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Travelers Guide to Mexico City



ear Visitor,

Welcome to the world’s second-largest city and the Western Hemisphere’s oldest urban center, dating back to the early 1300s when it served as the grand Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Home to some 20 million inhabitants, the country’s sprawling capital can overwhelm even the most seasoned traveler. Luckily, the city is divided into a variety of distinctive neighborhoods, or colonias, each with a character all its own. The ones visitors find most fascinating include: the Historic Center, packed with pre-Hispanic and colonial-era monuments; upscale Polanco, home to Mexico’s Rodeo Drive (here called Presidente Masaryk); trendy Condesa, a southof-the-border SoHo, and neighboring Roma; bustling Zona Rosa, favorite haunt of the local gay community; the colonial enclaves of Coyoacan and San Angel; and the burgeoning commercial-residential suburb of Santa Fe. Explore them all! To help make your stay more enjoyable, this pocket guide recommends the best the city has to offer. As publishers for more than 30 years of Travelers Guide to Mexico, we take pride in keeping our editorial material as up to date and accurate as possible. All the information is periodically revised and advertising is selected from among establishments we feel offer a quality product and/or service to the visitor. Enjoy your stay and we hope to see you again soon. Travelers Guide

Table of Contents






General Director

















SHOOKA SHEMIRANI Advertising Directors


LUIS MIGUEL SANTANA Art & Production Director




Production & Design Manager



Art & Design












Administrative Assistant

















This pocket guide is prepared by the editors of TRAVELERS GUIDE TO MEXICO, a comprehensive illustrated guidebook to the entire country that is sold at major hotels throughout Mexico and online at Additional copies of this guide are available by contacting our Mexico City office: Londres 22, Colonia Juarez, C.P. 06600, Mexico D.F. T. 5592-5022, ext. 104. Fax 5546-7002. E-mail: Printed in Mexico 2009, 1st quarter.

Travelers Guide to Mexico City



Travelers Guide to Mexico City es una publicación trimestral, editada por Publicaciones Turísticas CU, S.A de C.V. Londres 22, Col. Juárez, C.P. 06600, México D.F. Número de Certificado de Licitud de Título 10399, Número de Certificado de Licitud de Contenido 7316, Número de Reserva de Derechos de Autor 04-2000062909335400-102. Impreso por Data Color Impresores, S.A. de C.V., Impreso en México ©2009. Prohibida la reproducción total o parcial de los textos que aparecen en esta edición.

Mexico City Where to go, what to see, what to buy ... and more

ART & CULTURE At UNAM see MUAC: A UNESCOdesig­nated World Heritage Site boasting famed murals, Mexico’s leading university now offers visitors an added reason to explore the campus grounds. The National Autonomous University of Mexico, known by its Spanish acronym UNAM, unveiled in November 2008 a major new museum of contemporary art, known by its acronym MUAC. The boldly contemporary 20 milliondollar space houses nine galleries on two sky-lit floors. MUAC features rotating exhibits of art by Mexican and international artists, and plans to show loan exhibitions from Paris’ Centre Pompidou, New York’s MoMA and other foreign museums. The museum is open 10 am to 6 pm Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, noon to 8 pm Thursday and Saturday. Admission: 30 pesos.

ENTERTAINMENT Swan Lake Alfresco: Mexico’s National Dance Company is famed for its unique alfresco interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake, performed outdoors, complete with a fleet of boats, little islands on a lake serving as a stage and, of course, real swans. Now in its 31st season, the ballet will feature 120 dancers and 300 behindthe-scenes technicians for a short run in March. Performances will be held Thursday to Sunday at 8 p.m. from March 3 to 11, and Wednesday to Sunday at 8 p.m. from March 14 to 18. Admission is 100 to 140 pesos. T. 5282-1964.

City Highlights Where to go, what to see, what to buy ... and more now kill two birds with one stone, thanks to the recent opening of El Mayor, a rooftop terrace restaurant with a sweeping view of the city’s most important archaeological site, Templo Mayor, or the Great Temple. See Historic Center dining for details.

WINING & DINING C’est Si Bon: Practically a city landmark, Les Moustaches has been offering locals and visitors alike refined dining in an elegant setting for nearly 35 years. The key to its success? Luis Galves, its gracious handson owner. Always there to personally greet guests, Galves stays attuned to his clients’ needs, which is why unlike many other restaurateurs he decided to lower prices instead of raising them in response to the current financial crisis. Diners can now enjoy such specialties as rack of lamb and roast duck with a rare special ingredient: solidarity. See Zona Rosa dining for details. The Great Option: Hungry sightseers can 

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

The Wa Experience: Fans of East Asian cuisine will love Wa, a modern temple to the Japanese culinary arts, including sake. A tasting menu that pairs the two is in the works. In the meantime, you can devise your own. They serve more than 15 varieties of the fermented rice beverage, including Taisetsu (aged six months in ice barrels), Shochikubai (organic and kosher) and Premium Gold (the No. 1 selling sake in the US). See Coyoacan & San Angel dining for details.


Les Moustaches

The New Hot Spot: A fusion of talents, culinary influences and even first names, Jaso is the creation of husband and wife team Jared Reardon and Sonia Arias. Their combined expertise (he’s the executive chef, she’s the pastry whiz) is best showcased in their exquisite tasting menus comprised of five, nine and “Who’s counting?” courses, also known as the Chef ’s Tasting Menu. See Polanco dining for details.

Real Hacienda Santo Tomas

City Highlights

SIDE TRIPS City Escapes: After a hectic few days in one of the world’s largest cities, take a welldeserved break in the countryside. Two excellent options are located no more than a couple of hours away, in neighboring State of Mexico. About 20 minutes from the state capital, Toluca, amid rolling green hills, Real Hacienda Santo Tomas offers deluxe amenities and services in a regal French colonial-style hacienda, with a spa, gardens, indoor pool, fine dining and more. It’s ideal for a weekend of pampering or an executive retreat (T. (726) 251 9330; On the outskirts of the lakeside town of Valle de Bravo, surrounded by forest and bordering its very own lake, Rodavento is a boutique hotel that lets guests get as close to nature as possible without having to roughing it. Go kayaking, mountain biking, wall climbing, ziplining, then treat yourself to such gourmet creations as enchiladas in pis

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

tachio-poblano chili mole accompanied by a full-bodied cabernet at the glass-enclosed clubhouse (T. (726) 251 4182;

DRINKS & BEVERAGES Beautiful Inside and Out: On the tequila front, new super-premium brands continue to make a splash, including with their packaging. Mere months after making its initial appearance, Cazadores’ top-of-theline Corzo tequila snapped up an international prize for its innovative, head-turning design. The Washington D.C.-based Glass Packaging Institute awarded Corzo its Clear Choice Award for “blending art and science” in its swanky splash-me-on bottle, featuring the kind of stylish label and glam bottle usually reserved for designer men’s fragrances. Yeah, we know, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and Corzo hasn’t skimped there, either, blending Cazadores’ years of expertise with triple distillation to produce an ultra-smooth spirit.

Shooka Shemirani

Historic Center

HISTORIC CENTER Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the foursquare-mile (10-square-kilometer) Centro Historico, or historic downtown area, radiates out from the city’s main square (see grids E, F, G, 19 to 25 on the map towards the back of this guide). The Historic Center is home to important constructions from pre-Hispanic times to the present, including ruins of the Aztec capital of Tenoch­titlan dating from the 14th century; colonial-era churches and mansions built over 300 years, between the time of the Spanish Con­quest (1521) and Mexico’s Independence from Spain (1821); and lavish European-style homes and monuments built during Mexi­co’s industrial boom. Unless otherwise noted in the following descriptions, museums in Mexico are closed Mondays.

WHAT TO SEE & DO Zocalo (F-24). The main square is among the world’s three largest. To the north is the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest in Latin America and home to numerous art treasures. To the east is the National Palace, containing the offices of the Presidency and Diego Rivera’s mural “Epic of the Mexican People in their Struggle for Freedom and Independence.” To the west is the 200-year-old National Pawnshop and an arcade lined with jewelry shops. The southern flank is occupied by City Hall. 10

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Mexico City Templo Mayor (E-25). Off the northeast corner of the Zocalo stand the ruins of the Great Temple, destroyed by the conquistadores, who used the debris to build the cathedral. This was the ceremonial center of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire, and larger than any European city at the time of the Spanish Conquest. An islandcity covering a square mile, it housed palaces and pyramids. The Great Temple has seven superimposed structures, the most recent dating from 1487. An in-situ museum contains artifacts unearthed since 1981. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. T. 5542-4943.

elite and fenced off to the masses. Today it throbs with pedestrian traffic, and hosts lunch-time idlers and enamored couples. Fountains and replicas of statues brought from Paris by President Porfirio Diaz decorate the grounds. A massive marble monument facing Juarez Avenue honors beloved President Benito Juarez, “Mexico’s Abe Lincoln.”

Madero. This avenue is the address of some of the city’s oldest and most distinguished buildings. Worth visiting are the ornate 18th-century Iturbide Palace (F-22), a vestige of Agustin Iturbide’s short-lived reign as emperor (1821-23) and host of major art exhibits; the Church of San Francisco (F-22), begun in 1524, shortly after the conquest; and the nearly 400-year-old Casa de los Azulejos, or House of Tiles (F-21).

MUSEUMS: Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso. Justo Sierra 16 (E-25). Dating from the 18th century, this former Jesuit college is an important showcase of early Mexican mural art, especially by Orozco. It also hosts major exhibits. Open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free Tuesdays. T. 5702-2991.

Palacio de Bellas Artes. Juarez and Eje Lazaro Cardenas (E-21). Mexico’s principal opera house, the Palace of Fine Arts is an architectural masterpiece inside and out. The interiors are a beautiful blend of Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles. Construction began in 1900 and, after being interrupted by the 1910 Revolution, was completed 34 years later. Its Tiffany stained-glass curtain is a spectacular depiction of the Valley of Mexico with its two imposing volcanoes, Iztaccihuatl (“Sleeping Lady”) and Popocatepetl (“Smoking Mountain”). It also houses impressive murals and temporary exhibits. Half-hour tours of the building are offered free weekdays from 1 p.m. T. 5130-0900. Alameda Park (E-20). This colonial-era park was for years the exclusive realm of the

Ministry of Education. Republica de Argen­ tina 28 (D-24). Wonderful murals of Mexicans at work and at play by Rivera and his students Jean Charlot, Amado de la Cueva.

Franz Mayer Museum. Hidalgo 45 (E20). A splendid collection of applied art in a handsomely restored 18th-century building with a delightful patio and cafe. National Art Museum (Munal). Tacuba 8 (E-21). Art from pre-Hispanic to modern times displayed in a magnificent turn-ofthe-century building. T. 5130-3460. Museum of Folk Art. Revillagigedo and In­de­pendencia (F-19). A wonderful showcase for Mexico’s overwhelming variety of handicrafts, the MAP is a “must see.” Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Diego Rivera Mural Museum. Colon and Balderas (E-19). Specially built to house Rivera’s famous mural “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.” Jose Luis Cuevas Museum. Academia 13


Historic Center

(E-25). A 16th-century convent showcasing Cuevas’ collection of paintings by 20th-century Latin American artists, works by the master himself, and irreverent caricatures of Cuevas by fellow artists. Mexico City Museum. Pino Suarez 30 (G-24). Housed in a colonial masterpiece, this venue documents the history of the nation’s capital since pre-Hispanic times. San Carlos Museum. Puente del Alvara­ do and Ramon Arizpe (E-17). A fine selection of European art, part of which was donated by the King of Spain to the San Carlos Academy of Art in the 18th century. Antiguo Palacio del Arzobispado. Mo­ ne­da 4 (F-24). This 16th-century building houses the modern art collection of the Fi­ nance Ministry, comprised of in-kind tax contributions by some of Mexico’s leading contemporary artists.

mini-tours of the Historic Center, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 6 to 8 p.m. also. Tours depart from Bellas Artes (E-21). Observation Deck (F-21). The Torre La­ ti­no, home to a top-floor observation deck, was for years Mexico’s tallest building. To­ day it ranks 4th after the WTC, Pemex Tower and Torre Mayor, Latin America’s tallest building at 225 meters/740 feet. MARKETS: La Ciudadela (H-18) is one of the city’s most colorful handicrafts markets, with stalls built around an open courtyard. The San Juan Handicrafts Market (G-20) features a wide variety of arts and crafts from all over Mexico. Lagunilla, at Rayon near Reforma (B-22), is a permanent indoor market that hosts an outdoor flea market every Sunday. All open daily.




Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. This famed dance troupe puts on a spectacular presentation of traditional music, dance and costumes from every corner of the country at Teatro Hidalgo, behind the Palacio de Bellas Artes (E-21) Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m., Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. T. 5326-5445; 5325-9000 (Ticketmaster).

Cafe del Palacio. Palacio de Bellas Artes (E-21). This charming Art Deco-style cafe, wine and snack bar is great for grabbing a bite before or after a show. T. 5512-0807.

Bus and Trolley Tours. Open-topped double-decker buses, called Turibus, offer tours of the city, including the downtown area. Tickets cost about 10 dollars and are valid for 24 hours, letting passengers get on and off at their convenience at more than 25 sites of interest. Buses de­part from the Audi­torio Nacional (G32) at 9 a.m., 12, 3, 6 and 9 p.m. Old-fashioned trolleys offer half-hour 12

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Casa de los Azulejos. Madero 4 (F-21). Housed in the famed House of Tiles, this spot offers a picturesque setting for Mexican favorites and American-style comfort food. Sit in the main dining room surrounded by hand-painted walls, the old-fashioned soda fountain, or top-floor bar area with views of historic buildings. T. 5510-9613. El Balcon del Zocalo. Holiday Inn Zoca­ lo Hotel (F-23). Dine with a sweeping view of the Zocalo from a top-floor terrace. Breakfast and lunch buffets, a la carte dinners. Weekend brunch 9 a.m. to noon; buf-

Mexico City fet and parrillada (barbecue) 1 to 5 p.m. T. 5130-5130. Miralto. Torre Latino, Madero 1 (F-21). Lo­cated on the 41st floor, this modern spot features unrivaled panoramic views and classic fare, such as rack of lamb and mustard beef. Separate bar area. T. 5518-1710. Plaza Mayor. Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexi­­­co (F-23). Classic fare in a for­mal dining room with live piano music (jacket required); weekend brunch (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) on an open-air ter­race with a spectacular view of the Zocalo; live music 2 to 4 p.m. Me­nu high­lights include jumbo shrimp in tamarind sauce, and Roquefort beef. T. 1083-7700. Terraza. Sheraton Centro Historico Hotel (F-19). An expansive open-air terrace sets the stage for fine international fare. T. 5130-5300. MEXICAN Cafe Tacuba. Tacuba 28 (E-22). Handpainted tile walls make this restaurant one of the Historic Center’s most picturesque. Serving traditional Mexican cuisine since 1912. Live mariachi and estudiantina music 8-11:30 p.m. Popular for lunch on weekends. T. 5518-4950. El Cardenal. Calle Palma 23 (F-23); Sheraton Centro Historico Hotel (F-19); Palmas 215 (I-45). The original restaurant on Palma has grown to include two branches. Classic Mexican fare. Especially popular at breakfast for everything from hot chocolate and sweet bread rolls with nata (Mexican clotted cream) to chilaquiles. T. 5518-6633 (Sheraton), 2623-0401 (Palmas). El Mayor. Republica de Argentina 17,

corner of Justo Sierra (E-24). This rooftop restaurant features an unrivaled view of the city’s main archaeological site, Templo Mayor, as well as Mexican specialties served indoors or on a spacious deck. Adjacent deli and coffee bar offers snacks and sandwiches. Open 1 to 6 p.m. T. 5704-7580. Hosteria de Santo Domingo. Belisario Do­­minguez 72 (D-23). In business since 1860, it claims to be the city’s very first restaurant. Specialties are chiles en nogada (a cold dish of poblano chili stuffed with ground beef and raisins, topped with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds) and pollo ranchero a la nata (tender chicken in a delicious cream sauce you’ll want to scoop up with the fresh baked tortillas). Piano and violin duet. T. 5526-5276. La Casa de las Sirenas. Guatemala 32, be­hind the Metropolitan Cathedral (E-24). This charming, renovated building houses a rooftop restaurant and ground-floor cantina/tequila bar. Open 1 to 11 p.m.; to 6 p.m. Sunday. T. 5704-3465. La Opera. Cinco de Mayo 10 (F-22). An authentic 19th-century restaurant and cantina with a lot of history. Adding to the charm of its stately period decor is a bullet hole in the ceiling courtesy of Pancho Villa. Great margaritas, Mexican food and snacks. Strolling musicians offer live music. Open 1 p.m. to midnight; to 6 p.m. Sunday. T. 5512-8959. Los Girasoles. Tacuba 8 and 10, Plaza Manuel Tolsa (E-21); Presidente Masaryk 275 (D-33). An attractive restaurant serving creatively prepared Mexican cuisine and innovative dishes. Don’t miss the fresh mortar-and-pestle salsas made tableside. Try the tacos Sinaloenses and tamarind mole. Downtown branch has sunny


Historic Center

sidewalk seating. T. 5510-0630 (Tacuba), 5282-3291.

NIGHTLIFE Plaza Garibaldi (C-21). At the city’s famed “mariachi square,” bands decked in full regalia play requests while waiting to be hired for a wedding, birthday, serenade or party. You can listen to them outdoors on the plaza or head to Tenampa, the famed on-site cantinas. Tenampa. Plaza Garibaldi (C-21). Founded in 1925, this bustling cantina and cultural landmark features roving mariachi bands playing all at once. Open 1 p.m. to 3 a.m. T. 5526-6176. Zinco. Motolinia 20, corner of Cinco de Mayo (E-22). A former bank vault-turnedjazz club. Ranked by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the “25 exciting new nightspots” in the world. For a calendar of performances, visit Open Wednesday to Saturday. T. 5512-3369.

WHERE TO SHOP Arte Mexicano. Monte de Piedad 11 (F-


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

23). This six-story building facing the main square features two floors of quality handicrafts from around the country, as well as a top-floor restaurant with a covered terrace that overlooks the Zocalo (open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). T. 5518-0300. Celaya. Cinco de Mayo 39 (F-22). Founded in 1874, it specializes in Mexican sweets, such as coconut lemons. T. 5521-1787. Fonart. Juarez 89 (F-18); also at Patriotis­ mo 691 (G-46); Reforma 116 (G-16). Won­ derful places to shop for Mexican folk art and stock up on souvenirs. T. 5521-0171 (Juarez), 5093-6060 (Patriotismo), 55285000 (Reforma). Museo de Arte Popular. Revillagigedo and Independencia (F-19). The museum shop features fine handicrafts purchased directly from artisans. T. 5510-3133. Victor Artes Populares. Madero 10, Suite 305, 3rd floor (F-22); entrance is through a ground-floor perfumery. Fabulous Mexican folk art, from tin toys and amate (tree bark) paintings to gold and silver jewelry. Open Monday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday by appointment only. T. 5512-1263.

Zona Rosa

ZONA ROSA Once an aristocratic neighborhood of Frenchified mansions, the Zona Rosa, or Pink Zone, (roughly F-7 to F-10 on the map) lost its exclusivity with the advent of the Metro. It reflects its past and present status in the way fast-food franchises and tacky nightclubs share the streets with swank jewelry stores, smart boutiques and antique shops. Today it is the city’s growing gay enclave, with rainbow flags and gay pride slogans lining one of its main streets, Amberes. While pleasant for window-shopping during the day, Zona Rosa’s streets at night come alive with the sound of nightclub hawkers, appearing more like a redlight district than a “pink zone.” Zona Rosa is flanked on the northwest by Paseo de la Reforma, built on the orders of Emperor Maximilian and reputedly fashioned after Brussels’ Avenue Louise, in hon-

or of his Belgian-born wife, Empress Carlota. Neighboring Chapultepec Park, one of the largest, busiest, and most beautiful urban parks in the world, offers abundant recreational and cultural attractions.

WHAT TO SEE & DO Chapultepec Castle (G-2). The palatial 18th-century hilltop castle that served as the residence of Emperor Maximilian today houses the National Museum of History, and murals by Orozco, Siqueiros and O’Gorman. Just off the path leading to the castle is the circular Gallery of National His­tory, depicting Mexico’s struggle for independence. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. T. 5241-3100. Chapultepec Zoo (F-2). The first of its kind to have successfully bred giant pandas outside China. Closed Mondays. National Anthropology Museum (G36). Considered one of the finest museums of its kind in the world, it showcases prized relics of Mexico’s ancient and varied cultures, including the famed Aztec Calendar, unofficial symbol of the Mexican nation, and colossal Olmec stone heads. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. T. 5553-6381. Rufino Tamayo Museum (G-38). One of Mexico’s most renowned 20th-century artists, Tamayo donated many of his own paintings as well as his collection of some 300 works by other outstanding artists. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. T. 5286-6519. Modern Art Museum (H-38). A permanent collection of modern Mexican masters, including Rivera, Kahlo, Siqueiros and Tamayo, as well as rotating exhibits by national and international artists. Open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. T. 5211-8729.


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Mexico City Sightseeing Tours. Open-topped doubledecker buses, called Turibus, offer threehour tours of the city, including a nighttime tour. Tickets cost about 10 dollars and are valid for 24 hours, letting passengers get on and off at their convenience at more than 25 sites of interest. Buses depart from the Auditorio Nacional (G-32) at 9 a.m., 12, 3, 6 and 9 p.m. Biking. Cicloestacion Lomas at FFCC and Manuel Avila Camacho (F-29). Rent a bike or sign up for a weekend bike tour of Chapultepec Park; tour costs 100 pesos. Rentals available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekends. There’s also a Cicloestacion Coyoacan in the south of the city. For more information, call Antonio Suarez 044 55 2428 1488. Segway Tours. Reforma 80, Locale B, at the Fiesta Americana Reforma Hotel (G16). Combine the intimacy of sightseeing on foot with the comfort and ease of riding around ­— on a Segway. Three different routes offered Tuesday to Sunday, including Reforma, the downtown area, and Condesa. T. 5566-3305. Art in the Park. Open-air art exhibits are

a weekend staple Sundays at Sullivan Park (C-10), two blocks from the Reforma-Insurgentes intersection. KID STUFF: Papalote Children’s Mu­ se­um (H-45), Chapultepec Park. One of the largest and most technologically sophisticated “touch and do” museums in the world with 250 interactive exhibits. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday; to 11 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. T. 5237-1710. Insurgentes Market, with two entrances, Londres 154 and Liverpool 167 (H-8), is worth a visit for its large variety of silver and handicrafts. Expect to bargain. Open 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

WHERE TO DINE EAST ASIAN Luau. Niza 38 (G-10). In business for some 50 years, this spot is famed for its Family Dinners featuring old favorites like egg rolls, pepper beef, and sweet-and-sour pork. Other menu favorites include the orange chicken and piña coladas. Open from

FONDA EL REFUGIO Address: Liverpool 166, Zona Rosa Tel: 5207-2732, 5525-8128 Type of Food: Mexican. Truly authentic dishes, from the fresh guacamole to the tender beef and chicken specialities in elaborate sauces, such as pipian, and red, green or black mole Hours: 1 to 11 p.m. Monday to Sunday. Description: Page 16. Map: H-8. Web site:


Zona Rosa

noon for lunch and dinner. T. 5525-7474. ITALIAN Amici. Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel (E-8). Northern Italian cooking. Forty-five-minute Express Lunch menu popular with those on the go. Closed Sunday. T. 5242-5555. MEXICAN Cicero Bazaar. Londres 161, inside Plaza del Angel (G-8). Three sumptuously decorated floors to explore, including a sunny dining room overlooking a fountain patio. Try the chicken breast in squash blossom sauce, and tarta de elote (creamy corn cake). T. 5207-5202. Fonda El Refugio. Liverpool 166 (H8). In business for 50 years, this leading Mexican restaurant features truly authentic cuisine in a charming, tranquil setting — a converted home decorated with folk art and handicrafts. Everything from the fresh guacamole and cactus salad to the crema quemada dessert is excellent. T. 5525-8128. La Fonda de Santa Clara. Fiesta Ame­ri­ cana Reforma Hotel (G-16). Try their variety of rich moles, chalupas, chiles en nogada, and other classic favorites. Closed Saturday. T. 5140-4100. INTERNATIONAL Al Vino. Galeria Plaza Hotel (G-7). Puzzled as to which wines go with what? At this cozy wine cellar, the international specialties come already paired with the right wines. Closed Sunday. T. 5230-1717. Del Bosque. Chapultepec Park, 2nd section (F-2); Manuel Avila Camacho Blvd., at Naucalli Park (J-41). The Chapultepec 18

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

branch boasts a lovely setting overlooking a lake. Excellent international and Mexi­can fare featuring US prime beef grilled to your exact order weekdays from 1 to 6 p.m., and popular weekend breakfast and brunch buffets. T. 5515-4652 (Chapultepec), 53734640 (Naucalli). El Lago. Chapultepec Park (F-2). Sleek and modern with potted palms and floorto-ceiling glass walls that overlook a lovely lake and spectacular fountain; plus a few outdoor tables for more casual dining. The menu features contemporary Mexican cuisine. Try the ensalada de cecina with cured beef, arugula and Parmesan; and huachinango Coyuca, baked red snapper seasoned with guajillo chili and mayonnaise. Extensive wine list, attentive service. Soft violin and piano music from 9:30 p.m. Jacket and tie required. Popular Sunday buffet brunch. Reservations recommended. T. 5515-9585. Konditori. Genova 61 (G-9), and other locations. European-style fare in a casual setting that is a popular meeting point for Mexico City personalities. Friendly service and fabulous Danish pastries and coffee at reasonable prices. Branches in Polanco, Insurgentes and Centro Santa Fe. Open daily, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. T. 5511-0722 (Zona Ro­sa), 9112-5285 (Po­lan­­co), 3004-3072 (Santa Fe), 8500-0852 (Insurgentes). Les Moustaches. Rio Sena 88 (E-9). Ideally located in the heart of the city, between the British and US embassies, this outstanding restaurant has consistently ranked among the best for nearly 35 years for its fine cuisine and impeccable service in an elegant atmosphere. Housed in a charming European-style mansion, it offers diners a choice of settings, including private dining rooms for special events or business luncheons. The menu changes with the seasons

Zona Rosa

and features expertly prepared dishes, fish and seafood specialties, light soufflés flavored with liqueurs, and an excellent wine selection. Try the entrecôte with baked potato and crisp bacon, salmon amandine, duck in tangerine sauce. Pianist at noon, piano and violin duet at dinner. You’ll feel pampered from the very start with their complimentary valet parking. Open 1 to 11:30 p.m.; to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday. T. 5525-1265.

This restaurant brings the signature gourmet Spanish cuisine of Sol Melia hotels to Mexico City. T. 5063-1000, ext. 5054.

Los Canarios. Marquis Reforma Hotel (F-5); branches in Santa Fe, Polanco and Lo­­mas. With some 100 years of culinary experience behind it, Los Canarios offers Mexican-Spanish specialties served in a bright elegant setting. Menu highlights include filete chemita and carnitas de ternera. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. T. 5229-1207.


Manhattan Deli. Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel (E-8). This cyber deli (booths have laptops or Internet access) is popular with Mexicans and expats alike. Try the pastrami on rye, lox and bagels, New York-style cheesecake. Open for lunch and dinner. T. 5242-5555. NH. NH Hotel (H-9). Fine international fare in a contemporary setting, including Spanish and Mexican specialties. T. 52289928. Reforma 500. Four Seasons Hotel (F-4). This AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurant features contemporary Mediterranean cuisine in a sunny plant-filled courtyard or elegant dining room. Champagne brunch Sundays. T. 5230-1818. SPANISH L’Albufera. Gran Melia Hotel (F-17). 20

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Tezka. Royal Zona Rosa Hotel (H-9); also Ro­yal Pedregal Hotel (H-51). Understated ele­gance and gourmet Basque cuisine. T. 9149-3000 (Zona Rosa), 5449-4000 (Pedregal).


Plaza de las Tres Culturas (A-20). Symbol of the country’s mestizo (mixed race) society, the plaza’s pre-Hispanic ruins, colonial church and modern high-rise represent the melding of races and cultures in Mexico. Teotihuacan. This fascinating archaeolo­ gical site 31 miles northeast of the capital derived its name, meaning “Place Where the Gods Are Made,” from the Aztecs. The pyramids of the Sun and Moon are its major constructions. Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. T. (594) 956-0276. Buses leave from the Central del Norte terminal for the oneand-a-quarter-hour ride to the site. Also available are excursions aboard panoramic double-deck­er buses called Turibus. T. 5141-1360. Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe (C-41). Mexico’s holiest shrine marks where the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared before a humble Indian named Juan Diego, an event credited with helping convert the indigenous to Catholicism. Juan Diego’s sacred shroud bearing an image of the Virgin is housed in the modern basilica. Buenavista. Rather charmless, but as big as a warehouse, this handicrafts emporium is located at Aldama 187 (E-43).


POLANCO & LOMAS Once exclusively residential, the fashionable Polanco neighborhood just north of Chapultepec Park (see map) is today a major commercial district with many of the city’s most upscale boutiques, shopping centers and restaurants lining its main thoroughfare, Avenida Presi­dente Masaryk. Another prominent street, Avenida Campos Eliseos, is replete with luxury hotels. Construction of the neighborhood began in the 1920s on land once belonging to the old Hacienda de los Morales; the original hacienda still stands, housing a famed restaurant. In the 1950s Polanco gained popularity among the Jewish, Spanish and Lebanese communities, large portions of which still live here. Farther west, Lomas de Chapultepec, or Chapultepec Heights, is the Mexican counterpart of Beverly Hills, with rambling mansions, many of which house embassies or corporate offices.

WHERE TO DINE CHINESE, JAPANESE, THAI Benkay. Nikko Hotel (F-33). Enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine indoors or out; also private rooms and sushi bar. Menu favorites include grilled duck or eel with teriyaki sauce, and green tea ice cream. Prices are a bit steep and the dishes somewhat spare, but elaborate. T. 5283-8700. China Grill. Camino Real Hotel (F-39). The Mexico branch of the famed Mia­mi restaurant features the same gourmet East Asian fare. Menu highlights include crunchy calamari salad, plum-glazed pork ribs, and Szechwan-style broiled beef. The two- or three-course fixed-price Bonsai menu is an excellent option. T. 5263-8887. 22

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Sunka. Antara Polanco Mall (A-30). The newest dining concept from the Suntory Group offers a casual contemporary setting for creative Japanese fare. Try the Dragon Roll, made of breaded shrimp and avocado wrapped in mango, or the Atomic Roll, with tempura shrimp and cheese in chipotle chili sauce. T. 5281-4855. Thai Gardens. Calderon de la Barca 72 (E-30). Authentic Thai cuisine, decor and service. Try the house specialty, “floating market,” a spicy seafood soup made of shrimp, squid and mussels steeped in the Oriental aromas of lemon grass and ginger. The tasting menu is an excellent option. T. 5281-3850. Teppan Grill & Tong Fong Sake Bar. Nik­­ko Hotel (F-33). One of the city’s love­liest restaurants features imported US and Canadian beef and ultra-fresh sea­food flown in from Japan and other countries, as well as imported Yebisu beer and more than 20 types of sake. The favorite menu item is mar y tierra, surf ‘n turf for two prepared teppanyaki style, with prime rib, salmon, shrimp and squid. T. 5283-8700. Zhao. Palmas 530 (I-45). A rare find, combining Chinese cuisine with a great selection of fine wines. Expert chef Kim Kwan prepares Cantonese classics and dim sum dishes. Try the glazed Peking duck and chiligarlic fried red snapper. T. 5540-1900. Zhen Shanghai.Presidente InterContinen­ tal Hotel (F-33). A blend of East Asian cuisines served in an attractive setting. Try the glazed Peking duck. T. 5327-7700. FRENCH Au Pied de Cochon. Presidente InterCon­ ti­­nental Hotel (F-33). Inspired by the


French institution favored for its variety of seafood, classic onion soup, and the dish it was named after, pig’s knuckles. Wonderful menu and setting. Open 24 hours. Very popular. Reservations recommended. T. 5327-7700. Brasserie Lipp. JW Marriott Hotel (F32). The Mexico branch of the famed French brasserie, since the 1920s a favorite haunt of politicos, intellectuals and captains of industry. The menu offers Alsatian and international specialties, including steak tartare with French fried potatoes, scallop ceviche, lemon sea bass and, for dessert, banana Lipp. T. 5281-3434. L’Alsace. Presidente Masaryk 433 (D-29). The Mexico branch of the well-known Champs Elysees establishment features favorites from eastern France, including foie gras prepared myriad ways (foie gras-filled

braised cabbage, foie gras with tomatilloand-Gewurztraminer wine chutney). Try the warm salad with freshwater prawns, choucroute, and classic Alsatian-style baked beef, baekefone. Chic setting with sunny terrace. Open 24 hours a day; breakfast served 6 a.m. to noon. T. 5280-3600. La Taverne. Antara Polanco Mall (A-30). Fine French cuisine and take-out service. Try the seafood bar and wide range of roasted meats, fish and fowl, including roasted red snapper fillet with anchovies and roasted jumbo shrimp. Jazz trio plays Thursday to Saturday nights. T. 5280-8504. L’Olivier. Presidente Masaryk 49 (D-36). French-Mexican cuisine featuring homemade foie gras with caramelized onions, stuffed broiled chicken marinated in achiote, and seasonal recommendations. Top off your meal with a chocolate, Grand Marnier or red berry soufflé, all house specialties. T. 5545-3133. INTERNATIONAL Balmoral. Presidente InterContinental Ho­ tel (F-33). A quintessentially English-style tea­room serving light fare. Breakfast specials, gourmet sandwiches and fresh-baked pastries. Closed Sunday. T. 5327-7766. Biko. Plaza Zentro, Polanco (D-31). Formerly at the helm of a leading hotel restaurant, accomplished chef Bruno Oteiza has struck out on his own, offering his unique brand of Basque-Mexican cuisine. The tasting menu is a treat, featuring his signature playful mix of textures and tastes. Closed Sundays. T. 5282-2064. Bondy. Galileo 38, corner of Newton (E33). This quaint restaurant and bakery, with covered sidewalk seating, is famed for


Travelers Guide to Mexico City


its luscious Viennese-style pastries (selecting just one is a challenge), and tasty international fare. Closed Monday. T. 5281-0940. CoMo. Horacio 253 (C-36). This popular neighborhood eatery with sidewalk seating offers a cozy setting for enjoying international cuisine with Italian specialties. Try their homemade pastas, including four types of ravioli, with a choice of 15 different sauces, grilled marinated chicken breast, or Argentinean-style rib-eye. A popular hangout for the expatriate community. T. 5250-1596. D.O. Hegel 406, corner of Presidente Mas­a­ryk (D-35). Under the supervision of acclaimed chef Pablo San Roman, the kitchen turns out tasty tapas, fish and seafood specialties (San Roman honed his culinary skills along the coast, near Tijuana). T. 5255-0912.

Gloutonnerie. Campos Eliseos 116-Bis (E-35). A swanky wine bar and deli featuring gourmet soups, salads, sandwiches. T. 5203-6101. IHOP. Palmas 275, facing Covadonga Church (I-45). The American icon has gone global, offering its mouthwatering favorites in Mexico City. Try their Philly cheese steak, grilled chicken Caesar salad, or world-famous pancakes. Modern, relaxed setting; generous portions ideal for sharing. T. 5520-9141. Jaso. Newton 88, around the corner from Habita Hotel (D-34). Raved about and quite rightly. Beyond its discreet facade, Jaso offers memorable dining in a relaxed elegant setting. Husband-and-wife team Jared Reardon and Sonia Arias, executive chef and pastry whiz, respectively, offer innovative cuisine, often using organic, locally-grown produce. Opt for the tasting menu and marvel at the succession of complex, expertly prepared dishes. Reservations recommended. T. 5545-7476. La Chimenea. Presidente InterContinental Hotel (F-33). The gourmet Mexican cuisine and extensive breakfast menu (eggs served 24 different ways) have made this a popular spot among business circles. International buffet every Sunday with mariachi music. T. 5327-7700. La Hacienda de los Morales. Vazquez de Mella 525 (D-27). Colonial splendor greets guests at the entrance to this converted 16th-century hacienda, winner of AAA’s Four Diamond Award. Graceful arches give way to a carved stone fountain and cobblestone drive lit at night by flaming torches. Menu highlights include red snapper meuniere with coriander and squash flower crepes, two of the house specialties. The ex-


Travelers Guide to Mexico City


cellent Mexican and international dishes, as well as the gracious service, reflect the 40 years this restaurant has been in business. Formal attire/jacket suggested after 6 p.m. T. 5096-3055. Le Cirque. Camino Real Hotel (F-39). The Mexico branch of the famed New York eatery features the same whimsical setting and gourmet cuisine. Try the foie gras terrine with prunes marinated in port, duck magret in honey and hazelnuts, and ParisMexico, a combination of light orange-flavored pastry and bitter chocolate mousse. T. 5263-8881. Masarik.94. Presidente Masaryk 94 (D36). Enjoy elegant dining and impeccable service in an attractive setting. The signature fusion cuisine created by chef Hazaed Flores de Dios borrows from international and Mexican classics. Try the rib-eye in


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

red wine sauce, charcoal-broiled tuna, and roasted duck magret. Live music Thursday (bossa nova) and Friday (bel canto) nights. Indoor or outdoor dining on an open-air terrace and smoking area. Open for lunch and dinner; breakfasts must be reserved in advance. T. 5203-1966. MP. Andres Bello 10 (F-32). Steps from the hotel zone, owner and Mexican celebrity chef Monica Pati単o creates international fare with an East Asian influence. T. 52802506. Nemi. Presidente Masaryk 390, entrance via Anatole France (D-31). Where awardwin足ning San Francisco chef Michael Mina, who has restaurants throughout the US, features his unique brand of fusion cuisine and vegetarian specialties. Try the poached Maine lobster with Thai coconut sauce, Rossini Angus filet with seared foie gras,


and passion fruit panna cotta. The tasting menus are a great option. T. 3300-3950. Odeon. Palmas 530 (I-45), Antara Polanco Mall (A-30). A tantalizing variety of international specialties, from Mediterranean-style fish and seafood to choice cuts of premium Sterling Silver US beef cooked to perfection, a range of pasta dishes and fresh garden salads, and such Japanese favorites as sashimi, teppanyaki and sushi. For a more casual meal, try one of their famous sandwiches, such as the French Dip or Mexicanstyle Philly steak. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Live jazz Thursday to Saturday nights at Palmas branch. Lavish weekend breakfasts at Antara. T. 5540-3366 (Palmas), 5280-2700 (Antara). Palm. Presidente InterContinental Hotel (F-33). This branch of the celebrated New York steakhouse features the same winning dishes, including thick cuts of US prime beef, and oversized live lobsters from Maine and Nova Scotia, all cooked to order. Menu favorites also include the Slater Special, jumbo battered shrimp with crab cake, and oysters Rockefeller. T. 5327-7700. Pergamino. JW Marriott Hotel (F-32). Cozy and casual, with an extensive buffet that features different cuisines from around the world. T. 5999-0066. Salammbo. Fiesta Americana Grand Hotel (G-39). A sleek setting for creative international dishes and sushi bar. The Sunday buffet brunch with a view, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the 18th floor executive lounge, features a vast array of dishes and entertainment, including musicians, acrobats, magicians and more. T. 2581-1553. Sir Winston Churchill’s. Avila Camacho 67 (E-28). A place the queen would be 30

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

proud of, Jane and Raymundo Fernandez’s Tudor-style mansion is all British, down to the hunter-green billiard room. Specialties include oxtail soup, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, Cambridge sausages, sherry trifle and Irish coffee. Piano accompaniment 3 to 11 p.m. Jackets required weekdays. Closed Sunday. T. 5280-6070. Solea. W Hotel (F-32). A striking contem­ porary setting for innovative steak and seafood specialties featuring a blend of local ingredients and European cooking techniques. Try the shrimp in guajillo butter, chipotle chili filet mignon, and red snapper, and their signature apple martini. Lavish brunch served Saturdays and Sundays. Depending on your mood, you can choose between the dramatic black-and-white dining room with red accents or the sunny, spacious open-air deck. Private dining room available. T. 9138-1818. The View. Constituyentes 99, Col. San Mi­guel Chapultepec (G-44), near Polanco, the presidential residence of Los Pinos, and Chapultepec Castle. The Green Park Hotel’s fine restaurant offers a striking panoramic view of the city’s central park, as well as gourmet international cuisine and live piano music in an elegant English-style setting. The only place in the city where you can enjoy afternoon tea in classic English tradition, much as the queen does, with any of a wide assortment of select teas accompanied by fresh-baked scones and clotted cream. T. 5276-6565. Valkiria. Presidente Masaryk 419 (C-30). A relaxed contemporary space accented with natural elements, such as water, for enjoying fine international cuisine; alfresco terrace. Try the pepper steak and tiritas Thai, beef strips in a sweet-and-sour sauce. Open 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. T. 5280-6242.


Wine Bar Riedel. Campos Eliseos 199 (F33); Sheraton Centro Historico Hotel (F19). This stylish wine bar carries more than 100 wines from Mexico and around the world, including 50 varieties by the glass. Campos Eliseos branch closed Sunday. T. 5280-4825 (Campos Eliseos), 5518-7028 (Sheraton). ITALIAN

El Bajio. Alejandro Dumas 7 (F-32); flagship at Cuitlahuac 2709, Colonia Azcapotzal­co (G-42); new branch at Reforma 222 shopping plaza near Zona Rosa. Famed for its delicious home-style Mexican cooking and colorful decor. Dishes from all over the country, tasty carnitas, handmade tortillas, terrific traditional breakfasts. Flagship open for breakfast and lunch only. T. 5281-8245 (Dumas), 5341-9889 (Cuitlahuac).

Alfredo di Roma. Presidente InterConti­ nen­tal Hotel (F-33). The Mexico City branch of Alfredo’s, “The Authentic King of Fettuccini,” features freshly made pastas and delicious sauces complemented by fine wines and impeccable service. Menu highlights also include salmon carpaccio, and ri­cotta tortellini in fresh tomato sauce. T. 5327-7700.

Fonda Mexicana. Homero 1910 (H-44); also at San Jero­nimo 775 (I-49) and in Lindavista. Colonial-style restaurants specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine and its rich sauces. The beef or pork chalupas poblanas and chicharron con guacamole will get any meal off to a great start. T. 5557-6144 (Homero), 5683-0730 (San Jeroni­mo), 5752-1996 (Lindavista).

Bice Bistro. Camino Real Mexico (F-39), Camino Real Pedregal (I-51), Camino Real Aeropuerto (B-43), and Camino Real Santa Fe (I-46) hotels. Sophisticated Italian cuisine from Tuscany, and fish and seafood specialties in an elegant Art Deco setting. Menu highlights include grilled vegetable tower with goat’s cheese, prime beef in cognac and Madagascar pepper, ricotta cheesecake with raspberries. Open 24 hours a day at the Camino Real Mexico and Santa Fe branches. T. 5263-8822 (Mexico).

Izote. Presidente Masaryk 513 (D-29). Con­ temporary Mexican cuisine by well-known chef Patricia Quintana. Try the sopecitos de camaron (shrimp on tiny crisp tortillas with mild chipotle butter), sopa tarasca (bean soup served in a small clay pot topped with fresh cream, crunchy tortilla strips and avocado), and apple tart with two flavors of ice cream. T. 5280-1671.

MEXICAN Casa Regia. Arquimedes 39 (D-34). A Nor­­teño-style steakhouse offering classic nothern specialties served with characteristic wry northern humor. Try the atropellado, or road kill, made with shredded beef jerky and salsa ranchera, the cabrito al pastor (slow-roasted kid), and other regional favorites, and begin with one of their myriad tequilas or national beers. T. 5280-6496. 32

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

La Fonda del Recuerdo. Bahia de las Pal­mas 37, near the Pemex tower (H-43). Despite being off the tourist track, this spot is popular with both visitors and locals who want a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine. Tasty regional dishes from Veracruz and other parts of the country, plus traditional music and folk show Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. T. 5260-2045. La Tecla. Moliere 56 (E-29). Popular for its expertly prepared contemporary Mexican dishes and reasonable prices. The delicious and light perejil frito, fried parsley


with a chipotle chili-and-cream cheese dip, gets the meal off to an excellent start. Good fish and beef specialties. Branches in Colonia Roma and on Avenida Revolucion. T. 5282-0010. La Valentina. Presidente Masaryk 393, in­­side Plaza Mazarik (D-31). Attractive setting and good Mexican cuisine, both inspired by artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Popular bar area with live music, open-air terrace dining. T. 5282-2297. Los Almendros. Campos Eliseos 164 (F34); also at Insurgentes Sur 1759 (G-48). Delicious Yucatecan fare served in a typical setting. Excellent tacos de venado (venison tacos) and taquitos de cochinita pibil (marinated pork). Regional Montejo beer. Live traditional music at lunch and dinner. T. 5531-6646 (Campos Eliseos), 5661-2658 (In­surgentes).


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Maria Bonita. Camino Real Hotel (F39). A contemporary cantina setting for mouthwatering creations by its Oaxacanborn chef. Don’t miss the duck tacos with tamarind dip, squash blossoms with shredded marinated beef and, for dessert, the chocolate-chili bomb or “Mujer con corazon de hombre.” Open for lunch and dinner. T. 5263-8888. Pampano. Moliere 42 (E-29). This new link in Richard Sandoval’s chain of fine restaurants (Las Vegas, NYC, Dubai) offers modern Mexican cuisine. T. 5281-2010. PORTUGUESE Casa Portuguesa. Emilio Castelar 111A (E-31). A slice of Portugal in Mexico, this popular restaurant with sidewalk tables overlooking a park offers traditional cuisine, music and ambiance. Try the national


staple, bacalhau (codfish) prepared numerous ways. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; closes early Sunday. T. 5280-6885. SEAFOOD Puerto Madero. Presidente Masaryk 110 (D-36). Grilled fish and seafood specialties in a nautical setting with an outdoor terrace. Try the lobster tacos. Reservations recommended. T. 5545-6098. Segundo Muelle. Alejandro Dumas 16 (F-32). From the land that gave us ceviche, the popular marinated seafood cocktail, comes this restaurant specializing in Peruvian-style fish and seafood specialties. Try their award-winning three-chili seafood cevi­ che (cebiche de mariscos a los tres ajies), squid ink spaghetti with tender calamari, and spaghetti al pesto with braised prawns, and leave room for the crème brûlée. Branch in Santa Fe. T. 5281-4338. SPANISH Centro Castellano. Camino Real Hotel (F-39). Traditional Spanish dishes, from tender suckling pig roasted in a wood-burning oven to codfish simmered in a spicy sauce. The tartaleta de arroz con leche, or rice pudding tart, is a perfect way to end a meal. Closed Sunday. T. 2624-0007. Torre de Castilla. Esopo 31 (D-28). A me­­dieval castle sets the stage for specialties from Spain’s different regions. Try the jumbo shrimp, wood-burning oven-baked lamb, and Segovia-style roasted suckling pig. Don’t miss their creative desserts. Patio and terrace dining. T. 5281-0906.

NIGHTLIFE Area. Habita Hotel (D-34). This stylish 36

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

rooftop bar and lounge with a fireplace is housed in a modern, minimalist-style hotel. Open 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Closed Sunday. T. 5282-3100. Barfly. Plaza Mazarik (D-31). Intimate two-level bar featuring Cuban bands playing live from 11 p.m. Small dance floor. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 8 p.m. T. 5282-2906. Hard Rock Cafe. Campos Eliseos 290 (F-31). The Mexico City branch of the world-famous rock ‘n’ roll haven features live music, mostly by local cover bands, Thursday-Saturday nights. One of the few bars you will find open late on Sundays. T. 5327-7100. Karisma Cantina. Campos Eliseos 219 (F-33). Popular for its sidewalk seating. Best nights: Thursday and Friday. Open noon to 2 a.m.; one of the few spots open late Sundays. T. 5280-1872. King’s Pub. Cam­pos Eliseos 269 (F-32); branches in Santa Fe, Satelite, Plaza Lore­ to. Enjoy a wide variety of national and imported brands of beer, and casual pubstyle fare. Cozy booths, pool table. T. 52801114. Hyde. Paseo de los Tamarindos 90, Bosques de las Lomas. A recent addition to the city’s swankier nightclubs, this bar and disco is the current rage among capital socialites. Crystal chandeliers add an elegant touch to the oversized venue capable of accommodating 1,000. Located in an upscale residential and corporate district, in­side an office complex known as “El Pantalon” (“The Trousers”). Arrive fashionably late: best time to be there is around 1 a.m. Cover for men: 250 pesos; must be 23 or older. Open from 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. Reser-


vations suggested. T. (55) 5246 3570 Living Room/The Whiskey Bar. W Hotel (F-32). The hotel’s popular retro-style lobby bar attracts personalities from Mexico’s entertainment industry. T. 9138-1800.

fragrances and accessories for women. T. 5282-3121.

Moon Bar. Camino Real Hotel (F-39). Enjoy drinks under the stars in a candlelit garden setting decked with plush sofas, waterbeds, canopies. Access through China Grill restaurant. T. 5263-8887.

Cubavera. Presidente Masaryk 407, Local 6 (D-31). This brand “translates the joy and evolution of Latin culture into apparel,” with modern takes on the traditional guayabera, plus suit separates, shirt jackets and accessories, from Panama hats to just the right shoes to complete your tropical attire with a Cuban touch. Closed Sundays. T. 5282-1362.

Shelty. Nikko Hotel (F-33). Attractive, wood-panelled bar resembling a swank British pub. Open noon to midnight. T. 5283-8700.

Emporio Armani. Antara Polanco Mall (A-30). This elegant boutique represents the designer label in Mexico with clothing and accessories for men and women.


Ermenegildo Zegna. Presidente Masaryk 454 (D-30); also at Centro Santa Fe (J-46); Perisur (H-51). A leading men’s designer with a made-to-measure service that creates a suit based on your personal tastes in four weeks. T. 5282-0810 (Masaryk), 52611006 (Santa Fe), 5424-1439 (Perisur).

CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES Arroz con Leche. Presidente Masaryk 360, Pasaje Polanco (D-31). A modern take on indigenous-style clothing for kids, including hand-em­broidered tops and skirts. T. 5281-4038. Chanel. Presidente Masaryk 450-2 (D30). Famed designer clothing, cosmetics,


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Hermés. Presidente Masaryk 422 (D-30). A two-story emporium of signature clothing and accessories from the famed French design house. T. 5282-2118.

Mexico City Pineda Covalin. Campos Eliseos 215 (F33); also at El Palacio de Hierro; leading hotels, museum gift shops and the international airport (gate 31). Mexican design duo Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalin create stunning clothing and accessories featuring Mexican imagery, from monarch butterflies to pre-Hispanic codices; and now they also have a line of furniture and accents for the home. T. 5511-9025. Roberto Cavalli. Presidente Masaryk and Calderon de la Barca (D-30). Clothing and accessories by the famed Italian designer known for his bold prints, sensual fabrics and celebrity clients. T. 5282-3463. DEPARTMENT STORES El Palacio de Hierro. Plaza Moliere (C29); also at 20 de Noviembre and the Zocalo (F-24), Centro Santa Fe (J-46) and four other locations. A leading department store featuring designer labels and a gourmet section carrying tequila, Mexican wines and foodstuffs. Also Mexican handicrafts and a travel agency. T. 5229-1999. Liverpool. Horacio and Mariano Escobedo (C-37); also at Venustiano Carranza 92, on the main plaza; and five other locations. In business for more than 150 years, this major department store carries everything from plants to pets. Of special interest to the visitor are the Mexican designers, regional sweets, silver jewelry and silverware. HANDICRAFTS Artesania Magica. Edgar Allan Poe 308 (B-30). A breathtaking selection of prized handicrafts you won’t easily come across anywhere else, such as brightly-painted wooden trays inlaid with mother of pearl. T. 5531-3984.

Las Artesanias. Oscar Wilde 29, in Pasaje Polanco (D-31). Conveniently located near major hotels, this multi-level shop carries a fine assortment of handicrafts from around the country, including a large selection of hand-painted Talavera pottery from Puebla and Guanajuato, rebozos (shawls) from Santa Maria, blown-glass from Tonala, Olinala lacquer-ware, Mexican toys, and more. Also, a collection of textiles that features attractive all-cotton clothing for both men and women, some of it hand embroidered. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. T. 5280-9515. Zarabanda. Campos Eliseos 199 (F-33). Conveniently located near all the major hotels, this shop offers an eclectic selection of Mexican handicrafts, folk art and designer items, including hand-embroidered huipils, guayaberas for men, and handmade jewelry. T. 5281-1611. JEWELRY & SILVERWARE Berger Joyeros. Presidente Masaryk 438 (D-30) and Antara Mall (A-30); also at Altavista 207, local 2, San Angel (H-48); and in-store boutiques at El Palacio de Hierro department store, and Santa Fe and Perisur shopping centers. Specializing in fine jewelry and haute horlogerie, or ultra-luxury timepieces. Chronographs are currently enjoying a major comeback and Berger has the gamut, from Daniel Roth’s first ever chronograph version of its iconic Papillon watch, the Papillon Chronograph, to Parmi­ giani Fleurier’s Kalpa Hemispheres, a new collection dedicated to travel, featuring a highly accurate second time zone display that puts the whole world within reach with just one glance. T. 5281-4122 (Masaryk), 5280-7959 (Antara), 5616-1594 (Altavis­ ta), 5447-1600 (Peri­sur), 5257-5228 (Santa Fe).



sions of handicrafts traditionally fashioned out of pottery, wood, straw or other materials. Decorative items, silverware, toys, jewelry and accessories. T. 5282-0024. Sergio Bustamante. Nikko Hotel (F33). Guadalajara-born artist Sergio Bustamante, known for his whimsical sculptures in papier-mache, bronze and copper, has applied his creative talents to jewelry design with stunning results. His distinctive headturning line of 22k gold, gold-plated, and sterling-silver jewelry features his signature blazing suns and moons. T. 5282-2638.

Bvlgari. Presidente Masaryk 440 (D-30). Fine jewelry, watches, accessories and fragrances from the contemporary Italian jeweler, including the “Bulgari Bulgari” collection, a genuine icon of the Bulgari watch line. Updated in three new versions, the line now features white, pink, or brown mother of pearl faces embellished with diamond indices mounted by hand and matching satin strap available in the same three colors. T. 5281-1031. Chopard. Presidente Masaryk 438-A (D30). Ever present on the red carpet, the Swiss jewelry and haute horlogerie (ultraluxury timepieces) brand con­tinues to offer divine collections and in­novations, such as the Happy Diamonds line, featuring the Happy Sport ladies watch. T. 9138-0505. Izta. Alejandro Dumas 7-A (F-32). Uniquely Mexican silver creations, many silver ver40

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Talleres de los Ballesteros. Presidente Ma­sa­ryk 126 (D-36); also at Amberes 24 (F-8); Altavista 90 (H-48); Prado Norte 324 (I-44). Attractive silver jewelry, table settings and decorative items crafted by the renowned family of Taxco silversmiths. T. 5545-4109 (Polanco), 5511-8281 (Zona Rosa). Tane. Presidente Masaryk 430 (D-30); also at Presidente InterContinental (F-33) and Camino Real (F-39) hotels, Centro Santa Fe (J-46); Perisur (H-51). Fine sterling-silver jewelry and silverware. T. 5282-6221 (Masaryk). Tiffany & Co. Presidente Masaryk 450 (D29); also at Plaza Moliere (C-29). Jewelry by Tiffany’s exclusive designers. T. 52815222. LEATHER Coccinelle. Plaza Mazarik (D-31). Attractive Italian designer handbags, accessories. Regina Romero. Alejandro Dumas 107 (D-32). High quality leather shoes and boots in original designs, both classic and contemporary styles. T. 5281-0461.

Mexico City

I n a country that values dining so much that a casual lunch can last up to three hours, and special occasions see lunches that morph into dinners, it’s never been hard to find good food. But the recent rise of homegrown celebrity chefs reflects the fast-paced evolution of both Mexico’s cuisine and cooking techniques. Many of these culinary stars have restaurants here in the nation’s capital, so try one or visit them all during your stay.

Enrique Olvera Pujol

Olvera’s signature cuisine is as cerebral as it is delicious, deconstructing Mexican classics into contemporary tributes to each essential ingredient. Olvera is also hot on the speaking circuit, giving cooking seminars around the world, including New York, Chicago and New Zealand. Sonia Arias Jaso

A master pastry chef, Arias teamed up with her talented husband and chef Jared Reardon to create one of the city’s newest and most talked about dining options, a must-dine for any gastronome. Patricia Quintana Izote

Considered Mexico’s culinary ambassador to the world, the author of various cookbooks is also the brains behind the creative menus at two of the country’s most luxurious resorts, Tamarindo and Careyes in Costalegre on the Pacific coast, and Mexicana airline’s business class. Martha Chapa Aguila y Sol

Combining the magic and romanticism of Mexico in each dish has been the special talent of this accomplished chef who has authored numerous cookbooks, most recently “Los Tacos de Mexico.” Monica Patiño MP Café Bistro, La Taberna del Leon, Naos

Practically a brand name, Patiño became a familiar face after hosting one of Mexico’s most popular television cooking shows. The awardwinning cook also crafted the delectable menu of Aeromexico’s Premier class.




SHOPPING CENTERS Antara Polanco. Ejercito Nacional 843 (A-30). Stroll through the city’s first openair shopping center, an upscale showcase for international and Mexican brands, from Armani Exchange to Zara Home, plus cosmetics, jewelry, sporting goods and more. There’s also a multiplex, with a full-service VIP theater, a game hall featuring bingo and electronic games, a top-floor fast-food terrace, and a range of fine restaurants offering French, international and Japanese cuisines. SPECIAL Cösmetika. Prado Norte 320 (I-44); also in San Angel. Sample perfumes and cosmetics at this store and spa where you can 42

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

apply before you buy. Also an exclusive line of custom-made and mineral-based makeup. T. 5540-7900. Emilia Micha’s Holistic Spa. Fuente de Diana 80-A, Tecamachalco (I-43). Located in an upscale residential zone. The menu features light-using LED facials, body treatments incorporating chocolate exfoliates and warm wine baths. T. 5251-6011. Rodrigo Rivero Lake. Campos Eliseos 199-PH (F-33). Rivero travels the world gathering antiques and decorative art. By appointment only. T. 5281-5505. Schwarcstein. Calle Polanco 79 (E-34), Contemporary Latin American art by talented young artists, some from Oaxaca, including Eduardo Luna. T. 5282-1278.


CONDESA & ROMA Condesa, Mexico City’s own SoHo, features offbeat boutiques, and sidewalk cafes and restaurants that line its major avenues, especially Micho­acan, from Mazat­lan to Tamau­lipas (see map). The neighborhood took shape in the 1920s and 30s on land once occupied by the hippodrome of the Countess of Miravalle (evident in the racetrack shape of one of its key streets, Amsterdam). Elegant Art Deco buildings and European-style townhouses dating from the Porfi­rian era (1876-1910) surround its main park, Parque Mexico. Hit hard by the 1985 earthquakes, the area was largely abandoned and later revived by struggling artists looking for low-rent housing. Today, Condesa and neighboring Roma are the favorite stomping grounds of the city’s young, upwardly mobile professionals.

WHERE TO DINE Bistro Mosaico. Michoacan 10, Condesa (G-58); also at Presidente Masaryk and Schiller, Polanco (D-36). Tasty French cooking in a cozy, casual bistro, bakery and deli setting. The eggplant paté and goat cheese

salad are highly recommended. The changing menu offers daily beef, poultry and fish specialties. T. 5584-2932 (Condesa). Cafe La Gloria. Vicente Suarez 41, Con­ desa (G-55). Practically a landmark, this neighborhood pioneer and favorite hangout offers sidewalk seating and delicious fare. T. 5211-4180. Capicua. Nuevo Leon 68, Condesa (G56); also at Av. De la Paz 14, San Angel (H48). Experience innovative Spanish cuisine in a casual, inviting ambiance. House specialties include shrimp-and-calamari brochettes, tapenade tuna, tomato bread with prosciutto, and an asparagus-and-wildmushroom mix. The Condesa branch closes on Sundays and the San Angel branch on Mondays. T. 5211-5280 (Condesa), 56165211 (San Angel). Condesa df. Veracruz 102, Condesa (E56). Take your pick of settings for breakfast, lunch and dinner at this ultra-trendy hotel: the Breakfast Room, El Patio and the rooftop La Terraza are just a few of the options. Menu offerings range from fresh tuna tartare and tender roasted quail to a variety of sushi, as well as Mexican-influenced dishes

CAPICUA Address: Nuevo Leon 68, Condesa; and Av. De la Paz 14, San Angel. Tel: 5211-5280 (Condesa), 5616-5211 (San Angel). Type of Food: Spanish. Specialities include shrimp-and-calamari brochettes, tapenade tuna, tomato bread with prosciutto, and asparagus-and-wild mushroom mix. Hours: 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Condesa branch closed Sunday, San Angel, closed Monday. Description: Page 42. Map: G-56, H-48. 44

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Mexico City and drinks. T. 5241-2600. Contramar. Durango 200, Roma (D-58). What this oversized beach hut in the middle of the big city lacks in decor it makes up for in ambiance: it’s big with the trendy set. If you manage to get seated, celebrate with a frosty michelada (beer with lemon juice on ice in a salt-rimmed glass) and the handsdown favorite starter, smoked marlin tostadas. Open for lunch only. T. 5514-3169. El Tizoncito. Tamaulipas 122, Condesa (H-55). People from all walks of life come here for Mexico’s staple food, the taco, in its many variations, especially the gyro-style taco al pastor. Bustling, especially late at night. T. 5286-7321. Hip Kitchen. Hippodrome Hotel, Condesa (F-58). A stylish and cozy contemporary bistro offering a small but select menu of international dishes with a Mexican touch. Join their Monday night wine tasting and learn about national and international vintages. Open 1 p.m. to midnight. Closed Sunday. T. 5212-2110. Lamm. Alvaro Obregon 99, Ro­ma (F-45). Pass the time surrounded by books, art and

live music. The menu features cuitlacoche (corn truffle) ravioli and ceviche (marinated shrimp, fish or squid cocktails). T. 5514-8501. Ligaya. Nuevo Leon 68, Condesa (G-56). Good international fare with a Mexican touch in a hip contemporary setting with tables in a covered garden. Menu favorites include spinach and mango salad, fish-filled battered asparagus in a cream sauce, and beef fillet in tequila sauce. Open for lunch and dinner, lunch only Sunday and Monday. T. 5286-6268. Primos. Michoacan 168, Condesa (G-54). A pleasant bistro setting for comfort food with a twist: try the duck torta ahogada, a gourmet version of an old Guadalajara standby. Sidewalk seating. T. 5256-0950.

NIGHTLIFE Celtics. Tamaulipas 36, Condesa (G-56). You’ll find a wide variety of beer, from Carolus to Franziskaner, at this popular pub. Rock band plays Tuesday nights; live blues and jazz Sunday. T. 5211-9081. Cibeles. Plaza Madrid 17, Roma (I-7). A

LIGAYA Address: Nuevo Leon 68, Condesa. Tel: 5286-6268/6380. Type of Food: International. Chicken in black cherry sauce, red snapper in chipotle chili, salmon in coconut milk, beef fillet in tequila. Hours: Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday, lunch only Sunday and Monday. Description: Page 43. Map: G-56. Web Site:



Bohemian-chic setting for drinks. Wander through the different rooms of this converted old home and find your favorite spot. T. 5208-1456. Condesa df. Veracruz 102, Condesa (E56). This ultra-trendy hotel houses basement and ground-floor bars, and a rooftop terrace for having drinks alfresco. Try the ruby jamaica margarita and cinnamonsprinkled horchata martini. T. 5241-2600. La Bodega. Amsterdam and Popocatepetl, Condesa (G-45). A favorite of the over-25 crowd for its relaxed atmosphere, Bohemian-chic decor. Rumba band or bolero singers entertain in the different rooms. An adjoining nightclub features comedians such as Astrid Hadad. Closed Sunday. Tel. 5525-2473. La Botica. Campeche 396, Condesa (G55). This “pharmacy,” as it’s called in Spanish, dispenses different types of mezcal from Oaxaca. Which you’ll want to try depends on what ails you, in keeping with mezcal’s traditional use as a home remedy. Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. T. 5211-6045. Mama Rumba. Queretaro 230, Roma


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

(F-45); new branch at Altamirano 46, San Angel, in Plaza Loreto (H-48). Travel restrictions keeping you from visiting the island? Try Mama Rumba for an evening of authentic Cuban music, food and drinks. What started out some 10 years ago as a tiny haven for Cuban musicians has grown into a phenomenon with an always-packed dance floor. Reservations recommended Friday and Saturday nights. T. 5564-6920 (Roma), 5550-2959.

WHERE TO SHOP Condesa df Hotel. Veracruz 102, Condesa (E-56). Though tiny, the gift shop carries unique jewelry, accessories and other items that make a big impression. T. 5241-2600. Daniel Espinosa. Tamaulipas 72, Condesa (G-56). Artistic gold and silver pieces, some with semiprecious stones. T. 52113994. Naco. Yautepec 126-B, Condesa (H-54). “Naco,” the Mexican equivalent of white trash, carries street-wear and accessories that celebrate the seedier side of life, most with a pro wrestling theme. Wear them proudly and share the inside joke. T. 5286-1343.

Coyoacan & San Angel

Rivera, with works by the couple and others. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. T. 5554-5999. Xochimilco (C-51). At the famed “floating gardens” dating from Aztec times, colorful trajineras (punts) are propelled along canals. Passenger boats pass others carrying mariachi musicians or marimba bands, taco and beer vendors. Packages that include boat ride, folkloric show and lunch are available. Sectur DF / Aymara Tello

Dolores Olmedo Museum. Av. Mexico 5843, Xochimilco (E-52); take the subway and then the Tren Ligero to La Noria station. The most representative collection of works by Rivera and Kahlo displayed in a rambling estate-turned-museum. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. T. 5676-1055.

COYOACAN & SAN ANGEL Once independent villages that were swallowed up by the city, San Angel and Coyoacan (see maps) preserve their colonial-era charm with tree-lined cobblestone streets and old stone mansions decorated with tile. Both favorites of Mexico’s intellectual community, they were once home to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. San Angel hosts a famous Saturday bazaar, and Coyoacan’s plaza is especially lively and colorful on Sunday.

WHAT TO SEE & DO Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Studio/ Mu­­seum. Diego Rivera 2, San Angel (H48). The home and studio the artists shared. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. T. 5550-1189. Frida Kahlo Museum. Londres 247, Coyo­­­acan (F-48). The charming home shared by the artist and her husband Diego 48

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

UNAM (G-50). A UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site since June 2007, the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico boasts outstanding murals by some of Mexico’s greatest artists; a cultural center featuring a major museum of contemporary art (MUAC) and an excellent Mexican restaurant (Azul y Oro) that’s open for breakfast and lunch; Universum science museum, and Sala Nezahualcoyotl, North America’s first wraparound concert venue, ranked as one of the world’s finest. Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros. WTC (G-46). Home of “The March of Humanity,” reputedly the world’s largest mural, by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Light and sound show weekends at 11:30 a.m., 12:45 and 5 p.m. T. 5536-4520.

SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS Bazaar Sabado. Plaza San Jacinto, San An­­­ gel (H-48). Saturday only, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. An upscale market for artisans of sophisti-

Coyoacan & San Angel

national fare. Order a margarita and relax in their elegant flower-filled patio. Menu highlights include corn truffle-filled crepes, stuffed poblano peppers, and Veracruz-style sea bass. Trios provide romantic music. An ideal venue for private banquets or parties. Winner of the 2005 Dirona Award. T. 5616-1402. Wa. Insurgentes Sur 1843, Guadalupe Inn (G-47). A modern, spacious venue with an alfresco terrace and teppanyaki tables, expertly prepared dishes and 15 varieties of sake. Try the asparagus wrapped in rib eye accompanied by a shot of Taru, and mussels au gratin with miso mayo and a shot of aromatic Shochikubai Organic Junmai Ginjo Draft. T. 5662-0262. Wa

NIGHTLIFE cated jewelry, glassware, ceramics, decorative items. Open-air patio with Mexican buffet, marimba music; typical restaurant. Outside, painters and sculptors display their work.

El Hijo del Cuervo. Plaza Jardin Centenar­ io 17, Coyoacan (F-48). Facing the plaza, this bar has been a longtime favorite for live jazz or rock, as well as poetry readings and other literary events. T. 5658-7824.

Bus & Trolley Tours. A double-decker pano­ramic bus (Turibus) offers tours of these neighborhoods, including stops at the museums of Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky. You can board at the departure point, Plaza Madrid, in Colonia Roma (I-7), or at any of the sights along the way. Old-fashioned trolley cars offer halfhour mini-tours of the Coyoacan district (F-48), leaving from Calle Paris 190, in Colonia Del Carmen, every day from 10 a.m.

La Guadalupana. Higuera 2, corner of Ca­ballo Calco, Coyoacan (F-48). Founded in 1932, this traditional cantina decked with bullfighting memorabilia is in one of the city’s most picturesque colonial-era neighborhoods. Open 1 to 11:30 p.m., except Sunday. T. 5554-6253.



El Secreto. Altavista 131, San Angel (H48). Traditional Mexican sweets and cookies, beautifully packaged. T. 5550-3622.

San Angel Inn. Diego Rivera 50, San An­gel (H-48). This magnificently restored 17th-century hacienda offers a memorable setting for drinks, and Mexican and inter-

Uriarte. Santa Catarina 207, next door to San Angel Inn restaurant (H-48). A showcase of hand-painted Talavera pottery from Puebla. T. 5550-5915.


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Santa Fe

SANTA FE Ciudad Santa Fe is a burgeoning upscale suburb to the west that’s home to many corporate offices and a growing number of residents fleeing the congestion of the city center by moving into its high-tech smart buildings. Built on a former landfill, the capital’s newest urban development embodies the country’s stark contrasts: its ultra-modern steel-and-glass high­-rises are mushrooming not far from one of the city’s most notable sprawling slums, El Molinito, and its ramshackle houses.


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Santa Fe’s concentration of businesses has led to a crop of first-class hotels and fine restaurants; it’s also home to the city’s largest and most complete shopping center, Centro Santa Fe.

DINING & NIGHTLIFE Brassica. Vasco de Quiroga 3900, in Plaza Diamante (J-46). Inspired by Bostonian cooking, owner and executive chef Alex Marti­nez offers such New England classics as roast prime rib, served in a salt-and-fine herbs crust, clam chowder, crab cakes, lobster. T. 1084-8750.

Santa Fe

Gino’s. Juan Salvador Agraz 60 (J-46). Tasty home-style Italian cooking in a casual setting. Owner Gianfranco Nucci’s successful original establishment in the city’s Napoles neighborhood has grown to include this newly-opened branch. Menu highlights include the Bariloche pizza, arrachera-style beef with your choice of pasta, and a wide selection of pastries. T. 5292-1222. Ligaya Terraza. Juan Salvador Agraz 37, locale 13 (J-46). The Santa Fe branch of the popular Condesa eatery offers the same freshly prepared, creative cooking in an attractive setting reminiscent of the French countryside; a retractable roof makes the most of sunny days. Try the goat cheese salad with a citrus vinaigrette, mushroom soup, and sea bass in orange butter. Closed Monday. T. 5292-2214. L’Olivier. Vasco de Quiroga 1900-B, in


Travelers Guide to Mexico City

front of the Iberoamericana University (J46). This cozy bistro offers French fare with a Mexican touch. Try the pizza tart with guacamole and smoked salmon, mixed salad L’Olivier, and the chef ’s specialty, a perfectly prepared prime cut of beef. T. 5292-4068. Los Canarios. G.G. Camarena 1600 (J46); also at Goldsmith 66, 2nd floor (D-30). With some 100 years of culinary experience behind it, this spot offers Mexican-Spanish specialties served in a bright tropical setting. Try the filete chemita and carnitas de ter­nera. T. 5081-1481 (Santa Fe), 52804900 (Polanco). Nhube. NH Santa Fe Hotel (J-46). Dine, have a drink, check your emails in this innovative space designed to make visitors feel at home. For a truly home-cooked ex­ perience try the alambre de arachera a la

Santa Fe

cacerola, beef and vegetables served in a cocotte, accompanied with a side order of refried beans. T. 9177-7380. Rosato. Fiesta Americana Santa Fe Hotel (J-46). The hotel’s refined restaurant offers Italian-Mediterranean fare in an elegant, contemporary setting. Try the huachinango en costra de Grissini, breaded red snapper in a light yogurt-mint sauce. Open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. T. 1105-5035. Segundo Muelle. Juan Salvador Agraz 40, mezzanine (J-46). From the land that gave us ceviche, the marinated seafood cocktail, comes this restaurant specializing in Peruvian-style fish and seafood specialties. Try their award-winning three-chili seafood ceviche (cebiche de mariscos a los tres ajies), squid ink spaghetti with tender calamari, and spaghetti al pesto with braised prawns, and leave room for the crème brûlée. Branch in Polanco. T. 5292-5550. Skybar. Camino Real Santa Fe Hotel (I46). Enjoy cocktails, sushi and glittering nighttime views from the hotel’s top-floor bar and lounge with an open-air terrace. Open 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. except Sunday. T. 5004-1616.

WHERE TO SHOP Adobe Diseño. Centro Santa Fe Mall (J-45). This store features unique and creative Mexican-made furniture and decorative items for the home from the country’s handicraft mecca of Tlaquepaque (in Guadalajara) and other areas. T. 5257-1454. Centro Santa Fe Mall. Vasco de Quiroga 3800 (J-45). The city’s largest shopping center houses all of Mexico’s major retailers under one roof. You’ll find El Palacio de Hierro and Liverpool, the leading department stores in Mexico, plus designer boutiques, Mexican-made decorative items, fine restaurants, a fast-food court, and even a golf practice range and recreational center for the kids. T. 3003-4300. Saks Fifth Avenue. Centro Santa Fe (J45). This top-tier department store features exclusive designer items in Mexico. Samsonite Black Label. Centro Santa Fe Mall (J-45). The best-known name in travel gear showcases its exclusive line of luggage and other accessories at El Palacio de Hierro department store. Retro to futuristic collections. T. 5245-8855.

ADOBE DISEÑO Striking Mexican-made furniture and decorative accents for the home from the handicraft mecca of Tlaquepaque and other corners of the globe. Everything from hand-sewn leather backgammon boards to forged-iron table stands in the shape of a cactus or other quintessentially Mexican icons. You’ll also find famed Paquimé pottery, carved wood armoires, rattan furniture, baskets and more. Monumental pieces can be made to measure. Shipping. Centro Santa Fe (J-46). T. 5257-1454. 56

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Shooka Shemirani

Side Trips

Cuernavaca. Perennial springlike weather, colonial charm, pre-Hispanic sites, and rejuvenating spas make this nearby town a popular retreat for Mexico City residents. But a sumptuous, relaxed meal in a garden setting, such as at Las Mañanitas or Camino Real Sumiya, can be the sole objective of a visit (it’s close enough, via a six-lane toll highway). A large selection of charming hotels make overnighting worthwhile. Tepoztlan. Best known for its weekend crafts market and convent, this lovely town is nestled beneath towering rock formations, on top of which is an accessible Aztec shrine known as Tepozteco. The climb to the ruin is a difficult one, but the view is rewarding. Give yourself about an hour and a half to reach the top; the entrance closes at 4:30 p.m. sharp. Unique Posada del Tepozteco offers colorful accommodations, as well as fine Mexican cuisine, on a hilltop overlooking town. Near Cuernavaca, via a clearly marked turnoff from the highway. 58

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Toluca. The capital of the State of Mexico lies 46 miles west of Mexico City and less than 25 miles from the world’s only drivein volcano, Nevado de Toluca. You can actually drive into the crater, home of the lakes of the Sun and Moon. Adjacent to Toluca’s main square, under the portales, or arcades, shops sell everything from an orange-flavored liqueur called moscos to local­ly produced red or green chorizo and the town’s famous tortas (sandwiches). On the east side of the plaza is Cosmo Vitral, a botanical gar­den under stained glass. Toluca’s Centro Cultural Mexiquense houses various interesting museums displaying a fine collection of modern Mexican art, as well as regional arts and crafts. The best place to stay is located about 20 minutes from the downtown area, in a beautiful countryside setting: Real Hacienda Santo Tomas offers deluxe amenities and services in a regal French colonial-style hacienda, with a spa, gardens, indoor pool, fine dining and more. It’s ideal for a week-

Side Trips

end of pampering or an executive retreat. T. (726) 251 9330; Puebla. Mexico’s fourth-largest city is perhaps the most characteristically Spanish. The town was settled after the conquest as a Spanish strong­hold between the coast and Mexico City. Three centuries later a ragtag Mexican army of 2,000 men defeated 6,000 invading French troops in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This is the origin of the Cinco de Mayo holiday and the reason streets throughout Mexico bear that name. Famous for hand-painted Talavera tile, Puebla’s long history as a pottery center actually began before the Spaniards arrived. In his “True History of the Conquest of Mexico,” historian and conquistador Bernal Diaz de Castillo noted the “excellent manufacture of earthenware.” About five miles west of Puebla lies Cholula, home to the world’s largest pyramid, covering 46 acres. Built in several stages during the first 800 years A.D., the Spanish erected a church, Santuario de los Remedios, on top of it in 1666. Less than five miles from Cholula are the churches of Tonantzintla and Acatepec, illustrating the zeal with which native artists interpreted Biblical teachings. Tlaxcala. Mexico’s smallest state offers visitors numerous attractions, including colonial masterpieces, stunning pre-Hispanic murals (Cacaxtla), colorful religious festivals, and even an annual Pamplona-style running of the bulls, all in an area slightly larger than Rhode Island, in other words, all within minutes of each other. The Posada San Francisco, on the main square, is an excellent lodging option. Organized tours of the historic center are offered every Saturday. The town lies an hour and a half (120 60

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

km/75 miles) east of Mexico City. Valle de Bravo. A popular weekend retreat for well-heeled Mexico City residents, “Valle” is set on a mountain slope beside a beautiful lake. Cobblestone streets, red-tile rooftops, attractive shops, and traditionallydressed Mazahua Indians from surrounding villages who come to sell their handicrafts are all part of its charm. Lush hills around the lake are considered excellent for hang-gliding — in fact, you can usually spot gliders floating in the sky above town. For lessons, contact Erick Salgado (tel. (726) 262-0048). For the less action oriented, there are boat rides around the lake. For the ultimate in tranquility, visit Maranatha, a beautiful retreat, likened to an Italian palazzo, run by Carmelite nuns. El Santuario ( mx; T. (726) 262-9100) is a luxurious hotel and spa built on a quartz mountainside believed to be conducive to energy. Guests at this sanctuary for the mind and body can sign up for massages for two out in the middle of the lake and other signature treatments. Though only 87 miles away, the winding drive can take about three hours. Tepotzotlan. Twenty-five miles to the northwest, just off the Queretaro Hwy., Tepotzotlan is famous for its ornate 16thcentury Jesuit seminary and church. Around Christmas, cheeky renditions of the Nativity play, called pastorelas, are staged inside the beautiful seminary (T. 5876-0243). Taxco. Mexico’s silver capital is built on the side of a mountain and its twisting, cobblestone streets are lined with countless shops offering everything you can imagine in silver. Worth visiting are Santa Prisca church on the main square, and the Spratling and Los Castillo silver factories. The town hosts an annual Silver Fair in November.

Top Mexico City Hotels


Nikko Mexico

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

Campos Eliseos 204; T. 5283-8700

16 de Septiembre 82; T. 1083-7700

Presidente InterContinental

Hampton Inn & Suites

Campos Eliseos 218; T. 5327-7700

5 de Febrero 24; T. 8000-5000


Holiday Inn Zocalo

Campos Eliseos 252; T. 9138-1800

Cinco de Mayo; T. 5130-5130 Majestic


Madero 73; T. 5521-8600

Condesa df

NH Centro Historico

Veracruz 102; T. 5241-2600

Palma 42; T. 5261-7777


Sheraton Centro Historico

Mexico 188; T. 5212-2110

Juarez 70; T. 5130-5300

La Casona


Reforma 69; T. 5061-3000

Durango 280; T. 5286-3001 Quality Inn Roma

Alvaro Obregon 38; T. 1085-9500

Fiesta Americana Reforma


Reforma 80; T. 5140-4100

Camino Real Pedregal

Four Seasons

Periferico Sur 3647; T. 5449-3650

Reforma 500; T. 5230-1818

Crowne Plaza Hotel de Mexico

Galeria Plaza

Dakota 95; T. 1105-5100

Hamburgo 195; T. 5230-1717

Royal Pedregal

Gran Melia Mexico Reforma

Periferico Sur 4363; T. 5449-4000

Reforma 1; T. 5063-1000 Marquis Reforma


Reforma 465; T. 5229-1200

Camino Real Santa Fe

Mexico City Marriott Reforma

G.G. Camarena 300; T. 5004-1616

Reforma 276; T. 1102-7030

Fiesta Americana/Fiesta Inn Santa Fe


Calle 3 No. 55 T. 1105-5000/5100

Liverpool 155; T. 5228-9928

NH Santa Fe

Sheraton Maria Isabel

San Juan Salvador Agraz 44; T. 9177-7380

Reforma 325; T. 5242-5555

Sheraton Suites Santa Fe


G.G. Camarena 200; T. 5258-8500

Camino Real Mexico


Mariano Escobedo 700; T. 5263-8888

Camino Real Aeropuerto

Casa Vieja

International Airport, T1; T. 3003-0033

Eugenio Sue 45; T. 5282-0067

Hilton Airport

Fiesta Americana Grand

International Airport, T1; T. 5133-0505

Mariano Escobedo 756; T. 2581-1500 Habita


Presidente Masaryk 201; T. 5282-3100

Green Park

JW Marriott

Constituyentes 99, Col. San Miguel Chapul足 tepec, near Polanco; T. 5276-6565

Andres Bello 29; T. 5999-0000 62 62

Travelers Guide to Mexico City

Mexico City TRANSPORTATION TAXIS, BUSES, SUBWAY Taxis: Avoid flagging a taxi on the street, especially at night — taxi assaults have been known to occur. Sitios (radio cabs) offer a secure and reasonably-priced means of getting around town. Two of the largest radio cab companies are TaxiMex (5519-7690) and Servitaxis (5516-6020 to 6034). Regular cabs are either green Volkswagen “beetles” or red-striped four-door vehicles. Marked “Taxi,” cabs display the word “Libre” (“Free”) in the front windshield when available. Ensure the driver’s ID is visibly displayed and the taximeter is working. If not, wait for another cab — such irregularities can indicate a rogue taxi. Tipping is not customary; a 20-percent surcharge is added after 11 p.m. Cars for hire, with English-speaking guide-drivers, are often parked outside major hotels; can be expensive. Check the driver’s credentials before getting in. Upon arrival in Mexico City, take only taxis belonging to the airport concession. Fares are fixed according to destination and tickets can be purchased at clearly marked yellow booths next to major airport exits (if there is more than one company offering this service, it may be worthwhile to compare prices). Beware of hustlers offering transportation in unauthorized vehicles. Buses: Buses run regularly and during non-rush hour are an easy way to get to museums in the Chapultepec Park area. The 4-peso fare must be in exact change. Metro (Subway): User-friendly and a bar­­­­gain to boot. Tickets cost 2 pesos and you can transfer between 9 lines at no extra charge. Runs from 5 a.m. to midnight Monday to Friday, from 6 a.m. Saturdays, and from 7 a.m. Sundays and holidays. At peak morning and afternoon hours, sepa-

rate cars are reserved for women. Avoid the subway during rush hour and watch your wallet or purse when taking any public transit. Metrobus: A rapid transit bus system, with its own dedicated lane, the 24-hour Metrobus barrels up and down Avenida Insurgentes, the city’s main north-south artery. For 5 pesos, the price of a ride (5.50 pesos from midnight to 4:30 a.m.), you can go from the northern reaches to University City (CU) in the deep south and beyond. Fares are paid with a prepaid pass available at each station. Colectivos: Collective taxis, also called peseros or combis, are mini-buses that run along fixed routes. They’re white with different colored stripes, mostly green or maroon. Just flag one down at the corner — if there’s room for another person, it will stop. The minimum fare is 3 pesos; the farther you go, the higher the fare, but never more than a few pesos. Visitors find colectivos most convenient along Reforma, as they shuttle between the Auditorio Nacional in Chapultepec Park, and beyond, to the Basilica de Guadalupe. SIDE TRIPS BY BUS: First-class and deluxe bus service is superior to that in the United States and comparable to European standards. Travel by day for added security. Each of the city’s four main bus terminals serves a given direction: east, west, north or south. At the airport, a Ground Ter­minal offers bus service to the cities of Cuernavaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Toluca and Pachuca (Ter­minal 1, top floor, Sala E1, past the fast-food court). Leading bus companies include ADO (southeast and Gulf destinations), ETN (north-central destinations), Estrella Blanca (nationwide).



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