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Mexico City is consistently named one of the world’s most gastronomic cities, and Mexican cuisine in general is known as one of the most diverse, exotic and delicious. Sure, visitors to Mexico can find the Tex-Mex grub they are used to at home, but it’s a lot more interesting to branch out and try some authentic Mexican specialties. Here are my picks for some great places to try.
Cafe Azul y Oro (Ciudad Universitaria)Located within the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Chef Ricardo Munoz Zurita’s Cafe Azul y Oro is very popular and highly touted by foodies locally and abroad. Want to try superb mole? Indulge in the duck empanadas covered in the complex, heady sauce originally served in the colonial city of Puebla. You’ll taste hints of bitter chocolate, peanuts, chilies, sesame seeds and an array of spices.
El Bajio (Colonia Polanco)For some of the best tacos in the city, locals flock to El Bajio. I love the chicharron (pork rind) and the barbacoa (marinated lamb,) but visitors can choose from a wide variety of dishes. For something unique, savor the tortitas de huazontle en salsa pasilla (a pre-Hispanic vegetable with chili sauce).www.carnitaselbajio.com.mx
Los Danzantes Coyoacan (Colonia Coyoacan)Located in a charming colonial building, Los Danzantes Coyoacan serves up some of the most complex and unusual fare anywhere. Sit outside on a warm evening on the nopal cactus-lined patio and experience taquitos de chapulines (that’s right, grasshopper tacos) or fondue de huitlacoche (a scrumptious corn fungus that is also served in ravioli format), and wash it all down with something from the extensive mezcal list. This is a lovely spot for a special night — just remind your male clients that jackets are required.www.losdanzantes.com
La Fonda del Recuerdo (Colonia Zona Rosa)The 40-year-old La Fonda del Recuerdo is an intimate and beloved site for both locals and tourists, especially on Saturday nights. Charming, friendly and informal, it’s the perfect place to try the classic dish huachinango a la veracruzana (red snapper with tomatoes, olives, onions, capers and spices). Diners will find a wide array of Mexican cuisine, from arroz con platanos (rice with fried bananas) to enchiladas con mole poblano or chiles poblanos (chilies stuffed with ground beef or cheese).www.fondadelrecuerdo.com
Neveria Roxy (161 Tamaulipas, Colonia Condesa) Roxy is an old-fashioned, homemade ice cream parlor with a modern twist. It’s known for exotic, intensely flavored ice creams such as zapote negro (made from native black persimmon). Customers can choose U.S.-style ice cream, but the real draw is the Mexican nieves that come in fascinating flavors, including elote (sweet corn), chocolate with cinnamon and rompope (an eggnog-like liqueur).