Get up close and personal with exclusive, inspiring interviews and taste profiles delivered with a cheeky twist to your inbox daily.

Success! You’re all signed up. 🎉
Please enter a valid email address.

By subscribing to our email newsletter, you agree to and acknowledge that you have read our Privacy Policy and Terms.

Mexico City's Unconventional Culinary Adventures

A hop across unique dining experiences and offbeat eateries in CDMX.

Mexico City's Unconventional Culinary Adventures

Food—the simple act of eating and sharing in a traditional sobremesa—lies at the heart of Mexican culture and has contributed to the surge in tourism to Mexico City. As the traditional potluck-style service has evolved into a dynamic gastronomic scene and auteur cuisine across the city, there is a growing effort to move away from conventional restaurant tables and establishments. Chefs strive to create more intimate experiences where guests can get their hands dirty—quite literally—whether by mushroom picking or indulging in oily Mexican matcha sauce.

“If we Google ‘Mexico City restaurants,’ we already know which places are going to pop up—and yes, many are excellent,” says Cristina Alonso, author of Art and Fiesta in Mexico City. “However, I think we've reached a point where we want to go to the next level, especially understanding that Mexico City, and Mexico as a country, has an immense culinary richness and that there is so much more to discover.”

With over 57,000 dining venues within the city alone, new establishments are popping up almost every day, says Alonso. "We're witnessing a surge in all-day cafes, wine bars, Asian eateries, and European-inspired venues featuring shared plates.” Yet, for those seeking something beyond the ordinary, there's a realm of off-the-beaten-path cuisine waiting to be explored.

In tandem with this trend, we're witnessing a wave of new projects and longstanding endeavors that reconnect diners with the building blocks of Mexican cuisine. Often, this entails a focus on ingredient sourcing, mycology, vegan/vegetarian offerings, and agrotourism. Despite being one of the world's largest cities, Mexico City has somewhat lost its connection with its agricultural heritage. "While many may not initially associate Mexico City with nature, the city boasts a fascinating agricultural history,” says Alonso. To witness this firsthand, one only needs to visit Xochimilco and navigate its canals. Still, beyond that, Mexico City offers opportunities to engage with ingredients, ancient traditions, and diverse urban culinary offerings, fostering a harmonious balance between urban life and natural bounty.

Gastronomy professionals garner praise for crafting sustainable missions that blend aesthetic experiences with educational values that apply to everyday life. From enjoying a floating breakfast on the chinampas to embarking on a weekend getaway near the city, dining with strangers, or partaking in cacao ceremonies, there are more enriching ways to explore Mexico City's cuisine than securing a coveted seat at a secret chef's table we-know-where. These experiences are unconventional in every aspect, including the booking process, which often involves direct communication via WhatsApp or Instagram and occasionally even with the owners themselves. It’s all about the closeness and swinging away from booking websites' streamlined and impersonal processes.

Esquina Comun

Courtesy of Esquina Comun

Esquina Comun is a labor of love created by two chefs and food enthusiasts who initially launched the venture from their own apartment in November 2021. What began as a simple "common corner" has blossomed into a full-fledged terrace adorned with eclectic decor, plants, nostalgic music, and personal memorabilia. Open only on Friday through Sunday, with two additional prep days, the kitchen works wonders to deliver epicurean delights within a cozy, homey ambiance. "We aimed to create an experience reminiscent of the kind we ourselves enjoy when dining out. Unassuming yet impeccable service, delectable and flavorful dishes—nothing more, nothing less," shares Mexico City chef Ana Dolores, previously associated with the popular project Expendio de Maíz. Esquina Comun, which she co-owns with Carlos Pérez-Puelles, embodies a rebellious spirit, excelling in every aspect of food service while embracing a distinctly unique approach. For instance, they prioritize organic wines, frequently rotate their menu (except for the cult favorite—the K-Pop fried chicken), and cultivate an overall laid-back atmosphere. Operating on a reservation-only basis, Esquina Comun, born out of the last of their savings, serves as a poignant reminder of the beauty inherent in chasing one's dreams.

Address provided upon reservation confirmation. Book directly via their Instagram DM. Á la carte menu.

Sobremesa Cooking Classes

Courtesy of Sobremesa

"For me, it's all about being present while cooking. I always say that just by having your hands in what you're doing and not being on your phone, it becomes a moment of presence," says Lucía Benítez, co-founder of Sobremesa. Over seven years and across two homes, located in Roma Norte and the Colonia Juárez neighborhood, this collective of chefs has been offering ethically sourced cooking classes in their charming residential-style spaces. They exude character with patina walls, courtyards, and colonial flair, fostering an atmosphere of familiarity. Sobremesa hosts a variety of master classes with their in-house chefs, cooking classes with chefs from renowned establishments like Tamales Madre, and dinner-party options. Guests are encouraged to make the space their own as they virtually rent it out, bringing in their choice of wine and music and becoming hosts in a space where they create their own meals. Options for drop-in group classes are also available in both Spanish and English, where an array of strangers join to prepare an extensive meal. In a time when the connection between the creation of food and its consumer is increasingly lost, Sobremesa revives the essence of the dinner party.

Book online at; starts at $1,500 MXN (about 90 USD.)


Courtesy of Cubo

Imagine awakening early one Saturday morning, embarking on an hour-long journey to Bosque Otomí–where cellular signals fade into the wilderness–and finally arriving at a renowned architect-designed lodge. Here, you’ll set out mushroom picking, before engaging in an ancestral ceremony and savoring a heartfelt meal that stretches on for hours. Roberto Lingard, founder and resident of Cubo explains: “I did exactly what I like to do for fun.” As Cubo celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, Lingard reflects on nearly 15 years of scavenging for mushrooms and sharing his discoveries with acclaimed chefs from Mexico City. The forest teems with close to 40 species of mushrooms, particularly during the summer season, along with an abundance of other edible herbs. Cubo offers an immersive experience for guests, including an on-site breakfast, an Otomí ceremony and a forest stroll, and a sumptuous 5-course menu with beverage pairings. While Lingard occasionally invites guest chefs, he takes pride in curating a seasonal menu that showcases local ingredients to their fullest. “These experiences create positive memories—memories of joy, nostalgia, and contentment,” Lingard explains. “For me, the kitchen has always been a place where people gather to socialize, to converse.” As a gracious host, Roberto ensures that guests of all ages have an unforgettable experience and depart with cherished memories, along with a newfound appreciation for Mexican distillates and the art of disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Book directly through Cubo’s Whatsapp; starts at $2,400 MXN (about 150 USD.)

Maria Cacao

Courtesy of Maria Cacao

Ingredients indigenous to Mexico are often exclusive to the region or heavily exploited elsewhere. This is precisely what happened with cacao, leading to María Cacao's motto: "It's not chocolate." María Cacao is a Mexican cacao brand with a showroom and communal space situated in Roma Norte, Mexico City. María, the founder, is not only a trained chef but also a passionate cacao enthusiast. "I fell in love with cacao when I discovered that all pre-Hispanic civilizations in the region now known as Mexico revered cacao as a divine element," she explains. Her aim was to re-introduce a raw and health-conscious form of cacao distinct from chocolate. Through public education initiatives, María effectively conveys the values of cacao consumption, highlighting its positive effects on brain health and the release of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Collaborating with producers from Tabasco, she developed cacao-shaped snacks and bars, the latter she also uses for cacao ceremonies with their 100 percent pure cacao concentration. Maria hosts ceremonies at her studio and organizes events at venues across the city, providing attendees with an opportunity to delve into this ubiquitous product and gain a wealth of knowledge to take home.

Book online at

Dinner with Strangers

Courtesy of Dinner with Strangers

Shattering the norm of typical dining habits, Dinner with Strangers presents an exciting new concept. Unlike traditional gatherings with friends and family or solitary bar lounging, this experience introduces a novel twist. After completing your registration form, they will match you with an ideal group of strangers who share something in common, enabling you to connect with compatible people, all of whom you'll have the chance to meet for the first time at the table. Here, you won't find renowned chefs cooking for a group of ten. Instead, a combination of chefs and hosts curate private dinners across the city. "In today's chaotic world, relationships matter most," says founder Angélica "Kika" Flores Medina, previously known for founding the popular bazaar La Japi House. "Expanding one's social circle is invaluable." With this latest venture, Flores aims to do just that—broaden social circles and spark engaging conversations among diverse individuals.

Book online at; start at $1,400 MXN (About $85 USD.)

Arca Tierra

Courtesy of Arca Tierra

As the sun rises over the chinampas of Xochimilco, you glide across the tranquil morning waters, the fog parting before your trajinera boat. Arca Tierra pays homage to the traditional methods of food cultivation in Mexico City and collaborates with local farmers to form a cooperative. "It's a local network of professionals dedicated to the sustainable production of fresh, delicious, and nutritious food, bridging the gap from the field to your table. We have our own production as well as demonstration plots where we experiment with seeds, techniques, and designs," explains Joahna Hernandez. Within the space, Arca Tierra hosts a variety of events, including their Amanecer Chinampero, a sunrise breakfast experience at the floating islands. Guests receive a tour and comprehensive insight into the chinampa cultivation systems, along with a traditional Mexican breakfast featuring locally grown ingredients. "More and more chefs are keen on working with high-quality ingredients and understanding the processes involved in their cultivation and harvesting. Ultimately, their profession would not be viable without the labor of farmers. That's why every month we organize chinampa meals, a collaboration between Arca Tierra and chefs from Mexico and around the world who share our values of sustainability, traceability, and commitment to rural communities." A serene morning excursion to the city is the perfect way to kick off your weekend in Mexico City with meaning.

Book directly online at; starting at $990 MXN (about $60 USD.)

Margarita Concept Garden

Courtesy of Margarita Concept

On a good (traffic-free) day, the enchanting town of Tepoztlán lies just over an hour away from the bustling Mexican capital, offering a tranquil escape. Margarita Concept Garden was conceived as a sanctuary–a natural refuge from the urban hustle and bustle—aiming to provide a reprieve from the concrete jungle. An intriguing aspect of this restaurant is how it subtly emerged with a completely vegetarian menu under the guidance of Chef Christian Laguna. Interestingly, many patrons remain unaware of this fact, yet they find themselves enchanted by the lush gardens of Margarita, spending hours amidst its lush foliage. "Margarita seeks to offer an escape, allowing visitors to truly immerse themselves in nature. The surrounding gardens create a sense of seclusion, with small pockets of greenery acting as 'verdant islands' between tables. It's about fostering a feeling of independence as if you're in your own space while still being in close proximity to others. Moreover, these pathways through the garden allow for leisurely strolls," explains co-founder Santiago Camarena García. Mirroring the rhythm of its natural environment, the restaurant's menu evolves in two distinct seasons (dry and rainy), ensuring an experience that harmonizes with its surroundings. A few of their beloved dishes now include gorditas and tostadas, reminiscent of their animal-based counterparts yet inspired by innovative projects like Eleven Madison Park, which has transitioned to a fully vegan menu.

Book directly via their Instagram DM. Á la carte menu.


Courtesy of Tencüi

This establishment is a major player in Mexico City's culinary landscape, quite literally rooted in its mycelium. While not explicitly advertised as vegetarian, the restaurant places a strong emphasis on fungi, which they cultivate on the second level of the premises. "One of the most remarkable discoveries I've made recently is Chef Mario Espinosa's Tencüi, located in Santa María de la Ribera," says Alonso. "Here, mushrooms take center stage in every dish (even the drinks), and it's truly spectacular. They have a dedicated chamber for mushroom cultivation on the restaurant's second floor and, after your meal, they invite you to visit it to see where it all originates." This space has garnered high praise and redefines the relationship between the bustling metropolis and delicate raw materials, transforming an industrial neighborhood into a hub for mushroom cultivation. "Tencüi" means "to connect" in Nahuatl, and that's precisely what Espinosa aims to achieve with his creations. His culinary concept, centered around mushrooms, broadens our culinary horizons with dishes featuring mushroom blends, beverages infused with mushrooms, and even desserts incorporating this remarkable ingredient.

More From the series Food
You May Also Like