multiple locations (pictured: Hipódromo)
Move over, Starbucks, Tierra Garat is, hands-down, my new favourite cofee shop chain. Offering a variety of hand-crafted coffee and chocolate-based drinks, pastries, sandwiches, and even some house wares, the TG cofee shop family now counts ten shops in Mexico. The two locations I have been to (Hipódromo and Polanco) are gorgeously designed and, as such, are great places to do work, meet up with a friend, or simply soak up the energy of the city while reading a book or magazine.
elevated local food
Campeche 322, Hipódromo
Walking through the Condesa neighbourhood on my first day in Mexico City, Fonda Mayora caught my eye and I knew I'd eventually try it out. On my third day, after going on a bookstore raid, I decided to stop by for brunch.
The waiter, who was enthusiastic and helpful, recommended the huevos en cajita (loosely translated: eggs in a little box). While I am not a huge eggs-in-the-morning kind of person, the simplicity of this dish - eggs with cheese served atop tortillas with a mild tomato sauce - was beautiful. No-nonsense cooking emphasized the freshness of the ingredients. The tomato sauce was subtle but tasty and the side salsa was rich and smoky (and the best salsa I had in my brief time in Mexico City.
I have nothing but positive words for Fonda Mayora and, given its cute locale and reasonable price tag (under $10 for most breakfast dishes), I don't see why you wouldn't eat there too.
MARKET KITCHEN (at the Park Plaza)
high end restaurant
Av. Javier Barros Sierra 540, Santa Fe (inside the Westin Park Plaza)
As I made my way to the all-shiny-glass Mexico neighbourhood of Sante Fe to get a sense for the area and visit some architectural landmarks, I made plans to go to Market Kitchen, a high end restaurant in the Westin Hotel.
In a beautiful space that aims to create a sense of home within a restaurant - something that it does not quite accomplish -, the menu is full of enticing options that center around local seafood ingredients.
I opt for the salmon tartare first (with a mezcal, citrus and pepper drink). The fish is superb and the avocado base and tomate broth are a wonderful complement to the salmon, providing just enough kick while not getting in the way of its freshness. Then, I get the octopus ceviche with corn, cherry tomatoes and garlic chips. I don't like it as much as the first dish (that I would gladly eat again), as the ensemble is a bit spicy to my liking, with the chips being especially over-flavoured. However, the presentation of the dish is exceptional and while it wasn't my favourite of the two, based on looks alone, I had to share it.
Overall, Market Kitchen Mexico is a solid high-end restaurant. With the quality of its decor, attentive service, and extensive selection of fresh seafood, it's recommandable mostly for special occasions or business lunches, as the price tag is quite high by American standards, and extremely high by Mexican ones. But there is a time and a place for higher end experiences; and when that time comes, you could do worse that Market Kitchen.