What’s in a name? - El Hijo de la Rauxa

Chef/artiste Quim Jardí

La Rauxa, a much-missed Condesa mini-institution, has re-opened with flying colors.
This outdoors-only upscale comida corrida place, located on a quiet block between Parques México and España, has been through the mill. While chef/artist owner Quim Jardí was trying to make his oh-too-arty pizza joint l’Atelier work, family members tried to keep it going but quality plummeted and it lost its faithful clientele. Well, the chef is back but the only problem is the lack of a name. “Le Fil de la Folie” reads a sign; (“rauxa” means “caprice” in Catalán or folie in French), hence the temporary moniker. But the menu says “Barrio Latino” and the chef thinks the Catalán “compañs” would work. A rose by any other name is still La Rauxa.

Jardí, of Catalan descent, is shy (according to his personable wife and business partner Laura) – that is, until he gets going on the topic of food. His passion about all things culinary started at an early age. His grandmother owned a Catalan restaurant here in Mexico, and he would hang out there as a child soaking up the ambiance of the kitchen. Later, after living in Barcelona learning every aspect of its culinary traditions, he returned to Mexico. Plans to write about gastronomy did not fully satisfy his creative urge, so when a restaurant space in the Condesa became available, it was Laura (who also does the books – “I’m the practical one”) who told him to “stop talking and just do it”, as she explained to me with a giggle. The lease for La Rauxa, was signed on a Wednesday and the restaurant was open for business on Monday. That was three years ago. The small operation quickly became a successful venue for the chef’s creative but accessible single option lunch menus. Some things are the same: the ‘formule’ is still fixed at $69 pesos ($99 with a glass of more than decent wine). But the program has changed. Dishes are, for the most part, eclectic Mexican based on regional traditions but with a creative touch. A set menu with a handful of offerings remains in place while “capricious” daily specials are supplemented from time to time. On a recent visit we sampled a staple soup of Jardí’s invention: black bean with yellow mole is creamy, lightly spiced – tantalizing, tangy, tart and tasteful. A “filete de pescado al pastor” turns out to be a deconstruction of the Day Effay classic taco: a solid white fish filet is broiled under a shmeer of ‘pastor’ spices and blanketed in a creamy pineapple sauce – a simple, well executed idea that works. Or choose a beef filet sliced Asian –style and bathed in a dark, rich sugar-less mole negro which neither cloys nor smokes. Another house special is the vegetarian tarta de platano, a rich and savory deep-dish pie of plantain served with a little dish of the mole cited above.

Tarta de Platano, a good vegetarian option

Salads, included in the menu, are simple but more than just a few lettuce leaves on a plate: ours included thin shards of herby fennel and mixed leafy greens. Dessert will vary: recently we were served a piece of warm bread pudding like someone (else’s) grandma used to make – sweet, heartwarming and nostalgic. A seldom seen version of horchata made with melon seeds is revived as are other curious 'aguas preparadas'.
With the demise of Margarita Salinas’ promising Casa México and only a handful of more moneyed but less artistically successful “creative Mexican” places around town, the restaurant formerly known as La Rauxa may be on the cutting edge of experimental Mexican cooking. Jardí ruminates, “I would like to invent a dish that becomes a classic, like French onion soup, (or Peach Melba?) something that becomes part of the lexicon after I’m gone.” But he better think of a name first…

El Nuevo Hijo de la Rauxa/Barrio Latino/Compañs
Calle Parras 15 (between Av. Amsterdam and Nuevo Leon) Condesa
Open Monday-Saturday for lunch at 2, open later for tapas and drinks.
Tel. 4754 3908


  1. Does this mean the best pizza i'd had in Mexico is no longer available in Roma?

  2. Thanks for this beautiful post. The place remains nameless...

  3. I like your blog! I wrote about the many exciting vegan finds in Mexico City and beyond on mine :)

  4. unfortunately the service at the best pizza place in DF seemed, to say the least, like something out of a 60's monsters sitcom: endearing but terribly wrong. Why can't good cooks understand that running a kitchen isn't the same as running a restaurant?

  5. There were some OK elements here (the soup and the salad course were passable), but the main dishes were not good. This place tries way too hard to be inventive and still keep an absurdly low price point. It's ultimately an unsatisfying failure. Much better options abound within walking distance, in taquerias and other amazing street food. Sorry for the harsh tenor of this post, but I am a great lover of Mexican cuisine and don't get to spend much time here and resent having to waste a meal, no matter the price, on over-reaching, mediocre food.

  6. It took us a few attempts to find this place, mainly because we were looking when it was closed and there isn't any signage. (Probably due to the fact that it doesn't really have a name yet.) The efforts were well worth it though! How the chef puts together such a delightful tasty meal containing hints of other cultures, with such a low price is a mystery. It was so good we returned again before leaving Mexico City. Mexico is full of great taqueria stands, and if you follow this blog I would suggest eating at any of them mentioned here. If however, you want to try something a little different, Quim Jardi is your guy. I have been trying to duplicate that pickled cucumber salad dressing without much success, so QJ, if you happen to read this I would love any tips!

    Thanks, Kathy and Grant

  7. Couldn't find this place on a map, is it still open?