry from Taxco, Oaxacan rugs & hand-carved gifts
- Take a walk up to the Chapultepec Castle and soak in the views!
- Stroll through the Chapultepec Botanical Garden
- Visit the Museo Tamayo
- Drive around the El Angel de la Independencia monument
- Check out modern Mexican art at Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo
- Visit the Museum of Anthropology
- Museo Soumaya
- Mexico city Ruins!
- Visit the Pyramids of Teotihuacan (an hour south of the city!)
- Casa Luis Barragan
- Check out some galleries: Galería RGR, Studio IMA, Kurimanzutto, Gallery OMR
- See Diego Rivera’s murals at Palacio de Bellas Artes
- Check out the state of affairs at the Palacio Nacional
- See the Frida Kahlo Museum “Casa Azul” (30-minute drive south)- this is a bit outside of the city in Cuoyacan, but worth seeing and exploring the surrounding area and market!
- Ride down the canals of the “Floating Gardens” of Xochimilco Canals (50-minutes away) – recommend buying beers & tacos/tostadas for the boat ride!
- Brick Hotel (Roma) – Located in La Roma district one of the most elegant and vibrant neighborhoods in Mexico City, Brick Hotel is a hidden jewel surrounded by parks, cafes, art galleries, restaurants, and beautiful architecture. The location is incredible as you’re close to most of my favorite restaurants in Roma. I love the modern Mexican touch on this historic building!
- Nima Local House (Roma) – This 4-bedroom boutique hotel is something special – and maybe one of my favorite stays, ever! It’s in a historic single-family home with a beautiful atrium and amenities.
Have you been to Mexico City? Even if you went a few years ago, the city is changing rapidly and you might not recognize how much it’s developed! So many incredible restaurant concepts, art galleries, and fun rooftops have opened recently, that it’s almost hard to keep track! Please message me if you’re heading to Mexico City and have any questions about restaurants, the layout of the city, or where to stay!