13 things every tourist must eat (and drink) in Mexico City
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This post has been updated with additional restaurant and dining information. It was last published on May 4, 2019
Mexico City is a food lover’s paradise. From 50-cent tacos to a 10-course “taco omakase,” there’s no shortage of things to keep your taste buds — and stomach — satisfied.
But with so many options at your fingertips, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Narrow down your list with these options sure to make first-timers and locals alike coming back for more.
Don’t forget to bring your appetite.
Check out TPG’s Mexico hub for everything you need to know about traveling to the beaches, ancient ruins and inland destinations.
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Pulque at Museo del Pulque y las Pulquerias
The first time that I drank pulque, a beer-like fermented beverage made from agave sap and flavored with fruits, grains or nuts, it was in a small town outside of Mexico City and I fell in love with it. Until recently, it was difficult to find fresh-flavored pulque like I had in that little pueblo. But now, the Museo del Pulque y las Pulquerias — which doubles as both bar and museum — has the best pulque in the city, where you can learn about the history of this unique drink while enjoying it. My favorite is the oatmeal-flavored pulque.
Located at Av. Hidalgo 107-109, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Guerrero, Cuauhtémoc, 06300 Ciudad de México.
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Taco Omakase at Pujol
No trip to Mexico City is complete without a trip to Pujol. Its 10-course taco omakase is the stuff of legend. We won’t tell you more than that because we don’t want to ruin the plot, but trust us when we say: Go here.
Added bonus: If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, Centurion Card from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or the Business Centurion Card from American Express, you can request a reservation (and might even score some special perks) as part of the Amex Global Dining Collection. (The information for the American Express Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)
Located at Tennyson 133, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11550 Ciudad de México.
Gorditas at Las Gorditas de Sevilla
This place gets crowded, and for good reason: Its gorditas are some of the best around. Gorditas, for those of you who don’t know, are a traditional Mexican pastry made with masa and stuffed with things like meat and cheese. Come here for a quick lunch or snack and your tastebuds will thank you.
Located at 06700, Av Chapultepec 464, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México.
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Chilaquiles at Chilpa
One of the most common breakfasts in Mexico is Chilaquiles: crisp corn tortilla chips typically bathed in a red or green salsa. There are endless variations and you can enjoy them all or create your own at Chilpa, the Colonia Condesa shrine to this breakfast of the people. Don’t be afraid to try my favorite Habanero Chilaquiles. They are not nearly as spicy as you might imagine.
Located at Chilpancingo 35, Colonia Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, 06170 Ciudad de México.
Pozole at La Casa de Tono
Pozole is a Mexican specialty — a traditional soup or stew made from hominy. It’s typically seasoned or grilled and filled with avocado, salsa, lime, onion, garlic and more things to make your mouth water. While there are plenty of incredible spots to feast on throughout the city, keep La Casa de Tono on your radar. While you’re here, don’t forget about the enchiladas and quesadillas, either.
Locations scattered throughout the city; some are open 24 hours. More information can be found here.
Esquites at the street stand outside of the Krispy Kreme
More a snack than a meal, esquites — cooked corn kernels in a cup — are a beloved Mexican comfort food. The kernels are usually dressed with mayonnaise, lime, salt, cheese and powdered chile. This little street stand has a unique version, spiking the esquites with a “macha” salsa made with peanuts and dried chiles. The combination is addicting but very spicy.
Located at Av. Paseo de la Reforma 208, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Cuauhtémoc.
Related: Mexico’s 6 best inland destinations
Tamales at Tamales Madre
I used to tell everyone to never order a tamal in a restaurant — the best tamales are found on the streets — but Tamales Madre changed my mind. The tamales here have the essential flavors usually found only in the country towns — richer, more intense and aromatic — but are presented with urban flair. If you’re not sure what to order, try ordering the seasonal tamal.
Located at Calle Liverpool 44a, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México.
Mezcal at Casa Azteca México
Located in the basement of a beautiful red brick building in Colonia San Rafael, where some scenes in the movie “Frida” were filmed, this tiny shop specializes in boutique mezcals that come directly from the producers. Owner Lala Noquera will wow you with one-of-a-kind mezcals — think flavors of sherry wood chips, cochinille (insects), and mezcal de pechuga with green mole and rabbit — you won’t find anywhere else in the city.
Located at Serapio Rendon 61, San Rafael, Cuauhtémoc, 06470 Ciudad de México.
Tacos de Pastor at Los Gueros de Boturini
Pastor — marinated pork cooked shawarma-style on a vertical grill — is the most emblematic taco style of Mexico City and this place in the neighborhood where I grew up, El Parque, has a special place in my stomach. I’ve been eating there since I was a baby. It’s only open in the evening and no tourists come here, so speak Spanish. It will be worth the effort. My favorite is the “gringa,” which comes with pastor meat, quesillo, pineapple, salsa, onion and cilantro.
Located at Lorenzo Boturini 4354, Aeronáutica Militar, Venustiano Carranza, 15980 Ciudad de México.
A Local Microbrewery at La Metropolitana
Mexicans’ love of beer is undeniable but for decades the only beers produced in Mexico were from big breweries such as Corona and Modelo. No more. Craft breweries can be found all over the city and the quality is excellent. La Metropolitana, a Narvarte neighborhood craft brewery, makes the best craft beer in the city. Its beautiful, minimalist interior design makes La Metropolitana a fantastic place to take a break from the urban rush.
Located at Diagonal San Antonio 1931, A, Narvarte Oriente, Benito Juárez, 03020 Ciudad de México.
Pambazo at El Pambazo Boturini
The pambazo is a signature sandwich of Mexico City, yet it’s sometimes hard to find a really good one, especially in the tourist areas. The classic pambazo has is a soft white bread bun dipped in red chile sauce then fried and stuffed, classically with chorizo and potatoes, but there are many variations. This is another restaurant that is open only at night and where you might hear only Spanish spoken, but if you’re looking for an authentic pambazo, this is the place.
Located at Aeronáutica Militar, Venustiano Carranza, 15970 Mexico City.
Chocolate at La Rifa
Traditional chocolate in Mexico is not a candy bar but a thin, intense and aromatic beverage that people have enjoyed since pre-Columbian times. This chocolateria serves old recipes of cacao beans mixed with chiles and spices. My favorite is the bitter chocolate with cardamom.
Located at Calle Dinamarca 47, Cuauhtémoc, Coyoacán, 06600 Ciudad de México.
Antojito at Expendio de Maíz sin Nombre
Antojitos means snacks, usually corn-based bites. This rustic Roma neighborhood restaurant makes unusual and one-of-a-kind corn antojitos in a photogenic open kitchen. There is no menu and the offerings change daily, so tell the staff your preferences and trust them to deliver something unforgettable to your table.
Located at Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México.
One thing’s for sure: You’re definitely not going to go hungry during your trip to Mexico City.
Additional reporting by Cynthia Spanhel (@foodworththecalories).
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