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

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Loretta and Café Nin Hang Out the French Laundry

Loretta and Café Nin Hang Out the French Laundry

 The Patio at Loretta

The Patio at Loretta

Café Nin and Loretta, two of the hottest new joints in town, have something in common. Both offer lengthy multi-culti menus whose touchstone is France. And both are very, very good.

 The bar at Cafe Nin

The bar at Cafe Nin

Café Nin, in Colonia Juarez is named for French, Cuban-born  memoirist Anais Nin and so the pan-cultural homage begins. It is the latest from Rosetta's top chef Elena Reygadas. Her beloved Panadería Rosetta, whose original remains in La Roma (at Colima 179), has been morphed into the new bistro. Funky laid back left-bank-Parisian  ambience prevails and the airy, leafy patio is welcoming. The Panaderia's former breakfast and sandwich options remain unscathed. But an adventurous new lunch and dinner menu may include fish in a Thai-like curry, classic French patés, a sopa de frijoles from Chiapas or a couple of Reygadas' famous pastas. No matter where the compass points, contemporary "ethnic" Paris is never forgotten. Together with next-door classic French Havre 77, this block seems to be becoming Le Coin Français.

Café Nin
Havre 71, Colonia Juarez Tel. 5207 7065
Open 7 a.m. - 11 p.m., Monday - Saturday, 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday
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Average $500 pp

 arroz meloso con pato at Loretta

arroz meloso con pato at Loretta

Loretta, whose complete name is " Loretta Chic Bistrot" is the more casual spin-off of chefs Eduardo Morali and Abel Hernandez' nearby butter-and-cream fest, Eloise. The club-like scene--frenetic music, lighting and dolled-up diners--underscores the meticulous attention paid to the preparation of recipes culled from a pan-Euro lexicon, rooted, once again, in a Gallic base. Offered are such Franco/Spanish concoctions as arroz meloso de confit de pato, an Italo-mex agnoloti con camote y jocoque or a fish filet in mojo verde, a green sauce from Spain's Canary islands aromatized here with avocado leaves. It's a party, at which I think Julia Child would have had a ball. Reservations are essential.

Loretta Chic Bistrot
Av. Revolución 1426, Colonia Guadalupe Inn (San Ángel) Tel 5550 -1692 Open 2 - 11 p.m. Monday - Saturday, Sunday until 6
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Average $800 pp

Nicos and El Cardenal: Tradition, Tradition

Nicos and El Cardenal: Tradition, Tradition

TACO TIME: Tacos de Lengua @ Cantina La Ribera

TACO TIME: Tacos de Lengua @ Cantina La Ribera