After years at its original, jewel-box-like (and maybe even a little solemn) location, the city’s high temple of Mexican regional cuisine has moved to a more expansive—some say more relaxed—space. It includes more light, a bar area for “taco omakase,” and large windows overlooking the garden, plus a groovy, midcentury accent that might recall Manhattan’s late, lamented Four Seasons restaurant. Changes aside, diners can still count on a six-section prix fixe menu, with each section home to multiple bites involving an astounding variety of local ingredients that even most Mexicans have never tasted, all exquisite enough to have placed Pujol on several best-restaurants lists for years running. And yes, you still get a taste of chef Enrique Olvera’s mole madre, well over a thousand days in the pot as of this writing.
Taste Contemporary Mexico at Pujol
If you fancy yourself a globetrotting gourmand, lunch or dinner at Chef Enrique Olvera’s Pujol is obligatory. Pujol has held a top spot on Restaurant Magazine’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the past three years; it’s currently at spot 16, up from spot 17 the year before. The small size of the restaurant allows Olvera and his team to provide guests with an exceptional experience that will set a new standard for every restaurant that you visit afterward. The menu changes seasonally, based on the best ingredients sourced at the moment. Expect dishes like roasted corn on the cob with an ant-flecked mayonnaise and tacos with a fresh fish ceviche. You can never go wrong with the remarkably affordable tasting menu, preferably paired with wine or beer flights that feature domestic bottles difficult to find outside Mexico.
From the Milpa
If anyone can claim the title to best chef in Mexico, it’s Enrique Olvera. He takes ingredients that grow in the milpa (maize field) and transforms them into amazingly delicious and previously unknown dishes. Like a trio of “cappuccinos” made from huitlacoche, squash flower, and mushroom, with requesón, epazote, and coconut milk foams he made on a TV show. The idea, he said, was to make a liquid quesadilla. The creations may be worth it, but getting a reservation in this restaurant might prove tricky. Be sure to plan ahead.