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Mexico City trip report - long

bookistan | Jan 26, 200508:04 PM

I spent a few days in Mexico City and had some great eating experiences. Here are a few highlights:

Contramar, 200 Calle Durango, Colonia Roma. This is a seafood restaurant, big and bustling with fashionable business people and young ladies-who-lunch. We started with sushi-quality tuna tostadas which were one of the best things I've ever eaten. I would go back just for that. We then had a whole roasted fish, one side with a green sauce and the other with a red sauce. Also very good and super fresh. They make some of the best corn tortillas you'll ever have, and superb black beans.

El Moro, Cardenas 42, Centro Historico - is a churreria, very famous in Mexico. They are open 24 hours and basically serve churros and several different kinds of hot chocolate - Frances, Espanol, Mexicano, and the "especial." We all had the especial, which is a bittersweet hot chocolate. It was intensely chocolatey. The churros, unsurprisingly, are excellent. (this place reminded me a bit of the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, where you also go for just one thing, the beignets).

Restaurante El Cardenal in the new Sheraton on Avenida Juarez - a big, comfortable, upscale restaurant that is fast becoming a favorite among the affluent locals. I had grilled tongue (which you will like if you like tongue), and my companion had cordero - lamb in a red sauce that was fragrant and delicious. We had crepas de cajeta for dessert, perfectly prepared.

The restaurant in the Casa de Espana, also in the Centro Historico - this is an interesting place. The Casa de Espana is a cultural center in one of Mexico's historic buildings. But at the back of the building, they've added a very modern structure. The restaurant is on the top floor of this structure, with part of it on an outdoor terrace on the rooftop of the original building. It was too chilly to be outside, but it would be a great place for a drink in nice weather. The restaurant is small with modern decor; not much to look at, but worth trying. We shared several appetizers including salmon tartare, different kinds of Spanish sausage, and tortilla espanol - all very good. They have a lot of grilled fish and meat entries. I had a black pasta with seafood which was tasty but a bit rich.

Also recommended to me, but which I did not try, was Las Sirenas, just next door to the Casa de Espana, and Ixchel, a newish restaurant in a beautifully restored old building on Calle Medellin, Colonia Roma.

And if you've read this far, one question: Does anyone know the name of a big old cantina in Colonia Roma founded by Spaniards where a lot of people go to play dominos late into the night? We also went there one night with a big group. The food was surprisingly good, and the atmosphere was priceless - big tables of people of every age and class, drinking, talking, singing, and playing dominos. Mexicans definitely know how to have fun.

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