Café de Tacuba

Tacuba 28, Col. Centro Historico, Deleg, Cuauhtémoc, 06010 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5521 2048

The historic center of Mexico City has so many places to visit and things to see that a day’s worth of activities at this location involves a good amount of walking, and at times, just being able to enjoy a good sit and replenish your energies (for more walking and sightseeing) is what you’re hoping is next on the schedule. And as much as the food stalls selling yummy street food around these parts is always enticing, many times a more relaxed and laid-back meal in a more formal setting is certainly appreciated. There’s one such place in downtown Mexico City, where one can enjoy a meal that includes typical Mexican dishes and appreciate some history while you’re at it, this is the Café de Tacuba and the restaurant is more than 100 years old. It’s a popular destination for tourists as its typical Mexican food is accompanied by friendly service, a nice busy atmosphere to watch while you eat, the waitresses dressed in their clean white garments (with big white bows sticking in their hair), and of course, the beauty of the place with its colorful frescos decorating the walls.

The restaurant was opened in 1912 by Dionisio Mollinedo, who wanted to showcase a menu that blended the cuisine from the colonial period with that of the indigenous pre-Columbine era, which relies heavily on maiz (“corn”). Mollinedo’s great-grandson, Juan Pablo Ballesteros, nowadays runs the place. Some call the restaurant a portal to another era, brass chandeliers hang from the ceiling, there’s colonial artwork on every wall, and Talavera tiles decorate the stairs, hallways, and dining room. The food still takes 20 to 30 minutes to arrive because they’re using the same old recipes, which haven’t changed at all in 50 or 60 years. The restaurant is located on Tacuba street, which is said to have been the first road built in the city, on the corner of Ignacio Allende street, literally a few steps away from Metro station “Allende”, and a couple of blocks east from the Palacio de Bellas Artes. You can eat a full meal for around $300 pesos.

The Café de Tacuba provides its loyal patrons with a familiarity that’s sometimes missing in today’s fast-changing world, the menu has remained the same for decades, and rarely do they consider adding a new dish (if they do, it’s usually for a limited time); this consistency has kept the restaurant as part of Mexico City’s popular culture (there’s even a popular rock band named after it), and it remains an important reference for tourists of what typical Mexico City food tastes like.


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