Gran Café de la Parroquia

Top choice cafe in Veracruz City

To say that Veracruz' greatest ‘sight’ is a cafe might seem like a slur on this grizzled port city’s reputation, but walk into the Gran Café de la Parroquia – over two centuries old – and the penny will drop. The de rigueur drink is lechero, a milky coffee brought to your table as an espresso measure in the bottom of a glass.

Tap your spoon on the glass rim and – hey presto – a bow-tied, white-jacketed waiter quickly appears, extends his jug high in the air, and tops your coffee up with hot milk to create the perfect lechero.

The Parroquia has inspired some spin-offs in recent years (including one right next door that some people confuse with the original), but none comes close to matching the atmosphere and spirit of the original on Veracruz' Paseo del Malecón. It's a solid breakfast joint, too, with eggs prepared at least a dozen different ways.