A Foodie’s Adventure In Mexico City

Mexico City had long held a coveted spot on my travel wish list. However, as I began to map out my itinerary, I found myself grappling with the city’s boundless offerings, navigating a landscape rich in possibilities yet daunting in its vastness.

Ranked as the 6th largest city globally, with a staggering population exceeding 22 million, it stands as North America’s most densely populated megacity. Amidst its vibrant tapestry of culture and cuisine, the city boasts over 15,000 dining establishments ranging from quaint taquerías to bustling market stalls and hundreds of places to stay. Ask friends, and they will give you lists of where to go and where to stay. Read articles, and even more places will be added to your list. As my 5-day adventure drew near, I realized I had over 60 spots marked on Google Maps. Clearly, trying to visit them all was a pipe dream.

Mexico City boasts an impressive array of over 350 distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and character. While the majority of my must-visit spots were within the neighborhoods of Condessa, Roma Norte, and Polanco, my list also extended beyond. When looking at the map, it looked like we could visit a few places at a time by foot. But while you can walk around Mexico City, walking from restaurant to restaurant is not easy. What looks like a short distance on the map is a 15-minute taxi ride. Luckily, Uber is very accessible and affordable in Mexico City. We rarely had to wait more than 5 minutes for an Uber to pick us up and take us to our next destination.

With distances to cover, traffic to contend with, and a seemingly endless list of eateries to conquer, the reality dawned on us: dining at every spot was a feat beyond reach in a single trip. Striking a delicate balance between indulging in fine dining experiences, exploring trendy culinary hotspots, and savoring the flavors of street food, we embarked on a gastronomic journey.

Fine Dining in Mexico City

While the Michelin Guide has yet to make its mark in the city, the prestigious accolades of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants have. Notably, three esteemed eateries in Mexico City have earned coveted placements on this esteemed list, a testament to the city’s burgeoning culinary scene amidst global competition.


Pujol is listed number 13 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and was the impetus for my desire to go to Mexico City as I had been hearing about the restaurant for years. Pujol was opened in 2000 by Chef Enrique Olvera, who was only 24 then. He has opened more than two dozen other restaurants, including Cosme in New York, and has published books. At Pujol, the focus is on sustainability, high-quality ingredients, Mexican techniques, and a modern twist on traditional recipes. 

Getting a reservation at Pujol proved challenging as it requires much advanced planning. But after putting our names on a waitlist, we were lucky to get a table for lunch. The vibe at Pujol is modern and spacious yet intimate with personalized service. The dishes were creative and flavorful, and a standout on the 5-course menu was the Black truffle tlayuda (a toasted tortilla) topped with wild herbs, aged sheep cheese, and ayocote puree. Another unique dish was the Mole Madre, which was 3304 days old and served with mole nuevo made with seasonal plums.


Quintonil is listed as number 9 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurant list and was an extraordinary experience. Named after a green herb, Quintonil offers a level of unimaginable creativity. Chef Jorge Vallejo worked at Noma and Pujol before opening Quintonil in 2012 with his wife, Alejandra Flores, who oversees hospitality and service. Chef Jorge Vallejo pushes the boundaries of Mexican cuisine using local ingredients and traditional Mexican flavors with modern preparations.

Getting a reservation at Quintonil was easier than Pujol, but that will not be the case for long as this was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. There is simplicity and elegance to the dining room, which is split into two sections and a chef’s counter. Service was impeccable and personable throughout the 10-course menu. Each bite was exquisite, including butternut squash and tomato salad with rice horchata and pumpkin seeds, aged Kampachi with oyster mushroom alambre, warm lobster tartare, and duck pibil tamal. Each course was paired with an international selection of wines, and in the end, it was impossible to choose a favorite dish from the meal. 

Trendy Dining in Mexico City

Mexico City offers many modern restaurants with equally delicious food in a more casual setting without tasting menus.


Rosetta is the third Mexico City restaurant on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It is rated number 49 but, unlike the two previously mentioned restaurants, it does not offer tasting menus. Opened by Chef Elena Reygadas in 2021, Rosetta is a casually elegant restaurant located in a former villa. The interior has a romantic art deco feel, with murals on the wall and a hanging garden. The menu melds Mexican and Italian dishes for simple dishes with delicate flavors.

Masala y Maiz

For bold flavors and attentive, friendly service, try Masala y Maiz. “Maíz” refers to the native corn of Mexico, and “Masala” means a mixture of spices in Urdu and Hindi. At Masala y Maiz, Chefs Norma Listman and Saqib Keval explore the migration of ingredients and cooking techniques between India, East Africa, and Mexico. The fusion of Indian and Mexican cuisine results in flavorful food, some very spicy, and there is a “natural” wine list to pair with the dishes. 

Mexico City Street Food

In Mexico City, the abundance of street food isn’t just limited to every corner; it’s a sensory feast that lines every street. With so many choices, knowing which taco shop, sidewalk grill, or market stall to visit is hard. To make it easy, we opted for food tours with Eat Mexico. Eat Mexico offers small, curated food tours led by knowledgeable local guides. Instead of going to tourist traps, Eat Mexico tours focus on a specific area and then delve into the local places that serve up some of the best barbacoa, tamales, tacos, and more. We choose to do two food tours with Eat Mexico. 

Santa Maria La Ribera

Santa Maria La Ribera was the first suburb of Mexico City. When it was built in the 1800s, it was the first neighborhood outside Centro, but today, it is a central part of the city. It was once home to the rich and the politicians. When a train station connecting to the Pacific Coast was built in the late 1890s, Santa Maria became a hub, bringing people, materials, and business. In 1910, following the Mexican revolution, refugees arrived. What was once the wealthiest neighborhood became the poorest place in the city. However, as Mexico City has grown, Santa Maria has gone through gentrification, and today, it is home to an upper-middle class and various foods. The walking tour of Santa Maria included seven stops at different family-owned local businesses to taste tamales, barbacoa flautas and consommé, tacos, tostadas with crickets, and concha pastries. 


Xochimilco, known for its farms and canals, is located about an hour southeast of Downtown Mexico City. This tour visited two markets. We wandered through the rows of stalls, stopping along the way to taste dishes such as tlacoyos, chicken tinga tostadas, elote, pulque (a traditional drink made with fermented agave sap), and more. The tour ended with a boat ride on the canals.

Where to Stay in Mexico City

Selecting a hotel in Mexico City can feel overwhelming due to the myriad options available in every neighborhood. With so many options within each neighborhood, where should one stay in Mexico City? I offer two recommendations for newer hotels that both opened in 2023.  


Volga is in the centrally located neighborhood of Colonia Cuauhtémoc, in between the two trendier Roma and Condesa neighborhoods. Volga is a small luxury hotel situated off an unassuming small, quiet street a few blocks from Paseo de la Reforma and The Angel of Independence Monument. The 49-room boutique hotel with a hulking, brutalist exterior has a contemporary minimalist interior. From the street-level entrance, one enters to overlook the restaurant Elora and the bar on the ground floor. Volga consists of two towers connected by the central atrium on the ground floor. Everything revolves around this space, which is minimally decorated in dark colors and brightened by the living wall and open-air ceiling.  

The rooms are minimalist, sustainable, and simplistically elegant. Each room has an inside balcony with a customizable iron screen system. Slide open the iron screen for a mesmerizing view of the dramatic grand atrium below or the open sky above. Sitting on the balcony with the iron screen open makes it feel like having a box seat in the theater. 

Volga offers delicious cocktails from the bar in the atrium or on the roof terrace, with lounges, a small, thin pool, and views of Mexico City.

Andaz Mexico City Condesa

Andaz Mexico City Condesa is in the trendy and walkable Condesa neighborhood known as an enclave of artists, designers, chefs, and globally-minded tastemakers. The Andaz Mexico City Condesa property was initially constructed in 1961 and has been renovated to combine vibrant colors, Mexican culture, and a modern edge. The result is a lively, contemporary luxury hotel offering 213 rooms. 

Each room comes with a record player. Before arrival, they asked what type of music we liked, and when we arrived, there were albums in the room with our preferred genre. And more albums in the lobby can be swapped out at any time. 

Andaz Mexico City Condesa offers numerous amenities and is a pet-friendly property, offering pet comforts, as well as The Wooftop Beer Garden & Canine Club and Bulldog Sports Bar. For humans, the Pasana Spa & Wellness is a full-service spa offering welcome treatments after long days of walking around Mexico City. Also, while staying at Andaz Mexico City Condesa, enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet at Portico on the ground floor and then dinner and cocktails at the Tulum-inspired Cabuya Rooftop. 

With its wealth of attractions, activities, and culinary experiences, Mexico City beckons for another visit to fully savor all it has to offer.

Allison Levine is the owner of Please The Palate, a boutique agency specializing in marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. With over 15 years of experience in communications, marketing, and event planning, Allison is passionate about the world around her and the diverse people in it. Allison is a freelance writer and contributes to numerous publications, as well as her blog at www.pleasethepalate.com. She is the host of the podcast WineSoundtrack USA where she interviews winemakers and winery owners who share their stories, insights, and some humorous anecdotes. She also co-hosts a wine video series on YouTube called Crush On This. Allison holds a master’s degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. She also holds a WSET Level 3 Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers.