1. Izote de Patricia Quintana
Celebrated chef Patricia Quintana pays homage to the best of Mexican cooking with modern takes on classic dishes, using local and indigenous ingredients, including hibiscus flowers and cactus. Start with small skewers of the sweetest, most delectable scallops, served with rich pumpkinseed sauce for dunking. Roasted shredded duck in thick black Oaxacan mole (chocolate-chili) sauce is a standout entrée, while dessert lovers will swoon over moist and decadent white chocolate–covered marzipan cake.
2. El Tizoncito
This taqueria lays claim to having invented the wildly popular Tacos al Pastor. Whether or not that’s the case, this spot is a must. Marinated, spit-roasted pork and pineapple stuffed into soft corn tortillas and topped with a touch of onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime is near to perfection. Share an order of crispy Chicharron de Queso (crispy-fried cheese) for the table, and wash this glorious meal down with an icy cold cerveza.
3. Café Azul y Oro
Once you get past this cafeteria-like atmosphere of this cafe located on the campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México you’re in for one of the best meals (and deals!) around. Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita has made it his mission to feature fresh, local and authentically Mexican dishes at affordable prices, allowing this extraordinary dining experience to be accessible to students and gastronomes alike. The rich and creamy puff pastry–domed squash blossom soup is not to be missed, nor is the venison salad, marinated with sour orange and onion.
4. La Opera Bar
This historical and opulent cantina, featuring red velvet curtains, dark wood booths, gilded ceilings and vested waiters, is dripping with character and personality. The affordable, tapas-heavy menu has many standout offerings, with marinated octopus salad, red snapper ceviche and snails in chipotle sauce being just a few of the highlights. While waiting for your order to arrive, take in the lively strolling mariachi band, and be sure to look to the ceiling for the bullet hole allegedly left from when Pancho Villa once galloped through on his horse.
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Image at top: Mexican Tamales.
5. Dulcería de Celaya
For those with a sweet tooth, or anyone looking for a unique taste of Mexico City to bring home, this over-the-top candy shop has been churning out handmade confections since 1874. A visit here is memorable, not only for the vast selection of delicious bonbons (the creamy, fudgelike jamoncillo de leche is fantastic!), but also to take in the gorgeous belle époque–style building it’s housed in.
Here are some Mexican-inspired Tested Till Perfect recipes from The Canadian Living Test Kitchen to tempt and inspire you.
Corn and Chicken Tamales (image at top) is a traditional Mexican dish, with corn husk–wrapped bundles of masa (ground hominy corn dough) stuffed with chicken and chilies. You can find corn husks, masa harina and ancho and pasilla chilies in Latin American stores. Our step-by-step instructions spell out exactly how they're done.
Pulled pork continues to grow in popularity, and our Mexican Pulled Pork is sure to be a hit at your next party (it makes enough for more than a dozen good-size helpings). Serve it in soft corn or flour tortillas or in soft buns with sliced avocado, onion and a squeeze of lime.
What would a Mexican feast be without a margarita or two? Whip up a pitcher of our Classic Margarita ahead of time (minus the ice) and keep chilled in the fridge until guests arrive.
Thick, caramel-like Cajeta Sauce – similar to one served with goat milk ice cream at Izote de Patricia Quintana – can be served over your favourite vanilla ice cream.
Don't miss photos of these Mexico City foodie highlights and more in our Mexico City photo gallery >>