Southern Belle: Where to Eat down in Coyoacán

Everyone loves Coyoacán. A visit there is like a trip to small town colonial Mexico. Once a village south of the city proper, it long ago was lapped up into the greedy maw of the rapidly growing urban monster we now call El Distrito Federal. But Coyoacán retains its laid back provincial ambiente. Cobbled streets lead to lovely little semi-hidden flower filled plazas. A relaxed Sunday stroll around the main square is obligatory for all Chilangos. And, for most visitors, homage must be paid to the Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's old home. Coyoacán, always considered an 'artistic' area, is the closest nice neighborhood to C.U. (University City) and therefore houses a number of professorial and artistic types. Although you would think there would be a corresponding number of artsy and interesting places to eat, this is unfortunately not the case. Few new venues of much gustatory interest have opened their doors in recent years. The hot spots continue to be up north. Nevertheless, a good meal can be had. There are a number of options at comida time, fewer at night. Here are my favorites, listed, as in my book, by level, from “fonda to fine dining.” Asterisks mark nighttime options.

Tacos Chupa Cabras *

Av. Coyoacán and Universidad, across from the Sanborn’s (see map, below)

This stand is legendary. The special “Chupa Cabra tacos,” a mixture of chorizo and carnitas, are large and filling. Add the salsas, nopales, fried onions and beans as garnishes and you can make a stop here into a one-dish meal, all for 8 pesos.

Mercado de Antojitos*

Higuera 6, Coyoacán

Open daily until midnight, later on weekends

This well known garage-like space, a block from Coyoacán’s central plaza, is open late and people stop here for a rich pozole or the deep-fried quesadillas, which are delicious despite the grease. The flor de calabaza, huitlacoche or sesos (brains) are particularly good. Funky and full of old-time atmosphere, this crowded place is worth the wait. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic array of snacks.

Mercado Coyoacán

Malintzin & Allende

The traditional market, once frequented by Frida herself, is picturesque, attracting tourists both domestic and foreign. In the middle of the market, at stands 181-182, you’ll find a gastronomic art installation at Tostadas de Coyoacán – dozens of huge plates of mouth-watering tostada toppings. Shrimps, chicken, crab, mole, the list goes on. I start with their succulent lemony ceviche, topped with bright green salsa, then move on to pulpo, then maybe cochinita pibil. To drink, order agua de melón from the stand next door. (Be sure to choose only Tostadas de Coyoacán – their competitors are not as good.)

El Jardín del Pulpo, with its long, outdoor communal tables at the corner of Malintzin and Ignacio Allende, is famous for its fresh seafood. Open daily Noon-6 p.m.

El Rincón De La Lechuza
Miguel Ángel de Quevedo 34

Open from 1PM daily
A large casual place that serves some of the best carnitas in the city.

Novos *

Madrid 13

Tel. 5659-5776

Open Tuesday- Saturday 2PM-10PM

Salvado Novo was perhaps the Mexican Oscar Wilde, but with a happy ending. He chronicled Mexico City in all its cultural manifestations, low and high. And he loved food. Since his death in 1974, his modernist home has been a cabaret (once called El Hábito, where Chavela Vargas was ‘re-discovered’) and a theatre. And now there’s a restaurant where the menu is pure Mexican, reviving obscure recipes in a sophisticated, arty ambience. A good option for a laid back evening And check out the schedule at the cabaret, now called El Vicio. http://www.elvicio.com.mx/cabaret/

Los Danzantes*

Jardín Centenario 12

Tel. 5554-1213 / 5554-2896

Monday- Friday 1:30 p.m.-12 p.m., Saturday, Sunday 9 a.m.-2 a.m.


This pleasant restaurant with seats spilling out onto Coyoacán’s pretty plaza, is a branch of a well known upscale Oaxacan classic. The menu is mostly Oaxacan, with some regional and creative twists. It’s a good choice for fine dining in the area.

Corazón de Maguey*

Jardín del Centenario 9A (the main plaza of Coyoacán )

Tel. 5659-3165

Sunday – Wednesday 1 p.m.- midnight, Thursday-Saturday 1 p.m.-1 a.m.

Across the plaza from Los Danzantes, and under the same ownership, this informal bar/restaurant offers interesting Oaxacan and regional dishes. Evenings it becomes more of a bar, with a large range of mezcals. Outside seating affords a view of the plaza .

El Morral

Allende 2

Open daily 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

This large traditional Coyoacán restaurant, near the central plaza, is popular with families. It is good for breakfast and serves such classics as enchiladas verdes, rojas and mole. The decor is old fashioned and atmospheric, and the superior tortillas are made by hand within view of the diners.

El Tajín

Miguel Angel de Quevedo 687, (inside the Centro Cultural Veracruzano)

Tel: 5659-4447 or 5659-5759

Open daily 1 -6 p.m.

Owner Alicia Gironella d’Angeli, one of Mexico’s foremost chefs and authors (she wrote the new Larousse de la Cocina Mexicana among other books) is an original and tireless promoter

of Mexican cuisine. Her late husband Giorgio d’Angeli was founder and president of Slow Food Mexico, an organization that has been instrumental in getting the cuisine of Mexico made a UNESCO Patrimony of Humanity. The restaurant serves creative but traditional food, mostly based on the cuisine of the state of Veracruz. Ambience is gracious, with a garden view. Open for lunch only.

Taro *

Av. Universidad 1861

Tel. 5661-4083

Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 1-10:30 p.m., Friday, Saturday until 11, Sunday 1- 9 p.m., closed Wednesday

This is one of the best, bona fide, Japanese restaurants in the city. It offers an interesting menu of traditional regional dishes – no cream cheese here! The second floor dining room is unassuming but the food is superior. There is often a wait on weekend afternoons.

And for a drinkie or two:

La Bipolar *

Malintzin 155, a couple of blocks from the center

Tel. 5484-8230

Open Monday-Wednesday 1 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Thursday-Saturday until 2 a.m., Sunday until 9.

This self-styled ‘hipster’ spot, owned by local movie star Diego Luna, is more of a yuppie hangout than it would like to be. But it’s pleasant nonetheless, and the food is good.

La Guadalupana*

Higuera 14, near the central plaza

Tel: 5554 6542

Open Monday-Saturday 1-11:30 p.m.

Everyone knows that Frida, Diego and Trotsky partied in this local institution, open since 1932. But unlike the equivalent Hemingway hangouts in Paris or Havana, La Guadalupana has not become an overpriced tourist trap. It retains its old-fashioned working class charm, bullfighting décor and experienced service. Botanas are offered with drinks and there is a serviceable if ordinary lunch-time menu of Mexican standards.

See Corazón de Maguey, above
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Location of Chupa Cabras

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  1. It's nice to see some southern Mexico City represented on your blog. I agree with your recommendations for Taro, Los Danzantes and the Bipolar. The jamaica quesadillas at the Bipolar are really great and they have a jukebox! I also think the tortilla soup at La Lechuza is really nice. The tostadas are, of course, a must.
    I wanted to make some additional suggestions and comments.
    I'm surprised that you didn't recommend the landmark El Venadito for carnitas. It's on Universidad just north of Miguel Angel de Quevedo. They have a stand and a sit-down option. Get some carnitas tacos from the stand with a cold beer. You won't regret it.
    For breakfast or even comida I would recommend La Casa del Pan.
    Av. México No 25, esq. Xicoténcatl
    Col. Del Carmen, Coyoacán, CP 04000
    Tel. (55) 3095-1767
    They have nice breakfasts (be careful, it gets full!) and their comida corrida option is a nice deal for the lovely vegetarian food you get.
    Another nice (but small) breakfast option is the Café Ruta de la Seda.
    Aurora 1 esq. Pino, Barrio de Santa Catarina, Coyoacán
    Tel. 3869 4888
    They have lovely teas, breakfasts and deserts. Their service is not great and you sometimes have to wait like a hawk to get a table, but it can really be worth it.
    Finally, for an inexpensive and very casual experience for pizza (thin crust, wood-fired), I would recommend L'ermitaño on Miguel Angel de Quevedo near Fernandez Leal. It's not fancy and sometimes the music is kind of loud, but for their price and the fact that they have some of the coldest beer around, this place is a great neighborhood spot for pizza. They also have a lovely homemade spicy tomato sauce to accompany your pizza.
    I disagree with your review of El Morral. I have only experienced the one on Miguel Angel de Quevedo and wow, what a disappointment. The food was mediocre at best and the service left much to be desired. Perhaps the location in the center of Coyoacan is better.

  2. Hello, i miss you consider you blog the best tacos de cabeza in México, called "Tacos de cabeza Don Fello", you can found it in Mercado de antojitos in Coyoacan, really this tacos is the best

  3. El Rincon de la Lechuza does not serve carnitas ( not sure if they did before). I'm here right now, placating my disappointment with an al pastor taco instead - it's the priciest taco I've had on my visit to DF (40 pesos), but at least it's large, tasty and the tortillas were handmade just moments before.

    Did you mean to recommend a different place for carnitas?