5 de Mayo 10, corner with Filomeno Mata
Tel: 5512 8959
A restaurant with a fantastic history, LaOpera has been around since 1900, having been made particularly famous by abullet hole left behind the revolutionary Pancho Villa, who in his excitement,let his gun go off during a celebration. Indeed, Mexico’s National Institute ofAnthropology and History considers this place a national gem. Sitting insidethough, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in nineteenth centuryFrance, until the food was served. Then of course, you would recognise thatthis place is a homage to Mexico, with dishes both from here and Spain, such aspaella, or the ternera al horno (baked veal),which is the most asked for dish. If you keep your eyes peeled, you will nodoubt see a stream of Mexico’s most prominent politicians and businessmen, wholike to dine here for all the reasons mentioned above.
Palma 23, between 5 de Mayo and FranciscoI. Madero
Tel: 5521 8815
An absolutely classic amongst Mexicans andon the tourist trail, this restaurant has been around for some fifty years,with humble origins but now frequented by many of Mexico’s most famouspersonalities. Glitz aside though, the food is no frills. The breakfast istypically old-school Mexican with all the usual chilaquiles, enchiladas and an aporreado con huevo that is todie for! For lunch, the place is less impressive but still a good showcase ofclassic Mexican gastronomy, offering dishes like chiles rellenos (stuffed chillies), escamoles (anteggs) and of course, mole.
Mesones 171, corner with Jesus Maria
Tel: 5522 2528
With such a huge Lebanese population inMexico, there had to be one decent place to enjoy middle eastern food, and howbizarre that it should be found in the middle of Centro right in the heart of an old-school neighbourhood where therereally aren’t all that many Arabs. Nevertheless, they all come here because thefood is good and because it’s an excellent location to sit down in a largegroup as a family, or in a meeting. Highly recommended are the starter disheslike jocoque (Lebanese style yoghurt), tabule,and of course, the hummus. The main courses are also fantastic, but why botherwhen there is such a broad range of good food to share? Of course, if you’repicky, have a shawarma.
Luis Moya 73, near the corner withAyuntamiento
Tel: 5521 3060
This place was set up by an ex wrestler ofthe Mexican ilk, with masks, et al. Visiting this place, if you know nothingabout lucha libre wrestling, you’ll sure learnabout it here. The tortas (Mexican sandwiches)come in three sizes, depending on your appetite (the largest, only for the mostravenous) and with a huge array of ingredients. If you’re brave, try eating elgladiador; a 1.3kg sandwich containing fourdifferent kinds of meat and who knows how many kinds of cheese. And if you cando it in less than 15 minutes, it’s free.
Restaurante Don Chon
Regina 160, between Jesus Maria and Topacio
Tel: 5542 0873
A restaurant paying homage to pre-Hispanicingredients and dishes, Don Chon is worth visiting if you like eating unusualinsects and the like. Of course, if you don’t they do have other things on themenu. But then why come here? Honestly, some of the rarer dishes are not bad,such as the lizard tostadas and the jumiles (atype of stink bug) served with guacamole. Seriously though, if you aren’t theadventurous kind, you may want to stay away. If not, you’ll be pleasantlysurprised.
Isabel la Catolica 31, corner with 16 deSeptiembre
Tel: 5518 5557 / 5510 2967 / 5510 3836
In a gloriously looked after eighteenthcentury building, the casino español, if for nothing else, is worth the visitbecause it is so beautiful. Of course, if you come you might as well eat; thefood is very Spanish including dishes like pulpos a la gallega (octopus with paprika and potatoes) and of course, paella. During the daytime they also do set lunches, which whether it be fora business meeting or just a table for two, makes for a fantastic place to dinein the daytime.
Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas 42
Tel: 5512 0896 / 5518 4580
Another glimpse at Spain’s influence onMexico, El Moro has become famous for its churros; a famous delicacy from theIberian Peninsula that is usually eaten in the morning with a steaming cup ofhot chocolate. This place is open 24/7 all year round, as is particularlysatisfying after a night out at some of the local bars or clubs, to satisfythat early morning hunger, just like the young ones do in Spain today.
Sanborns de los azulejos
Republica de Guatemala 2, on the corner of5 de Mayo
Tel: 5512 1331
Sanborns is a name that is synonymous withMexico City because for as long as anyone can remember, it has been the go todepartment store. This particular location however, is special because of whereit is housed; within one of the oldest buildings in the city, which is covered inblue tiling. While the restaurant is not necessarily the best place to dine,they do serve a good breakfast including all the basics such as chilaquiles, enchiladas and the like.