Colonia Centro Restaurants
Isabel la Cátolica 30, Colonia Centro
Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, the chef behind this small chain of restaurants, has developed and re-discovered certain moles and salsas that were otherwise almost totally unknown in Mexico City, even among serious foodies. The Mole Negro, heavily condimented Chipotle salsa, and Oaxacan tortilla soup are just a few of the highlights that also happen to be among the most affordable when it comes to serious gourmet eats in town. Of his four restaurants, his latest opening on the patio of a 17th-century palace, is definitely the most glamorous, and a heavenly break from the Centro's busy streets.
Calle de la Palma 23, Centro
Don't let its location in the Centro's Hilton fool you into thinking this is a tourist trap: El Cardenal has been around in several incarnations since the 80's and is one of the more formal restaurants for Mexican food, where high-fliers take their business clients and families do Sunday lunch. The menu is extensive and for newcomers, a perfect introduction to regional cuisine, from their traditional Chiles en Nogada to Enchiladas, to whole roasted fish and tacos de Arrachera (steak)—the best in town. Beyond lunch, though, breakfast is where it's at with a selection of freshly baked pastries, authentic hot chocolate, freshly squeezed juices, and traditional egg dishes—the ultimate mix of sweet and savory.
Republica de Uruguay 3, Colonia Centro
In the same location since 1936, this Basque seafood restaurant is an old-school classic with the requisite white tablecloths and dressed up waitstaff. Located in the Centro, it's where businessmen and politicians entertain, eating traditional paella, Lobster Thermidor, fresh langoustines, and big seafood platters. With 110 dishes on the menu, it's hard to believe that everything is fresh but there's a reason this place is legendary—all the fish and shellfish are flown in each day, and every single dish on the menu is made to order.
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