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3 of the best places to eat like a local in Mexico City for authentic low-cost dining

The last time I was in Mexico City I took recommendations from Mexican artist Ana Leovy spending fun nights around various neighborhoods, eating at brilliant upscale restaurants from Rosetta and Contramar, to hip cafe Belmondo. But this time, as well as hunting out the best coffee in Mexico City, I decided to look out for more down-to-earth style eateries and lowkey cafeterias. I was also interested in eating like a local and discovering delicious Mexican food at places that can’t be found in a guidebook. The delightful cafes and taqerías I visited were full of locals enjoying set lunch menus or late-night tacos, and I thoroughly enjoyed becoming immersed in Mexico City's wonderful local dining scene. From zingy mole, and freshly made tacos to some seriously spicy salsas, these are the best places to eat in Mexico City for delicious and authentic Mexican food.

Three of the best places to eat in Mexico City

1. Taquería Los Parados, Roma Sur

According to a handful of locals I met on my second night in CDMX, Taquería Los Parados makes some of the best tacos in the whole of Mexico City. And that was evident when I saw just how busy the place became night after night.

Plates of Tacos pastor (top) and chorizo at Taquería Los Parados in Mexico City
Tacos pastor (top) and chorizo at Taquería Los Parados

There's no seating, Taquería Los Parados is a stand-to-eat joint, but don't let that put you off because the tacos here are 10/10. During my time in the city, I tried four variations; pastor, chorizo, poblano con queso (green peppers with cheese), and bistec (steak) each cooked to order and arriving on a plastic plate. The hot sauce and salsa selection is also impressive with martajada, salsa de arbol, and salsa Morita on offer alongside the usual guacamole, tomato salsa, and fresh lime.

Opening hours: from 12.30pm daily
Address: Monterrey 333, Roma Sur

2. Cocina Chayito, San Miguel Chapultepec

At the back of Mercado el Chorrito is a huge corrugated iron-roofed structure that houses around ten eateries—each one a colourful no-frills affair with plastic tables and handwritten menus. And it’s here that I sat amongst locals for one of the cheapest meals I came across in Mexico City. Cocina Chayito offers three set-menu lunch options with the first costing just MX$65 ($3.70) rising to MX$90 ($5.20).

Plate of tacos durados at Cocina Chayito in Mexico City, one of the best places to eat
Tacos durados at Cocina Chayito

Each option includes a soft drink, a plate of tortilla chips with refried beans, and a starter and main meal. I opted for sopa de verdura (vegetable soup), to start and tacos durados (crispy tacos) filled with chicken for the main course, but the options were endless with delicious-sounding dishes like roasted ribs with nopal (cacti), and milanesa also featuring on the menu.

Opening hours: from 8.30am daily. Closed Sunday.
Address: At the back of Mercado el Chorrito, off Cda Gob Ignacio Esteva, San Miguel Chapultepec

3. Fonda Chimalistac, Chimalistac

Hidden away just off the main road opposite Parque de La Bombilla is Fonda Chimalistac and its cheery bright orange tables. The set lunch here is also very reasonable with the menu of the day coming in at MX$85 ($4.93). I went for a cold beer to revive me from the heat of the day and the mole special which arrived with rice and a basket of hot tortillas alongside lime and hot salsa.

Mole, rice, lime, salsa and tortillas at Fonda Chimalistac, one of the best places to eat at in mexico city
Mole, rice and tortillas at Fonda Chimalistac

The mole was incredibly flavorsome and I couldn’t finish the basket of tortillas as there were so many. The eatery was mostly full of single people taking a lunch break with the occasional table of two. 

Opening hours: from 9am Monday to Friday, and 10am Saturday to Sunday
Address: Av. Miguel Ángel de Quevedo 79, Chimalistac


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