Food tourists, brave eaters, and lovers of traditional Mexican cuisine should never pass up an opportunity to taste the variety of pre-Hispanic, and sometimes more exotic fare, this amazing city has on offer. From corn based dishes with rich sauces made from ants, to insect larvae in pulque, buffalo taquitos, and even a scorpion casserole, here are six places to set your taste buds alight.
Located in the Centro Historico, Testal revisits various traditional dishes from pre-Hispanic Mexico in delicious reinterpretations, such as its famous escamoles (larvae) in pulque sauce or chinicuiles (maguey worms) sautéed with slices of jalapeño, onion, and epazote.
Dolores 16, Centro Histórico, Cuauhtémoc
T. 55 5510 1358
Enrique Olvera‘s restaurant, Pujol, recaptures pre-Hispanic flavors. One of their most memorable dishes is undoubtedly the elotes with mayonnaise made from coastal chilies, coffee, and chicatana ants wrapped in smoked totomoxtle (corn husk). The aroma alone will transport you to a Mexico of the past.
Tennyson 133, Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo
T. 55 5545 4111
Mesón del Molinero
Here, the exotic and pre-Hispanic come together in a menu for brave diners. If you’re up to the task, we recommend ordering the jumbo pre-Hispanic plate with escamoles, maguey worms, grasshoppers, and crayfish accompanied with guacamole. And if you dare to go harder on the protein, you can also order wild boar, ostrich, frog legs, Tampico-style venison, and even crocodile.
Calz. de Guadalupe 50, Ex Hipódromo de Peralvillo, Cuauhtémoc
T. 55 5772 1248
La Gruta Teotihuacán
After the obligatory and worthwhile visit to the archaeological site of Teotihuacán (City of the Gods) you have to try this restaurant. Located in a candlelit cave, you’ll be given the full experience of pre-Hispanic Mexico, not only with its ingredients and recipes, but cooking techniques as well. Try the epazote escamoles with a touch of green chili or white maguey worms if they are in season.
Circuito Arqueológico, Av. del Puente S/N, San Francisco Mazapa, Edo. de Méx
T. 55 5191 9799
La Cocina de San Juan
Chef Benjamín Ibáñez’s reputation precedes him, as he has been serving pre-Hispanic dishes since 2013. Don’t hesitate to order the taquitos de jumiles (stink bug tacos), corn spider, or crayfish. He also prepares buffalo tacos, venison chorizo, and a scorpion casserole.
2ª Calle de Ernesto Pugibet 82, Centro, Cuauhtémoc.
T. 55 2248 6633.
Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan
Legendary Mexican actress María Félix and former president Porfirio Díaz lived on this grand estate. Now, the Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan is a restaurant with luscious grounds where you can enjoy escamoles with butter, duck with mango, or pipián, comforted by a traditional Oaxacan chocolate drink among the garden and terrace.
Calz. de Tlalpan 4619, Tlalpan Centro, Tlalpan
T. 55 5655 7888