Av. Isaac Newton 55, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Chef Jorge Vallejo spent time in the kitchen at Pujol before he and wife Alejandra Flores opened Quintonil, giving the former boss a run for his money. Their place, too, has become a fixture on best-restaurants lists, and is changing how people understand Mexican food. Taking its name from a weed that not long ago “decent” Mexicans wouldn’t dream of eating, Quintonil seeks to rescue and preserve discarded Mexican ingredients—particularly heirloom vegetable and herbal varieties—as part of the progressive and sustainable eating program it so elegantly advocates. Menus change seasonally, but a recent bill of fare included an avocado tartare with ant eggs and quelite-herb chips; chilacayote squash in mole with basil; and a rich chocolate-and-pinole-flour parfait. A tasting menu of Neronian proportions is also available.

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Discover Local Tastes at Quintonil

Quintonil certainly isn’t the only Polanco restaurant that uses fresh, local produce to evoke Mexico‘s signature flavors in contemporary renditions of traditional dishes. This young restaurant only opened in 2012, however, and it is absolutely holding its own against more established kitchens. In fact, it was listed as number 21 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants List in 2013. It has since joined other local restaurants, Pujol and Biko, on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Chef Jorge Vallejo and his wife and business partner Alejandra Flores receive high marks for service and, of course, for the food, which includes a unique dessert option: lime-nopal (cactus pad) sorbet. As is the case with other upscale Polanco restaurants, Quintonil’s price points are quite affordable compared to similarly-ranked restaurants in the United States.

Quintonil - amazing gastronomy in Mexico City

When I was visiting Mexico City recently, a friend who lived there took me to Quintonil for dinner. This quaint, elegant hotspot serves some incredible contemporary gastronomy with a Mexican flair, and is right in the heart of the Polanco area. They serve such unique and tasty dishes as smoked spider crab tostada with lime, watermelon radish and habanero mayonnaise or the Iberian pork jowl marinated in achiote and beans. For dessert, try the homemade flan with edible flowers, orange marmalade and popcorn or the cactus sorbet with lemon and black salt.

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