By Daniel Bender
After more than 20 visits to Mexico City, during this past weekend get-away I wanted something more than the usual restaurants for a nice dinner. Of course, Mexico City has some wonderful dining opportunities: Pujol (Polanco, one of the best), Tori Tori (Japanese, fantastic building), Biko (Polanco, Basque-Mexican fusion), Quintonil (Polanco, Modern Mexican home cooking), Sud777 (Modern Mexican classics), and many more. Mexico City is a true dinner’s paradise, and this time I wanted to try something fresh, Mexican, new (to me) yet real quality.
Pujol, photo by Pujol.
Tori Tori exterior. Photo by Tori Tori.
Thanks to our friend Gavin Kern, gourmand and world traveler, I was directed to two wonderful restaurants in Colonia Condesa: Azul and Cedron.
Azul has been in existence for 14 years under the leadership of Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, who is considered one of the 7 most important chefs in Mexico. He operates three restaurants, one in Condesa and its two sisters restaurants: Azul Historico and Azul y Oro. All maintain the same focus of historically traditional seasonal Mexican food and through this, Chef Muñoz has brought back in favor some forgotten dishes such as Tikin Xic, a wonderful white fish in a delicious sauce a la Yucatan, or Papian Verde, a cousin of the national dish of Guatemala with a pumpkin and sesame seed sauce from Veracruz. The Mole Negro from Oaxaca was truly not to be missed. Don’t let the simple décor fool you, the service is top notch and the food worth dreaming about until the next trip.
Azul Condesa. Photo by Azul Restaurantes.
Food at Azul. Photo by Azul Restaurantes.
Cedron, by chef Alejandro Fuentes, brings to his table the freshest of ingredients to present “simple” dishes with dynamic flavors and colors. Many go for the fabulous breakfast/brunch of omelets (Omelette de Jocoque y Zatar), Pain Perdú, Croque Madame and, as well as traditional Mexican breakfast delights such as Molletes Cedron and Huevos con Machaca. I went for dinner this time and the freshly caught Mero and Shrimp were outstanding. As was the appetizer of Snow Crab Tartar. All entrees are prepared with accompaniments of seasonal vegetables and all sauces were light so that the full flavor of the fish could standout. Again, service was impeccable and the entire experience a delight.
Cedron’s chef Alejandro Fuentes. Photo by Alejandro Fuentes.
Filete de Mero. Photo by Alejandro Fuentes.
On another note, I admit to being remiss and did not attend the opening of Museo Soumaya in Nuevo Polanco, so this time I snuck away for the afternoon to see their collection. The museum is named after the wife of its founder Carlos Slim and spans 3,000 years of art from both the Americas and Europe. It is an impressive collection of Pre-Hispanic, Mexican and European old masters which is amazing in its scope and ambition. So although there are delightful pieces ranging from da Vinci, to Monet, to Rivera, to Rodin sculptures there are so many styles and so much art that one’s head spins after only an hour. Yes, I was remiss in not going before this, but I will definitely visit it again, even if only to get a sense of the true vastness of Pre-Colombian and Western art.
Museo Soumaya. Photo by Adam Wiseman.
So what about a restaurant for the next time you ask? I am searching for more “under the tourist’s radar” sites and will keep you up to date with my progress.