I was in Mexico City for work back in September and somehow never got around to writing about it. I ate really well in the DF and the service was some of the best I’ve encountered in any country during my travels. And to make a sweeping generalization — only because of all the people who warned me to “Be careful” when they heard I was heading south of the border — I did not get kidnapped. So that was awesome. Heck, I even tempted fate by WALKING from my hotel to dinner one night and nothing happened to me! Imagine that!
While in Mexico City, I stayed at the Hotel Nikko, which I really really liked. I’d recommend it. The gym was great, room service was great, and the service was great. (Except for the maid who tried to get into my room at 8 am on a Saturday morning, but the more I travel, the more meaningless I find “Do Not Disturb” signs to be. Someone in the New York Times commented on this recently, how in a lot of countries, Do Not Disturb seems to mean more like, “Yes, please do disturb me. While I am naked. And bring twelve of your co-workers and the vacuum with you.”) The wifi was only free in the bar area, forcing me to drink some very lovely Mexican Chardonnays and Verdejos, so that was a bit of a bummer. But otherwise, I survived.
For lunch one afternoon, my co-workers took me to an inexpensive taco joint called El Lago de Los Cisnes that served up cheerful service AND cheerful tacos. And guacamole. And quesadillas. I rolled out of here pretty happy. I’m not sure if A Life Worth Eating’s write-up is of the same exact El Lago de Los Cisnes that I went to, but check it out for more details. The Verdict: Recommended for a cheap, filling and delicious lunch.
The next day, we hit El Refugio for a late lunch. (Well, a normal lunch for my Mexcian colleagues. A late lunch for me.) After the previous day’s joyous taco fest El Lago de Los Cisnes, I was really looking forward to this. But I was sadly disappointed. The mole was sweaty and the whole place smelled like someone’s damp basement. Now that’s a MAJOR turnoff. Plus, we asked for the bill at the end of the meal, and even my colleagues couldn’t believe how long it took for it to arrive. Slow slow service — apparently even for Mexican standards — and only average food. The Verdict: Not recommended. Apparently, it’s in all the guidebooks, so watch out.
And then even though I had just finished eating a few hours earlier, I took myself to Pujol for dinner. People of the world, Pujol is exactly why you should NEVER sit in your hotel room alone on a business trip. This was one of the most beautiful meals of my entire life, from the service — THEY GAVE ME THE PASSWORD TO THEIR INTERNAL WIFI!!! — to the beer list (all Mexican and a HUGE list that made me want to come back just to drink beer) to the gorgeously gorgeous tasting menu. If you are in Mexico City in 2012 and assuming nothing changes in their kitchen, you MUST MUST go here. You can see all the photos over here on my Facebook fan page. Maybe become a fan while you’re at it. I’d like that.
So despite one miss during my short sojourn in Mexico City, I had two tremendous hits, and my hotel was lovely too. I can’t wait to go back and explore some more!