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If we talk about top food destinations in the world, it tends to always be an argument on who reigns supreme. There is a lot of amazing cuisine out there in this world and foodies are very opinionated people. I think though that it is time to throw my two cents into this conversation. I claim Mexico City as the greatest food destination!
To say that the capital city of Mexico is a large and boisterous city is a bit of an understatement. Mexico City is an absolutely gigantic city that seems to never end. If you include greater Mexico City, which I do, it has over twenty-one million people in the city! This makes it the second largest city in the western hemisphere.
Driving from the airport into the city is hypnotic. I felt an energy that was so intoxicating that I knew I was in trouble. My face was glued to the window watching everything that was going on in the streets. I was fascinated by everything. But it was the food stands that stood out. All the people eating amazing street food made my mouth water. I knew Ash and I were in the right city and we couldn’t wait to eat local in Mexico City.
What makes Mexico City special though when it comes to food is the fact that it is a melting pot for people from all over Mexico. Mexico City is the epicenter for all that Mexican cuisine can offer. Not can you only enjoy traditional Mexican cuisine but you can also explore all the new top notch restaurants and bars that are popping up all over the city. It feels like a giant playground for food and you can spend your whole life exploring this amazing city.
This guide does not even begin to show all that this city has to offer but it will give you a great start when it comes to where to eat local in Mexico City. We can promise you that this guide will continue to grow as Mexico City has become one of our favorite cities and we plan on coming back as often as we can.
Enjoy our guide to on where to eat local in Mexico City!
*Mexico City is HUGE. When it comes to the addresses we have put the boroughs, neighborhoods and the sub-neighborhoods when applicable. When in doubt, use google maps. Mexico City is very well mapped out!
Example – Calle Sur 69A (address), Izatapalapa (Borough), Justo Sierra (neighborhood)
Eat Local in Mexico City
Tacos de Canasta – Los Especiales
Av Francisco I. Madero 71, Centro Histórico
Neighborhood – Centro
Wandering downtown Mexico City you start to get the scale of the city. We took the metro to Zócalo to explore and were immediately confronted with one of the largest public squares we have ever seen. This place is massive and immediately we were daunted by the idea of trying to find something delicious to eat. But we were in luck.
Stumbling distance from the square was Tacos de Canasta – Los Especiales. This place just had the look of a local, divey, taco spot and we had to stop. Tacos de canasta are fried tacos and this place delivers. They serve up individual tacos for Mex$6 or 5 tacos for Mex$42.
The tacos come with a range of fillings from potato, carne in adobo, refried beans, mole verde or chicharrón. Once you are served up these freshly fried tacos grab a seat and begin to pile on the toppings. At each table and counter, there is salsa, lettuce, and pickled vegetables to top off your tacos. This is a quick, delicious, greasy and filling meal. And on top of that, it’s filled to the brim with only locals so you know it is a perfect spot to eat local in Mexico City!
I mean, who doesn’t want to indulge in fried tacos?
Calle Dr Mora 1, Centro Histórico
Neighborhood – Colonia Centro
Located in the plaza of the Central Cultura José Martí and behind the Diego Rivera Museum is a most glorious scene – rows and rows of stands and stalls selling traditional eats from chicharrón topped with lime and spice to a place to sit down and grab a full meal.
Here you can find a range of food stall serving up the best of Mexican cuisine from basic quesadillas, sopes (which are fried masa topped with refried beans, cheese, lettuce and salsa), tacos, gorditas (a thick tortilla stuffed with cheese and meat and then fried or baked), and huaraches (oblong shaped fried masa topped with salsa, potatoes, onion, cilantro and a variety of meat).
If you want to sample your way through Mexican street food, there is no better place! Also, it is all incredibly cheap!
Calle Sur 69A, 513, Iztapalapa
Neighborhood – Justo Sierra
If you’re going to eat pozole anywhere in Mexico City then this is the spot for you! Gon and his wife Sonia, our Airbnb hosts, took us out to Casa Licha for Sunday breakfast. Locals of the city, they swore to us that Casa Licha, which specializes in Guerra cuisine (pozole), is the best and most authentic pozole in the city.
Casa Licha did not disappoint. This place is one of those places that is hidden away from tourists and only locals really know about. (See we told you we were going to show you where to eat local in Mexico City!) Gon told us that if we were not with him and Sonia we would have never found this place. To be honest it’s not in the safest area of Mexico City, which is probably why most tourists don’t find it. The restaurant though was packed with local families coming to eat after Sunday morning mass.
Pozole is traditionally enjoyed in the morning and makes a perfect hangover cure according to our amazing host.
We took a seat, Gon and Sonia ordered for us and then waited in anticipation. I had no idea that I was about to eat one of the single greatest dishes I have ever had in my life. I don’t say that lightly either.
After downing a few Mexico City style micheladas (light beer, lime juice, and salt – also great for hangovers) we were greeted with bowls of both white and green pozole. Ash got a small bowl of white pozole with chicken while I decided to try and compete with Gon and got the large portion of green pozole with pork.
They taught us how to top it with lime, chile, radishes, avocado, and cilantro, and then we dug in! We continued to slam back micheladas as Gon and I attacked our bowls of endless deliciousness. Also, make sure to order some tostadas and sour cream. Spread the sour cream over the tostada and dip it into the pozole; it is amazing!
After what seemed like an hour of continuous eating I sat back to observe my progress. I was not even halfway done and my stomach was filled to the brim with pozole. Looking over at Gon I realized he was finishing up his. I was ready to unbutton my pants. But undaunted, I finished my michelada, ordered another one and dug back in.
It was that good. I did not care how full I was and I am also competitive. Gon teased me the whole way that I was not a man if I did not finish. As much as I wanted to finish, I raised my white napkin, waved and called it quits with a quarter left. The giant bowl had finally defeated me.
I enjoyed my time so much at Casa Licha that I dream about it and spend my off time thinking about the pozole. I can not wait to go back and take another try at the large portion. Less talking and more eating will probably work.
If you do go there order the chalupas as well. They are small fried tortillas topped with chicken and cheese. These are not the crazy contraptions that Taco Bell serves up.
Most importantly though, order the pozole, some toppings of your choice, a few Micheladas and get ready to have the best meal at the best place to eat local in Mexico City.
Tip – Take a taxi there and back. The area is known for crime and since you are not a local it is just safer that way. Mexico City is filled with cheap Ubers so it’s super easy to do!
7ᵃ̵ Calle de Bolívar 54-56, Centro Histórico
Neighborhood – Cuauhtémoc
When it comes to eating street tacos, Los Cocuyos was on my radar for a place that Ash and I needed to stop at. Los Cocuyos is a little hole in the wall spot. Truly the place is just a kitchen with a walk up counter so you know it is going to be a phenomenal place to eat local in Mexico City!
I came here for one reason – to enjoy all the delicious offal tacos. Yup, this is where you can get tacos filled with tongue, tripe, brains and much more. The best part are all the tacos are under twenty pesos.
Head on up to the street counter and order from the menu. They cook up everything fresh right in front of you in that big round grill. Once you get your plate squeeze some lime and put on your choice of salsa (for me I always go with the hottest). Then sit down on one of the stools on the street or stand to the side of the counter and dig in. If you are like me, once you finish, order another round of brain and tongue tacos for the walk. And don’t forget to get a side of the grilled chili!
Av. Pdte. Masaryk 513, Polanco
Neighborhood – Polanco II Secc
In the posh neighborhood of Polanco, you will find higher end restaurants scattered throughout the neighborhood. Guzina Oaxaca is one of these restaurants and is cooking up some top notch modern Oaxacan dishes. The restaurant is very welcoming with its open modern design with lots of natural wood when we came in for lunch. The restaurant was filled with local businessmen out for a nice lunch, so you know we were happy. We had a good feeling that we were in for a treat.
Ash and I decided to go all out for this meal and started with some pre-lunch mezcal cocktails accompanied with homemade tortilla chips and the most beautiful a delicious tableside salsa I have ever had.
We moved on to some starters like traditional tlayuda which is a like quesadilla stuffed with fresh Oaxacan cheese, bean paste, cabbage and then fried in pork fat. It is then served with a thin tenderized piece of steak. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this single dish was. Ashley decided to start with the molotito de plátano macho con mole negro. This was a decadently fried plantain split open and stuffed with queso fresco and topped with Mole Negro!
The feast did not end there as it was time for some main dishes. Ash opted for the fish of the day and was served a seabass in a butter corn salsa and I had the pork confit that was covered in Mole Colorado. Each bite was to die for and was succulent, rich and savory thanks to the combination of pork and the complex mole.
We could not stop there so we finished off this amazing meal with an Oaxacan chocolate lava cake with a side of cinnamon ice cream and a couple of espressos. Ash and I were in a state of stuffed bliss at the end of the meal.
Now, to be honest we ordered way too much. The portions of Guzina Oaxaca are quite large. The starters can easily be split between a couple of people. This is a must go to restaurant, especially, if you are in the mood for a great modern Oaxacan feast!
Niños Heroes 24, Iztacalco
Neighborhood – Barrio de la Asunción
The Torta Guy, as we promptly nickname the man who served up our favorite torta in the city, was located a couple of blocks away from our AirBnB. Ash and I were walking back one night when we saw a man behind a griddle in a little shop with a counter and three short stools on the sidewalk. We saw him cooking up some tortas for locals and we knew we had to order a couple to go for dinner.
The gentleman who ran the place was incredibly friendly and chatted with us as he cooked up a couple of tortas for us. I couldn’t take my eyes off him as he effortlessly grilled the chicken and then topped it with melting cheese. Once the tortas were perfectly grilled we paid the man and said goodbye as he handed us our food.
We got home and quickly opened them up. I quickly devoured mine and wanted to go back for more. The spices were amazing, the meat tender and the bread was soft and toasty. It was the perfect dinner and would make a phenomenal late night snack with some beers. They were quite large too so one will certainly fill you up! Street food is all part of the experience when you eat local in Mexico City so be sure to search out our Torta Guy!
Mercado de Coyoacán, Calle Xicoténcatl, Coyoacán
Neighborhood – Del Carmen
One of our favorite ways to eat local is by visiting the local markets and Mexico City is no exception. There are probably a hundred markets you can visit in Mexico City. We chose to visit the Coyocàn Market as it was highly recommended to us simply because of all the food choices they have there. Almost the entire interior of the market is different food stalls and we were hard pressed to choose our lunch spot. But eventually we did and we settled on Quesadillas Lucha with no regrets.
We sat down at one of the communal tables and ordered up a Mexican feast including a chicken tinga quesadilla (tinga may be the only way to eat shredded chicken FYI!), a chicken tinga tostada and two gorditas, one with chorizo and the other with carnitas. Like all good places once we were served up our meal and our bottled Coke (Mexican Coca Cola is the best) we made our way to the communal toppings to finish off our meal.
While the food here at Quesadillas Lucha is no frills you cannot beat the rich flavors that they are producing here. The chicken tinga is moist and rich while the gorditas are perfectly fried! If you make your way to Mercado de Coyocàn you might find yourself overwhelmed with the options but you can’t go wrong with the locals’ favorite, Quesadillas Lucha.
Fonda La Talavera
Gómez Farias 117 Corner of Paris Local A y C, Coyocàn
Neighborhood – Del Carmen
Fonda La Talavera is a perfect example of the fonda, mom and pop restaurants, that dot Mexico City. These restaurants are small, family run and focus on selling a menu for the midday meal. They are very popular with locals especially blue collar workers as they offer a hearty three-course menu for very little money. Fonda La Talavera is one of the favorites in Coyocàn and we knew we couldn’t miss stopping here.
The day we visited they were offering breakfast until 12:30 pm and then their menu started after that. We arrived at 12:15 and decided to wait for the menu because that was what we had come here for. We started off with some refreshing micheladas as the restaurant filled up. Then once lunch was ready we were given the choice from their menu of the day.
For our lunch, we opted for the cream of celery soup, the chicken soup, potato salad in yogurt and basil sauce, and poblano pepper rice as our two starters each. We then proceeded to the main course. I went for the chicken in mole sauce which was as rich and decadent as mole should be. Alex chose the traditional tacos filled with nopales or cactus. Both dishes were sublime and we were incredibly full. But we still had dessert! We both finished off with velvety and cinnamon filled rice pudding. The whole menu (before beers) cost just 85 pesos each!
If you are looking for a cheap, filling and utterly delicious home cooked meal while in Coyocàn you cannot miss out on Fonda La Talavera!
*Open Monday through Friday 9 am to 7 pm and Saturday 10:30-3:30
Los Esquites Con Tuetano
Xola Y Eje Central (Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas), Benito Juárez
Neighborhood – Navarte
Every Tuesday and Thursday night one street corner becomes the busiest place in the city. Locals line up for hours as they wait for one of the tastiest street snacks that can be enjoyed in Mexico City. I am talking about Los Esquites con Tuetano.
When I am talking about hours I am being completely honest. Ash and I waited in line for about an hour and a half. Yup, Ash and I patiently stood in line with the rest of the neighborhood to get this amazing treat!
So, what is it? Served up in a giant styrofoam cup is a savory treat of corn, spices, broth, cheese, lime, salt and a big helping of bone marrow. This was one of the most amazing cups of food I have ever had. It is decadent because of the bone marrow; it is sweet due to the corn and also salty, savory and everything else you need in life.
I just ordered a medium cup which is a pretty big cup for this very rich dish. The locals, however, were ordering multiple orders of the large portion to go. They were not messing around when it came to this. I was worried that they were going to run out before I got to the front. Luckily when I got up front they were still making up large batches of it and made sure that everyone had plenty of bone marrow for their portion.
There is one other topping that they put in it besides lime and cheese and that is a big whopping spoonful of mayo. I am not a fan of mayo so I skipped it but that is what everybody else was adding to it.
This street stand is a bit of a wait but for an amazing cup of comfort and a local experience it was totally worth my time and believe everyone should try it!
Drink Local in Mexico City
Mezcalería La Casa de Sirenas
Calle Republica de Guatemala No. 32, Centro Histórico
Neighborhood – Cuauhtemoc
Looking to drink mezcal while in Mexico City? Of course, you are! And Mezcalería La Casa de Sirenas is the place to visit if you want to drink some mezcal cocktails! This bar has a huge selection of mezcal, raicilla (also distilled from agave) and tequila plus artisanal Mexican beers and of course, mezcal cocktails. We grabbed a seat at the bar but there is also a lovely outdoor patio and an upstairs terrace with a full restaurant.
Their cocktails were artfully prepared and full of fresh ingredients including tamarind, fresh strawberries, and hibiscus. My favorite was probably the Maria Bonita with fresh strawberries blended with mezcal, hibiscus syrup, and lemon juice. Once the cocktail was blended they stuck a sprig of burning rosemary in it and then capped it to capture the smoke. Once it was filled with smoke the top was released and the cocktail was imbued with the aroma of rosemary! Not only was it fun to watch but it tasted amazing and was the perfect cocktail for a warm spring day!
If you find yourself wandering downtown and extremely thirsty from sightseeing you must take a little mezcal break here!
Calle Julio Verne 93, Polanco
Neighborhood – Polanco IV Secc
Jules Basement is the jazz speakeasy we all need in our lives. Hidden inside a local restaurant behind a refrigerator door this speakeasy just oozes cool from the silver studded ceiling to the white skull tables to the white lucite studded bar. While the decor is strictly modern the music is old school jazz and you will find yourself tapping your feet along to the bands that play nightly.
Order yourself up one of their delicious handcrafted cocktails which change seasonally or leave yourself in the bartender’s hands with the mixologist’s choice with whatever alcohol you prefer. While you may promise yourself that you will only come for one drink you may just find yourself drawn into the contagious atmosphere and never want to leave!
If you really want to come here, we suggest making reservations ahead of time. You will find their reservation form here.
Av. Álvaro Obregón 106, Roma
Neighborhood – Roma Norte
When you are walking down the street and you run into a bar that has been nominated as one of the best bars in the world how can you not stop and enjoy a few of these well-concocted creations? I mean hey, it was number 20 in the world in 2015.
Licorería Limantour is located in Roma Notre, one of the higher end neighborhoods of Mexico City that has a wonderful array of bars and restaurants. This is a really beautiful neighborhood to sit outside, enjoy the view and do some people watching. And it helps if you have a great cocktail in hand!
That is exactly what Ashley and I did at Licorería Limantour. We sat out front and relaxed for a couple of hours enjoying a couple of cocktails. Their margarita al pastor is what they are known for. This cocktail was inspired by the famous al pastor tacos and is made with Tequila Herradura, lime, agave nectar, pineapple juice, and Cointreau. It is a beautiful drink and it is perfectly balanced with the pineapple rounding out the lime acid and invoking the spirit of the pineapple spiced tacos.
While the cocktails are not cheap, especially when you compare it to the rest of the city, both of us agree that every cocktail we enjoyed was worth it. We also suggest trying the Machete, Vicuña and the delightful Marcona cocktails. This open air modern bar is definitely worth a stop.
A quick tip, this bar is very popular so be like us and go during the middle of the week (as we don’t like crowded bars) or make reservations.
Luis Moya 31, Cuauhtémoc
Neighborhood – Centro
Bosfóro is one of those bars that Ash and I could have easily spent our entire six-month budget at. I can see Ash and I going back, pulling up a seat at the bar and just working our way down their amazing list of mezcal.
Bosfóro is a hip bar that only serves mezcal, beer, and a few bar bites. Take a look at the large menu that hangs up over the bar. It is broken up by region and contains anywhere between 50 to 70 different types of mezcal. Take your pick from the plethora of mezcal and begin your wonderful education of the wonders of mezcal. From the fruity to earthy and everything in between they have it all and the staff is ready to guide you down this spiritual adventure.
This is not a cocktail bar. Here you order a mezcal and they fill up a 2 oz shot glass and it is sat in front of you. Remember though you are not back in university so hold back your muscle memory for instantly slamming it. This shot is for sipping, to enjoy all the wonderful flavors that are to come. If you are like me, order a beer back with it and sip on the beer along with all the mezcal. It certainly kept me from drinking through the mezcal at lightning speeds because they were all so delicious.
If you are feeling famished then order from a short list of bar bites ranging from a bowl of crickets to cricket quesadillas. Crickets and mezcal just kind of go together and I suggest that you try at least one bowl of them! They are after all an Oaxacan specialty just like mezcal.
With a cool and laid back atmosphere it is easy to lose time in Bosfóro. With the soft electronic music, you might just find yourself going down the mezcal rabbit hole.
As I said in the introduction, this is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where to eat local in Mexico City. We only had a week there which was not nearly enough time to completely explore this beautiful city. This guide, however, will get you going as you explore the wonders of Mexico City.
This is just the beginning of this article. Ash and I are determined to continue to grow this Eat Local guide. We are already planning a return trip to Mexico City and see ourselves returning to this city time and time again. We hope you enjoyed this guide and I hope this encourages you to go and explore the capital of Mexico and eat local in Mexico City!
If you have any suggestions for us let us know! We know that we have barely scratched the surface of Mexico City and that there are many, many more places to eat local in Mexico City!
Heading to Mexico soon? Don’t forget to buy travel insurance! Sure you may not use it but its always good to have. We recommend World Nomads which we have been using for years and have always made us feel secure as we travel around the world!
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