The One Food Neighborhood in Mexico City You Should Know

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Alejandro Juarez)

Mexico City is one of the most exciting places to eat; to the uninitiated, it’s also one of the most intimidating. With more than 350 colonias (or metropolitan neighborhoods), 21 million inhabitants, and countless taco stands vying for your attention, it’s not easy to know where to begin. But don’t be deterred. The key is to start small; focus your culinary adventures to one colonia and one colonia only while you get your bearings.

So, where to begin? Read on to find out.

The One Mexico City Neighborhood Food-Lovers Should Know

As mentioned above, there’s no shortage of colonias to choose from — 350! — but if we had to choose just one it would be Colonia Roma. The tranquil, tree-lined neighborhood, once the wealthiest colonia in Mexico City and home to European aristocrats and super-wealthy natives, is definitely known for its historic architecture and picturesque streets. It is also the Foodie Neighborhood, with the greatest concentration of high-end, buzzy, and well-reviewed restaurants in all of the city. There’s also a ton of smaller, more casual places and the Mercado 100 is a destination in and of itself.

10 Must-Eat Spots in Colonia Roma, According to a Local

Ready to plan your trip? We asked Eduardo Plaschinski, the food-obsessed local behind the popular Instagram account @CazadordeloMejor (which translates as “hunter of the best”) to share his favorite spots, from hole-in-wall coffee shops to the most lauded restaurants. He also has the intel on the city’s best chorizo quesadillas. (Just sayin’.)

Máximo is one of the best restaurants in the world (and is conveniently located three blocks from my home). Chef Eduardo García has a strong product-focused philosophy, and everything he serves is a guarantee in quality, flavor, and originality. Each visit to Máximo is a different experience, thanks to a menu that changes daily. What makes meals at this warmly stylish spot unforgettable is the fact that you won’t find the same flavors and textures at any other restaurant.

At LALO! you’ll find a long communal table surrounded by graffiti and street art that’s perennially crowded with locals and visitors alike. On weekends, the reward for the hour-long breakfast lines is house-made brioche French toast and the best chilaquiles in the city. At lunch, their juicy burger is all I’ve been eating lately. Lalo’s coffee, sourced from a small producer in Veracruz, is a constant topic of conversation in the neighborhood.

This small patisserie makes the best oeufs cocotte and omelettes, accompanied by fresh, fragrant almond croissants.

I go to Contramar frequently and order the same three menu items on each visit: tacos de esmedregal al pastor (spiced, roasted cobia), tostadas de atún (pristine, sliced raw tuna) and the pescado a la talla (grilled, butterflied red snapper coated with rusty red salsa on one side and vibrant green salsa on the other). I could eat these three seafood dishes every single day.

Rosetta is one of the first restaurants that turned La Roma into what it is today. Chef Elena Reygadas’ handmade pasta is incredible, especially the tagliatelle with house-made Italian sausage. Some of the best desserts I’ve tried in my life are served here, like the incredibly beautiful pink mole made with white chocolate, beets, and seeds, and served with strawberries, raspberries, and a yogurt foam. The fresh focaccia bread and olive oil they serve before your meal is legendary.

My go-to place for a quick sandwich and cold-pressed juice, owned by the Rosetta folks. I’ll order their sweet rosemary buns — and whatever other pan dulce or typical Mexican sweet breads they have in sight — to-go and nibble on them throughout the day.

Chef Marco Carboni worked with Massimo Bottura, of Modena’s Osteria Francescana, for years. All of the menu items are deliciously and delicately executed, but there’s one dish that keeps me going back: tortellini with a Parmigiano-Reggiano foam.

This is a brand-new cafe with a short and tasty menu. In the morning you’ll find madeleines and financiers fresh out of the oven. The first time I visited, I ate the best-ever eggs Benedict, crowned with coral-colored gravlax. At lunch, dishes range from charcuterie boards to lush baba ganoush served with excellent bread and butter.

Every Sunday, this farmers market supplies Roma locals with the best produce and artisan food products from small suppliers in and around the city. One of the stalls here sells incredible black bean tamales; find me there every Sunday eating them all.

10. Buna

This modern hole-in-the-wall coffee shop serves a delicious cafechata (iced coffee mixed with horchata, a sweetened, spiced rice milk). It’s one of the only beverages that I drink devotedly a few times each day.

3 Best Street Food Vendors in Colonia Roma

  • Tlacoyería Medellín (corner of Medellín & Campeche): Grab a seat on an overturned plastic bucket and enjoy some of the best tlacoyos the city has to offer. Oval-shaped corn masa pockets that are usually filled with beans, cheese, or fava beans, tlacoyos are one of the city’s best street foods. My favorite are the fava bean tlacoyos topped with cactus, onion, queso fresco, and red and green salsas.
  • Tacos de Canasta Monterrey (corner of Monterrey & Alvaro Obregón): Right outside the entrance of the restaurant Delirio on Avenida Alvaro Obregón is a man who sells incredible tacos de canasta. These inexpensive and satisfying corn tortillas are prepared ahead of time, each one filled with mashed potatoes or crumbled sausage and then layered into a lined wicker canasta, or basket, to steam and go soft throughout the day. You’ll find him standing for long hours selling to hundreds of people on a daily basis.
  • Quesadillas (corner of Yucatán & Tonalá): Stop here for the city’s best chorizo quesadillas. The lady who attends the stand brings the spicy sausage back from her home in Toluca, located to the west of Mexico City, each week.