29 Jan 2020 | Cristina Alonso
In 2016 The New York Times listed Mexico City as the number one place to go in the world. With nearly 40 millions tourists visiting the country in 2017, tourism to Mexico is booming. Not only is this city full of history, art and culture, the food and drinks scene is also out of this world. Cristina Alonso makes a pitch to visit this beautiful city that's hard to pass up in her travel guide Art and Fiesta in Mexico City. Take a look below.
The history of Mexico City goes back centuries and centuries: the first evidence of human population in the region can be traced back to somewhere around the year 9000 BC; thenthe Aztecs came and founded the great city of Tenochtitlan in 1325; and Mexico City, as capital of the New Spain, was founded in 1521 AD.
During colonial times, the city was mostly concentrated around Centro Histórico but it continued to expand over the following decades. Today, it has around nine million inhabitants, but, if we consider the whole Valley of Mexico Metropolitan Area (which also includes certain parts of the state of Mexico), it adds up to a whopping 22 million people.
A notable time in the city’s history was Porfirio Diaz’s presidency (1877–80 and 1884–1911), during which he commissioned several of the most iconic constructions, such as Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Angel of Independence.
These different time periods make the city a multi-layered metropolis, whose very streets and works of architecture have witnessed not only along, complex past, but also an exciting present. This also means that there are enough cultural attractions and historic sites to satisfy even the most demanding and curious travellers.
A fertile ground for artists, Mexico City provides endless inspiration. You’ll be witness to this buzz of creativity beyond the city’s museums and galleries, as you explore traditional markets and boutiques by cutting-edge designers. The city’s wide and eclectic culinary scene allows you to try traditional Mexican dishes, high-brow tasting menus and delicious street snacks, all in one day.
And before we dive in, let’s go back to a certain detail: yes, the city has expanded significantly and it has hundreds of neighbourhoods. However, most of the highlights are concentrated in certain areas, and we’ve grouped the attractions by neighbourhood to make your trip as easy and stress-free as possible. So, welcome, and now go out and explore!
Celebrated chef Enrique Olvera’s groundbreaking restaurant proves that it’s possible to improve on perfection.
What can you say about Pujol that hasn’t been said before? Plenty. Chef Enrique Olvera founded this restaurant back in 2000, and he has built quite the reputation since then, but that doesn’t mean that he has rested on his laurels. These days, his landmark restaurant remains as fascinating and delicious as ever.
Eating here means trusting the kitchen entirely – it’s a tasting menu only and there are two versions: one inspired by the sea (with dishes like striped bass with hoja santa and tomato jam) and the other inspired by corn (featuring creations like sweet potato with pine nut mole sauce). A third option is the very fun taco omakase: a 10-course parade of handheld treats, like a lobster taco on an hoja santa tortilla and served with interesting pairings, including sake, mezcal and wine. All three menus feature Olvera’s legendary mole sauces (a complex sauce featuring many ingredients): mole madre and mole nuevo, a 36–ingredient mole that has been ageing for around 1900 days (and counting!), topped with a dollop of freshly cooked mole. Whichever you choose, make sure you make a reservation at least two or three months in advance.
The gorgeous surroundings – take notice of the terrace, with lush greenery and pretty fire pits – come courtesy of architect Javier Sánchez, while the playlists are curated by Olvera himself.
Tennyson 133, Polanco
Mon - Sat 1.30-10.45pm
$2227 for corn tasting menu, $2554 for sea tasting menu, $3332 for taco tasting menu
Polanco, line 7
Campo Marte, line 7
This is an edited extract of Art and Fiesta in Mexico City by Cristina Alonso
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