The Non-Meat Eater’s Guide To Mexico City
Mexico City marked the beginning of our culinary exploration across the Americas. Numerous friends and passers-by warned us that we’d starve in Mexico City as we don’t eat meat. I’ve written this non-meat eater’s guide to Mexico City so that you can skip the warnings and head straight to the good stuff. The city’s rise to food fame has sparked an exciting non-meat movement, with veg-friendly food-stalls, restaurants and fast-food popping up all over the city. Whether you’re a gluten-free vegan or a chicharrón-cheerleader there’s something for you in CDMX.
Whilst London is not known for its Mexican cuisine I knew what to expect. Fresh coriander, chillies by the dozen, lots and lots of lime. Tangy, spicy, cheesy. Salsa with everything. A million ways with corn. Tacos for breakfast. Cerveza round the clock. Our fortnight in CDMX was going to be a good one.
Forever Vegano (vegan) , Roma Norte - Guanajuato 54
One of our first, and favourite meals were shared at this cosy vegan eatery, spread over two-floors in Roma, Mexico City's most bohemian neighbourhood. We were catching up with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in 2 years, so I really appreciated Forever Vegano’s on-the-floor seating, fast service and peaceful environment. This is the kind of vegan restaurant you’d happily introduce to a meat-loving friend. Flavour, texture and colour was squeezed into every dish, and I can see why you could become, forever vegan. We ordered two rounds of their Guacamole (trust me, you won’t wanna share this) sprinkled with coriander sprouts, cranberries and pickled onion. Next we split the Wrap Forever with tofu and the Baja California Tacos - crunchy tempura cauliflower, purple cabbage and avocado slathered with a homemade chipotle mayo served on wholewheat tortillas. Flavoursome, nourishing goodness. Wash it all down with a glass of ‘Limonada Here’.
Panadería Rosetta, Rome Norte (bakery - vegetarian) - Colima 179
I honestly thought I'd flown back to Europe when we arrived at this popular bakery spot. Ceilings low enough to hit your head on. Stacks of flaky, puffy pastries arranged behind the glass counter stretching along the whole length of the shop. In authentic-European fashion, the lights were slightly too dim for us to peruse the lengthy menu, so we just went by eye. We pointed at the prettiest thing which turned out to be the Rol de Guayaba, a large danish filled with guava jam and cream and one of Panaderia Rosetta's most popular treats.
The pastry was perfect, the price was surprisingly cheap and if you do wait about 5-10 minutes you can usually get a seat at the counter. Don’t forget to pay a visit to her older, Italian sister-restaurant, Rosetta on the next block at Colima 166.
Photos via Panaderia Facebook
Sazón Veracruzano, Escandón (seafood & meat) - Calle Patriotismo 75
We ate here 3 days in a row. Sazón Veracruzano was recommended to us by our Airbnb host, Elias, who has been an Escandón local for over 10 years. This is one of those places you can’t wait to tell everyone about. Loud music blasts from the kitchen radio. American Football blares across 4 TV screens, and every bright red, Coca Cola-branded table was filled with Mexican families enjoying seafood cocktails and Micheladas (Mexican cerveza served over ice in a glass with lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire and tomato juice). Go there around 3pm to miss the lunchtime rush. You. will still have to wait for a table but you’ll have plenty of time to eat before the restaurants early closing at 6pm. We loved the seafood empanadas, juicy prawn tacos, Californian sushi roll (for just $60 pesos, which is like £3) and decent chips. This isn’t a fancy restaurant but if you like seafood then this is a fun spot where you can eat delicious fish, fresh from the Veracruz coast for less than £10 for two people - including beers.
Pan Comido, Roma Norte (vegetarian) - Tonalá 91
If, like us, you like your weekend brunch to be a balance between indulgence and wholesome nutrition, then Pan Comido is for you. We visited the Roma Norte branch of the popular vegetarian spot. Their second brand is located nearish to Chapultepec Park. We were extremely hungry and slightly hungover so we opted for the breakfast paquetes where you get juice, coffee and a sweet pastry to accompany your breakfast main for just $115 mxn pesos. We went for the Lisa Simpson burrito with mushrooms, spinach, beans and vegan chorizo which comes with ‘chips de la casa'. We had forgotton about the cross-atlantic chips/crisps confusion and were a little disappointed when the waiter brought over home-made-healthy(ish)-vegetable-crisps, not french fries. But what kind of crazy person eats french fries for breakfast anyway right!? Overall our brunch was tasty, good value for money and it felt like it was made with love. Brunch is served till 2pm and Pan Comido serves lunch and dinner options through till 9pm.
Lardo (meat, vegetarian and vegan options) - Agustín Melgar 6, La Condesa
You definitely didn’t come to Mexico City to eat European food. But here in the leafy part of Condesa you’ll find an equally-leafy restaurant serving delicious small plates of Mediterranean fare at Mexican prices. Perfecto. Lardo is the second Mediterranean restaurant opened by award-winning chef, Elena Reygadas. You'll need to make a reservation but don't let this put you off. The ambience was warm, unpretentious and inviting. The small plates mean you get to try lots of different flavours. We split around seven plates between three of us and the stand-out dishes were the creamy burrata which came with bread and pomegranate, the perfectly-peppery rocket salad, and the rich, buttery cauliflower and corn soup
Mercado de Coyoacán (vegan, veg, meat) - Ignacio Allende, Coyoácan, Del Carmen
This colourful, sprawling mercado of magic is hands-down the best market we visited in Mexico. Inside you’ll walk past miles of stalls offering snacks, sweets, fruit, juices, handicrafts, costumes, jewellery, stationery (the best pen shop you've ever seen), plants, gifts and toys before reaching the food court in the centre. You’ll immediately attract waiters and servers that want you to come and spend money in their establishment. Hold out like us, and go for the more central restaurant area where seats are arranged in a bar fashion around the open kitchen where the staff are too busy to talk to you. We shared 2 mushroom quesadillas and a giant vegetarian Huarache with coca-colas for around $200 mxn pesos. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the place where we ate at but look out for blue corn tortillas. Any establishment that chooses to use Mexico’s traditional blue corn is going to be good.
I hope you enjoyed our non-meat guide to Mexico City, comment below and let us know if you get the chance to visit any of the restaurants we recommend.