Best Food to Taste in Mexico City

Mexico City, or recently renamed CDMX, is the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and is well known for its ancient history that mix modernity and heritage. The city has become one of the trendiest and cosmopolitan spots to visit in the last decade.

Picture of a golden skull displayed in downtown Mexico City.

Considered the oldest capital city in the Americas, it was built on an island of Lake of Texcoco back in 1325. It has preserved its magic and authenticity in conjunction with the Spanish colony influence, creating a unique culture full of options to discover.

Picture of sweet Concha bread being served at the El Cardenal restaurant.

Let’s begin the day with a traditional Mexican breakfast at El Cardenal. Visit one of the five locations in Mexico City and make sure to book a table in advance; Sundays can be very busy, especially in the restaurants located downtown. Don’t miss the famous Concha con Nata, a sweet bread filled with homemade creamy butterfat or “nata,” while you dunk it in hot chocolate prepared at your table. Also, try the scrambled eggs covered with a hot red sauce that was ground in a stone mortar, just like you will find it in small pueblitos around CDMX.

The interior of the Cocuyos restaurant

After breakfast, take a walk downtown to visit the Zocalo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and Templo Mayor, hulking stone ruins that once marked a centerpiece of ancient Capital Aztec. You will have time for a bite or “antojito,” and at this point, you should now know that everything in Mexican cuisine is about corn and tortilla. For lunch, choose between two of my favorite places for tacos in CDMX; the first one Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales, just a block away from Zocalo on Madero Pedestrian Street. There you can get delicious steamed tacos filled with beans, potatoes, and spicy shredded beef or salsa verde pork rind for only $0.50 each. The second option is Los Cocuyos; here, you can enjoy the real street taco experience for just $0.75 each. Try the Suadero and Maciza “con todo” (with chopped coriander, onion, and spicy red sauce), and don’t forget to add some lemon juice drops to your tacos.

Lunch with Locals
Chilangos (Demonym for CDMX citizens) have lunchtime after 2 PM, and if you want to meet with locals and other tourists from around the world in one of the best well-known restaurants in downtown, then you are ready to have “La Comida” at Azul Histórico. This open-air restaurant located in an XXVII Century building offers a variety of traditional Mexican food from all around the states and corners of the country, served with contemporary touches. Lunch is always better with margaritas, so indulge yourself with a Tamarindo or Cucumber Margarita, and don’t forget to taste Panuchos, a regional plate from Yucatan Peninsula made with Cochinita Pibil and accompanied with spicy roasted habanero sauce. If you feel adventurous, go to the first level of the building for Mezcal Madrecuixe at La Botica; try the perfect pairing with slices of fresh orange and sal de gusano (agave worm salt), a spicy, smoky condiment essential when drinking mezcal.

Early morning image of the sunrise in downtown Mexico City.

Last but not Least
Immerse yourself in the heart of Coyocan, a popular southern neighborhood of the city known for Frida Kahlo’s emblematic house. Here you can get an overview of the rich culinary heritage by visiting the Local Food Market; the golden rule is to taste the flavorful Pozole Rojo, a pre-Hispanic stew with pork and hominy kernels that is popular within Mexican families on special celebrations.

Small cart serving churros and ice cream at the Porfirio restaurant in Mexico City.

If you have time to visit other neighborhoods of CDMX, take the Turibus to Polanco, an upscale and community, famed for its luxury stores and nightlife, that gives you another great foodie selection with Porfirio’s Restaurant. The showbiz is in the presentation; as an example, churros and ice cream are served in a miniature model of a churro cart. You don’t want to miss this experience!

A man in sunglasses and a red shirt

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Jonathan C. Are you interested in traveling to Mexico City? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

More posts from Jonathan C.