Where to eat, where to stay and what to do

Is it just me or has everyone been to Mexico this year? Call it confirmation bias, but as I scoured social media before my recent trip to the Mexican capital (often referred to by the acronym CDMX for its Spanish name, Ciudad de México), I encountered no dearth of recommendations. of restaurants to enter. delicious pan dulce and architectural gems to explore courtesy of recent travelers.

For those of us who can enjoy working remotely, the destination does the trick: the bustling metropolis is only a jet-lag hour from Toronto with wonderfully sunny (but not always hot) weather.

As a fully vaccinated Canadian traveling to Mexico, all I had to do was fill out a health declaration form; Mexico has not required a negative COVID test or quarantine on arrival. When it was time to return to Canada, I had to present a negative PCR test done within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time which was quite easy to facilitate. A quick Google search found many test sites near my AirBnb and no appointments were necessary; the test itself cost me around $ 150 Canadian. (Note: COVID restrictions may change. Always check for the latest testing requirements before flying.)

Just warning: although our full time job is to eat and shop across Mexico City, my girlfriends and I barely made a dent in the long list of places we wanted to go during our weeklong stay. . All that to say: take your pick from the recommendations below, but don’t over-plan, give yourself time to wander. You will come back.

Victoria Di PlacidoOur charming Airbnb in the Roma Norte district of Mexico

Where to stay

For your first visit, you can’t go wrong staying at Roma Norte or Condesa. We found the selection of good price and well created Airbnbs in these areas abound, so much so that the two of us stayed in Rome, just for the experience. If you like hotels, try boutique hotels Condesa DF. (Even if you’re not staying there, be sure to stop by the open-air rooftop for a drink during the day – and don’t forget your sunscreen.) For a more upscale vibe, head to the St Regis or at the Four Seasons, near the upscale Polanco district.

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Victoria Di PlacidoMy favorite concha, which is a traditional Mexican sweet bun, from Eno

Where to eat

That’s right: the guava roll from lively Panaderia Rosetta bakery is as delicious as everyone claims. (And for the record, they travel well: on the last day we bought a full box and brought them with us on the plane to go home). You can also score pan dulce à la Rossetta on Cafe Nin, the perfect place for a cool brunch. My favorite treat of the trip, however, was a delicious concha from another favorite breakfast spot, Eno.

contramar mexico city
Victoria Di PlacidoThe essential grilled red and green snapper at Contramar.

Let’s go to lunch, seafood restaurant Contramar is a must. Order everything – especially the red and green grilled snapper doesn’t disappoint – and stick around all afternoon people-watching. Dinner at Lardo is always a good idea. On the high end of things you’ll want to go to Pujol Where Maximo Bistro for refined cuisine. Rosetta Restaurant serves Italian cuisine, but don’t let that put you off; the setting, a beautiful old house and the food is spectacular. When the urge for a churro strikes (and it will), head to El Moro for the best in town. For an unpretentious mezcal tasting, La Clandestina is your place. Good to know: CDMX is full of speakeasies. We particularly liked Xaman Bar.

NB: Make sure you book restaurants and some bars in advance, you will need them. My tip: When Open Table seemed to show no availability, I managed to make reservations via email or Whatsapp, often linked through the property’s website or IG page. Google translate will suffice if you are not Spanish speaking.

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Victoria Di PlacidoA rainbow of flowers in the Mercado Jamaica.

What to do

You can’t leave CDMX without going to at least one market, and if you have to choose, make it the 24/7 Flower Market, Mercado Jamaica. Take your time to stroll through the city’s many parks; When we strolled through Parque México on a Sunday afternoon it was buzzing with couples taking dance lessons and kids learning to skateboard. Chapultepec Park (think Central Park in New York, but double the size) is another good idea; walk through the park and climb up to Chapultepec Castle for stunning city views and a history lesson.

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Victoria Di PlacidoParque México offers an oasis of peace in the heart of the city.

On the museum side, take a few hours out of your day to explore contemporary art at the Museo Jumex and the incredible collections (think: Rodin, Degas, Matisse) at the Museo Soumaya, just across the street – admission is free ! We tried to see Diego Rivera’s “History of Mexico” mural housed in the National Palace (ie Palacio Nacional), a government building, but were told it was closed. due to COVID.

Victoria Di PlacidoMuseo Soumaya, housing more than 66,000 works spanning 30 centuries.

However, if you’re already in the historic centro, it doesn’t hurt to go up and ask if the politics have changed. The Frida Kahlo Museum, which is the artist’s former home known as Casa Azul for its vibrant blue color, is a must visit. Again, book your tickets in advance – they won’t let you in without them – and be prepared to queue when you arrive.

Victoria Di PlacidoThe brightly colored Casa Giraldi, designed by famous architect Luis Barragán.

Discover at least one property designed by famous architect Luis Barragán. If you choose Casa Gilardi, your guide will be a family member who spent their childhood living in the magnificent property. Your next design-focused stop should be Casa Organica, which only recently opened for tours and is a short drive into town.

Victoria Di PlacidoA short drive from town, Casa Organica is certainly worth a visit.

On the shopping side, head to the Polanco district and stop in Ikal, a concept store with a delicious assortment of clothing, jewelry and ceramics that will make you wonder how much you can realistically put in your hand luggage. Then jump on Stendhal for designer items, before crossing the street for Xinu Perfumes (Even if you are not a fan of perfumes, the shop is worth a visit.) A 15 minute walk down the street you will find Onora. BDon’t hesitate to stop by if you are looking for an artisanal decor, perfect for bringing home a small CDMX.

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