In Mexico, fondas are a beloved tradition. For those who are unfamiliar, a fonda is a small, unpretentious eatery serving breakfast, snacks, and an inexpensive three-course lunch (comida corrida). There are thousands tucked away in every corner of the city, so naturally, some are offering cuisine beyond the classic Mexican dishes. How about a tour of the best foreign food fondas in Mexico City? If you have a craving for a homemade Venezuelan arepa, a Peruvian ceviche accompanied by a pisco sour, or a Lebanese empanada with labneh and baklava for dessert, we can recommend these four establishments where you’ll find delicious menus from around the world, done in the style of the Mexican fonda, that is, simple, tasty, and cheap.
The flavors of Peru in Mexico City thanks to Señora Rita and Señor Yoshi, beloved owners and residents of the area. Between purple walls with the names of Peruvian dishes scrawled on them, this fondita, located on a quiet street of Roma Norte, offers ceviche (the house specialty), lomo saltado made from beef with rice and French fries, papa a la huancaína (boiled potatoes in a creamy sauce), shrimp chupe, and tacu tacu, a patty made from rice and beans with yellow chili and meat.
Las Nazarenas is known for their traditional drinks as well, such as the pisco sour, a cocktail made with pisco, lime juice, and egg white, and the Inca Kola, a popular soft drink that accompanies the vast majority of Peruvian dishes.
Córdoba 204, Roma Norte, Cuauhtémoc, CDMX
T. 55 1596 4630
El Point Vene
In the search for the perfect arepa, El Point Vene is a great starting point. Arrive with a good appetite at this little Condesa eatery, as the portions are generous, to say the least. Their delicious grilled arepas can be served with caraotas (black beans), grated white cheese, avocado, and shredded meat. Their menu also includes hallaca, a traditional Venezuelan chicken tamale.
If you’re craving some empanadas, these are accompanied by garlic sauce or guasacaca, made with avocado, green paprika, cilantro, onion, garlic, vinegar, oil, and seasonings. Of course, their Venezuelan roots can’t resist serving patacones (smashed and fried green plantain) stuffed with meat, as well as cachapas and pepitos. For special occasions, they can arrange a delicious menu on request.
General Salvador Alvarado 186, Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, CDMX
T. 55 7707 1908
En Asian Food
“Homemade Japanese food for everyday life” is the motto of En Asian Food, an Asian-style fonda located off the Alameda in the Historic Center. The kitchen is run by the owner, Miho Nagay, who migrated to Mexico years ago due to her fascination with Latin American culture. The food is made fresh, with ramen, curries, and yakisoba as the stars. Vinaigrette marinated fish with vegetables and soba with kakiage, chrysanthemum, carrot and onion tempura are some more of the delicious options on offer, with matcha water and calpis to drink.
The menu changes occasionally, offering various culinary experiences and collaborations. For example, the Snack Fulanitas (a part of the night when Japanese drinks, snacks, and special dishes are served), or the creation of a special menu inspired by cult Japanese film screenings at the Cineclub Santa Rosa.
Dr. Mora 9, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, CDMX
T. 55 2965 2848
The history of this fonda and Arab food shop goes back to the first bakery of its kind in Mexico, started by Joseph Helú in 1936 in the city of Puebla, where he made and sold traditional Arab bread. Following his father’s success, Porfirio Helú opened a store on Calle República del Salvador, in the heart of Mexico City. Helus has now been in business for 71 years, and although it has changed streets, it is still located in the center of the bustling Mexican capital and is recognized as one of the best places for Middle Eastern cuisine.
Here you’ll find Lebanese-style empanadas, including cheese with zaatar or meat with labneh. They offer a kibbeh combo (ground meat and bulgur formed into balls and fried, accompanied by chickpeas, eggplant, tabbouleh salad, labneh, and rice with lentils) and other options such as egg casserole, grape leaves, and macaroni with spiced beef and cheese. Don’t miss the falafel or the Arab pork tacos with gherkins, turnips, sesame sauce, onion, lettuce, and tomato. And for dessert, plenty of Lebanese-style sweets like baklava and ghreibe.
Mesones 90, Centro Histórico, Cuauhtémoc, CDMX
T. 55 5522 2130