Places to eat in Mexico City
Updated: Jan 18
Some things in life, though very ordinary seem to have their own unique charm, something that creates extra-ordinary out of the ordinary – like having ice-cream from a wafer cone, traveling on the upper deck of a double decker bus and sipping tea from an earthen cup(if you are from India). One such simple but unique experience that we crave for is having lunch/dinner on the sidewalk, and all restaurants located with such a space, immediately get 20 extra points on my rating chart. One such restaurant, whose claim to fame is certainly not just the sidewalk seating is Catamundi, located in Polanco, just around the corner on Av. Presidente Masaryk.
Catamundi offers a precisely selected list of gastronomical delights from the kitchen of renowned chef Pablo Carrera stretching your stomach muscles from Crabcakes to Carpaccios, Soups to Salads and ‘Pulpo’ to ‘Pollo’ (Octopus to Chicken). The delights we were lucky enough to savour included ‘Pulpo Catamundi’, ‘Pollito Organico’, ‘Short Rib Braseado’ and ‘Risotto del Dia’. Each one of them had a taste as unique as their names and had a freshness in the way they were presented.
What supremely complements these offerings at Catamundi is the endless list of wines from across the world. If you are at Catamundi you have to make sure that your food is accompanied by at least one of the fine bottles in their collection, something you can visually admire and choose from their beautifully stacked ‘Wine wall’ in the inside seating area(which by the way is beautifully set up for those who are not lucky enough to get the outside seating).
Catamundi is open all day and late into the nights on weekends. So if you are in Mexico City you should find some time in the early or late hours and try this one place out.
After a great shoot for our first fashion collaboration (I know we have mentioned this so many times, but we are excited... sorry!) for which we woke up really early by our standards, we were tired and starving. We straight away headed to Plaza Centro Comercial (A huge and pretty mall) in Santa Fe and we did not want to shop! Can you imagine how hungry we would have been? Well this next place we are sharing with you guys is my personal favorite here in Mexico City. Had it been Anjuri’s way, we would not have ended up there. (We hog at this place all the time, so she wanted to try someplace else). But we were accompanied by a sister of ours who is vegetarian too and it was two against one so Anjuri had to give in and agree to come to “50 Friends” with us.
50 Friends is an Italian restaurant chain(the one we went to is located in the rooftop restaurant section of Via Santa Fe called La Terraza) and their pizzas are to die for - my personal favorite, the “Pasta Arrabbiata”. The place is tastefully decorated, they have free Wi-Fi (that’s something we all look for these days. Isn’t it?), pets are allowed to come and have a great evening too (only in some of their branches). They are spread all over Mexico, with a total of 14 restaurants including one in Acapulco and one in Cancun. Fact – They have already made enough pizzas to fill the Roman Colosseum 23 times.
Their pizzas are a great combination of Italian authenticity custom made to satisfy Mexican taste buds. This time however we stuck with our favorite Minestrone soup (custom made into a vegetarian soup), Pasta Arrabbiata and some Red Wine to accompany. Being in this part of the world, it is not easy to find a place where you get good vegetarian food, but this place is a big-time exception and that is the reason why I am in love with it (No it is not an all vegetarian restaurant, but they have options in menu and that makes me elated)! Other best thing about 50 Friends is the complimentary freshly baked breads (different types of breads) accompanied by varieties of salsas that they serve (This is a tradition followed in most of the Mexican restaurants, breads or chips with salsas). Garlic salsa is my favorite. I call for it again sometimes, yes that’s a confession.
Coming to what we ate that noon - the Minestrone soup was a perfect mix of veggies and kidney beans mixed with some pasta, garnished with parmesan cheese, loads and loads of it. It was just mouthwatering and writing about it now makes me want to go back there, right now. Their pasta is one thing I can blindly order every single time, the taste remains the same, plain awesomeness. You can select the type of pasta you want which is topped with red sauce made using tomatoes and garlic, glazed with freshly grated parmesan cheese. It is really hot and spicy, just perfect for my taste.
There are so many things we are yet to try and that affirms my belief that 50 Friends will be one of the most visited restaurants for me in Mexico City. Anjuri will accompany me too. She has little or no choice ;)
We went grocery shopping yesterday – it was more of a reactive action looking at the empty kitchen, emptier than a craving woman’s just finished ice cream tub. The plan was to cook a classic Indian meal of veggies and rice post the grocery shopping, but the shopping aisles somehow take up more of our time, every time, than you could possibly ever anticipate. Which of course leads to Anjuri’s ‘hunger temper’ shooting up to unnatural levels leaving us with no option other than finding the closest place to insta-feed her. And right then our eyes landed upon perhaps the most delicious assortment of 5 letters - Chazz - Prime Burgers Salads and Bakery. This cool sports bar looking restaurant is just fifty steps away from Superama (The supermarket we shop from).Well who doesn’t like some burgers and sandwiches middle of the day!
I really wanted to have a burger (heart said yes but brain said no, for all those gym sessions where I sweat it out like crazy). Sense prevailed, and I ordered a Salad bowl (Ensalada) for main course after stuffing myself up with a customized vegetarian sandwich made in homemade multigrain bread (this we shared). Did I tell you guys already that I am a vegetarian? Well I am, and the salad bowl was like a heaven for me, it can be refilled from the salad counter innumerable times. That made me ecstatic even though I was almost full, because the spread was huge, and you cannot have all that in one go. All the vegetables you can imagine along with all the sauces and the cherry on the top was the Chef’s special salad spread, where there were different varieties of pasta salads, fruit salads and some great other concoctions to relish.
Anjuri called for Papas a la francesa (French fries) y (and) Alitas de pollo (chicken wings) for entradas (starters) and Hamburgesa A tu Manera(DIY burgey) for main course. Told you she was really very hungry! The fries came crisp and piping hot, the chicken wings were glazed and sour(Too sour for her taste – so if you don’t like tangy stuff this one is a no-no for you) and that’s a specialty here in Mexico. The burger was so good she could hardly stop while eating. The best thing is that the burger comes stuffed only with a really juicy beef patty - and the rest you can customize it to your souls liking from the open counter.
The laid back ambience, the quality of the veggies and meat and most importantly the complete freedom afforded to you on how you want to customize your food are reasons enough for us to go back to Chazz. Our over-satisfied taste buds made us so happy that we completely forgot that we had to carry so many bags full of groceries and walk back home. Arghhh!
P.F Chang's, Reforma 222
Roaming around Mexico City (CDMX) is tough act. The traffic, the throngs of people, the continuous rush to be somewhere – do something… and all these tough acts make you feel hungry. Thankfully, you are spoilt for choice if food is what you are looking for in CDMX – from street side food trucks, Taqueria corners and cute little cafés to steakhouses, premium grill bars and international fine and dine restaurants – there is something to suit everyone’s palette and pocket. Last week we decided to interrupt one of our little excursions around the city by going to something that falls right in the sweet spot for food lovers – internationally acclaimed, not too expensive and Chinese.
P.F. Chang’s, the US born Asian cuisine chain has more than 20 outlets in Mexico, with 14 of them in Mexico City. Once inside, you are always impressed by the décor of any P.F. Chang’s, but the outdoor seating of this one (Reforma 222) especially charmed us. But what charmed us even more was the ‘Dynamite Shrimp’. Served in cocktail glasses, with a flavor that’s unrivalled, make sure you order one for each person at the table(lest there is a food war). We followed those up with some ‘Warrior Rolls’ – aptly named for the conflict that plays out in your mouth between the rice, meat and combination of salsas – a beautiful conflict too.
Living up to these delicious appetizers would be a herculean task for any main course – but at P.F. Chang’s the law of diminishing marginal utility seemed non-applicable. Our proper meal included Singapore Street Noodles(Vegetarian version), Wok charred beef and Kung Pao Chicken. Putting into words, how our taste buds were experiencing a melodrama of flavors, is a task that is challenging my vocabulary every second.
The only complaint that we had, was the food was so plentiful that continuing the rest of our excursion on foot was a challenge we did not relish. However, for a lunch with friends or family, we can recommend P.F. Chang’s as an option that you should definitely explore.
Barbacoa de Santiago
After a casual day out in San Angel, nothing would have been better than feeding ourselves with authentic Mexican cuisine. Tortilla chips with the most amazing Guacamole and tacos! Mexican food is hot and spicy ( and if not, just ask for some Salsa Picante ) and it resonates well with Indians because we love hot and spicy food.
We wanted to eat like locals and so we were looking for an eatery that was not too fancy, not too expensive, only tasty food and we stumbled upon this place called Barbacoa de Santiago. Their specialty is barbacoa ( Barbecue in english ), slow grilled , made of lamb but there are a lot of other options that you can satiate your hunger with. The place is usually full during the day so you might have to wait to taste!
We had our lunch late and just wanted to munch a little so we called for some Guacamole with chips along with Aracherra ( beef ) tacos and jugo de naranja (orange juice) which is highly recommended. We have been crushing on Guacamole ( made with Avocados , onions , tomatoes and green chilies along with salt and lemon ) since the time we have come to Mexico. Its healthy and delicious. What we had here was really good and we ate it all so quick we had to call for one more portion. The tacos were filled with excellently cooked beef that would melt in mouth, and we enhanced the taste by using the red and green salsas. The orange juice was literally forced upon us when all we wanted was a bottle of water , but boy do we regret ? It was freshly squeezed , chilled and super refreshing, we literally felt energized after all the walking around the town.
We could not cover a lot of stuff on their menu and for that we would be returning to Barbacoa de Santiago . The food was good , the staff was friendly and courteous and the ambience was cute . Its a must visit and we are definitely going back soon .