Here’s Why Mexico City Is a Must-Visit Destination for Foodies

Casa Polanco’s library and honor bar (Photo by Karyn Millet)

It’s hard to think of a culinary destination more relevant than Mexico City. About a four-hour flight from SFO, Mexico’s capital has over 57,000 places to eat. Dining options are a refreshing mix of old and new, high and low — everything from refined Michelin-star-worthy fare showcasing Mexican cuisine’s depth to humble family-owned taquerias. It’s where street food is no fad and chefs deeply connected to the country’s culinary traditions aren’t afraid to have fun. In well-heeled neighborhoods like Roma, La Condesa, Juárez and Polanco, the mouthwatering options seem to never end. Across the metropolis, female chefs are shining bright.

Travelers here can and should plan their trip around meals, with a healthy dose of art and cultural offerings mixed in. Here’s an itinerary to get you on your way for a tasty trip of three days or, hopefully, more.


a bakery cafe in Mexico City
Courtesy of Panadería Rosetta


On your first morning in Mexico City, make a beeline for the dreamy Panadería Rosetta in Roma. The bakery is as pretty as a Parisian boulangerie with its pastel-colored walls and dark wood pastry counter. Offerings — honey croissants, tangy guava rolls and baguette sandwiches with manchego and ham — are both traditional and unexpected. Chef Elena Reygadas’s equally enticing Italian restaurant Rosetta is in a high-ceilinged villa down the street.

Grab a cab or an Uber, an efficient and safe way to get around Mexico City, and head to Zócalo, the city’s historic center. Entry to the grand Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral is free. It was the first cathedral built in the Americas and sits atop Tenochtitlan, the onetime capital of the Aztec empire. The remains of the Templo Mayor, the Aztecs’ most revered temple, are next door. A modest admission fee covers access to a museum and the archaeological site.

Just a few blocks from Zócalo, El Cardenal on Palma Street serves some of Mexico City’s best traditional cuisine, such as mole coloradito and cheese wrapped in squash leaves, in a historic stone building with a mansard roof and stained-glass windows.

To walk off lunch, choose between a pair of museums. In a former palace, Foro Valparaíso Museum has multiple galleries showcasing 20th-century gems, such as Diego Rivera’s “Calla Lily Vendor,” completed in 1942. The Kaluz Museum showcases the private collection of billionaire businessman Antonio del Valle Ruiz in an 18th-century building on Alameda Central Park.

Chefs Karina Mejía and Israel Montero, who graduated from the Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon and worked alongside Alain Ducasse at Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris, have been trying to rescue native corn since 2019 at their taqueria Siembra Taquería in tony Polanco. At the adjacent year-old restaurant Siembra Comedor, a warm space featuring tzalam wood, volcanic stone and woven palm, diners can order the day’s seafood catch with green mole, artisanal tortillas and beans; organic duck breast lacquered in honey, spice and kumquat; Caesar salad made table side; and decadent desserts like chocolate tamale with vanilla and cocoa nibs paired with Mexican wines.


an aesthetically pleasing meal at Pujol
Part of the seven-course meal at Pujol (Araceli Paz)


After a leisurely morning, head to Chapultepec Park, Latin America’s oldest and largest urban park, which has everything from a zoo to a National Museum of Anthropology. Hilltop Chapultepec Castle, which is also the National History Museum, is one of Mexico City’s most iconic landmarks. The neoclassical palace has important artworks of national significance and elegant rooms still furnished as they would have been around the turn of the 20th century.

At the casual taqueria Tacos Hola El Güero in La Condesa, diners choose from about a dozen guisados, braised meats and vegetables served in large clay casseroles. Pop into designer Francisco Cancino’s flagship boutique, Cancino by Cancino, a 30-minute walk from the taqueria, where designer dresses are inspired by Mexico’s history and architecture.

Chef Enrique Olvera’s Pujol consistently ranks among the best restaurants in the world. In the clean-lined dining room, gourmands indulge in a seven-course tasting menu that changes seasonally and might include kampachi tacos and mole aged for 2,500 days.

Capitalinos appreciate a well-balanced drink. At Rayo Cocktail Bar, which feels like a refined club, concoctions are sweet and savory, featuring ingredients like traditional Mayan spirits, purple sweet potato and lime. Handshake Speakeasy in Juárez, which one website rates among one of the 50 Best Bars in North America, is a sophisticated watering hole with art deco design and artful drinks.


Hotels Made for Foodies

Design-y hideaway Condesa DF (from $290 per night) has a rooftop sushi restaurant. Sunday brunch in the triangular inner courtyard is a scene. Casa Polanco (from $700 per night), an upscale hotel in a Spanish Revival–style mansion, is walking distance to Pujol. Colima 71 (from $300 per night) is a boutique hotel where guests have a direct line to the bar to order complimentary mezcal for turndown service. At the St. Regis Mexico City (from $656 per night), staff serve handcrafted cocktails at King Cole Bar and Greek specialties at the new restaurant Mentor.