{getaway} Long Weekend: Mexico City

My friend Erica is heading to a business trip in Mexico City and asked for some food and drink recommendations, so I wrote some up for her. But why should she get all the insider info when I could just as easily share it with you?

Don’t fool yourself, Mexico City (DF to locals- which stands for “Distrito Federal) changes hotspots faster than NYC- with a population of 20+ million, there are sure to be a fair number of hipsters and trendsetters living and playing there. Here are some classic spots, as well as some joints du jour you should eat and drink at if you find yourself there.

One more note: cabs are cheap, but the Metro system can be fun too. The metro cars go surprisingly fast, considering they run on rubber tires instead of tracks. The fare will cost you mere pennies but you’ll probably reach your destination more quickly than in a car- and you’ll have a little more fun doing it. On to the list!

Para comer… the food
  • El Cardenal- the best breakfast ever. Amazing fruit smoothie thingies and mouth-watering tamales. This is a nice place that folks go with their families.
  • Cafe Tacuba- an old and famous favorite. Beware the machitos on the menu. That means bull penis!
  • Xel Ha- the new hip tapas spot to hit.
  • Los Danzantes- right on the Plaza de Coyoacan, they have been serving awesome Mexican fusion for quite a few years now.
  • La Bipolar- if you are in Coyoacan and you are a starf***er go to Diego Luna’s kitschy hipster restaurant.
  • Ligaya- If you’re young and hip you will be hanging out in Condesa or Roma, and someone will suggest you go to Ligaya for a meal. The space is intimate and modern with a surprising little indoor courtyard.
  • Casa Merlos- Admittedly I have never been here but have been dying to. It is lauded throughout the land.
Para tomar… the drinking

  • La Pata Negra- the bar of the moment in Condesa. Perfect for a post-Ligaya beer.
  • Hotel Condesa DF rooftop bar- the hotel of the moment in Condesa. Perfect for a pre-Ligaya beer.
  • La Bodega- there is food here, but it is nothing special. Go for drinks and live music. We got to enjoy a fantastic geriatric danceable blind Cuban band. Buena Vista, my ass. These guys were amazing.
  • Spanish Cultural Center- right behind the Zocalo, it has a cool rooftop bar/restaurant if you are in the ‘hood and need a respite. Go up there and get drinks, it is a neat spot. And open during the day. But not sangria it’s super weird. Get a regular drink or a beer or something.

Para quedarse… the sleeping

  • Hotel Condesa DF – you are in DF where everything is cheaper so live it up and go for a cool hotel. You (I?) would not be able to afford a hotel this hip and interestingly designed in the US or Europe. You can get a sweet setup for under $200/night. Plus there is a built-in bar scene.
  • Hotel Habita – ditto.
  • W Mexico City – ditto.

Para pasar el tiempo entre comiendo, tomando, y durmiendose… the 3 best DF activities, which also happen to be 3 of the best activities worldwide.

  • Get to Xochimilco, which has canals still around from Aztec times. Hire a boat (lancha), buy beers or Cokes off a passing skiff, and pay a band to strap itself to your boat and keep you entertained.

  • Head to the Arena Mexico for a real live lucha libre- the masked wrestling sensation that’s almost too ridiculous. Sit up front if you can.
  • Drive an hour out of town to check out the pyramids at Teotihuacan. Climb to the top and take in the view. Feel free to pretend you are in pre-Columbian times and living in the largest New World city of your era.


  • El Cardenal: Avenida de las Palmas 215, Lomas de Chapultepec, DF
  • Cafe Tacuba: Tacuba 28, Colonia Centro, DF
  • Xel-Ha: Parral 78 Bis, Colonia Condesa, DF
  • Los Danzantes: Plaza Jardin Centenario 12, Colonia Coyoacan, DF  {website}
  • La Bipolar: Malitzin 155, Colonia Coyoacan, DF
  • Ligaya: Nuevo Leon 68, Colonia Condesa, DF {website}
  • Casa Merlos: Victoriano Zepeda 80, Observatorio, DF
  • La Pata Negra: Tamaulipas 30, Colonia Condesa, DF
  • La Bodega: Popocatepetl 25, Hipodromo, DF {website}
  • Spanish Cultural Center:
  • Hotel Condesa DF
  • Hotel Habita
  • W Hotel Mexico City

View Mexico City on Off The (Meat)Hook in a larger map

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1 Response

  1. Good says:


    What a useful list. I am always on the look for top lists, and your list is great starting point. Lists are very useful.

    I found your blog from bing. Really Good article.

    Will visit again.