City Guide: Mexico City
Landing in Mexico City, you’re immediately immersed in the greenery that swallows the streets, separated only by the sea of brick red flat roofs. This urban hub of Mexico is composed of charming neighborhoods full of character – from quirky hipster boutiques to secret gardens hiding restaurants.
- Cafebreria El Pendúlo – This cozy and charming two-level bookstore meets brunch spot features live music amidst endless shelves of books. Its brunch menu is authentic, charming, and casual. The store meets restaurant also is full of quirky gifts to bring home.
- El Centralito – As you climb the tile steps through an ivy arch and ascend the spiral staircase, the pulsing beat of fresh tracks from a DJ immediately start to set the tone at this restaurant. A stunning glass wall of wine and high ceilings gracefully carrying bronze chandeliers provide the backdrop for a lively candlelit dinner amongst some of CDMX’s most stylishly dressed crowds. The cocktail bar features mouth-watering combinations, including perfectly blended mango margaritas and custom drinks from the mixologist. The food is delicious and tastefully prepared--but it’s the ambiance of the entire experience that makes this spot reminiscent of Robata or Bagetelle in Hollywood, xxx in Miami, and Madera in Paris. This is the perfect pre-party dinner if you’re in the mood to dance.
- El Comrade – Stepping into the restaurant, your breath will immediately be taken away by the multi-level posh space, tied together with a metal, spiral staircase and dotted with lights. There’s both an outdoor and indoor space for dining, with an extra lower level patio dotted with bohemian couches for drinks. The savory duck tacos provided with freshly made, steaming tortillas are drool-worthy, matched only with the level of service and attention from the team.
- La Unica – Bustling and usually requiring reservations, the food at La Unica is strikingly memorable. The tacos checas (steak tacos with crispy onions) and chicarron pulpo (grilled octopus) on a bed of guacamole are simply deeeeelicious. If you want more of a show, they will bring out a full roast, drench it in tequila, and light it on fire before serving it to you in fresh tortillas. You’re welcome.
- Biko – Eclectic fine dining, Biko is white table cloth and multi-course without the prices. Creatively prepared appetizers, like watermelon topped with pistachio pureé, and perfectly cooked entrees, like seared fish topped with shrimp, make this brightly lit restaurant perfect for long conversations over expertly prepared food.
- Jule’s Basement – Before glancing back at my Google Maps instructions, I had almost forgotten this was a speakeasy and was about to question my own typically navigation skills. The unassuming, authentic and casual Mexican restaurant storefront is deliberately casual with diner vibes that are a jarring contrast to the other perfectly polished restaurants in Polanco. Walk through the center of the restaurant to come across a bouncer standing at a heavy metal door – the entrance to Jule’s. Before 10pm, there’s no line and even after then, there’s no password, simply hop into the queue. Push past the thick plastic slabs of meat locker curtains and carefully descend into the pitch black darkness of a speakeasy that reflects the current cool vibes of CDMX. Large geometric white skulls topped with glass decorate the floor as bar tables, with low lights and lounge-y music making yelling into your companion’s ears necessary to carry on a conversation. The cocktails are creatively named, with mixtures named Frida’s Kiss guaranteed to please.
- Limantour – This chic bar opens into the street and is great for meeting people, with large leather couches and open seating. Its drink menu is extensive, featuring creative mixes like matchta tea with tequila for the adventurous. It’s beautiful tile pattern and décor make this bar far more memorable than a few others in the neighborhood.
- Common People – The ultimate hipster boutique, this colorful space is filled with creative decorations, such as stilettos hanging in bird cages. Find jewelry, cool shirts, and other accessories carefully curated by the store. Walk through it to find an ice cream shop (naturally), featuring Instagram worthy mint walls and highly photogenic neon lighting.
- Ojo de Agua – One of my favorite cafes in the world. Fresh juice combinations made to order, the best acai bowls in the world with layers of fresh fruit and berries carefully layered, and health food snacks galore, this spot will rejuvenate every cell in your body with the goodness of fruits, veggies, and gluten-free bread. The wooden walls are stacked with palates of mangos, pineapples, and bananas and perfectly washed and sliced fresh fruit to go is available in the fridge. In other words, it’s every health food junkie’s heaven.
- Hotel Condesa DF – Elegantly nestled amongst trees, overlooking the neighborhood, the dreamy rooftop of this chic hotel is the perfect spot to grab a light afternoon bite of sushi and enjoy some cocktails. With giant bohemian cushions and couches facing the jungle, the modern Mexican vibes of this space make it a must visit.