In recent years Mexico City has emerged as a major destination for culinary travelers, as Mexican chefs win the sort of praise formerly reserved for their counterparts in New York and Paris. Even street food has been taken off the streets and dressed up for a growing trend of boutique food trucks, gourmet markets and converted buildings.

Where to Eat

The capital offers eateries for all tastes and budgets, from soulful taco stalls to gourmet restaurants. Most of the hottest venues for contemporary cuisine show up in Roma, Condesa and Polanco.

Though places on the immediate perimeter of the Alameda cater to tourists, head down Luis Moya or along Ayuntamiento, south of the Alameda, for pockets of the neighborhood’s rustic heritage in the form of torta (sandwich) stands and chicken-soup vendors. Mexico City’s modest Barrio Chino (Chinatown) covers a single paper-lantern-strung block of Calle Dolores, one block south of the park, but its mediocre restaurants are best avoided.

While the Zona Rosa is packed with places to eat and drink, with few exceptions the area is dominated by uninspiring ‘international’ fare and fast-food franchises, though increasingly there are excellent Korean and Japanese options here. North of Paseo de la Reforma, many new restaurants, good cafes and bars are cropping up in the Colonia Cuauhtémoc.

La Condesa has dozens upon dozens of informal bistros and cafes – many with sidewalk tables – competing for business along several key streets. The neighborhood’s restaurant zone is at the convergence of Michoacán, Vicente Suárez and Tamaulipas; many good establishments ring Parque México.

Cheap Eats

Budget eaters will find literally thousands of restaurants and holes-in-the-wall serving comida corrida (set lunch) for as little as M$50 during the week; market buildings are good places to look for these. Tianguis (street markets) customarily have eating areas offering tacos and quesadillas.

In the evening, vendors roam the streets on bicycles selling hot tamales, their arrival heralded by nasal-toned recordings through cheap speakers. You’ll know the camote (sweet potato) man is coming by the shrill steam whistle emitted from his cart, heard for blocks around.