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Nicholas Gilman is a renowned journalist and food writer based in Mexico City.

Nicholas Gilman es un renombrado periodista gastronómico radicado en la Ciudad de México.

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The Condesa's Best Restaurants
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The Condesa is jam-packed with eating establishments, high, low and everything in between…
Here are my current favorites in the high-ish category.

 PASILLO DE HUMO
Pasillo de Humo is a fine, casual spot located upstairs at the Mercado Parian in the heart of Condesa. It is an extraordinary Oaxacan ‘antojería’ under the baton of chef Alam Méndez. The restaurant, which opens for breakfast as well as comida and cena, offers classic regional specialties such as crispy flat tlayudas, tamales, intriguing egg dishes served in polished clay cazuelas and of course, colorful moles.
See my previous post:

Mercado Parian, Nuevo León 107, upstairs, Condesa; View map
Open Monday – Wednesday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., Thursday – Saturday until 11 p.m.,
Sunday until 7 p.m.
Per person: $150 for breakfast to $500 for dinner with a couple of drinks.

MERKAVÁ
Daniel Ovadía’s Merkavá, which opened its doors early this year, is unprecedented. It is our country’s first representative of modern Israeli Cooking. Dishes associated with the myriad cultures found in Israel, not only Jewish, is offered in the astutely collated menu. The food is forthright, neither reductive nor compromised – it evokes the old world while acknowledging the supreme ingredients found in the new, gently coaxing the diner into believing that it is comfort food… and that’s an admirable accomplishment. See my review

Av. Amsterdam 53, Condesa; View Map
Tel. 5086 – 8065
Open Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 11:45 p.m., Sunday until 6 p.m., closed Monday
Average per person: $400

CEDRÓN
Cedrón, whose name translates as “lemon verbena” is housed in a sunny former residence on leafy Av. Mazatlán. The kitchen is in the capable hands of chef Alejandro Fuentes who travels to the Central de Abastos, the capital’s huge wholesale market, to buy what’s best. His cooking can best be described as French/Mediterranean with a strong Mexican influence. Beautifully composed salads might be followed by a simple, perfectly grilled fish or a risotto of morels. Breakfast, from croque Madame to chilaquiles is a pleasure here as large windows afford a view of nothing but trees and the bread is baked in-house.

Av. Mazatlán 24; View map
Tel. 2155 6403
Open Sunday – Tuesday 7:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday until midnight
Average per person $600

ASIAN BAY RESTAURANTE
An ample array of expertly prepared Chinese dishes is offered in this meeting place for Mexico's Asian community. It’s set in an old house where young chef Luís Chiu, Mexican of Chinese ancestry, grew up. The large menu is multi-regional, based in Canton, but there are Szechuan, Hunan and Shanghai offerings as well. On Sundays, dim sum carts circulate from 11 to 5. This is certainly the most refined Chinese food to be found in the city.
See my previous post: Chinese New Year: Asian Bay

Av. Tamaulipas 95 (between Vicente Suarez & Campeche); View map
Tel. 5553-4582
Open Monday - Thursday: 12:00 -10:30 pm, Friday, Saturday, until 11:30 pm, Sunday, 11-9 Average per person: $400

LARDO
The lively Lardo, whose name may frighten diet-conscious English speaking customers, in fact offers light Italian food. It is one of chef Elena Reygadas' venues for great house-baked breads, small pizzas, pastas, salads and breakfasts. Tables fill up fast but it’s always easy to snag a spot at the long counter.

Agustín Melgar 6; View map
Tel. 5211 7731
Open daily from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Average per person $400

TANDOOR
Indian restaurants in Mexico are few and far between. Tandoor, located in a former private house, is the oldest; its Polanco location opened 30 years ago. An array of standard appetizers such as samosas and pakoras, masala curries—the super picante vindaloo is my favorite—and fragrant rice dishes are done with care. Ambience is laid back and Indian cooking supplies are sold for do-it-yourselfers. Taj Mahal is also recommended ; see post.

Av. Amsterdam 72 (at Parras); View map
Tel. 55530 9592
Open Monday – Saturday 1 – 10:30 p.m., Sunday until 7:30.
Average per person $400

CANTINA LA CAPITAL
La Capital is a really a post-modern cantina, that is to say, it’s a hip restaurant bar that attracts an international after work crowd to its large open room and outdoor patio. Well prepared food, both light – tostadas de atún, guacamole, sopes de tuétano and more substantial dishes like fideo seco and chile/lime grilled fish emanate from the open kitchen. Cocktails, are, as to be expected, expertly concocted. Ambiente music is retro/latina and played at a reasonable decibel level.

Nuevo León 137; View map 
Tel. 5256 5159 Open Monday – Wednesday 1:30 – 12 a.m., Thursday – Saturday until 1 a.m., Sunday until 6 p.m.
Average per person $300

MERTORO
The Baja-Med kitchen at Merotoro is in the capable hands of master chef Jair Téllez, also of Amaya (here in CDMX) and Laja in Ensenada, who makes sure even the simplest dishes – a grilled fish or steak – are perfectly done. The constantly changing, unpretentious and quirkily creative menu offers eight entradas, seven main dishes and four desserts. Ingredients are chosen selectively and strategically, with an eye to seasonal freshness, smart combinations and respect for Mexican tradition.

Av. Amsterdam 204; View map 
Tel. 5564-7799
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 1:30-11:00 p.m., Sunday 1:30 – 6 p.m. (closed Monday)

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ZOKU
Zoku started out as a venue for creative Japanese chef Hiroshi Kawaito, who helped change the face of Japanese cooking in our city with his artsy omekases. That renegade chef has moved on to greener pastures and the newly re-inaugurated and more compact space is now directed by talented young Silverio Cervantes. The menu, more down-home izakaya than eclectic omekase—that is, based on a panoply of classic i.e. safe Japanese dishes—is affordable, satisfying and if not challenging, up to discerning Japanese tastes. Cervantes did a stint in Japan and is familiar with a large repertoire of standards. His ramen is a knockout and that in a city overflowing with good bowls of those delectable soup noodles. The soft crab tempura taco with seaweed bows to Mexico. Cabbage okonomiyaki is a satisfying fat pancake from Osaka. The new Zoku is a welcome addition to the growing array of Nippon noshes in our ever more international metropolis.

Durango 359, Roma Nte.; see map
Tel. 5211 9855
Open Monday- Wednesday 1 – 11 p.m., Thursday – Saturday until midnight, Sunday until 7

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