All You Can Eat and Art in Mexico Cityby Jessica Wright of Bon Traveler
There’s nothing sweeter than returning back to a familiar city. Having visited Mexico City a few years ago, I was ready to revisit and rediscover the city for Bon Traveler. I felt like I hadn’t seen all that CDMX has to offer, and this time, I was focused on design and food.
Mexico City has become the ultimate playground for design. Restaurants, museums, galleries, local designers—its creativity comes alive in many forms. After spending five nights in the city and gladly eating my way through, it’s as good as I remember, if not better.
I spent the first few nights at arguably the most luxurious boutique hotel in Mexico City, Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel. In the heart of the chic Polanco neighborhood, it has one of the best addresses in the city and has access to the top restaurants and design attractions. Featuring plush beds and spa-like bathrooms, each of the 35 rooms and suites are true to the contemporary modern design. Just downstairs is Anatol, the hotel’s chic restaurant that serves something for everyone, with local flare. I started each morning with room service from the restaurant, the avocado toast was a repeat order. At night, I soaked in the tub with views over the sprawling city.
With the plethora of museums there are in the city, you’ll have to pick and choose. Museo Tamayo is beautiful not only for the rotating exhibits but also for its architecture. It features a great restaurant on its back terrace and a shop with local goods. I personally loved coming in just to see the building—it really is that great.
For all things Mexico history and culture, there’s Museo Nacional de Antropología. It’s another beautiful architectural gem in the city and one of the largest museums. Walkthrough different archeological and anthropological exhibits from ancient Mexico and be sure to visit outback where the gardens are.
One of the many free museums in the city, Museo Soumaya stands out for its façade. Silver scale-like cutouts reflect the sky making it hard to miss. Inside, there’s multiple floors of art with the Rodin collection highlighted on the top floor. I like to wind all the way up to the top to start with Rodin, and then work my way down.
DIY food tour
Any visit to Mexico City should include some local or hole-in-the-wall spots. Cochinita pibil is a classic, and El Turix does a wonderful taco with it. This was a new spot for me on this trip, I had no idea what to expect after it was recommended to me by local Samuel Leizorek, the founder of Las Alcobas. His top tips: bring cash and be sure to load up on the house-made salsa.
Next on my food crawl was Contramar, one of the best restaurants in the city and one you’ll definitely want to reserve in advance. Their tuna tostadas with fried slivers of onions are a must. Pair with the house drink, and when there’s a whole fish on the menu, order that too. Contramar is more of a lunch spot and their front tables offer a wonderful view of the neighborhood
At El Moro, the churros are a personal favorite. Coming out fresh, they’re meant to be dipped in thick chocolate sauce. I came here on my previous trip and had to return.
The top restaurant in Mexico City, and bestowed with the best restaurant in all of Mexico honors, Pujol is a chic and well-hidden ode to Mexican cuisine. Their tasting menu featuring all things corn is an ode to indigenous ingredients. Their street corn and famed seven-year mole are just a couple of the highlights. The meal took over three hours, where course after course was beautifully presented. Another one of those spots you’ll want to book in advance.
Inside Luis Barragán’s home
One of the best home tours I’ve done has been to architect Luis Barragán’s home in Mexico City. This guided tour takes you through his life and works, and his philosophy around design. This is a gem if you love design. You can also opt to buy a photographer’s permit here if you want to take photos throughout the tour.
One-of-a-kind Bloody Mary
I spent the last couple of nights at The St. Regis Mexico City, an oasis in the heart of the action above the busy Paseo de la Reforma. The tall building houses 189 rooms and suites, a large spa, a pool on the 15th floor and multiple dining options. The St. Regis does personal luxury best, with added touches like butler services and signature rituals throughout the hotel. One signature ritual that’s a core part of the brand is that each hotel has its own take on a Bloody Mary. Mexico City’s is made with mezcal and is best enjoyed on the patio of King Cole Bar with unparalleled views over the city.
Tacos, pasta and more cocktails
Known for its al pastor, a staple of Mexico City, El Huequito had such a line of people that now there are multiple locations across the city. One of those beloved spots from my first trip to CDMX, it deserved a return trip. Grab some tacos here and a cold drink to wash it down.
After a week spent eating mostly local cuisine, Rosetta was a wonderful disruption. It serves up Italian fare—think handmade pastas, breads, and other in-house specialties. Though it’s a beautiful space and wonderful for lunch, there’s something special about it at night as well too.
Mexico City is synonymous with cocktails, mostly of the mezcal and tequila sorts. Mixology here is wonderful, bold, and it’s fun to see different interpretations of it across the city. My favorites are Jules Basement (reserve for this speakeasy), Limantour and the King Cole Bar for its drinks and views.
Wandering Condesa and Roma
Two beautiful neighborhoods I could spend a few hours walking through are Condesa and Roma—they almost blend together. From Parque España to Parque México, the streets are lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars. I love exploring in the late morning after grabbing a coffee to go and wandering through the lush area. A few favorites in this area include Casa Mimi, MisMezcales, Trouvé, Chic by Accident, Void and Audette.
The city has a way of pulling you in. It’s those sweet moments of walking the lush streets of Condesa, or touring the halls of contemporary art museums. Or that moment you bite into a juicy cochinita pibil taco, washed down by an agua fresca on a side street in Polanco. Either way, I came home wishing I could have stayed a bit longer.