1. Get close and personal with the hip and upscale neighborhood of La Roma.
Close to downtown, it is a good starting point to start uncovering the city's main hotspots.
Boasting French influences and a pristine art-deco style, La Roma is a vibrant yet friendly and human scale district populated with tasteful street art, multidisciplinary buildings and galleries like Casa Lamm as well as avant-garde restaurants that reinvent Mexican cuisine from its core and humble beginnings as Fonda Fina under the mastery of chef Juan Cabrera.
Bonemarrow panucho, teporocho (a drink with tequila, rum and beer served in a paper bag covered glass), pork belly sope, requeson peneques, dried noodles with chilaquiles, Mexican style meatballs and Chiapas cheese flan are some of the delicacies you will be able to experience there.
2. Sooner than later, visit Balcon del Zocalo restaurant.
Because as you do so, you'll be uncovering one of the best kept secrets of downtown: its contemporary Mexican cuisine with a view. And while you are at it, try the tuna toast and ensenada taco with a glass of Mexican wine.
Alternatively, ask chef Jose Salinas when you could indulge in a market and cooking workshop to learn how to prepare dishes like shrimp red aguachile, red snapper or one of his signature desserts with tropical flavors and flowers from searching for the best ingredients in the market to the table.
3. Play tourist at La Gruta restaurant.
La Gruta, there since 1928 when the grandfather of today's owner, started serving meals to the pouring visitors, is located inside a wide semi-open cave that was anciently used as a refrigerator for the corn supplies. Nowadays, Carlos Cedillo, its executive chef, will make sure you leave it happy and willing to come back.
Try their Xoconostle margaritas, is homemade mole, chapulines (crickets and grasshoppers), escamoles (ant eggs), white worms, huitlacoche and quelites quesadillas, ram barbecue and elote cake for dessert.
4. Quench your thirst and calm your hunger joining a Taquerias and Cantinas tour.
- Cantina Tio Pepe. Dolores, Centro.
- Taqueria Tacos de Canasta. Dolores, Centro.
- Taqueria Los Cocuyos. 7ᵃ̵ Calle de Bolívar 54-56, Centro.
- Taqueria El Huequito. Bolívar 58, Col. Centro.
- Cantina Gallo de Oro. Calle Venustiano Carranza 35, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, Col. Centro.
- Casa Churra Restaurant. Calle 16 de Septiembre 26, Cuauhtémoc, Centro.
- Cantina Buenos Aires. Motolinia 21, Centro.
5. Enjoy Atalaya's tasting menu in Santa Fe.
With 10 dishes (spicy tomatoes with mussels, foie gras torchon with popcorn and wild berries, garden tomatoes salad with sherry vinaigrette and fresh garlic, aguachile negro with shrimp and watermelon, scallops with potato foam, 'al pastor' pork belly taco, cuttlefish in 'chilmole' stuffed with chorizo and black pudding, fish in pipian sauce with tender beans and zucchini, cochinita pibil and deer with 'mole amarillito' and banana purée), 2 desserts (nixtamalized papaya with curd cheese ice cream and coco beach, pineapple foam and coconut ice cream with basil flowers) and 6 different drinks to pair it all with, chef Atzín Santos won't leave you hungry. Or unsatisfied.
Once you are done, have a look to the neighborhood skyscrapers that populate Santa Fe. Yet another Instagram worth spot in Mexico city!
6. Listen to a mariachis band in the same district.
At Chantico, a restaurant not far from the canals and as you taste salsas, quesadillas, sopecitos, salad, habas, pata toasts, huahzontles, tlapique and nieve de pepino (cucumber ice-cream).
7. Savor mezcal.
Learning why it is something different and usually artisanal as opposed to mass-production tequila, although both of these spirits come from the agave.
Go on a 'Siete misterios' mezcal tasting and enjoy some of the most widespread varieties like Doba-Yej, Espadin, Mexicano or the unique Pechuga that becomes a celebration drink as its triple distillation involving a turkey breast and fruits makes it a mezcal reserved for special occasions only.
8. Explore a few markets of Mexico City.
Start with Jamaica market for a colorful and scented groceries and flowers traditional market where locals start planning their meals and Mexican delicacies are found.
Continue to La Viga market if you aren't afraid of a bit of fish and sea food from all over the country. Fall in love with the lively workers and good vibes as you walk and talk with the vendors of this one.
And for something slightly different, don't forget to dive in Sonora market, the epicenter of everything goes in Mexico city. From all kinds of herbs, food and costumes to alive animals for chaman rituals, everything and anything can be found in this mega market.
9. And dine at Independencia market.
- Del Cardumen restaurant (ask for fresh tuna toast, shrimp taco, tortillas and flautas).
- Antoje Ria (where you can taste frijol and noodle soups. Also, veggie burger with quinoa and kale and beef burger with cured ham and white truffle sauce).
- La Flauteria (order a condensed milk carlota).
- [gallery type="rectangular" link="none" size="medium" ids="84711,84710,84709,84708" orderby="rand"]
10. Rub shoulders with some of the people defining today's Mexico city's food scene at Nicos.
In Azcapotzalco, this family owned restaurant has been serving traditional food for almost 60 years. Chef Gerardo Vazquez Lugo, reproduces the award-winning recipes of his mother Elena. She opened Nicos as a place to sell sweets. But soon after that started offering salt dishes as customers wouldn't stop asking her to do so.
Ask for quelites and nopales soup, duck salmagundi toast, smoked merlin carpaccio, dry soup and cajeta cheese flan.
A larger version of this post was originally published on A World to Travel and republished here with permission. Continue browsing things to do in Mexico City now to uncover how to keep yourself busy, well-fed and happy in Mexico City.
After studying, working and volunteering her way around the world, Inma started A World to Travel to share her experiences around the world, absolute passion for festivals, the great outdoors and all things travel.
Follow her on Instagram: @aworldtotravel