Denominación de Orígen
Hegel 406, corner Masaryk
Tel: 5255 0612
With Mexico's colonial history and relationship with Spain, one would expect to find more Spanish food in the city than there really is. One place amongst the slim pickings though, really does stand out. Denominación de Origen, (which is a classification given to products with a particular origin, such as wines and honeys) is a total gem. While it may not be better than what is available in Spain, the food here is nonetheless outstanding and is a representation of everything sublime has to offer, such as croquetas, jamon Serrano (for which one they have recently won awards for having the best meat carvers), crema catalana and everything in between. The fish dishes here are particularly good. Don't forget the wine, either!
Anatole France 100, corner with Masaryk
Tel: 3300 3999
Following the success of her first restaurant, Marta Ortiz Chapa has taken her second venture into one of Mexico City's finest boutique hotels with a concept that screams Mexican, from the décor to the food, which is as extravagant and kitsch as you could possibly imagine with red, satin sofas, gold leaf walls and a floor done in the style of rosa Mexicana; that iconic pink colour so synonymous with Mexico. The food too, rather than being a fusion of styles, intends to take traditional Mexican dishes, adding an added layer of vibrancy before serving it as typically Mexican as possible. If the term "so kitsch its cool" means anything, this place will be loved.
Alejandro Dumas 7, corner with Campos Eliseos
Tel: 5281 8245 / 5281 8246
On the face of it, there might not be anything to be particularly impressed about with El Bajio because the décor is so typically standard and looks so much like any other restaurant elsewhere in Mexico. Looks however, can be deceiving. This place is popular, and for a reason and it has entirely to do with the fantastic food. Their carnitas (braised or roasted pork), which their chefs wake up every morning at 4am to prepare, are juicy and full of flavour whilst their rotating menu is always full of a variety of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes that do not disappoint. To be able to try a good selection of things off the menu, come with a group of at least four people. Make sure you also try the cafe de olla (coffee made in a clay pot with cinnamon and piloncillo, a type of processed sugar), which is said to be one of the best in Mexico.
Emilio Castelar 212, between Ibsen and Goldsmith
Tel: 5280 6449
This no frills hole in the wall serves up a selection of tacos, tortas and other botanas made with cochinita; a slow roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula, made with orange, chillies and roasting it in banana leaf under the ground. While this place doesn't cook its meat under the ground, it is still pretty special; so much so that it manages to haul in huge crowds around lunchtime. Be careful not to get too close to where they prepare the cochinita; many an office worker has returned to the office embarrassed, with oily, orange coloured stains on crisp, white shirts.
Torcuato Tasso 330, between Masaryk and Horacio
Tel: 5254 5624 / 5531 9696
Particularly for big groups, Los Arcos is a fantastic place to eat; tacos can be ordered to satisfy several people, as can the ceviches, aguachiles and just about everything else. And that is what makes this place so fantastic; while you can order main dishes and main courses, these are not the focus of the menu, but rather large groups who want to share a variety of things. It is also an excellent place to sample Sinaloan cuisine, which is noted for its ability with fish and shellfish. Particularly good are the tacos gobernador, which are made with shrimp, cheese and cooked over a griddle.
Hacienda de los Morales
Vazquez de Mella 525, between Periferico and Horacio
Tel: 5283 3000
Once upon a time, about thirty years ago, this place was known not only for its beautiful location but also for outstanding food. Today, while everywhere else has moved on in terms of cuisine, Hacienda de los Morales is still the same. As a result, their dishes feel a little old and their food, somewhat out of touch though it is by no means bad at all. The real attraction of this place though, is the grounds that are reminiscent of a colonial mansion. Make sure to call in advance, as it is hugely popular for weddings.
Masaryk 407, between Calderon de la Barca and Lafontaine
Tel: 5282 2064
The executive chef, Mikel Alonso and his sidekick, Gerard Bellver, have managed to create a restaurant that has been listed as one of the 50 best in the world. Indeed, Bellver (who studied under Ferran Adria at El Bulli in Gerona, Spain), likes to describe the food as "sumptious with surprises" and that it certainly is. At the upper end of restaurant dining in Mexico City, Biko provides an experience that really is impeccable on every level, from food to service and even to the design, which makes fantastic use of sunlight without it being too overbearing. Highly recommended is the tasting menu with an accompanied wine course, allowing for varied panoply of flavours that really do jump around the palate. Come with a big budget and an appetite for rich, but not heavy food.