A Food-Forward Mexico City Guide: Best Restaurants, Street Food & More

by Dottie

If you are love to eat and are curious about food, there are few places better than Mexico City. Read on for observations about Mexico City food culture and a list of the best restaurants and street food you can find in town.

You can explore Mexico City your whole life and not see it all.

The city oozes history and culture. Simultaneously modern and metropolitan and brimming with Mexican tradition, you can eat tacos to your heart’s content at humble street stalls by day and dance with the well-dressed, crème de la crème of Mexico City by night. Spanish colonial architecture stands side-by-side with Aztec ruins and contemporary skyscrapers. There are parts of town that feel and look like you’ve landed in Europe, and parts where there is absolutely no doubt that you are in Mexico.

In this food-forward guide to Mexico City, you’ll get an inside look at the delights and quirks of Mexico City’s food scene along with our recommendations for the best restaurants and street food stalls in town.

Table of Contents

An Inside Look at Mexico City Food Culture

If you love to eat and are curious about food culture and history, there are few places in the world better than Mexico City. Here’s why.

There’s Something for Every Budget

For you bougie foodies — Mexico City is no stranger to fine dining. Two of the World’s 50 Best RestaurantsPujol and Quintonil — are in Mexico City. If you’re looking at the World’s 100 Best Restaurants, the list expands to include Sud777.

If you instead seek authentic Mexican food that locals eat day-to-day, Mexico City delivers with its myriad markets and street food stalls around every corner.

And, of course, there’s everything else in-between.

The Best Eats in Town Are Found in Markets

Where there are supermarkets in the United States, there are traditional food markets in Mexico. Even in ultra-metropolitan Mexico City, it’s more convenient to shop for groceries at your neighborhood market than at a grocery store. I’m actually convinced that Mexico City (and all of Mexico really) is just one giant market (and neighborhoods like Tepito literally are). Inside, you can find some of the best food anywhere in the city.

Read: 6 Best Markets in Mexico City to Shop & Eat

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Mexican Food Markets

You Can Find Unique Dishes From All Over Mexico

Cooks come from all over Mexico to open restaurants in Mexico City and bring the diverse flavors of their hometown with them. Craving a taste of spicy Sinoloan aguachile, authentic Hidalgan barbacoa cooked the way it has been for hundreds of years, the acidic savoriness of Yucatanian cochinita pibil, the rustic texture of a Oaxacan tortilla, or the fatty, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Michoacan carnitas? You’ll most certainly find it all and more in Mexico City.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Barbacoa | El Hidanguense
Barbacoa at El Hidalguense

The Street Food is Incredible, Cheap, and All Over the Place

You don’t have to go far in Mexico City to find delicious street food. There are stalls quite literally everywhere, and they are usually up to something delicious. From meat-stuffed quesadillas and Mexican soups to more tacos than your mind can wrap itself around, you’ll eat to your heart’s content for cheap.

There are even some unexpected options, like stalls specializing in vegan tacos served by hipsters behind the counter. I’ve rarely seen young people behind the scenes at street food stalls in my travels, and it’s cool to see different faces getting involved in Mexico City.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Best Tacos
I can’t believe we got this far without a picture of tacos.

Tired of Mexican Food? Dip Your Toes in the International Food Scene

Like any metropolis, Mexico City offers many international eats and fusion cuisines. During our two-and-a-half weeks in town, we tried Indian-Mexican at Masala y Maiz, traditional Argentinian barbecue, Korean seafood noodles and bulgogi, Russian fish soup, and even Taiwanese food at Bao Bao Taiwanese Eatery.

If you find yourself thinking that you can’t possibly eat another taco, Mexico City has you covered.

Where to Eat in Mexico City: Restaurants & Street Food

Everywhere On My “Best Carnitas Tacos in Mexico City” List

Ah…carnitas. Arguably the most decadent taco meat in existence, made by frying every part of the pig you can imagine in its own lard for 2-4 hours. Nom nom nom nom.

Mexico City is a carnitas paradise, and there are numerous vendors to choose from across the city. Check out my blog post for the low-down, though the winner is hands-down Carnitas “El Charro” in the Coyoacan Market on the weekends.

Where to eat in Mexico City | Food Guide | Carnitas
Carnitas at Mercado Medellin.

Las Tapas de San Juan

Neighborhood: Historic Center
Price $$

Las Tapas de San Juan specializes in meat-and-cheese stuffed paninis in Mercado de San Juan. Though the food is mostly European-inspired, there are a medley of homemade Mexican house sauces that you can slop on your food for an extra sweet or spicy kick.

The best part? Order one panini and you get a glass of wine, a meat and cheese plate, and dessert for free. Eating at this stall is such a fun experience that we went three times.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Tapas de San Juan

Rico Caldos de Gallina “Luis”

Neighborhood: Roma Norte
Price $

Love chicken soup? Hit up Rico Caldos de Gallina “Luis,” a small restaurant in Roma Norte specializing in just that. You can see the huge pot of chicken broth boiling right in front of you and it tastes like exactly what you want on a cold, rainy day.

And though we didn’t try the restaurant’s other specialty — enchiladas topped with rich brown mole enhanced with chicken fat — it also looks incredible.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Rico Caldo de Gallinas Luis

Tacos Los Güeros

Neighborhood: Aeronáutica Militar
Price $

We beelined it to Tacos Los Güeros after watching the mouthwatering al pastor episode of Netflix’s Tacos Chronicles. The al pastor is indeed good, but so is the longaniza (sausage), suadero, and numerous other meats they have on their menu.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Al Pastor | Tacos Los Gueros

Taqueria Los Ahumados

📍Location: To the right of the Chedraui parking lot.
Neighborhood: Historic Center
Price $

A tiny hole-in-the-wall located next to Chedraui (think of it as Mexico’s Costco) at the Salto del Agua metro station. Tacos Los Ahumados sells tacos al carbon, or tacos with a variety of grilled meats, at around 20 pesos ($1) a pop. Try the picanha and chorizo Argentina, my two favorites.

Now the tacos are divine on their own, but the owner takes things to the next level with his selection of homemade sauces. The classic habanero, passion fruit habanero, pineapple habanero, and peanut with chile de arbol sauces were to👏 die👏 for👏

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Taqueria Los Ahumados

El Moro Churreria

📍Location: Everywhere
Price $

A local favorite, El Moro Churreria has been making churros for Mexico City since 1935. If you like churros (if you’re sane), you should definitely make a pit stop at one of their many locations across the city. Our default order is four churros with chocolate dip and the especial hot chocolate. I’m salivating now just thinking about it.

The original shop in the historic center almost always requires a wait, but you’ll be able to get service fast in any other location.

Taqueria Los Cocuyos

Neighborhood: Historic Center
Price $

An infamous 24-hour taco joint in Mexico City’s historic center that finds its way onto every “best food in Mexico City” list for good reason…because the tacos are damn good and cheap. You’ll find head, tongue, and all sorts of fun beef parts on their menu. My personal favorites are the longaniza and campeche (mixed meats).

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Taqueria Los Cocuyos

Masala y Maiz

Neighborhood: Juarez
Price $$-$$$

Masala y Maiz is the brainchild of Norma Listman, a Mexico native, and Saqib Keval, who is of Indian and East African descent. The couple met cooking in the Bay Area and opened Masala y Maiz in Mexico City in 2017. The restaurant’s menu — which changes weekly depending on the availability of local ingredients — reflects a mixing and matching of Norma and Saqib’s diverse backgrounds.

In our visit to Masala y Maiz, we sampled dishes like suadero samosas, Mexican shrimp cocktail, and dosas with chili and tamarind chutney, shishito peppers, potato salad, and coriander. Each of the dishes were a thoughtful combination of flavors and textures — an absolute joy to eat.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Dosa
The dosa with the mosa.

El Hidalguense

Neighborhood: Roma Sur
Price $$

I learned on this trip that barbacoa is actually an ancient style of cooking meat, not a specific type of meat like I always thought. Pioneered by the Mayans, barbacoa is made by wrapping meat in agave leaves and slow-cooking it in a pib, or underground oven. The Mayans used to cook wild boar, deer, and other game in this way, and the technique was picked up by other indigenous groups once the Mayans faded out of power in 900 A.D. In the 1500s, when Spanish conquistadors brought goats, sheep, cattle, and other farm animals to Mexico for the first time, the dish adapted.

Today, barbacoa is considered the specialty of Hidalgo, and El Hidalguense cooks and serves the dish in the traditional way.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | El Hidalguense

Comedor de Los Milagros

Neighborhood: Roma Sur
Price $$

Comedor de Los Milagros is a trendy food hall in the La Roma neighborhood that is home to a number of vendors serving New Latin cuisine. Though we didn’t eat here personally, we did pop in after a jaunt at Mercado Medellin to admire the hip decor and take a look around.

Though all the eateries are likely high-quality, the Brazilian restaurant and ceviche stall are what I would personally try!

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Comedor de Los Milagros

Bao Bao Taiwanese Eatery

Neighborhood: Roma Norte
Price $$

Bao Bao Taiwanese Eatery was founded in 2020 by Panamian-Taiwanese owner Kathy Fong. The menu features Taiwanese staples like beef noodle soup, popcorn chicken, scallion pancakes, and, of course, bao.

We chatted with Kathy during our meal and she told us about her commitment to serving dishes that are as authentic as possible. She even brought in a chef from Taiwan to help perfect the menu.

As you may or may not know, Taiwanese beef noodle soup is my favorite food in the entire world and it was a pleasure to enjoy a wonderful version of it in Mexico City.

Where to eat in Mexico City| Food Guide | Bao Bao Taiwanese Eatery

“La Portenita” Parilla Argentina

Neighborhood: Historic Center
Price $$

If you love meat, this place is a must. They do Argentian-style barbecue to perfection, and it is incredibly affordable. Order the parrillada, which includes one juicy t-bone steak, skirt steak, a quarter chicken, and a chorizo for only $20.

You can thank me later.

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