By Abby Clawson Low

Styling Elaina Sullivan

Published on November 22, 2017

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Beautiful, chaotic, inspiring—the Mexican capital has long been a favorite of artists and creatives, from Calder to Albers. And no wonder: With exciting design, food, and art scenes continuing to heat up, the city is top on our list. Graphic designer and art director Abby Clawson Low shows us her not-to-miss stops and shares her favorite things to do in Mexico City.

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

Lucas Local

(shown above and below)
Colima 65, Roma Norte

Graphic, black-and-white tabletops put the focus on Alejandra Coppel and Alexander Suástegui’s inventive, artful dishes—a creative mash-up of Mexican classics, like the marlin gordita and beef tongue tacos.

Azul


Calle Isabel la Católica 30, Centro


One of the top chefs in the country, Ricardo Muñoz Zurita celebrates the unknown cuisines of Mexico. There are three Azul locations in the city, but Azul Histórico is in a magical 17th-century building. Try the guacamole sprinkled with chapulines (small dried grasshoppers!).  

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Contramar 


Durango 200, Colonia Roma

Only open for la comida (the big lunch from noon to 6 pm), this popular seafood eatery fills up quickly. Under a ceiling covered in woven palm mats (reminiscent of an oceanside Jalapa), you might spot some of Mexico’s biggest celebs dining on crowd favorites, like the tuna tostadas and grilled red snapper.

El Palenquito 


Av. Álvaro Obregón 39, Roma Norte

This authentic mezcaleria (from the same owners behind the lively La Clandestina bar) offers a highly detailed menu with production methods listed for each mezcal. Order the woodsy-flavored Mezcal Milagrito del Corazón with a side of Oaxacan snacks.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Rosetta

(shown above)
Colima 166, Colonia Roma


Rosetta is tucked inside a large colonial town house with an arched doorway outlined in vines. Chef Elena Reygadas won the Veuve Clicquot Prize for Latin America’s best female chef and draws a crowd (reserve at least two weeks in advance). Do not leave without tasting the sweet rosemary rolls!

Lardo 


Agustín Melgar 6, Cuauhtemoc

An informal dining space with a long bar and open kitchen make Lardo a great spot for a casual breakfast. Try the black rice in coconut milk with banana and mango, or the scrambled eggs wrapped in fresh herbs.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Blanco Colima 

(shown above and below)
Colima 168, Roma Norte

Visit this minimalist cocktail lounge—an enclosed patio of a colonial-style mansion was reimagined by interior designer Alexander Díaz Andersson and architect Franco Ayala—for a Colima bramble cocktail or jalapeño margarita before heading out for dinner.


Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Páramo

 
Yucatán 84, Roma Norte

Venture above the popular lunch-only spot El Parnita to get your nightlife fix at Páramo, a hip bar that opens after its sister restaurant closes. Try the house mezcal and share tacos family-style in either the boisterous terrazzo or one of the quieter, more intimate side rooms.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Máximo Bistrot

(shown above)
Tonalá 133, Colonia Roma

Reservations are needed for this small, elegant spot from well-known chef Eduardo García. The tasting menu plays to all the senses—striped sea bass with green mole, roasted artichoke, mushroom risotto with huitlacoche—and changes daily.

Tetetlán 


Av. de las Fuentes 180-B, Jardines del Pedregal

This recently opened cultural center/library/restaurant/café comes from César Cervantes, owner of the Luis Barragán–designed Casa Pedregal next door—and it’s one of the most beautiful contemporary spaces in the city. On the menu, traditional Mexican meets Mesoamerican dishes, including cheese and nopale tlayudas, oyster and shrimp chilapachole, and (true to form) a must-order Caesar salad. 

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

WHERE TO SHOP

La Metropolitana

(shown above)
Bucareli 108, Colonia Juárez

Located in the cool Juarez neighborhood, La Metropolitana is a design collective, showroom, and newly opened storefront all under one roof. (The founders were behind the custom furniture at the Noma pop-up in Tulum.) You’ll find chairs, stools, and tables that combine mid-century Danish with contemporary Mexican styles, while the Lagos del Mundo line of locally handcrafted home accessories has a distinct Japanese feel.

Goodbye Folk 


Colima 198A, Roma Norte

Come to this well-established vintage shop for the house line of pretty blouses, as well as custom-made leather shoes in various colors and styles (the wait time is three weeks from start to finish and it ships internationally).

La Lagunilla Market


Corner of Ignacio Allende and López Rayón, Lagunilla

Designers and collectors flock to this world-famous, Sunday-only flea market for art books, vintage Mexican clothing, ephemera, and collectibles. Bring cash and dress in simple clothing.

Trouvé 


Av. Álvaro Obregón 186, Bis B, Roma Norte 

A favorite of local interior designers and stylists for home items and high-end vintage furniture from the 1950s to the ’70s—Clara Porset, Octavio Vidales, and Arturo Pani, among others—Trouvé is a real gem. The owner, Javier Carral, can point you in the direction of some lesser-known places, too.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Carla Fernández


Av. Álvaro Obregón 200, Roma Norte

The Issey Miyake–Maria Cornejo hybrid of Mexican fashion, Carla Fernández blends indigenous craft techniques with contemporary designs. Her shop sells hand-carved wooden bracelets, rebozos (shawls), shirts, ponchos, and jackets—all with a nod to native geometrics, colors, and textures.

Cibeles 72


Valladolid 72, Roma Norte

This cool little boutique features a variety of talented emerging Mexican designers’ wares, like modern-meets-tribal cotton fiber necklaces by Caralarga. Other temptations: hand-painted spoons and fruit-pattern tablecloths from Paola Santini Home.

San Ángel Market 


San Jacinto 11, San Ángel

This Saturday market in the cobblestone neighborhood of San Ángel offers handmade wooden toys, colorful woven baskets, hand-detailed silver jewelry, and lots more. There are three distinct areas: The park plaza, where artists sell original pieces; Bazaar Sábado, a hacienda–turned–indoor shopping space; and the tianguis (pop-up market) behind Sábado with Mexican artesanías.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

David Pompa  

(shown above)
Colima 264, Roma Norte

David Pompa reinvents folk art materials (think: Talavera and barro negro pendant lamps and glazed clay tiles in triangular shapes). The shop’s unusual Acapulco chair design is more reason to visit. Downstairs, check out Vidrio Soplado el Resplandor for the beautiful blown-glass pieces, including silver- and gold-mirrored spheres (a favorite object in Luis Barragán–designed homes).

Onora 


Lope de Vega 330, Polanco


Owners Maggie Galton and María Eladia Hagerman launched this wonderful little store in Polanco three years ago. They partner with local artisans and work with various indigenous communities to preserve traditional practices that were disappearing—and make contemporary folk art designs you’ll want to buy in multiples.

Roma Quince 


Medellín 67, Roma Norte

Housed on the second level of an old mansion (the first floor has a bakery and patio café), Roma Quince is spread across several rooms, each showcasing Mexican designs, like chunky natural woven rugs and embroidered ikat-style pillows.

Utilitario Mexicano


Calle Doctor Mora 9, Centro

Owners Libia Moreno and Enrique Arellano scour mercados and traditional stores around the city to stock 
their kiosk-style shop, handpicking only the best and most useful items—enamel bowls, brightly colored aluminum cups and pitchers, splatterware, and white powder–coated tortilla presses. Can’t get enough? Visit Super UM, the store’s bigger location, on Calle Marsella in Colonia Juárez.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

WHERE TO STAY

La Valise

(shown above)
Tonalá 53, Roma Norte

Intimate and luxurious, with only three suites, La Valise is a romantic stay for couples. (The Terrace Room has a bed that slides out onto a private deck for optimal star viewing.) It was designed by Emmanuel Picault, the brilliant mind behind the visionary shop Chic by Accident, who is considered to be a pioneer of Mexican modernist design.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Camino Real Polanco


Mariano Escobedo 700, Colonia Anzures

Originally constructed for the 1968 Olympics and designed by famous Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, Camino Real is a must-see—starting with the Mathias Goeritz pink sculptural screen outside. For a fun art history lesson, find chief concierge Jorge Ortiz, who has worked at the hotel for more than 30 years and can give guests an inside look at the impressive collection.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Hotel Condesa DF

(shown above and below)
Av Veracruz 102, Condesa

The namesake hotel of La Condesa—Mexico City’s answer to the East Village—this 40-room property is the perfect HQ for exploring the neighborhood. Set inside a 1928 Neoclassic French-style building, the interiors have a minimal, modern feel. Check out the view from the rooftop bar or have breakfast in the triangular, open-air courtyard, where stark-white shutters double as sculptural works of art.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

WHAT TO DO



Canales de Xochimilco 

Embarcadero Las Flores Nativitas, Calle Del Mercado No.1, Xochimilco, Barrio Xaltocan

Ride around the canals of Xochimilco on a trajinera (flat-bottom boat), which the driver maneuvers with a pole, gondola-style. There’s a roof for shade, and a table and chairs that run the length of the vessel. (Note to the wise: Hire a boat directly from the pier, not one of the guys riding bicycles; the usual rate is 350 pesos per hour.) You can bring snacks and buy a bucket of beer before departing, or purchase food from other boats out on the water—and even hire a mariachi band to jump aboard!

Casa Luis Barragán 


General Francisco Ramírez 12-14, Colonia Ampliación Daniel Garza

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Luis Barragán’s home/studio has long been a pilgrimage for design and architecture enthusiasts. His genius in pairing intense colors (bright citron, charcoal gray, hot pink) against neutral textures; precision in placing windows to guide a beam of light across a room and onto a facing wall; and reverence for material, art, and craft is what makes visiting the casa a near-religious experience for so many.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo 

(shown above and below)
Av. Altavista esq. Diego Rivera, San Ángel


This museum is made up of three artist studios: Diego Rivera’s, Frida Kahlo’s, and Mexican painter and architect Juan O’Gorman’s, a close friend of the couple’s who designed the unique, functionalist-style buildings (and added a walking bridge between the duo’s studios as a romantic gesture). Concrete spiral staircases and a cactus “fence” add to the intrigue of peeking inside the creative spaces of these iconic artists. Afterward, head next door to San Angel Inn, a grand old hacienda where the dishware matches the drapes, for some of the best margaritas in the city.

Photography by JOAQUIN TRUJILLO

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