What to eat in Mexico city, Mexico
Although it is easy to assume that Mexico City is the world capital of tacos, you can find almost any kind of food in this city. There are regional specialties from all over Mexico as well as international cuisine, including Japanese, Chinese, French, Polish, Italian, Argentinean, Belgian, Irish, you name it. The main restaurant areas are located in Polanco, Condesa and Roma, Centro, Zona Rosa, along Avenida Insurgentes from Viaducto to Copilco and more recently Santa Fe.
There are Mexican chain restaurants that can be assumed to be safe and similar no matter where you are, including Vips, Toks, and the more traditional Sanborns, all reminiscent of Denny’s in the United States. If you’re on a budget, you can also try one of the myriad comida corrida (set menu) restaurants, frequented by many office workers. Most of these offer very good food, are usually safe.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous type of food almost anywhere in Mexico city are fast food outlets, located on the ground floor of a street-facing building, or puestos, street stands located on a sidewalk or almost anywhere there is room. These serve the usual tacos, burritos or tortas (filled bread rolls similar to a sub or sandwich), and they can be very cheap.
If you want to stuff your face with lots of real Mexican food at cheap prices then head over to La Merced (the central market, located on the pink line of the subway at the stop “Merced”). There are several restaurants as well as stands serving up some delicious food. Huaraches, which are something like giant tortillas with different toppings/fillings, are popular here, as are alambres.
If you want something safe and boring, most American fast food chains have franchises here. You’ll see McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr, Domino’s Pizza, TGI Friday’s, Chili’s, Dairy Queen, Subway, and Starbucks. Reforma and Insurgentes Avenues have Starbucks around every other corner. These are all fairly affordable to Europeans/Americans and people from other richer countries.
El Globo, a French-style bakery, has locations throughout the city selling both French and traditional Mexican pastries, like orejas (little ears), eclairs, empanadas, and rosca during New Year’s. It can’t be beat for a quick snack or bagful of pastries to eat later.
Asian food restaurants are abundant, and the quality is good, and caters from cheap Chinese cafeterias to expensive and very good Japanese food. Note that Korean, Japanese and Chinese are most common cuisines in Mexico City, while Indian, Thai and Indonesian can be harder to find. Most sushi places, however, put far too much rice on their sushi rolls and not enough fish.
Vegetarian (vegetariano in Spanish) alternatives are commonly available at larger restaurants, but don’t expect much from street vendors. The magic phrases, for vegetarians or vegans, are “sin pollo” (no chicken), “sin carne” (no meat), “sin huevo” (no eggs) and “sin queso” (no cheese). If you can communicate this and then gesticulate to the menu, the waiter normally will give you suggestions. In regular restaurants, they will even try to edit an existing dish for you. Just make sure you are clear. Chile Rellenos are a definite standard in any restaurant for the vegetarian. There are also now many vegetarian restaurants in the city and many more restaurants that are explicitly vegetarian friendly. If you want to try the famous street food of Mexico City, there are at least two excellent and totally vegan options: Gatorta (tortas and tacos) and Por Siempre (tacos). Both are in Roma.
Don’t leave without trying
- Tacos al pastor
- Tacos de cabeza de res al vapor (Cesos, ojo, trompa, cachete, maciza, lengua o surtida)
- Tacos de tripa
- Enchiladas Suizas
- Enchiladas de mole
- Sopa de tortilla
- Huevos Rancheros
- Tacos de suadero
- Tacos de canasta
- Tacos de barbacoa
For a quick snack you can always try a tamal (steamed corn dough with chicken or pork) bought on the street or specialized shops, accompanied by a cup of atole (hot chocolate corn starch drink), which is the breakfast of the humble on their way to work.