Mexico, North America, Restaurants, Travel
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The Best Tacos in Mexico City (and What to Do after Eating Them)

Contramar

It would be ridiculous to go to Mexico City only for the tacos. So here’s a workaround: I’ve rounded up my four favorite tacos in Mexico City across all price ranges, and included the best things to see (or buy) nearby.

Contramar

This Roma temple to seafood is like the Gjelina (or Rasika or Nomad) of Mexico City — a hotspot place where the food actually rivals the stellar people-watching. Lunch is primetime here, when the bright space is packed with immaculately dressed locals diving into tuna tostadas and bright ceviche paired with icy rosé. The kitchen works magic with fish, particularly when it comes to the Carnitas de Pescado (above). An order presents four golden corn tortillas mounded with tender, meaty chunks of fish (cooked in lard to amp up the flavor). The culinary team tops each with cilantro, onion and chunks of pineapple for a dish that is a more ethereal take on the classic pork. Stick around for an order of coconut flan and an extra glass of wine.
Anthropology MuseumThen … Head for the National Museum of Anthropology, a mesmerizing display of the history of Mexico, including stones, fossils and relics that date back to the Aztecs and Mayans. It’s a lot to take in, and a few glasses of lunch wine actually made the many murals, animal carvings and hut recreations more lifelike.

El TizoncitoEl Tizoncito
This taco chain is like the In-n-Out of the DF: It’s a chain in multitude alone, and eating here is a rite of passage. And if your visit is anything like ours, there will be a Technicolor telenovela playing overhead involving people in puppy costumes, so beat that, animal-style! Al pastor is the specialty, though it’s not unusual to go overboard and order queso, guacamole, an army of tacos, and a few cheladas — a local variation on the michelada that’s just beer with fresh lime juice and salt. But the al pastor sets the standard. The freshly carved pork is tender and juicy, plunked with pineapple and cilantro. Toppings arrive in a three-tiered tower of jars, with pickled onions, limes, salsas and chips. There’s tang enough not to need many of them, but it’s fun to play around.
Then … A few blocks from the Hamburgo location (Lest you still have In-n-Out on the brain?), visit the vast Ciudadela market, where seemingly countless stalls threaten to double your luggage weight with trinkets and treasures, including linens, silver, baskets, clothing and leather sandals. It was surprisingly uncrowded when we visited, so people were happy to chat and make recommendations. I nearly bought a guitar, but ended up with a moderate haul of Chiapas- and Otomi-style embroidered pillowcases, a tablecloth and a duvet cover. (My apartment is well on its way to becoming global bazaar.) There’s also a cool stall of old glass-stretchers who’ve passed the craft down through generations. Glass-blowing, they tell me, is much easier than their practice of stretching, which requires patience and precision.
PujolPujol
Sure, I’m cheating a little. This is one of the best restaurants in the world, and you can’t just swing in for tacos: Dinner here is a multicourse taste excursion that requires reservations. But Chef Enrique Olvera’s velveteen take on mole — Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo — has helped the restaurant rocket to the top of lists like the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The dish has gotten its due with writeups in T Magazine and Lucky Peach, and rightfully so. It contrasts fresh mole sauce (the nuevo) with a version that’s aged for nearly two years, developing rich, nutty, funky, fruity flavor. Rather than use it to season chicken or pork, Olvera makes the sauce the star, offering the duo simply on a plate with a basket of fresh tortillas for dipping with reckless, glorious, chocolatey abandon.
Onora CasaThen… There’s no way you’ll be out before dark, so plan for after-dinner mezcal to end the meal. But if you have time beforehand, arrive in Polanco with enough time before dinner to browse the neighborhood’s gorgeous boutiques. There’s the usual platinum-card array, including Gucci and Louis Vuitton, but also Tane silver and local talents. For gorgeous home goods, check out Onora Casa, which stocks textiles sourced from the master artisans of Puebla, Chiapas and throughout the country. The space is contemporary and sleek, letting the supply of embroidered cocktail napkins, fluffy bedding, woven tablecloths and funky little stuffed animals make the big impression.
 
Tacos Chupacabras
Experts say that goat-eating chupacabras are likely urban legend. Tacos Chupacabras, on the other hand, is both urban and legendary. Set in a gritty ultra-urban under-a-highway-overpass food court, with traffic rumbling overhead, this popular taqueria in the suburb of Coyoacán often has a long line of people queued for the namesake Chupacabra taco, a blend of a few meats, including plump chorizo bits, with a spectacular toppings bar. Get three or four tacos and change up the salsas and accoutrements on each, though spice-averse should also load up on lime and fresh guayaba juice.
Then … Coyoacán is known as the home to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Kahlo’s family estate, Casa Azul, is internationally renowned, but if you’re visiting Wednesday through Friday, head first for the less-trafficked Museo Anahuacalli. Commissioned by Rivera to hold his unrivaled collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, the space is a primitive-looking stone temple, arranged to honor earth, wind, water and fire, and splitting the space between the artifacts, Rivera’s own art and installations from contemporary artists — on our visit, the space held sculptures made from recycled car tires, decorated with gold. Guided tours are offered Wednesday through Friday. The museum offers a shuttle down to the more-crowded Casa Azul from there. The vividly blue house is a popular tourist attraction for its well-preserved rooms, art from both couples and quirky artifacts. My favorite room was the kitchen, which is full of beautiful Mexican pottery and has their first names whimsically spelled out on the walls.
For more of a glimpse of Mexico City, check out my dedicated board on Pinterest.

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