Ignacia Guest House
Jalapa 208 Casa B, Colonia Roma
You don’t quite expect the quiet chic of the Ignacia Guest House as you’re walking down the gorgeous, tree-lined street it sits on in Roma. Roma is cool in the vein of say, Greenpoint, where the Ignacia seems more like a secret hideout in Milan. Named for a housekeeper who worked at the casona for over seventy years (there are gorgeous block-print portraits of her in numerous alcoves), Ignacia’s a stunning combination of historic restoration and modernist architecture. All of it overlooks the leafy central garden overrun with cacti and trees dangling with fruit; a bubbling, rusted square cast-iron tub bubbles meditatively at its center. The rooms are exquisite and earthily cushy. Beautiful expanses of wood and velvet are punctuated with low, sexy lamps, and the marble bathrooms are stocked with fluffy bathrobes and large brown bottles of local organic beauty products. But sitting in the garden is the ultimate. After a long day, sip a handmade cocktail stirred with artisanal mezcal as you watch sun-dappled lily pads float lazily across the central tub, and feel more at sexily at ease than you’d have thought possible in the middle…
Córdoba 100, Colonia Roma
If there's one gallery to watch now it's OMR. Opened by husband and wife Jaime Riestra and Patricia Ortiz-Monasterio in the 80's on a quiet plaza in the Colonia Roma, it has since established itself as one of the major Mexican galleries on the international arts scene. This year, it's opening a new space on Córdoba 100, and their son Cristobal is taking over. With a roster of both local and international heavyweights like Candida Höfer, James Turrell, Pia Camil, and Jorge Méndez Blake, we're curious to see what Cristobal, who is known for curating some of their more cutting-edge contemporary shows, has in store.
Colima 178 A, Colonia Roma
You'll be lucky if you can grab a seat at this charming and teensy hole in the wall, but you can always take their incredible pastries and snacks to-go on a walk around the Roma. The Panadería is an extension of the acclaimed Italian restaurant Rosetta, where chef Elena Reygadas was churning out European breads and pastries of such quality, that its own separate bakery (now two) was in order. The croissants, cinnamon rolls, ricotta rolls, and focaccias are pretty perfect, and a nice break from the traditional Mexican classics.
Mercado Roma, Calle Querétaro 225, Colonia Roma
A fun take on the traditional covered markets, the Mercado Roma is a one-stop-shop for indie gourmet snacks. Here, many of the city's up-and-coming chefs and food brands have set up shop selling everything from fresh juices, to fair-trade coffee, Spanish tapas, classic Mexican snacks, and more. The stand not to miss is Umami which dishes a selection of sushi-style burritos. Always crowded at lunch time, visitors can take a spin, choose their treats, and try and find a spot at the wooden communal tables stationed at the back.
Colima 114, Colonia Roma
After the success of her restaurant Delirio, Monica Patiño opened up a smaller, more minimal locale in the Roma named Abarrotes—a reference to the old-fashioned general stores where people used to shop before the arrival of the major supermarket chains. Here she sells her carefully selected produce, freshly baked breads, prepared foods, local jams, honeys, wines, and other special treats. And for those who need a quick gourmet fix, there's a window outside serving up coffees, desserts, and the ubiquitous tortas.
Durango 200, Colonia Roma
There is nothing like lunch at Contramar: And by lunch, we mean comida, an extended main meal which begins roughly around 3pm and continues through the afternoon and into the early evening. On any given day at around that time, the Contramar is a cool cross section of the local scene: business men and women on long lunches, big extended families at their weekly family get-together, local artists, actors and musicians, and a few in-the-know tourists all come together over fantastic tostadas de atun, ceviches, and a great variety of excellent coastal cuisine. The airy dining room is always packed, and a little loud, but that only adds to the buzzy vibe, as do the wonderful wait-staff who stick around year after year. Simply put, this is a classic. The owners, Pablo Bueno and Gabriela Camara are behind a few of the city's best restaurants but this is definitely their masterpiece.
Colima 166, Colonia Roma
Located in what was once a Beaux Arts mansion in the Roma neighborhood, Rosetta has a distinctly homey feel, with a dining room painted in pastel frescoes that wind through the restaurant's many rooms. Here, chef and owner Elena Reygadas—who trained with Giorgio Locatelli at his restaurant in London—dishes out a daily-changing menu with fresh burrata to start, fantastic risottos, stunningly delicate pasta dishes, and house-made bread so good she's now opened two bakeries. This is undoubtedly the best Italian in the city and it comes with its fleet of die-hard fans, so reservations are a must.
Maximo Bistrot Local
Calle Tonala 133, Colonia Roma
When the team at Maximo Bistrot says "daily-changing menu," they mean it. Early every morning, the cooks at this Parisian-inspired corner restaurant head to the local markets to buy the day's freshest ingredients, and then chef Eduardo Garcia comes up with the dishes: Luscious risottos, perfectly moist roast chicken, an amazing burnt eggplant dip, even a simple beet dish is a revelation. It's no surprise that celebrities, tourists, local office workers, and residents all happily share this teensy, charming eatery.
Yucatan 84, Colonia Roma
The family behind this small, unassuming open-air cafeteria have mastered the art of the snack, collecting recipes from around the country for years and finally serving their discoveries in an endless stream of small plates (and small plates alone). Tostadas, shrimp tacos, tlacoyitos (fried balls of masa served with refried beans, cream, and avocado), freshly made tortillas, their famous killer habanero salsa: Everything here is delicious and made fresh daily. Head over on the weekend and you're in for barbecued treats—meat or seafood, depending on what's fresh on the day.
Monterrey 116, Colonia Roma
After opening their wonderful café, Delirio, on a busy corner in the Roma, prominent chef Monica Patiño and her daughter Micaela Miguel managed to charm the building's owner, an elderly woman named Virginia, into renting them the entire building—a 1920's French Beaux Arts-style home with high ceilings, tall windows, and old-fashioned tiled floors. They then created Casa Virginia, a homey and refined space. The menu changes often, including ratatouilles—the restaurant's now-famous red snapper covered in tapenade—and a great assortment of veg-centric, seasonal dishes are all served family-style in the airy, white-washed dining room. Meanwhile, up on the rooftop, they've installed a small but fully-functioning garden where many of the kitchen's ingredients are sourced.